Guest gracewriter

Help! vinyl is sliding and cuts, forget about it!

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Guest gracewriter

Hi,

I'm trying to make this sign.  It is 24" x 48".  I have spent the entire day trying to tweak this machine to get the vinyl to stop sliding over to one side.  It has nothing to do with the blades, because I feed the vinyl into the machine, get it lined up, then press the backward-forward button (before I make a cut) and no matter how many things I have used to ensure it is lined up, the by the time I move it back and forward several times (far less than if I were actually cutting the image) the vinyl slides about 1/4 inch and sometimes more. (the entire piece and not just one side so I know it's not because it's in there croocked)

At first the vinyl only moves about 1/8", after that it just gets further and further away.  If the vinyl were in there croocked to begin with, I've got enough vinyl width that it would not make a difference. (spent another $100.00 today on 30" vinyl I cut down to 26" so I know it's wide enough for the cut if it's in there croocked because i"m cutting at 24" width.

I have moved the rollers this way and that and it doesn't seem to make a difference.

I finally butted the vinyl up against the side of the machine and got it to only slide side ways about 1/4 inch.  So I made my cut.  The cuts are more "off" than the vinyl slipped.

Anyway, I"ve got two problems.  The vinyl is MOVING, and there is a problem with the cuts being accurate which I do not believe have anything to do with the vinyl slipping.  If you could see what I"m looking at right now, you'd understand what I'm talking about.

Here's something else that doesn't make sense.

If you'll look at the sign below, and notice the outer white part that is outlined by black pin stripes.  They are even in the image, but the vinyl I cut the top image is 1/4" thinner than the bottom!

Thanks for any help you can give me.

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Guest fivestar

Sounds to me like you are having a serious tracking issue.  Make sure all your pinchrollers are the same pressure on the vinyl.  Take for example if the roller on the left is tighter then the one on the right then it will pull your vinyl towards it.

I cut a 154" piece today and it was within a 1/16 of an inch, still needed to take my exacto and close the cut, but it tracked fairly decent for that long of length.

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This is a common prombelm with friction machines,it is called drift. It is very hard to get the vinyl lined up perfectly straight, and a tiny bit off becomes quite a bit off by the end of the cut.

I gave up trying to make it perfect a long time ago. I just allow for it.

One thing I have noticed...it can depend a lot on the vinyl itself. Some tracks much better and some much worse than others. It is a good thing to run the vinyl through and back before you cut,to see how straight it tracks.

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Guest gracewriter

So are you saying I need a new machine to get it to cut 48" vinyl?!?  Not happy with that at all!  I specifically asked it this machine could cut 48" signs or I wouldn't have bought it!

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Guest fivestar

Nope, I'm not saying that.  There is adjustments you can make to the pinch rollers, they come loose over time.  The best way I have found is to look at the rollers when there is no vinyl in there and see if there is the same space between each roller and the bottom of the plotter.  If not adjust accordingly.

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Guest gracewriter

Sorry fivestar I was refering to John's response.  We played with the rollers, looks like one spins easier than the other.  I'll check again for depth. How on earth would you adjust the pressure?  We can't see any adjustment screws?

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Guest gracewriter

pics. of the pinch rollers.  There are no screw-heads to adjust anything.  The holes you see are just holes.  There are some silver metal heads but no groves.  In other words no phillips,flat-head, or allen wrench heads to make adjustments.

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Guest gracewriter

The company just advised me to turn down the cutting speed.  I'll try that and let you know if it worked.  Also the pressure on both pinch rollers appears to be the same.  Put in a piece of paper and pulled on each end.  Both sides felt the same as I pulled.

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So are you saying I need a new machine to get it to cut 48" vinyl?!?  Not happy with that at all!  I specifically asked it this machine could cut 48" signs or I wouldn't have bought it!

Is this the first time you have had this problem? Has your vinyl always tracked straight before? If so, look at what has changed. Maybe something is a bit lose. Maybe the vinyl is different ( I find that matte vinyl doesn't track as well as glossy...no idea why). Some vinyls in general tend to slip more than others. It could well be the vinyl itself.

Personally, I've never had vinyl slip sideways like that from start to finish...its always a matter of it not being straight to start with.

One thing I always do...I have 4 pinch rollers and always try to make them evenly spaced across the vinyl...this seems to help. But it sounds to me like your particular problem just is either the vinyl itself or not enough pressure on the rollers. And sometimes,slowing down the cutting speed helps.

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Guest gracewriter

Woo hoo!!

Thanks a million Tykite!!  I was so relieved when I got your phone call.  All problems seem to be solved.  I took your suggestion and slowed down the cutting speed.  It is now just a hair faster than watching paint dry.

Also for some weird reason, (perhaps because I unplugged the usb several times yesterday along with the power cord, or because I cleaned my disk and defragged my system) Signblazer froze up (first time it ever did that) and the only way I could get it to work was to reinstall it.  I was afraid it was something to do with the 15' usb cable I have installed, but thank goodness that wasn't it!

Once I did all that I made the 24 x 48 cut.  The image so far looks near perfect. Only thing is I have to reset the pressure higher than your recommendation because it didn't cut all the way through a few areas.  So I"m going to increase it back to 125.

You know, I try very hard not to show how pissed I get when things go wrong.  But it's hard not to freak out sometimes when you are counting on this cutter to make a living one day.  So I appologize if I have been rude to anyone in anyway and want to thank everyone on this thread who tried to help me.

I'm going to make another cut in a little while and am crossing my fingers it will go as well as the last one and stay that way.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again!

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slowing down the speed will help. I have actualy sat and watched carefully as my cutter cuts and it seems the drifting happens when the vinyl moves back and forth with no cutting.  There are settings you can change to minimize this but Jay or Brad would know more about that. Something to do with cutting order. I set mine a long time ago and honestly can't remember what i did and I am afrraid to change things. The mind is the first thing to go.

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Guest gracewriter

I sure wish you could remember too.  I am so frustrated right now words cannot describe.  It cut a couple extremely well, now back to drifting farther than it did to begin with.  All the images I am cutting are completely different.  Seems the ones that don't drift as much are the ones that are not as many cuts.  I"m down to handcutting with an exacto knife.

I did see an option in set up to not cut the holes first.  It's stupid how many times this machine has to run back and forth back and forth as I know that's part of the problem.  I tried unchecking "cut holes first" and am cutting at the moment.  It already drifted pretty far even on the first bloddy cut but hopefully I can at least get the outside cut even.

I've got the cutting speed down to 20.  If I have less than 125 pressure, I can't weed.  Last night I had it set on 100 and it took forever to weed it.  I put it back to 100 today and had to drop the blade down.  Didn't seem to make a difference to I put the blade back up and am now back k at 125 pressure.

Still it doesn't seem to be the blade, it seems to just be the machinne because it drifts when you just feed it back and forth manually.  I'll try another couple of pinch rollers, and if that doesn't work I'm afraid I'm going to have to send the cutter back and find one that will cut an image 4 feet long without all these headaches.

I wish I had known about this drifting issue before I bought the machine.

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I just cut a three at 115" on my pcut. There was a little drift but just because it was a pain trying to get it line up all the way so I compensated for that when i set the home position. Don't expect miracles with these machines but they will suprise you. Only the copam has a guranteed tracking up to 10 meters. Maybe they'll let you trade up.

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Guest gracewriter

I just cut without the "cut holes first" selected in the set up.  It came out perfect, even though I know it drifted a lot.  It seems to want to drift to a cerain distance each time and then park there, no matter where I start the cut.  If you can cut that much length with very little drift then there is no reason I should not be able to do that with the same machine.  I am not looking for perfection, I'm looking for cuts that are no more than 1/16 off. I'll even take 1/8" in some cases.

I couldn't care less if there is a 1/16" diference in my pinstrips, but when it's 1/4 inch, even an 1/8" on a pinstripe it's GLARING.

I'm not a  nit-picker.  I'll gladly take an image that's a little off.

I'm going to go and try another cut now on a more complicated image.  The one I did should be proof enough because it is the very one that got so twisted I had to make my own lines with an exacto knife.

I'll be back and let you know how the next one comes out.  I just surely hope this is the end of this problem.

Thanks for your help and feedback.

Be back soon...

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What brand and type of vinyl are you using? Are you cutting a sheet just long enough for the job or do you have the whole roll on?

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Guest gracewriter

I cut the vinyl to 4' then run it through.  I never cut off the roll.  The vinyl is the economy grade from my local dealer. 

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Guest gracewriter

I compensated for that when i set the home position.

What do you mean by compensated setting the home position?

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Guest gracewriter

Can I set home position in the middle with signblazer.  Would that help?

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well I knew it was going to drift some so I set the home point an inch from the from the right side. With the pcut you set the home point on the machine itself. You take it off line, use the arrows to line up the blade and press the button in the center of the arrows and then press the online button. How thick is that economy grade?

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Guest gracewriter

Yes it's checked.  I'm wondering if I should uncheck "sort before cutting"?  Any ideas?

Here's something I noticed a minute ago.  I lined up the 4' piece of vinyl.  I always line up in the middle of it first.  Then I have to feed it to get it to the starting point.  This was the only way I found to insure it was in there even.  The last time I forwarded it from the middle to the startin point I notice the vinyl had buckled a little and I had to lift the pinch roller to flatten it out.

This much be where the problem is.  I checked both pinch rollers and they seem to have the same amount of pressure when I pull a piece of paper through it.

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Guest gracewriter

I don't know how thick it is.  It feels pretty much the same as the more expensive vinyl.  It comes with a 4 year guarantee.

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How far from the edegs are your rollers? I usually set mine about a 1/2" to 3/4" from the edge depending on how long the cut is.

I line my vinyl up by using the marks on the right side. Then I adjust the right side until the vinyl runs close to that mark all the way through. Sometimes I have to lift up the left roller in case I adjusted too much to let the vinl lay flat

not sure what you mean by starting in the middle. How are you doing that?

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Guest gracewriter

My rollers are about 2 inches from the edges.  What I mean by the middle is I have a four foot piece of vinyl.  I put it into the machine where I have two foot hanging off each side.  I have no marks to line this thing up so I have to butt it up against the side of the machine.  In any event it doesn't stay there, even if I did have some kind of guide to line my edge against.

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