tlzimmerman

Sound off! Lets get to know eachother from a cutter standpoint!

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Hey guys, I thought it would be fun for the members of the forum to sound off a little about themselves related to cutters only.  Tell us what equipment you have, how long you have been in business, what your business specializes in and your best sales avenues (local, website, and such).

I'll Start!

Double Z Decals from Hays KS.  Have a 34" Refine at the moment, and aspire to buy a Copam when I can afford it.  Been doing decals on my own for a little over a month now (I think) but have had a little exposure to vinyl cutting before that through a cousin with a cutter and my brother who use to work for a sign company.  My main sales avenues for now is www.doublezdecals.com and word of mouth advertising here locally. I work in my day job as a Technical Lead at an Internet/Technology helpdesk for a small ISP.  I have extensive computer hardware/software experience, so I have come by this part of the process pretty naturally.  Doing this as a side business for now out of my basement but hopefully someday can justify doing it full time one my wife gets out of school.  Mostly am doing custom outdoor themed hunting decals.  I use oracal vinyl, right now have 651 and 751, going to get some 631 for wall decals here soon.  I do all my decal designs for the website custom and so far have not used a clipart eps yet!  Am not an artist, but I am getting pretty good at taking inspiration from photographs and such and being able to trace a vector design on the computer to cut.  I have done a racecar for a friend of the family, and am working on the designs for a couple dog trailers for a breeder in our area.

One of my more interesting projects I have been working on is doing some arcade cabinets for friends who restore them here locally.  We have a couple doing restorations, and then several "MAME" cabinets which can pretty much play any video game ever made, from the original playstation to the first atari and all the arcade games ever created.  Its a pretty interesting project.  When we get some of them finished I will be posting pictures!

Once I get a little more money in the bank think I am going to order a T-shirt press and start adding shirts to the website as well. 

So there you have it, my infant decal/sign business in a nutshell.  Lets hear from some of you other guys.  I think it would be especially neat to hear out of the ordinary things you make for customrs (like arcade marquees).

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Guest fivestar

Well let's see, I've been doing vinyl for going on 3 yrs now.  When I bought my cutter I didn't even know what they was called, I searched Ebay for "sticker cutter" :) and I seen all these plotters come up.  I always thought of a plotter as a machine to plot out blue prints.

I bought my first machine to make decals for barn stars and glass block nightlights for my wife's flower shop/craft store.  Well since then my business has exploded, I have opened up a computer repair/ vinyl graphics/t-shirt business upstairs from our flower shop, since we own the building the rent is pretty cheap :D:);D I have been doing computer repair from my house for over 15 yrs so everything just kind of fell in place for me.

Since getting my first cutter I have since added another one both of them are Refine 24" cutters and I wouldn't trade them for anything, I have a Mighty Press 16x20 digital heatpress, a Hix hat press.  My business is pretty much spread out evenly from computer repair to t-shirts and vinyl, but lately the computer repair has been booming (yea me) ;D

I still run all the "vinyl/t-shirt side" through our flower shop for tax purposes.

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My name is Cory, owner of Gearbox Graphics in Greenville, SC. Website is http://www.gearboxgraphics.com.

I have been doing vinyl graphics for about 4 years now, I started out part-time making decals for race cars and racers in my area, while I was a full-time web developer. I now do it full-time out of a race shop owned by best friend and local late model racer. Aside from vinyl graphics, I also do graphic design, web design, signs/banners, promotional materials, and motorsports marketing and PR work, and racing photography for race car drivers and sanctioning bodies all over the southeast.

I am in the process of buying the equipment to start doing wraps and I just ordered my first screen printing setup which will be here in a few days.

As for vinyl, I do all of my vinyl work off of a 24" Enduracut machine that I got from SignWarehouse. I also have a 30" Q75 Q-Series cutter from them as well. Both have been great for me. For software, I use LXi Master 8.5, along with Illustrator CS3. I am a Mac user so I have 5 Mac machines in my shop right now. For supplies, I only use Oracal 651/751 and R-Tape products. Get most of my stuff from Fellers, since they are about 4 minutes from my shop!! I also use Signwarehouse for some stuff, but not so much anymore.

90% of my work is picked up by word of mouth (fellow racers), hanging out and racing at the local short track, and me going to all of the racing events that I go to. I sponsor several drivers at my local track and do their graphics in return for advertising on the cars. I also advertise on several racing websites around the internet.

So that is me! Just a one man show and my wife that helps out a lot with the administrative side of things when I get crazy busy.

--Cory

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I started with embroidery, a Barudan commercial machine, over 4 yrs ago. About a year later schools were asking for heatpress garments, so I added a 16x20 Hotronix. I would order my plastisol designs from Transfer Express. I belong to an embroidery forum and they would always discuss the Roland GX24 for cutting twill/vinyl. Last year Transfer Express had an ice storm that closed them down for 3 days, which kept me from placing an order. I decided to add a cutter so my hands weren't tied waiting on somebody else. Thinking I would just cut names or applique for embroidery. A few months later I was referred to this site from the embroidery site. At that point I realized, after much reading, that these machines can do a whole lot more than names lol. I still fight the learning curve with Corel but even that is coming along. Can't thank the people on this forum enough for the wealth of information about this industry. And I can vouch for Five's computer skills, my sluggish computer is now flying all thanks to him! I have no excuses as I have all the equipment, attend trade shows, but I would like to build my customer base. That would be the weak link in my business, not real comfortable with cold calling. I use Thermoflex, Spectra Eco, Oracle 651/631 and still order transfers for the larger orders. I've always loved art and this is just an extension of that.

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A year ago I wanted to letter my race car trailer. I saw a cricut comercial (didn't buy,) investigated further .... ended up here .... bought  Creation P-Cut (still haven't lettered my trailer  :o ) been doing signs  & vehicles for everybody else ;D. Being around other racers and seeing their desire for appearal with their race car/logo's on them , I then I bought 2 heat presses & started doing shirts . Next I purchaced a Nationwide Atlas 4 color screen press, flash dryer and National exposure unit. Also doing some sand blasting glass and mirrors.  " This is a Testament To What Can Happen When a Hobby Goes Totally Unrestrained"    I really must not google wide format printers :o

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In 2007, I was asked to join a team for an endurance team hare scramble fund raiser. One of the team members brought us decals with the team name for our dirtbikes for the event. After talking to this person for a bit regarding the decals, how they were made, the equipment needed, etc... that night when I got home, I started researching. After about a month of researching and thinking about it, I finally decided to pull the trigger and make a purchase.

I work full time as a professional firefighter, so I typically have about 15 to 20 days off per month. I liked the idea of working from home, and making a little extra cash. So in early 2008, I got my DBA, and converted one of our spare bedrooms into an office/workspace area.

The fire service has a 20 year retirement plan, and I got in when I was 24... thus I could retire at the young age of 44(i turned 34 yesterday). While this won't happen, and putting in 25 or maybe even 30 years of service is more realistic, that still put me at either 49 or 54 years old... my plan with this "business" over the years is to slowly build my customer base, so when I do decide to retire, that I can just slide over to my business and take it from part time to full time.

Currently, I have a 24" pcut(first cutter I bought, but is my backup machine), a 24" refine, and a 15"x15" heat press... future purchases include a 24" graphtec cutter and a 16"x20" mighty press(both hopefully this year, depending on the amount of business I can turn).

Thanks for taking the time to read...

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I am Daniel with Affordable Graphics, LLC.  My future brother in law worked for a guy just doing lettering at car dealerships, he saw all the money he was making and then we all talked and got together and thought why cant we make money doing it, so on January 17 we recieved our Copam 2500.  We just started out going to car dealerships and doing pricing on the sides of their cars for 60 to 70 bucks a pop and had about 5 bucks in Vinyl and Masking.....(not bad)!! Then we said why not get into other stuff, so we started offering coroplast, got a job with those, than banners and then vehicle letter and storefronts.  We are still very new at this but we feel that we can get as big as we want as long as we work hard at it!!  I am just so hungry for everything in this industry and I am constantly looking for new things to try and what else we can offer people.  If anyone has any suggestions or words of encouragement it would be greatly appreciated!!!  Thanks for reading my story!!!  Ohh we are out of Dallas, GA just west of Atlanta!!!

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Hi All,

I'm Al from ohio.  I've been doing screenprinting for about 12 years.  I've always liked working from home and the screen printing has always been good to me.  After I did my first couple of jobs, I found out I was actually better at printing garments than most of the local printers.  Ink is in my blood I guess  :thumbsup: 

I really never put much thought into signs, because the printing process is a bit different than that from printing garments.  But recently, I'm looking towards expanding to all kinds of avenues related to the printing, and a cutter seemed like the right answer.

Anyhow, I just recently got my laserpoint from U.S. Cutter.  I do everything with my my wife, and we talked it over, and the figured at the very least, We'd be able to do some advertising for the t-shirt business by putting vinyl on our own car.  Which incidently, I just did!  I've got 2 kids, a son (age 14), and a daughter  (age 19).  It seems my daughter's friends all want decals for their cars, so it looks like I'll get my money back for the cutter and then some. 

I couldn't be happier with my cutter, and it easier than the printing.

 

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Hi everyone,

  I bought my very first cutter on ebay about 2 months ago. It is a creations pcut CT630. All I was planning to do with it was the graphics on my car. ( I have a 99 Mazda Miata with a Mustang GT engine in it.) But that has not happened yet as I am working on lots of Boats and store fronts at the moment. I plan on buying better equipment very soon. I want to learn to do full body wraps for cars and boats.

  My wife gets a bit pissed off at times because if I am not at my regular job I am doing vinyl work. Oh well I never hear her complain while she is spending the money.

  I am moving to Fort Myers Beach in 15 months and I plan to open a store front and do vinyl full time when I get there.

  That sums it up about myself. Hope to hear more from other members.

Dave

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We got started in this business, because the local sign guy took FOREVER to get us lettering to press on some shirts we needed done (we had the heatpress already, 15x15 Might Press)....he was very much a 'know all' and he didn't care what people thought of that.

Did some research and found USCutter.  Bought our Copam 2500 15 months ago and really never looked back.  In the beginning just made some decals and a few shirts, but never had enough belief in myself to push it.  Thanks for many on this forum they convinced me I could!  :thumbsup:  Since then sell banners, coroplast (our 2 biggest sellers) decals, shirts, have done some store fronts, etc.......part time from home.  Don't have web design, graphics experience, so that is what I need to really learn more about.......but for now it's alot of fun, definitely profitable...and hope to expand when we have the $$.

Jenny

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Guest kenya

It all started in Nov. 2007 for me.

My husband & I needed our business sign redone. After getting a couple of estimates for $400-500, I started looking around for cutters. I found U.S. Cutter & it's been great. I lettered our company trucks, lettered our boat & horse trailer. Now I making coloplast signs & decals for local feed stores.

This is producing an extra income.......... not alot, but it's nice having the $ coming in.

It's true what my father always told me.... "if you watch the pennies, the dollars will take care of themself".

My decals take care of my horse feed bill, so there's money that I'm not pulling out of the bank. :thumbsup:

The best part is that, I'm running everything thru our biz now. I don't have to buy extra insurance or have to start from scratch forming an L.L.C. It's all being added to our corporated biz.

As soon as it gets warmer, I'm kicking up my side biz of boat lettering. Working on a banner now to hang in front of our shop.

Thanks to all the great people here. Your kindness & help is greatly appreciated!!!!!!!

Still so much to learn.

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I started making Pottery in 1996 at a local college while getting an Art education degree.  Found out that people wanted to by my pottery.  Started a pottery shop, and began teaching Art full time as well.  The pottery shop became a time consuming monster between pottery classes in the evenings, and mass production of ceramic wares for various businesses and organizations.  I needed stencils to glaze some mugs I had made, so I used the plotter at the high school where I worked.  The next thing I knew I had an order for 250 license plates, and door decals for a fleet of 40 construction vehicles.  Put the kids to work weeding, and applying graphics.  Made a quick profit for the school.  I decided to buy a PCut from SSK sign supply because it appeared to be the fastest plotter they had to offer.  I just bought an LP 24"  cutter from USCutter, and am very pleased with it.  I only hope it proves to be the workhorse my PCut has been.  As the local Art teacher I get most of the big jobs in our town.  I do All the soccer shirts, youth bowling shirts, city and county sign jobs, school related sign and sticker jobs, billboards, storefronts, and vehicle graphics.  Word of mouth advertising only, and can barely keep up with demand.  Thank god for my wife, and in laws who have helped me so much during the the busy times.   

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Alright, here goes:

Started as a computer technician when I was fresh out of Walla Walla high school- working for my neighbor, who ran the computer shop out of the basement of his home. He was an economics professor at Whitman College full time, so this was his side business/ hobby. MIT grad from MA- Cape Cod area. He taught me from scratch- I had never dealt with computers other than using them, but he liked the way I worked on my truck, and thought I could handle computers as well. We happened to be one of the two or three computer shops in town, and the busiest with the Dell, AST, HP, Gateway, and Compaq service accounts- so I would run around the area fixing computers all day. Fun times.

Had to replace over 300 CPU's when Intel had the recall around '95, out at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation- that was interesting, wearing a PNAD every day- which is a radiation detector, and they would send me weekly printouts of my intake, which was minimal- or maybe it wasn't after my brief stint with cancer recently.....who knows.

Anyhow..

So, did that for a couple of years, then on to technical support for eMachines computers- was with them for about 3 years.

Then on to Verizon Wireless Data support- supporting anything that hooked up to their data network- PDA's, Blackberry's, Smartphones, etc....did a little bit with T-Mobile as well.

Then on to USCutter with Marcus supporting vinyl cutter/ plotters, and still to this day. Hoping the opportunity pays off, wanted to take a chance on a startup, and things are looking good so far.

Pleasure to assist whenever I can,

Ken

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Just curious... how big(how many machines was USC moving a month) was the company when you joined, compared to now? And where do you see the company in 3 to 5 years?

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Well, when I started, we were only selling the MH series, and moving about 5-20 a day. Now we sell at least 4 different manufacturers of cutters, as well as heat press units and supplies for everything- and the shipping department plays hell keeping up with all of the orders, be it for cutters or supplies.

3 to 5 years? We will be the new and improved SignWarehouse/ Fellers.

:)

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We can only hope.....shipping times and selection are the only thing keeping me from buying everything from you guys!

Anyone else?  I love this thread....fun to see how everyone uses their cutters! and where everyone comes from!

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" 3 to 5 years? We will be the new and improved SignWarehouse/ Fellers.

  "

THAT would be VERY KEWL  :)

My friend of 40 years bought a vinyl cutter 20 some years ago . Always made me stuff ( for free ) , but was ALWAYS way too much in the artistic dept . His passion is doing dirt stock cars .. they turn out very pretty , but not readable , which is a must for me . I talked about buying a cutter for a long time & when another friend went ahead & bought a package from SignWarehouse ( we had talked about going into it together as a business ) , I decided to do that also . I within minutes of placing an order of $2500 + & decided to do a search on e-bay & found USCutter . I bought 2 Co-Pams & have not sold many decals , but have really enjoyed learning how to make/install decals .I think the cutters owe me nothing since I have lettered all my business trucks, equipment signs etc & got to do it " my way " . I plan on having a enclosed trailer set up when I semi retire & move to the farm . Livestock auctions , Flea markets , Car -Motorcycle races will let me have fun & make some cash . I am too busy now to commit to doing signs for other people .

p.s. after seeing the Co-Pam do it's thing , my friend wishes He had found USCutter before buying his package from SW .

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I am an Industrial Electrician by trade. Been doing it for 34 years now. The factory where i work is closing after 19 years. All the factories around here are laying off or closing. The only jobs in my trade are in other states. Both children and all 4 grandchildren live here so I am not going anywhere else. I have always been artistic and very interested in signs, especially Neons. As i looked around for something to make a living around hear I decided it was time to start doing graphics and signs myself. So between doing signs and electrical work I hope to make enough to live on. I have been working on computers & robots for many years. I started with a Tandy computer from Radio Shack, used of course. Could not afford new. Then to a Commodor 64, then a Commodor 128 with all the bells and whistles. Had Floppy drives when floppys discs were floppy, not them 3.5 hard ones they got now. Got hooked on computers and been upgrading ever since. I now have a high end Gateway that was stuffed into an Antec case with a 600W power supply, Nvidia 8600 GTS, Creative Sound Blaster FX, DDR 2, Intel Dual Core, XP PRO. My latest jewel is a new Copam 2500 I bought one month ago, from US Cuttter of course. Photoshop CS4, Illy CS4, & Flexi8.1

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Well my names John im from Idaho. I got into because i got laid off from my job (electrician) and needed something to make some money at so I was at a local sign shop to get some sticker made for my grandpa and watch what the kid did and said heck that looks pretty easy (im pretty good with computers) went home googled "sticker cutters" sent me to the uscutter website. Got to looking around figured out what would work best from me talked with some people(business owners) about it they all wanted stuff done so i ordered a creation pcut 630 and a bunch of vinyl my first order was 3 weeks ago 165 snowmobiling team stickers very detailed then some banners more team sitckers and now i already have store fronts and lighted signs to do. just can't beleive how busy i stay im evening going to the ISA sign expo in vegas next month to check out what else is out there. wanted it to be a hobby and now its become a living  ;D

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    I am a commercial construction superintendent at my day job. And I play with computers when I'm not at work. I've always been one of those "gadget people" who enjoys buying stuff just to learn how to use it. I bought my PCut a short while back just to play with. I have sold some of my work, but I've given more away.

    Although, that may change soon. A friend (who owns several companies locally) stopped by the other day and was wanting me to do a little graphic design work for him and create a database for him to track some contacts he has. He is starting to get into the outdoor marketing racket (brokering signs; banners; etc) and since I am a lousy salesman but a really good designer - and he is a lousy designer and could sell ice water to penguins; it seems like a good venture.

    So, I plan on keeping it a fun hobby for now. If it becomes something more - great, but I'm not quitting my day job just yet (too hard to find a secure position in the construction industry right now).

Charlie

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In 2007, I was asked to join a team for an endurance team hare scramble fund raiser. One of the team members brought us decals with the team name for our dirtbikes for the event. After talking to this person for a bit regarding the decals, how they were made, the equipment needed, etc... that night when I got home, I started researching. After about a month of researching and thinking about it, I finally decided to pull the trigger and make a purchase.

I work full time as a professional firefighter, so I typically have about 15 to 20 days off per month. I liked the idea of working from home, and making a little extra cash. So in early 2008, I got my DBA, and converted one of our spare bedrooms into an office/workspace area.

The fire service has a 20 year retirement plan, and I got in when I was 24... thus I could retire at the young age of 44(i turned 34 yesterday). While this won't happen, and putting in 25 or maybe even 30 years of service is more realistic, that still put me at either 49 or 54 years old... my plan with this "business" over the years is to slowly build my customer base, so when I do decide to retire, that I can just slide over to my business and take it from part time to full time.

Currently, I have a 24" pcut(first cutter I bought, but is my backup machine), a 24" refine, and a 15"x15" heat press... future purchases include a 24" graphtec cutter and a 16"x20" mighty press(both hopefully this year, depending on the amount of business I can turn).

Thanks for taking the time to read...

im from ohio,and i have drove to gilmore texas to race a harescramble.have run gncc and ama district 11 for alot of years.there is no better workout,lol.

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  Hi , I will agree with you with 1 condition ... that is the best workout with clothes on  :thumbsup:

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