jeannemritz

My Macbook and my MH series 34" cutter

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1 minute ago, MZ SKEETER said:

There was not a forum here when I started in 2006.  I taught myself  and still teach myself.  I may be older than you at 69.  

haha.   Or not.    I have read many of your posts, the info is invaluable.      I'd love to rectify my purchase and get going gangbusters on vinyl cutting, which is why I took to the forum!

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2 minutes ago, MZ SKEETER said:

There was not a forum here when I started in 2006.  I taught myself  and still teach myself.  I may be older than you at 69.  

I am finding it tough to reference YouTube, read all forums, work full time, and all that.  figured I would try all you smart folks for assistance.  I may put the MH up for sale, and buy a new cutter.  But then .... I am back at all the research!    

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1 minute ago, jeannemritz said:

haha.   Or not.    I have read many of your posts, the info is invaluable.      I'd love to rectify my purchase and get going gangbusters on vinyl cutting, which is why I took to the forum!

You "should" be able to get the MH set up to cut pretty good. But it will not happen overnight. Takes a lot of time with them cutters.

And don't mess with the roller tension.

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Personally I would sell that cutter.    What is your purpose of this cutter?  Hobby or business?   And next question is what is your budget? 

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3 minutes ago, jeannemritz said:

I am finding it tough to reference YouTube, read all forums, work full time, and all that.  figured I would try all you smart folks for assistance.  I may put the MH up for sale, and buy a new cutter.  But then .... I am back at all the research!    

It is a pain to set up the low end cutters, but when you move up to a better one, you will already know.

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Bunch of liars there.     UCcutter knows their cutters that they sell   Right on their site.  The MH cutters are not commercial cutters.   They are value cutters. Cheapest there is. 

Value Cutters

for home hobby and light use

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Started off on an original LaserPoint, finally upgraded to a Graphtec.

I don't trust that ruler either, but gotta admit, I do use the tick marks on it when I'm cutting a sheet - I can see which direction the vinyl is drifting and make my adjustment from that. pinch rollers over the grit roller bar is definitely a must. I've had to put tape on my LaserPoint, above the carriage, so that I know where there is a break between the two grit rollers to make sure I don't accidentally drop the pinch roller there. yup, that took a few times to learn :-\

I wish I could say that I would never need forum help in the future, but that's not realistic for me. I will always need this forum for help, but admittedly, I sometimes bring weird questions, so it is what it is :P

If you're still wanting to keep the MH, then sadly, Windows will be the way to go for you. That being said, Sign Blazer is free, and a lot of the other design/cut software have free trials. If the screen on your windows (assuming) laptop is too small, then you might want to consider the bootcamp/vm fusion/parallels route.

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I agree with the others. The info you found was seriously inaccurate and sad that someone would even waste your time with that list. The Graphtec cutters and the Roland are about the only ones that I would call a commercial grade cutter. The FC being the best on that list and the most expensive. There are a LOT of other options out there as well. I started out with a Creation P-Cut (no longer offered at US Cutter) I think it was similar to what the new SC2 is putting out. In fact the SC2 may be better than what I had. I ended up getting busy and so I upgraded to a SummaCut which is priced right in between the CE and FC Graphtecs but the specs are higher than both except for down force of the FC. 

One train of thought that is NOT WRONG is that learning on a budget cutter will teach you more than starting out on a high end machine. You will be forced to learn the true art of tuning your cutter. As mentioned previously the MH (as bargain barn budget as it may be) is still capable of cutting decent mid sized work in the hands of a trained assassin. If you are going to try to cut really small stuff with text very much below 3/4" or anything very much over 3 ft long or anything that needs multi-layers to be aligned or anything that is going to be multiple copies then it's not going to make you happy. 

My P-Cut did ok on average stuff but I started needing multiple copies of Heat Transfer Vinyl logo's and it would only do about a dozen before it would overload the memory and wig out and ruin several feet if expensive vinyl or just stop in the middle. I had to "hover" over it every minute it was working so I could stop it if it started going wrong. It was susceptible to static charges and they would also cause it to do something awful.  Hobbyist, no problem. Business, not happening. 

On top of ALL OF THE OTHER THINGS ON YOUR MIND you will need to carefully consider what actual design program you want to build files with. Vinyl Master has seemed to be rock solid and has about all the tools you could want (in the upper levels of the program, not in Cut or even in Letter). I have been trying to learn VM Pro but have not gotten very far yet because my days are so full with a day job and then my cutting work which is a side business. In the end if you really want to be a viable business you will need to become proficient in SOME design graphics program of which there is a list.

The more popular ones include Adobe Illustrator (my tool of choice so I listed it first. Extreme on the learning curve I might add). Corel Draw is used by many and said to be easier to grasp for many people. Inkscape is a free option and several here on the forum are handy with it. (I am not)  It's a bit clunky IMO but with practice you can do about any basic sign graphic. All three of the aforementioned are strictly design programs that you then need a cutting program to send to your cutter. Vinyl Master Cut that you have will do this just fine. VMCut may be missing some of the nesting and tiling tools for cutter interface. Someone who knows for sure may pitch in and clarify this.

The other programs that offer design AND cut in one program include Flexi, (pretty much the boss when it comes to professional sign software and expect to mortgage your house if you were to buy the pro levels) Vinyl Master which you already know a bit about. The Pro level is pretty nice with all the bells and whistles for cutting. The Expert level is even higher but is aimed at print level production work. Then there is Sure Cuts A Lot Pro known as SCALP on the forum. There are several levels of this offering and some have had success with it as a design and cut. I tried a beta version when it first rolled onto the scene and absolutely hated it. If you are actually going to be in business you will be receiving customer files in a myriad of formats. Most I get are un-rendered pictures that I have to re-create. Some come in pdf and have the vector lines within, some in eps or svg vector as well. For an actual business it's a big part of the job and being capable will determine your success, that's why I bring this up. You probably better spend some quiet time deciding how far you plan to go with this. Download Inkscape and work through the tutorials and you'll begin on the path. 

I design almost exclusively on a mac in Adobe Illustrator and then I cut from a cut only program called SignCut Pro 1. It is both mac and pc compatible and probably would let you cut from your MacBook to your MH although the crappy chipset in the cutter will be an issue for you. There is a special adapter that will supposedly fix you up on that too called a Tripp lite Keyspan adapter (name brand, other brands usually do not work) but you would be stepping off into left field with little tech support if trying to make all that work on the mac. Your windows laptop will work just fine as a cutter controller as will your VM Cut program should you start designing in something else and just using it to run the cutter. Still need to figure out why it's not currently working of course but that sounds like a fine tune/mechanical issue rather than software issue.  

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I am sorry if you took that as a smack down - not really how it was intended

After reading all the post - the wonky part we have seen before caused by 2 main reasons - first the blade exposure that skeeter has already covered - the other is people backing off the pressure roller tension because they don't understand the tracks left by that are normal and that much tension is needed to feed the vinyl correctly.   Another part that is commonly misunderstood is when you line the vinyl up by the decal rulers stuck on in the factory = those decals are not true and even so vinyl will track sideways until you feed it back and forth making necessary adjustments until it tracks straight.   for small pieces you can use a cutting mat to help you with that part - so far I have never needed one in over 11 years.   
you will find signblazer to be simpler to used even though it has not been updated in about 8 years since the owner passed away - it was way ahead of it's time.  signblazer is easier for many beginners to understand and those used to crafters software like scalp - - - most of the old timers on here sell decals and signs and after the learning curve find the softwares that crafters find difficult more efficient and capable - it all depends on what you want to do in the end.  

as far as the article you linked - like others have said that was made by a sales person because the MH is no where hear a commercial machine -nor was the lp2 that is out of production - both can be tweaked to work relatively good and the mh will teach you all the set up as things will change from time to time for no reason - I have owned 2 of them personally and they taught me a lot - and make me appreciate the better cutters more.

take your time - take a breath and you can work thru it and once you get used to it will never look back.   

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As a MH owner I can attest they are not a very good cutter, however, they can be tweaked to cut pretty decent for a hobbyist. Software will not help with your problem of cutting funny or vinyl slipping. The only way software can help the cutter is if the software has the ability to set blade offset and over cut. Adjusting blade offset will square up the corners and adding a bit of over cut will ensure cuts close completely.

I suggest we pick one problem to start with and trouble shoot it, then move on to the next one. Setting blade depth, speed, and pressure will be the first steps to getting the cut right. On mine I have my speed set to 120 and pressure to 70.

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:12 AM, darcshadow said:

As a MH owner I can attest they are not a very good cutter, however, they can be tweaked to cut pretty decent for a hobbyist. Software will not help with your problem of cutting funny or vinyl slipping. The only way software can help the cutter is if the software has the ability to set blade offset and over cut. Adjusting blade offset will square up the corners and adding a bit of over cut will ensure cuts close completely.

I suggest we pick one problem to start with and trouble shoot it, then move on to the next one. Setting blade depth, speed, and pressure will be the first steps to getting the cut right. On mine I have my speed set to 120 and pressure to 70.

Do you keep this speed consistently?  On all cuts?    And, if you don't mind... is the pressure a setting in the digital window on the cutter?

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Yeah, I've found for me 120 is about as fast as I can go and still get good cuts. I'll slow it down if I have a overly complex design.

Yes, Pressure and speed are both control on the cutter. I forget the name of the button, the second from the left, think it's labeled as pause or something, press that and you'll get the menu option for setting speed and pressure. The up/down arrows adjust one, the left/right arrows adjust the other.

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jeannemritz were you ever able to get the cutter running on your windows laptop? Please follow up when you reach a conclusion so some future search can help someone out in your same efforts. I' sure if you have searched very far you will see that there are a lot of unfinished threads that lead to no answers. Especially interested in whether you pursue getting your cutter to run on the MacBook. We see a lot of questions about that and have only a very few who post the final results and the steps they took to get there. We love having guinea pigs so to speak and it helps the cutter community. 

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