katchilds

Starting up a business. Recommendations Graphtec CE6000 24" or Vinyl express Qe 6000

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I really appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to my questions!

 

I am wanting to start a small business of home decor wall decals, any type of adding vinyl to wood blocks or glass crafting, and making quotes for mirrors... that general direction. So with that being said here are a few of my questions..

 

1- Would you recommend the Graphtec CE6000 24" or the Vinyl Express Qe6000?

2- Would those machines be proper for the goal direction of my small business as listed above?

3- I have both a Mac and PC computer but would rather work on my Mac. Is there good software    for Macs that work with either machine? Or is the best software for PC computers and what is it?

4- Finally, is there a better place online than others to buy the machines? And how often are there deals or should I pull the trigger and just buy one this week?

 

Thanks again for your help I so much appreciate any feedback!

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1: they are the same machine except the Qe may not have ARMS which is used for contour cutting prints..

2: Both are excellent machines that should serve your needs well

3: I can't answer that because I've always been a pc guy but there are more software options available for the pc.

4:Uscutter is hard to beat on pricing especially with the $9.99 shipping.

 

Jay

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As Jay stated, if buying the Vinyl Express one should insure it is the new model with the ARMS included. While both machines may be of essentially the same design, it has never been clear to me if the Qe6000 is fully compatable with the Graphtec drivers or if it has board modification dedicating it to slightly a different Lxi branded driver ? As you are new to this, if your choices end up being close in $, the Graphtec will have more interweb discussion/support and any issue of possible dissimilarity between machines would be moot.

 

With design and bridging software, you get what you pay for. If your budget is tight, perhaps you'd be well off starting with something like Signblaser.

 

You Mac users; while a loyal bunch.....are still a minority. There is a wealth of info pertaining to that 'cult' and their struggles on this forum, it's well worth an afternoon of consumption.    

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Does the VE Qe-6000 come with Cutting Master and work with the other Graphtec software?  I thought someone (Jaybird?) just bought one and found something that wasn't compatible... but now I don't remember what it was.

 

If you're looking to buy new, I think you'll find the customer support from US Cutter is better than that from SignWarehouse - which is why I stopped buying from SignWarehouse and found US Cutter when I upgraded my system...

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Hardware wise you can't tell them apart but it is true that Graphtec software will not recognize Vinyl Express but the vinyl express comes with a beginner version of LXI which is essentially Flexi. As far as customer service I vote for Uscutter and Graphtec besides everybody knows a Graphtec so potential resale is higher than trying to explain that the VE is a rebranded Graphtec.

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Hardware wise you can't tell them apart but it is true that Graphtec software will not recognize Vinyl Express but the vinyl express comes with a beginner version of LXI which is essentially Flexi. As far as customer service I vote for Uscutter and Graphtec besides everybody knows a Graphtec so potential resale is higher than trying to explain that the VE is a rebranded Graphtec

.

If you press the sales person they will upgrade the lxi software after I talked to them they called me and offered an upgrade from apprentice to master plus.

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These 2 cutters have different Specs.    The Vinyl EXPRESS is slower, at 24" per second.max speed.    max cutting area is 23" x 98.4 ft compared to the Graphtec CE6000-60  model.  at Max speed 31" per second and total max cutting area 23.7" x 164 ft. 

 

Vinyl Express Qe6000 Specifications
  • Max. Speed: 24 inches per second
  • Max. Material Width: 2" - 28"
  • Max. Cutting Area: 23.0" x 98.4'
  • Max. Cutting Thickness: 10 Mil
  • Cutter Down Force: 300 grams
  • Max. Acceleration: up to 5.7g Diagonal; 4g Axial
  • Mechanical Resolution: .0002 - .0005"
  • Repeatability: .0039"/80"
  • Data Interface: RS-232-C serial / USB
  • Buffer: 2 MB
  • Vinyl Plotter Dimensions: 33.5"W x 11.2"D x 8.7"H
  • Warranty: Package One - 2 Years; Packages Two, T
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I didn't even notice that but out of all the specs the only one that might affect most of us would be the cuttable width since I don't know anyone that has cut 90' at once and most of us don't crank the speed all the way up. Still good info to know and having a QE60+ and not being able to use cutting master I would vote Graphtec just so I could have a plugin for Corel.

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If you press the sales person they will upgrade the lxi software after I talked to them they called me and offered an upgrade from apprentice to master plus.

 At the Apprentice price?

 

I see the Qe6000 info states Windows OS only, are there Apple emulators that allow overriding this issue?

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I would go with the Graphtec also,   I had that decision to make in 2008,  Get a Vinyl Express or Graphtec?    I chose the Graphtec.   And never regretted it. 

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Graphtec cutters come with Cutting Master 2 or 3, a plug-in that allows you to cut from within Illustrator on the Mac, and Illustrator or Corel Draw on the PC.

 

According to the Graphtec website, the Mac version of the plug-in supports Mac on Intel Core Mac OSX 10.4-10.8 and Illustrator CS4-6.

 

They also include Graphtec Studio, which is Mac compatible, same as above, without the reliance on Illustrator... it's a simple design and cut package.

 

So, to answer your question, out of the box, the Graphtec is Mac compatible.  I do not know if the VE-Qe6000 is - I did see this bit of info on the SignWarehouse website, though "SIGNWarehouse does not provide tech support for CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator plug-ins"...

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you have graphtecs support no matter who you buy a graphtec from - so look for the best deal and go with that - Beacon used to open boxes and the sell them at a reduced rate because the price is pretty fixed on graphtecs but once the box is open deals are made.  not sure if they do that anymore or not/  I have a rep that will sell ve-lxi to anyone at a great price - I can pm but won't put the name out there in public.  also if you find beacons ultraflex it is the same as flexi and has more drivers than ve-lxi.   unfortunately I don't think ultraflex is available in the 10.5 like ve-lxi and I would grab a ve-lxi while they still have the dongle verson as the cloud version came out this month

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I don't know if they still do, but Sign Warehouse had a deal where if you spent so much per quarter on materials and supplies from them, they would give you a free upgrade to the next level on VE-LXi software - I got at least one bump up, but it still pales in comparison to a full version of Illustrator or CorelDraw with a cutting plug-in.  I imagine if I had kept ordering from SW and got up to Master Plus it would have been different, but when I tried to go back and use it again it seems very lacking in what all you can do.

 

That's my opinion and doesn't necessarily represent the opinions of the managers and owners of this station.  Your mileage may vary.  Ask your doctor if advice from a forum is good for you.

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Thanks so much for all your input that has helped a lot. I have been reading and re reading all your comments to soak in all of the information!

 

I had been looking at signwarehouse bc that was the first recommendation I received as to where to even start but am now looking at uscutter per your recommendations. Is the FlexiStarter v10 (or the FlexiStarter v8.5 for a Mac) for $395 the software comprable to Ve Lxi Master Plus? Or do you recommend a different one?

 

Of course I am on a budget since I will be starting a business from the ground but I would rather take your suggestions and put the right investment in it from the beginning and have the right tools to hit the ground running.

 

So it is pretty set that I will get the Graphtec CE6000 - 24" and I would like to get the best software out there.

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You can get Flexistarter 10 on EBAY for under $130.but for windows.  Mac has not been updated for years, and probably won't be.   And make sure and get the USB dongle version.   It is considered the same as LXI Apprentice. 

 

Bundles just make the seller more money...   Buy what you need.  Make some money, and purchase extras later. 

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I have 2 Graphtecs CE5000-60s and 1 Graphtec CE6000-120 and use my Mac book and absolutely love it!  Their plug in with Illustrator is very easy to use just make sure you only go 23.4inches or you will loose the last .6 inches.  I use my PC for embroidery software and Rhinestone software only I hate PC's but they do not make really any software for Embroidery or Rhinestones for mac :/. 

 

Definitely go for the Graphtec!

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I have 2 Graphtecs CE5000-60s and 1 Graphtec CE6000-120 and use my Mac book and absolutely love it!  Their plug in with Illustrator is very easy to use just make sure you only go 23.4inches or you will loose the last .6 inches.  I use my PC for embroidery software and Rhinestone software only I hate PC's but they do not make really any software for Embroidery or Rhinestones for mac :/. 

 

Definitely go for the Graphtec!

 

I use Macs exclusively and have also been looking at the VE Qe-6000 and the Graphtec CE6000.  Based on this thread I guess I'll spend the extra and go with the Graphtec for ease of use and conversion.  I was wondering about the plug-ins though?  Do they allow you to use the ARMS system or is that exclusive to the Graphtec Studio program?  What about cutting multiple copies of the same design?  Do you have to manually step them in Illustrator when using the plug-in or does it take you to a program that does it for you.  I currently use SignCutPro and it handles stepping and weed lines etc and the plug-in basically just sends that info from Illustrator to the program and it takes over from there.

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I use Macs exclusively and have also been looking at the VE Qe-6000 and the Graphtec CE6000.  Based on this thread I guess I'll spend the extra and go with the Graphtec for ease of use and conversion.  I was wondering about the plug-ins though?  Do they allow you to use the ARMS system or is that exclusive to the Graphtec Studio program?  What about cutting multiple copies of the same design?  Do you have to manually step them in Illustrator when using the plug-in or does it take you to a program that does it for you.  I currently use SignCutPro and it handles stepping and weed lines etc and the plug-in basically just sends that info from Illustrator to the program and it takes over from there.

Bossman,

 

I realize this comes a few months later than your OP, but I thought I would inject my 2-cents worth. Both the Qe-6000 and Ce6000 have ARMS. The difference is the Qe-6000 does NOT have a plug-in for CorelDRAW nor do they plan to make one!! (after going back and forth with CS about that issue)  The Graphtec Studio program works just like SignCutPro in that it will hand the image off to the Studio program and it is from there that you access the functionality of the plotter.

 

I have the Qe-6000 and my ONLY regret is it does not support the Graphtec Studio program and no one has been able to tell me HOW to get it to work with the Qe!  I put a ticket in with Graphtec and they forwarded it to SignWarehouse who called me on the phone to work through a couple of questions I had and confirmed the Graphtec program looks for a different USB port than the one the Qe is setup for.

 

If the Graphtec program could "see" the Qe, then the program would work... and I would be ONE HAPPY CAMPER!!!

 

-DON-

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Bossman,

 

I realize this comes a few months later than your OP, but I thought I would inject my 2-cents worth. Both the Qe-6000 and Ce6000 have ARMS. The difference is the Qe-6000 does NOT have a plug-in for CorelDRAW nor do they plan to make one!! (after going back and forth with CS about that issue)  The Graphtec Studio program works just like SignCutPro in that it will hand the image off to the Studio program and it is from there that you access the functionality of the plotter.

 

I have the Qe-6000 and my ONLY regret is it does not support the Graphtec Studio program and no one has been able to tell me HOW to get it to work with the Qe!  I put a ticket in with Graphtec and they forwarded it to SignWarehouse who called me on the phone to work through a couple of questions I had and confirmed the Graphtec program looks for a different USB port than the one the Qe is setup for.

 

If the Graphtec program could "see" the Qe, then the program would work... and I would be ONE HAPPY CAMPER!!!

 

-DON-

 

Don,

 

Thanks for the input.  I have been away from the forum for a while, but just to update... I went with the Graphtec Ce6000 brand due to the issues with drivers for the Qe6000 and lack of support from Graphtec.  The Signcut Pro software I used was supposed to work with the QE and the graphtec, but I have been unable to get it to work with mine.  I sent a few tickets back and forth with tech support from SignCut Pro and they said it should work.  Everything we tried didn't work so I started using the included Plug-in for Illustrator and haven't looked back.  It has a few limitations compared to SignCut but I have made due.  I only wish I could do custom weed lines and then I would be happy.

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Custom weed lines??

Just make lines or boxes around your items.....duhh.

I hate the auto easy weed feature. It tends to ruin and cut thru my stuff..

So i just create my own lines and boxes around stuff..not that hard.

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Custom weed lines??

Just make lines or boxes around your items.....duhh.

I hate the auto easy weed feature. It tends to ruin and cut thru my stuff..

So i just create my own lines and boxes around stuff..not that hard.

Make my own weed lines?:huh:? That's blasphemy!!! That would be to much like right.

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Weed lines are for sissies. If it's too big to do in 1 pc. I use my knife to make my weed lines where needed while it's on the work bench.

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