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Posts posted by amaterasu

  1. 16 hours ago, Primal Decals said:

    Have you learned how work with designing and settings etc like you  originally were asking in the beginning of your post ?  If it were me i would learn how the ins and outs on how to work with a design program,cutting software etc  and getting perfect cuts before jumping into doing print. Just my 2 cents..


    Im still waining for my Serial to USB Cable


    7 hours ago, dcbevins said:

    You have to get the blank signs anyway.  So that is a given.  If you just need vinyl, then get a cutter.  If you need photo realistic output, shipping shouldn't be crazy from an outsource vendor.  I bet if you scrounged around you could find sources for the printed and or cut material under fifty bucks, maybe under thirty.  For precut vinyl I bet you could find somebody to go under twenty.  We are talking about a graphic on adhesive, or cut vinyl in a roll, in a tube that might weigh a pound or two.

    A quick search found this group.  I know nothing about them.  Don't know about international shipping,  But just one of the first sites that popped up a 20"x27" print on adhesive vinyl for outdoor is $29.00, $5.50 a square yard. which is close to the size I think of the sidewalk sign you posted a picture of.  I am in the USA so maybe the prices are skewed were your located.

    People with these machines want volume.  They will wheel and deal, especially if you are a repeat customer.  Outsourcing should be viable.  It's cheaper than a $290 a month 60 month lease on a 30" Roland.  Plus, buying $300 ink cartridges x 4 cmyk, sometimes x6, (say x 12 to have backups,) plus media, plus tools.

    Frankly, anyone that has no experience in this kind of endeavor is deeply in over their head.  A year in a shop with is kinda gear would go far.

    Actually I gave up on printing on vinyl, I have accepted that its not something I can do. I just need a printer that is able to print on paper that can last outdoor. Outsourcing is honestly not an option, its way too expensive here.

  2. 1 hour ago, MZ SKEETER said:

    How was your bottom of the barrel Redsail  vinyl cutter $1200  and a printer only $3k?    You said US and Norway prices different,  So even the cheapest cutter here like you bought around $200 with software here... You paid $1200+...  So sounds like the printer would be closer to $20,000..  Are they giving printers away? 

    Its not uncommon to find cheap second hand printers here. I bought my Redsail new for 1200 dollars, including shipping and 25% tax and I spent another 1.3 K on vinyl and tools. A second hand Roland VersaCAM VP540 recently went for 2.8K. Should I have bought that one instead? Ofc but I could not afford it at that time, nor can I afford it now.  Second hand stuff are usually pretty cheap here but the market is not so big for printers and cutters.

    1 hour ago, Dakotagrafx said:

    if you are doing business cards look at a color laserjet - if doing posters for inside look at a large inkjet with pigment inks 

    Thanks, I will buy a color laserjet for business cards but I was thinking of posters that is used on sidewalk boards, or is it pavement boards? 

    These things 


    58 minutes ago, dcbevins said:

    The volume I saw on the 54" Roland I ran was around ten jobs a day.  Could be days of five jobs, or days of twenty.  It would see on certain weekends, two days down. Sometimes this would be rolls of reflective vinyl to make decals and signs for a mine.  Sometimes this was adhesive decals to go on aluminum or corrugated plastic.  Some times this was feet of banner material.  Less often was decals for windows, vehicles or license plates.  Rarely was tshirt transfer material in around batches of twenty.  There were also times of windows cling, transparent decals and fabric material for flag making.  We did not do vehicle wraps.

    The vinyl cutters we had, and we had three, made signs, lots of glitter tshirts, rhinestone shirts, license plates, and vehicle graphics.  We had a sublimation printer for mugs, license plates and some shirts. We had an extensive and expensive embroidery machine.  We also produce tons of screen printed shirts and caps with one six station screen printing rig, flash dry units and a convener oven.  We bought 4'x8' sheets of corroplast and aluminum and cut them to size.  We didn't laminate a great deal, but had the units.  We designed business cards, but outsourced the printing.

    You need the volume to justify one of these big printers, both from a cost perspective and with the down time problem and the heads clogging.  As you can see, the versatility of the printer kept the volume going.  Using it for just one certain type of production isn't optimal.  You get the benefit from the range of output and media types.  I listed all that stuff to give you an idea of the types of groups normally in this market.  Sign shops that do it all and conner the market in their area.  It is hard to do this as a home biz, this being the stuff produced from a wide format print cut machine.  Even with a bunch of output abilities, tons of space for production and vehicle bays, you see these shops shutting down from time to time, do to lack of profict.

    As Daokotagrfx said, maybe a large or wide format pigment ink printer would do for you.  They can make stunning photo's.  They aren't as versatile and don't do graphics for outdoors well, if at all.

    Consider outsourcing until you reach a sustainable volume level.  You take less profit, have to depend on another source for you prints, have to worry about shipping, but can still draw in customers if your doing the design and physically handing the product to them.

    I dont know if Im being realistic or pessimistic but I dont think Ill get anything near that volume. At least not for a while. I get it, I will most likely end up frustrated from replacing clogged heads. I can't outsource because, let me give you an example, the pavement board I linked to Dakotagrafx. This one The suppliers sell them for around 100 dollars a piece but the shipping is 200 dollars so I would need to buy a large quantity to justify the shipping cost which I can't atm. What I could do is buy 1 at a time from stores for around 150 dollars and sell them for around 230 dollars with posters and stickers. If I were to outsource the printing job, I would need to pay at least 70 dollars for the posters. Thats only 10 dollar profit.


    I forgot to mention that those pavement boards costs around 350 dollars incl posters and vinyl logo. And that is if you have already designed you own posters. 


    I would do the design for free and even deliver it for free

  3. 1 hour ago, Dakotagrafx said:

    some do it with special vinyl but it isn't the right way and usual life span is stated to be under a year.  the right way is eco solvent, letex, or thermo resin - any of which will cost you 6-10,000 on the cheap by the time you get a decent working printer.   you can get them cheaper but by the time you put the money in bringing them up to par it is that expensive.    then you have mass producing shops offering banners for $1 sq ft and that doesn't even make sense to fire yours up for that price.

    Prices in Norway are not like U.S. I already have a customer that wants some decals on his window and his car. Nothing fancy, just the name of his shop, opening hours and his phone number. We agreed on 1200 dollars for this job. You might think I'm basically stealing this poor guys money but Im actually doing it for quite cheap.

    Im not worried about not getting my money back if I buy a printer, even if I dont get any customers its still a risk Im willing to take. However, if I do buy a printer for, lets say 3 K. Then 1 job a month would easily justify that purchase but from what Ive just learned from you guys. 1 job a month means replacing print heads and that is something I dont want to constantly stress and worry about. Even If I forget about printing on vinyl for now, I will need a printer that can print business cards and posters for those sidewalk boards.

  4. 2 hours ago, Dakotagrafx said:

    print heads depends on the printer, most common ones are $700 to $2800 depending on which head that printer uses - the ones that use the $700 ones usually have between 2 and 6 heads.  Home printers use water based ink and are far more probable to clean the heads as we have all done many times, solvent is a whole other story.  latex doesn't have the problem either but you have to run special electric service for them -  with all that said I have absolutely no idea what the norway printer market looks like for used printers

    Its somewhere between 3-5k for cheap eco solvent printers. Other wide format printers like Epson stylus pro 9900 (I have no idea what ink they use) are somewhere between 1-3 k. Tbh you guys really scared me and I dont think I'll ever buy any solvent based printer. 

    Update: I just found out that the epson printer uses pigment ink. Would that printer + laminate do the job?

  5. 2 minutes ago, Dakotagrafx said:

    Yes that is bs , tell them that since it is that easy that they should do the cleaning and send you pics of the nozzle,check afterwards.   You won't hear back :)

    Replacing printheads could easily cost 1-2 K am I right? What kind of printer would you recommend for A1 poster then? Btw, isn't normal home printes also solvent printers? I mean those we use at home for printing documents. They dont suffer from this problem

  6. 17 hours ago, Dakotagrafx said:

    Having owned 3solvent printers I call BS on the nozzles ever coming back once dried.  I have had to replace them every time.  Now there are people that run with some clogged or deflected nozzles and claim that is ok too, not here.   Also I don't cut corners on media and I only use Orem ink.   So I done comepete for the bottom of the barrel jobs

    There are many ads for second hand eco solvent print and cut machines. Many of them have been left unused for up to a year or in some cases even a couple of years. All the sellers claim the the printer is as good as new once you use some cleaning liquid. Is that BS?

    14 hours ago, dcbevins said:

    I'll throw in that lamination is another reason for a dedicated cutter over a print cut machine.  If you are laminating, you have to laminate before the cut.  So you print, let out gas, laminate, load into cutter, cut.  Having a dedicated cutter speeds up some processes and free's up the printer.  That is, using the cutter to cut and the printer to print, even though it can cut. 

    But yeah, the print cut machines are sexy.  And yeah, you can't let those sexy sob's sit long unless you have a magic box that elves fill up each night with $1500 print heads, (helps to have some gnomes around to install them in record time.)  It's not a simple clean them job.  I've watch techs injecting gobs of expensive ink trying to get a head back to life pray like it was a dying relative, knowing there was little hope.

    I've never owned a wide format printer, I have just worked in shops that have them.  I know enough that I wouldn't get in there and try the DIY route unless it was a dire emergency.  I'd get the gold warranty.  When the warranty died I'd pay the tech the $300/hour.

    Thanks guys, Im learning so much here, if only I had joined the forum before I bought all my stuff.. From what you're saying, correct me if Im wrong. A cut only machine is the way to go but if it is possible to justify the purchase of a printer, then it is best to go latex printer + regular cutter. 

  7. 23 hours ago, MZ SKEETER said:

    I can speak on the vinyl cutting side..I cut very detailed large designs, that is my niche' and makes me good money.   Those same designs would not show the background colors thru the design, and the great details of the design, if they were printed...  I don't do any printing...  And with cut vinyl the color is all the way thru..   


    22 hours ago, Dakotagrafx said:

    No printing is not better in every way - a eco solvent printer or latex printer used for vinyl lays ink on the vinyl (these two types bite into the vinyl so durable) but cut vinyl is preferred in many applications like skeeter said - cut vinyl the color goes all the way thru the vinyl and in many cases you want just the graphic with the substrate colors to show thru - for that cut is preferred.    a print cut machine IMHO is not as nimble and does not do as good of a job on the fine detail items along with why do I want all that wear and tear on a $15K machine?   Print is used for photo realistic, difficult multi color etc but in too many circumstances people use it where cut is better because they are trying to justify a purchase and it is less labor intensive for those multi color.  there is a right application for cut and print - since I left my regular job almost 5 years ago (retired) I would say I do about 50 percent of each - I actually use the cutter more now than I did years ago as I learn more.   I upgrade cutters and printers about every 3 years at this point but in 3 years when my wife retires I will need to get out of printing or go latex as we will be leaving for a month or more at a time and solvent printers are not friendly when they sit for even several days unused - I don't need to be replacing heads every time I return from a trip at that point and need to change my printer to fit my needs at that point.
    Bottom line is lots of people get printers because it is "sexy" to have and make those photo realistic prints - but few actually need them and I would a vast majority don't get another one when they need replacing because they have not justified the cost.  Now there are shops that do a lot of business that it makes sense for too.  but for a small shop it is hard to justify other than "I want one and I got my tax refund to help pay for it" and then the realization sets in in about a year or two if they really made the money to break even or not.


    Some designs and if you are not an expert in AI, even some logos are impossible to create without a printer. Its impossible to compete with companies that has those printers. Also I have heard that if you dont use a solvent printer for a while it will dry, like you said, but it should loosen up and be read for printing again if you use some cleaning liquid.

  8. 1 hour ago, Dakotagrafx said:

    the print and cut or separate machines is user preference - I work from home to the space savings on the combo unit works very well in my situation but I also keep a graphtec cutter for all my regular cut vinyl work.   if you are doing huge volumes you  can print one set while cutting another with a different set to work faster.  In my case and experience the roland print and cut finds the registration marks way better  than anything else I have tired and again with not having a large retail space this fits my needs better.  I am one of the few I have heard of that actually  started with a 54" and went back to a 30" for my last 2 units.  it fits what market I cater to and it only takes up 7 ft of floor space compared to over 9 ft the 54" machine took. doesn't sound like much but it made my wife much much happier to move me out of the great room :)  she also didn't like that solvent ink spill from the original printer on the carpet . . . 6 years and I have had 3 printers.  don't forget to budget maint and upgrade cost when you get going

    I get why you would downgrade the size of your cutter but why would you keep a graphtec cutter if you already have a print and cut? I mean, why would you still do regular cuts? Except for durability, isn't printing far superior to only cutting in every single way? 

  9. 3 hours ago, MZ SKEETER said:

    Doing some research on the Redsail cutters, they are PC only. Just so you know how to set it up. 


    3 hours ago, Wildgoose said:

    Ahhh, Good catch Skeeter. Pretty much like the MH then. As far as I know I have not heard of anyone getting an MH to run on a mac even with Parallels so amateurasu you may have some serious issues. I have always wondered if it were possible to get one to run through that loophole or not. I guess we have a guinea pig?

    Even if it is Pc only, there should be no issues running it on an intel mac through bootcamp. Parallels may cause problems but it will work with bootcamp.  If I manage to get it working and business goes well Im going to buy a Mimaki, or Roland print and cut next time but they are so expensive :( Any advise on combining a printer and a cutter to do the same job as a print and cut? Will it work or is it better to just be patient, save the money go for a print and cut?

  10. 9 hours ago, MZ SKEETER said:

    Do some research on the forum  and look up Tripp Lite Keyspan adapter, in the upper right corner.Or Google...Your cutter is at the bottom, just like the MH series cutters,, or other value cutters that UScutter would sell.. Many people starting out, try and use the USB cable, as most don't have a serial connection on their computers any more. USB works great for some people and horrible for others. They are running from the flaky chip set from that cutter...  They will be cutting and the carriage head will just drift off to the side and quit,  So their vinyl is just wasted then,  They try it over and over,,,  Then they see USB to serial cable, will help,  So they run out to Radio Shack,  Best Buy and other electronic stores and pick up any..usb to serial cable and hook it up,,, They can't even get a connection with it,  then come back to the forum  for help.   Time after time,,..Even after we told them to get the Tripp Lite,  they want to go cheap..  So back to ordering a Tripp lite,   Problem fixed...We have  been on here for years and years, and have seen the same problems over and over again,, hundreds of times..Those value cutters are all made with pretty much the same technology... We can only offer you advise from all of the fixed problems that we have seen over the years...It is up to you whether you want to take that advise, or keep beating your head against the wall.   Also look up Redsail on here,,  There have been some resent users with problems with their Redsail cutters.  

    I have already ordered the tripp key after you guys recommended me it. I just want to be 100% sure that it will work this time with that cable. I have been delayed enough already, I want to start cutting. 


    9 hours ago, MZ SKEETER said:

    What I mean by flaky is a horrible connection,  hit or miss connection,  Those chipsets in those value cutters will just drop connection and your cutter will stop in mid cut  So your order is not completed.  Or they have no control over the data being sent to the cutter and will over flow the memory of the cutter..  The Tripp lite Keyspan Adapter controls the data being sent...  I have a cutter with TRUE USB, have had since 2008,  I never have problems with a connection..  Good luck

    Is this some sort of miracle adapter then? It sounds like it will transform my Redsail into a Roland or Mimaki :D

  11. 35 minutes ago, MZ SKEETER said:

    Wait for the Tripp lite Keyspan Adapter to connect.your cutter and Mac...This is what we advised from the git go...Any ol' USB to serial cable  was NOT going to work..Only Tripp Lite and a Belkin cable will work with a vinyl cutter.;  It is proven.....

    But are you sure it will work with that adapter? The guy I talked to on the phone said it has to be an FTDI chipset. I emailed tripplite and they told me that the keyspan adapter uses Texas Instrument chipset. Do I need to order another adapter?

    23 minutes ago, MZ SKEETER said:

    Even if you can get that   PL2303 chipset  connected, it will be very hit or miss on connection.with a flaky connection.. It is just as bad as the flaky chipset that is already in that vinyl cutter, REDSAIL series bottom of the barrel cutters...

    Could you care to explain what it means that the cutter has a flaky chipset? If I use the keyspan adapter, does it mean that the chipset in the adapter will be used instead of the one installed on the cutter?

  12. 42 minutes ago, Wildgoose said:

    If you are using a mac, AI  and SIgnCut there should be no reason to run through parallels. SignCut Pro has live free tech support. They have helped me out a couple times in the past. 

    I think the cutter is bad, Ive contacted the store I bought it from several times but they never answer.  I just managed to talk to customer support. They told me that the cutter will only work with a serial to usb cable that uses FTDI chipset. Mine has a prolific chipset. Do you know if the Trip Key I ordered uses an FTDI chipset?

  13. On ‎19‎.‎03‎.‎2017 at 4:19 PM, Wildgoose said:

    You will be totally fine with any cutting software you have or get as far as AI goes. I assume from that statement that you already know your way around AI so you can export files that will satisfy any of the cutting programs that exist. From my research, AI 8 is the most common go-to file type and version. A few programs even use AI version 3. From what I can figure out the reason they like the older version has at least in part to do with some of the art board options of the newer versions.

    SCALPS seems to be able to accept newer AI files (I run CS5) natively without down-saving them to older versions which is interesting. When I had my copy of SCALP however it had issues with separating colors when I brought them into the program to cut by color but there have been many revisions since my beta version so I assume that has been handled. Primal Decals is a good source for detailed use info on SCALPS here on the forum. I believe they have a users forum on the craft edge website but don't know what kind of traffic it gets. 

    VM will accept AI 8 files as will Flexi. There are other formats that most of those programs (if not ALL) will also accept such as SVG and EPS. So as far as your comment about not loosing AI as your design program of choice you are absolutely safe. As far as ending up with a solution you LIKE to use as your cutting program that will have to depend on your own preferences. Personally I suggest sticking with whichever program you got with your cutter (assuming it cam with SOMETHING) even if you don't love it. It sounds like your area of the world is expensive so there is no reason to go nuts spending even more $$ for something different at the early stages. 

    My workflow is I design my files on a mac in AI CS5 and then save them to AI 8 and stick them on a thumb drive. I then take that to a windows laptop that I have in another part of the room and open that file with SignCut Pro 1 and cut it. You could do that exact same work flow with SCALPS, VM , Flexi, ArtCut, Signblazer, MacSign, Winplot, etc.. (all of these are cutting software) albeit you might have to make a slight adjustment to which file format you take to them. The point is it isn't necessarily important to have a plug-in and send to the cutter directly from within AI. They will all import and cut a file you built elsewhere. 

    Hoping you can get your connection figured out and be able to get cutting. My first cutter was a Creation P-Cut and everyone told me to get a tripplite keyspan adapter but I never did. Just made do with the factory usb crappy chipset and it worked for a couple years until I upgraded but there were definite limitations that MAY have been less had I went the other route. I don't know anything about the Redsail cutters. MH cutters which have been compared here in your thread will not cut from a mac and I don't know if I have read what computer you are running. Best regards! 

    My Serial to USB cable just arrived. Not triple key that I recently ordered but a standard one. On the instruction manual its written that it uses a PL2303 chipset so I downloaded drivers for the adapter and installed them. I use a MacBook pro but have windows installed aswell. I can't get signcut pro to read my cutter. It is not listed under Output / Device port


    I logged out of parallels and ran Windows through bootcamp. Now I have com port 3 listed under output (Device) but there are no communication With the cutter and the computer




  14. 2 minutes ago, Dakotagrafx said:

    there is a huge difference in the usb to serial chipset used - the cheaper ones use the same flaky chipset that ships inside of the value plotters while the triplite uses one more like the titans use that is a much better performing chipset to convert the serial to usb

    So it won't work at all with a different usb to serial cable? 

  15. 33 minutes ago, MZ SKEETER said:

    MH also has drivers for different sizes,,  Many people are using the REDSAIL drivers in Signblazer to run their MH cutters, ,Where did you get this REDSAIL cutter for $1000?   

    It was actually 1 300.387 U.S. dollars to be more precise. I bought it from Norway. (Everything is expensive here) I was going to buy A titan3  but us cutter doesn't ship internationally if you dont buy for at least 3 000 Dollars. Why wouldn't any USB to serial cable work?

  16. On 17.3.2017 at 7:11 PM, MZ SKEETER said:

    A Redsail is like an MH cutter,  they even use the same drivers,  That is what Signwarehouse sells for their VALUE cutter.

    Thank you! Let me know when you find out


    On 17.3.2017 at 7:11 PM, MZ SKEETER said:

    A Redsail is like an MH cutter,  they even use the same drivers,  That is what Signwarehouse sells for their VALUE cutter.

    Are you sure it is the same drivers? And wouldn't it be different drivers for the different sizes? 


    I received my package today and tried to mount it but the part that holds the legs together broke and the two parts that holds the rolls got bent :( I hope this doesn't mean the cutter will pull the cutting material unevenly. I haven't had the opurtunity to test the cutter yet as Im waiting for my Serial to USB cable but the quality of the stand is absolutely garbage.

  17. On 17.3.2017 at 2:07 PM, Wildgoose said:

    Skeeter is correct. You also have the concept backwards. IT isn't the cutter than supports the software its whether the software supports your cutter. I wold bet that most any cutting utility such as SCALP, Vinyl Master, SignCut Pro, Flexi etc... will support your Redsail although it might possibly be under another generic name. 

    Illustrator, Inkscape and Corel are all vector design programs that can do the design elements but are not actually capable of connecting to your cutter directly. Some of the aforementioned cutting utilities have "plug-ins" that you can install into AI, Inkscape (free program) or Corel and then allow you to export and cut from within the program but in reality are still functioning as a separate program. I design in AI and then save to version 8 and pull the file off my main computer and go cut from a laptop using SignCut Pro 1. I don't like my main workstation being tied to the cutter because you can't keep working efficiently when it's in the middle of a cut. 

    As mentioned IF you can get the Signblazer program to download and run (it's really old) you can get yourself up and running. SignCut Pro 1 offers a free 7 day trial to so you can get up and going and learning. SignCut Pro 1 offers no design options, it is basically just a cutting utility so the designs have to be built elsewhere.

    If I can design with AI and use any other program to cut it is fine, I just dont want to lose AI as my designing program. I Downloaded a trial of Signcut, There are many options I dont understand but Im currently watching some tutorial on youtube. It looks promising

    • Like 1

  18. On 15.3.2017 at 2:32 AM, slice&dice said:

    When cutting, you are required to set a workspace and that's how you define the extent of the cut space.

    For instance, when I use 24" vinyl, I set my workspace to 22.5" and that allows me 3/4" extra room to each side of the media, to allow for any slight tracking discrepancy.

    I suggest you download and install SignBlazerElements and play with it a minute or two, you'll understand immediately how this all works.



    Isn't workspace and artboard the same thing? Thanks for the link, I will give it a try. 


    On 15.3.2017 at 2:41 AM, Primal Decals said:

    what software are you cuttiing with? I use ai as well all the time but only for designing and then bring the design into my cutting software,I used to send my file from Ai to my cutter software but stopped doing it .


    On 15.3.2017 at 2:45 AM, Wildgoose said:

    What software are you using to connect to your cutter? I don't always get too worried about dartboard size other than to use it as a frame of reference. If I am cutting on 24' vinyl and I know that I like to keep my design within a given dimension like slice suggested of 22" to allow room for error or in my case to keep the cut inside my pinch rollers. The cutting software you use can be effected by the art board size in programs such as SCALP.  Ultimately it matters most to your cutting software. I use SignCut Pro and it doesn't care about dartboard size just the design size and is adjustable if you want to shrink or expand it at that moment. 


    Unfortunately I was stupid enough to invest all my savings in a cutter without even knowing how it works. I had no idea that Ill need special drivers to make it compatible with different software. I bough a redsail cutter for 1K and just found out that it does not support Sure cuts a lot or Illustrator. I have no idea what to do now :'(

  19. Hi

    I want to use illustrator to send files to my cutter but I dont know how I should set up my document dimensions. My paper width is 130 cm and my cutter can eat 130 cm paper so thats fine but max cutting width for the cutter is 120cm. Should I customise my artboard to be 120cm? Or 130cm and draw inside a 120cm area?

    Please help