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Everything posted by Wildgoose

  1. I have had good luck with F&M. They have a one color program that's pretty awesome. As I said earlier I work in my home and really don't have room for the mess of screen printing so the transfers let me compete. They are still slick feeling because they have been screened onto a transfer sheet and some prefer the rough hand of a real screen print but generally they have been well received. I just look at the individual job, the turn around time and effort it would take to cut and weed and make a determination (and price) accordingly.
  2. I went into it hoping for a ROI in a couple YEARS and was totally new so I was completely learning for months. I did freebies here and there. I remember the days when I got a 10 shirt order and thought it was almost overwhelming and worrisome. I didn't pay myself for my time until I had all my equipment paid for which with the budget machines I bought was actually pretty quickly. I was starting to pick up business from word of mouth and the few people I approached and my budget cutter was a struggle to keep up. I could only cut maybe 8 or 10 copies of a given shirt logo and then I'd have to stop and restart it so the memory wouldn't lock up and stall out. I finally took a leap and financed a new cutter and paid it off in 8 months then stepped up my heat press and paid for it in one 600 shirt order. Never looked back. I have an order for 1000 heat pressed hats and about 1700 shirts that we will be starting into in a couple weeks once the artwork is finalized. Those are all plastisol transfers so it's just a matter of press, flip and press the back. After costs that kind of work generates around $90-$100 per hour.
  3. I have not tried the mask right taper system and they probably work well. I bought the Big Squeegee Cut Vinyl tool and use it for taping off the work. Like anything it takes some learning but after getting used to it taping off long, sometimes WAY LONG cuts are a snap. I have done things in the 14 to 22 foot range. The trick is getting lined up straight so you don't run off the side on your way to the far end. I don't do much cut vinyl anymore but do an occasional big job here and there and as Skeeter mentioned there is easy money in that market. Well, easy if you are good and have a quality cutter. Budget cutters don't track very good and can make a mess.
  4. My workspace is our dining room table. It's a wonky shape (not rectangle) so not ideal but you learn workarounds as you do things. I have gravitated to mostly garments and they work fine on an oval table.
  5. I think it's something in the machine. I'm not tech savvy enough to diagnose what but I bet either some sort of chip like you mention or even an actual stepper motor going bad and getting choppy in it's movements. Base on the OP's other post I would say time for at least a new budget cutter but I like Dakota highly recommend an upgrade.
  6. Signcut Prod. Pro 1 - XML parsing error

    I use it but have never ran into that issue. I second Dakota on the call to tech support. You will have to request tech support online and they will call you. On a good note SignCut actually has real live tech support who kick butt and will sort you out in no time.
  7. Illustrator diagonal like issue

    I wonder if one of your stepper motors is on it's way out.
  8. Shirts are a bigger market. Just look at your own life. How much of your budget goes to shirts vs vinyl decals? I'll be honest, I started mine out for fun and knowing that I may not make a red cent. I gave a LOT of stuff away to friends and family with no strings attached. I told them I needed the practice which was true. Word of mouth is the best advertising and you can't buy it. Half my clients at the very least came from that first 6 months of not worrying about whether it paid off or not. I also occasionally brought in promo gift shirts to other businesses that I frequent enough to know the manager/owners and showed them what I could do. Advice I would give the newbies. I used to try and explain the difference between screen print and HTV. I figured telling people about the lifespan would sell the product and it does if they actually understand the difference. About 10% of the people understood. I quit trying to explain it and just do so if they actually ask me about it, meaning they WILL get it because they want to know. I do a fair amount of plastisol transfers so technically do both these days and promote them based almost strictly on volume. I used to do hundreds of HTV shirts and now I just don't have the time to spend cutting and weeding that kind of volume. It's more effective to spell out how one or the other is the best choice for a given application or volume.
  9. Illustrator diagonal like issue

    All you are seeing there is the screen resolution. The actual line is straight between the two nodes but the resolution of the screen cannot show you a true line because screens use pixels just like raster images. If it's not cutting straight then you have something else going on.
  10. Unless you have many hundreds of dollars laying around you want to tie up in inventory I don't stock much in the way of shirts. I keep some black and white and then I have a school nearby that tends to need navy so I keep a few of them. Most times I never have the right size in the right color. I just usually order after they pay me and I also bid in a couple extra in case I mess up. (You will) and if you don't mess up you get to keep it and throw it in your inventory and sell it (again <snicker>).
  11. Experience with Cad-Cut Vinyl?

    Meh, I use it from time to time when they have a special option I can't get with Siser. Stretch for nylon being an example of that scenario. I never had an issue with the products but many of them run at all sorts of varied times, temps and peel options from cold hot and warm (and warm means warm, not cold and not hot) I have pretty well settled in almost exclusively with Siser products. They MOSTLY use the same lower temp and hot peel so I just don't have to worry about a mistake.
  12. Logo Sizes

    I used to upsize my logo on the bigger shirts but decided to stop doing that unless asked. It just ends up adding to the potential confusion. Screen print usually stay all the same so I just followed suit and have not had anyone hardly even bring it up. The only ones who did were only concerned with trying to fit a regular size on some little kid shirts.
  13. Illustrator diagonal like issue

    You say you used the pen tool and got this kind of action? It would have had to add a bunch of extra nodes if you drew it manually from point A to point B. If you did an auto trace I can see it doing something just like that especially if it was a pixelated image. If you can upload a sample file in AI format I would love to see it. (No copyright protected work please).
  14. I learned long ago not to price myself based solely on what my competition prices. Yes you need to know what's going on around you but if they all started handing out dollar bills would you also? Heck no. I mainly got my clients because the other guys couldn't or wouldn't turn product around quick enough. I work a full time type job myself and I was still beating the turn time of most of the others by like a week or two just working evenings and weekends. I think a lot of this was because the other guys were busy and I was just happy to get ANYTHING at that point so I jumped on it but at the end of the day those clients now come to me for all their work. I still try to be as quick as I can but as I get busy I have to do the same thing the others do and put them in a line. My best clients get my priority but if I have a huge order that will take two weeks I squeeze in a couple small ones during the process so they don't have to wait if it's something that I can bust out quickly. Find some specialty niche markets. Softball teams and things that have a lot of individual numbers and personalized names are a great money maker and they are always super pumped about having fan gear. I do the jerseys at a fair and reasonable price, probably too cheap but the fan gear is a real money maker.
  15. Why oh why did I do this?

    Although I have never ran it there are several who use bootcamp or parallels to run a windows environment on their mac. There could be some glitch effects there, couldn't tell you. I actuall have a secondary laptop that I do my books on and hook to the cutter. That works great for me so I can be letting the cutter run while I work on something else at my iMac. Dakota - I bought a couple used business laptops for two of my girls at college and had the SSD put in them. All I can say it HOLY #$%@#&*?"~!#!!!! I am now considering going to the guy and having him clone my windows 7 laptop I cut from and dropping a SSD in it too. He put two identical laptops side by side and did a cold start comparison and I was BLOWN away. Same specs just one had a standard HD and the other same size of SSD. Crazy stuff and the girls tell me they get great battery life which is the other big pro.
  16. Affordable cutter with perforated cutting

    I don't know about the others but the D75 does cut it on the cutting strip so if you are planning to do this it would be best if it was a dedicated cutter following a print machine and not really bouncing back and forth because you will be gradually cutting a groove into your cutting strip that will cause issues with regular vinyl work. I have the Summa and don't do any print work so have never messed with the "kiss cut" feature. I WILL say this though, as accurate as the Summa is you can dial in the pressure of the deeper cut independently and probably not quite cut all the way through the the carrier but it will take some practice. I have had my machine a number of years and have never had to replace the cutting strip. Replacement strips are not expensive but I don't really want to deal with it if I can avoid it. On another note if you ARE cutting printed work the Optical scan on the Summa called "OPUS" is supposed to be the best and I believe I read somewhere was actually the first optical recognition system. Summa's aren't cheap and the dealership system in the US os a little weird but man what a freakin awesome machine. If you compare the D75 (or larger) with a comparable FC you will see the value. They are equal or superior in every spec except total downforce. If you need more downforce you have to step up to a true tangential model which then jumps the price a ways.
  17. Dirt Bike Template KTM 250sx

    Do not have any help for you on the template. They are possibly out there for purchase somewhere or you make have to make one. If you have never done a bike before you might take notice that the plastic is resistant to normal vinyl. It's sort of slick or oily they call it "low energy plastic" or just low energy surface. It's an interesting subject to research. They make some good stuff that does stick but most I saw when I was looking was for print work. If you print then you probably already know all that and I'm wasting your time. I have built numbers and had them stick but anything on a tank or probably the fenders are going to be suspect. Signage can be flame treated and then covered with a large piece sort of as a base and you could pull that off on a number plate. Don't think I would be comfortable torching a number plate to tell the truth.
  18. Help with this

    Sorry this is as close as I could get when I tried That layout is probably a knock out single color red on reflective background
  19. If you can sell white shirts the JPSS is a great product. I don't like 3G although I keep some in stock. I use my pigment printer for everyday printing so the cost is negligible.
  20. Cutting Small Vinyl Scraps?

    Getting your cutter set up correctly should become second nature. I realize it's a bit overwhelming when you are new but once you get it figured out it's relatively easy. I think you are probably doing it wrong if it took you any more than about 5 minutes. Follow MZ ZKEETER's directions on the actual blade depth and then you just need to dial in the correct pressure to cut through. If you get your other setting dialed in (speaking of blade offset and possibly overcut it needed) then you just have the blade depth which once set is usually fine for most daily cut needs. Cheap vinyl is 3 mil and high end is 2 mil so set it for the 3 mil and you are done with that part. The pressure may vary from one material to the next and so you should be comfortable doing a quick pressure test with each product until you can come to grips with that your cutters normal operating pressures. You will find that you run at one or two general settings most of the time. I usually cut HTV and cast vinyl at the same pressure and often jump up about 5gr for calendared. Your cutter will vary. I'm just saying that you should probably practice the routine so it's not a worry or you will not know what's going on if things go awry. The single biggest mistake most new cutter owners make is they equate cutting depth with blade depth. You don't change the depth of cut by lengthening or shortening the amount of blade sticking out. Set that correctly manually as Skeeter shows and then you dial into your downforce to cut just through the vinyl and scratch the surface of the carrier.
  21. Just starting out

    I think you are making good informed decisions and you'll do well. We see a lot of people who just jump in without even bothering to research AT ALL and they have all sort of regrets and buyers remorse. For shirts not sure what Florida business and tax laws are like but if you have a resellers license consider Sanmar as a wholesale source. They are probably the biggest overall option with lots and lots of choices and great prices. If no resellers permit you might look at Jiffyshirts. They don't always have to choices but offer pretty fair pricing on basic stuff.
  22. Just starting out

    I think I'd go with https://www.uscutter.com/34in-SC2-Vinyl-Cutter It's on sale. I have a premium cutter ($3600 Summa) with an optical eye and I have used it a couple times. If you have a real printer then ok it would be used more but if you are that geared up then you will want something that has servo motors anyway. Just one mans opinion, your mileage may vary. When I cut things like JPSS for shirts I do it with an exacto. Contour cutting requires a decent amount of open space around the registration marks and unless you are doing mass quantities it's not a normal application for a home based operation.
  23. Just starting out

    Welcome from Idaho If that is your total budget then just put the contour cut and servo motors out of your head for the time being. They are nice but not a must have. I would suggest probably the SC2 cutter and the swing press (not the multi-function one). You will be able to do dry-fit with Siser Stretch HTV. I started out with similar equipment and it has frown considerably. You will probably find like I did that there are only a certain amount of people looking for a vinyl decal whereas almost everyone want's a tee shirt. If you find the need to do full color work you can order plastisol transfers from someone like F&M Experssions or similar without a need to go deep into an investment.
  24. Small Lettering

    Clean cut blades are a HUGE improvement but you can also benefit from using higher end vinyl. 751 or 951 weed a lot better for small stuff. I often use premium cast for small work just because it saves so much time weeding. I often cut a couple extra so I can either cannibalize one of the extras if something goes wrong. If I did cut a few spares sometimes I just grab a corner and rip it off in one fast pull. Doesn't work on all but on some. Just be sure to reduce your pressure with the good blade or you may break a tip when you cut through.