Intheshaw

Hi Everyone!

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I've been perusing this forum for a few weeks now, just lurking and trying to absorb information. I originally came here in search of the MH cutters and soon got sucked into the vinyl cutting world.

I have yet to purchase a cutter and have been suffering from some analysis paralysis. Essentially I have a small woodworking side business and I've gotten a few requests for custom painted signs. I've dabbled in screen printing them but unless it's a standard pattern it's not worth the setup time.

My problem is I'm running into a bit of scope creep with the budget. I started off at 300 for the MH but now realize I don't want something I'll have to replace in 2 years because it's frustrates me. I have the ability to expand my budget a lot as I see the value in a vinyl cutter for my woodworking applications as well as graphics and shirts.

My question is, do I just jump up to a Roland or graphtec is the 1500 to 2000 range? I've been looking at the ce6000-60 that comes with the free heat press. It seems like most people inevitably end up in that range but is there any reason besides funding not to just start there?

I'm a buy one cry once kind of guy and my side business is mainly for my 'play money' and not needed to survive. I want the ability to grow the business into shirts and decals but right now it will mostly be stencils for wood. 

I've brought up the idea to a few people and already have a soft commitment of around $300-500 in sales so I'm fine shelling out money on more reliable and quality machine.

Thoughts?

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the other plus side to the ce6000-60 plus is it comes with graphtec pro studio software - which is private labeled flexi and worth about $2100 alone - that is the machine I use daily and have for a couple of years since moving up from other graphtecs.  just my 2c

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If budget is not the only concern then just get the cutter you should and be done with it. Sort of like trying to decide to buy an air compressor from Habor Freight that will run for a summer or a quality one that will actually last for decades. You get long lasting quality and better product (much better) all through that time. The budget cutters, and I started out with one myself, are really more of a stick your toes in the water type thing and the only other very good thing is that they DO teach you how to pay attention to fine tuning things AND to appreciate a nice cutter. Best part about a quality cutter besides accuracy and reliability is they just work. I used to have to tweak my pressure and speed for about every different material and even different colors and ages or temperatures. With my High end cutter I have about two pressure settings and I usually run at a decent but not too fast pace. I used to have to "hover" over the cutter to stop it if something went wrong but my new one I load it up and walk away while it works without a worry at all. 

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The MH is being discussed in another recent thread, just a linky.

When you say this --

"already have a soft commitment of around $300-500 in sales" then it's a no-brainer to bring onboard to your studio space a Graphtec with the aforementioned FLEXI-Graphtec branded design & cut program. Without question, using that suite of software will be a delight, as it's sophisticated and gives customers terrific output !!!

Doing cutting for your future needs as described, that MH will drive you nuts. It's good for regular vinyl, maybe runs of 10-20 feet, bigger lettering, no fine details.

"PIZZA BY THE SLICE" type of thing. Signs and banners.

 

 

 

 

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I appreciate all the feedback and will probably just lay down the cash for the nicer machine. I don't want to have to babysit a cheap machine.

That being said, since I'm just starting out is adding on one of those starter kits worth it? I don't care about the color on vinyl just the quality.  

And do they ever go on sale or is the deal with the press pretty good? I'll put in a little more time researching but I'm meeting with another potential customer tomorrow and if they commit I'll buy the machine soon after.

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The starter kits are the cheaper vinyl to practice with.

If you have never run a cutter, or used the software, lining up clients is probably not a good idea.

It's not rocket surgery, but there is a learning cure to it. And I do not mean a week.

 

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It really depends what's in the starter kit. First decide which cutter you want.

You're not necessarily going to want to start with 24" or larger vinyl while you're still learning the best way to setup your machine. You might not even want the colors they want to send - although, you could use that as your test vinyl.

Depending on what kind of vinyl you end up buying, you will also need: app tape, squeegee, sharp tweezer/dental pick/x-acto (or whatever you want to use to weed the vinyl), scissors, DIY application fluid. If you want to ease your setup - 60* Clean Cut blade, extra cutting strip, a self healing mat, rolling cutter, a long ruler or straight edge. I'm sure they're other stuff that's not coming to mind right now.

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2 minutes ago, haumana said:

It really depends what's in the starter kit. First decide which cutter you want.

You're not necessarily going to want to start with 24" or larger vinyl while you're still learning the best way to setup your machine. You might not even want the colors they want to send - although, you could use that as your test vinyl.

Depending on what kind of vinyl you end up buying, you will also need: app tape, squeegee, sharp tweezer/dental pick/x-acto (or whatever you want to use to weed the vinyl), scissors, DIY application fluid. If you want to ease your setup - 60* Clean Cut blade, extra cutting strip, a self healing mat, rolling cutter, a long ruler or straight edge. I'm sure they're other stuff that's not coming to mind right now.

Table to work on?:rolleyes: BIG table.

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Thanks, I'll look into some cheap vinyl and all the supplies.

And I know the people I'm talking with, it's for a large sign using a company logo and color scheme. I'm hoping it won't be too difficult to cut a basic logo but I'm not going to commit to delivery in anything less than a month from when I get the machine. I'm looking for mid April to start turning some revenue with the cutter.

And sounds like I'll need a lot of vinyl to mess up while I'm learning. I'll just have to keep reading the forums and watching YouTube videos to try to cut down on the waste.

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4 hours ago, bikemike said:

The starter kits are the cheaper vinyl to practice with.

If you have never run a cutter, or used the software, lining up clients is probably not a good idea.

It's not rocket surgery, but there is a learning cure to it. And I do not mean a week.

 

gotta ask mike is that a cross between rocket science and brain surgery  - a canadian thing?    just razzin ya

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2 hours ago, Intheshaw said:

Thanks, I'll look into some cheap vinyl and all the supplies.

And I know the people I'm talking with, it's for a large sign using a company logo and color scheme. I'm hoping it won't be too difficult to cut a basic logo but I'm not going to commit to delivery in anything less than a month from when I get the machine. I'm looking for mid April to start turning some revenue with the cutter.

And sounds like I'll need a lot of vinyl to mess up while I'm learning. I'll just have to keep reading the forums and watching YouTube videos to try to cut down on the waste.

If you buy a Graphtec and the design file is built correctly I doubt you will be messing up very many times on the actual cut. You will have a few days to get used to the machine, sure but it won't screw you like a budget model will. Taping off a large graphic and actually installing will be where you will have to learn the tricks of the trade. And there is a definitive learning curve to installation.

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There are a myriad of installation and prep videos about 3/4 of which are not that much help. The trick is deciding what is good advice and what is BS and what works for you vs some other dude. In the instructional contributions section there are several good threads. The one that probably made the most difference for me was the one about proper squeegee techniques. I also use a "Big Squeegee Cut Vinyl Tool" to apply app tape to anything that is too large to apply face down. (there is a thread about face down app tape too somewhere). You got some learnin' to do but it's freakin awesome and I ain't lying. I started out as a pure hobbyist and within just a few weeks was making money. I didn't even plan to go that route and just wanted to be able to make fun graphics for my jeep. We ended up turning it into a side business we do evenings and weekends and grossed $80K last year part time. 

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10 hours ago, Dakotagrafx said:

gotta ask mike is that a cross between rocket science and brain surgery  - a canadian thing?    just razzin ya

Well ya, y'all don't got that job?

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Hello and Welcome,

I have to agree with all the others and say that I'd go with the Graphtec.  I started out about 10 years ago. I looked at the "Value Cutters" then a Summa D-60 became available.  I picked it up used and have been using it ever since.  I bought mine used and have had no regrets.  It's paid for it's self many times over.   

When I received my cutter I had no vinyl to practice with so I went to the local orange box store and picked up some adhesive backed shelf paper.  I had to try it out and couldn't wait for some vinyl to arrive.

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"And I know the people I'm talking with, it's for a large sign using a company logo and color scheme. I'm hoping it won't be too difficult to cut a basic logo but I'm not going to commit to delivery in anything less than a month from when I get the machine. I'm looking for mid April to start turning some revenue with the cutter."

Ahhhhh, layering, gotta love it !!!

Can I ask you a small favor? Take a photo and post it to a new thread in category Graphic Requests, let's dissect that just for kicks. We might even have you getting that logo ready to cut in a day or so, not a month!!! We're trouble-shooting wizards, don'tcha know!

Personally, I think you can readily afford the Graphtec investment with the heat press combo, it will quickly be up and generating cash back to your pockets, long before Mid-April, maybe even St.Patrick's (T-shirts are a HUGE seller on St Pat's) -- if you start now.

 

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So I talked with the guy today and he committed to two pieces with the company logo for delivery no later than 5/15 so I have plenty of time. Also said he will reach out to the other locations and see if they want some as well.

Essentially, it's just a plain text logo using I believe in house custom font. I'm planning on painting the sign and then using the cutter to create a stencil to paint on the logo.

They wanted the colors to match essentially exactly so marketing will get me the color specs to get a paint match and a svg of the logo. Will the cutter know to cut the outside of the letters or is that where the work comes in?

So now it's a no brainier to order the cutter. My only question is uscutter the best place to buy and will they work with you? I only ask because on eBay the graphtec bundle with the extra vinyl is the 1795 with free shipping while the website has a number to call to get a freight quote and wants another 100 just for a lift gate. Doesn't make sense to me to charge less on eBay since they end up paying those fees.

I'd love to just buy direct but seems a lot cheaper to go the eBay route. I'd like to try to get them to upgrade the clamshell for the swing away as from reading on here those seem better.

Worst case I'll just buy on eBay and play around with it and make another order for the press.

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On 2/22/2019 at 4:39 PM, bikemike said:

Table to work on?:rolleyes: BIG table.

I currently have a 2x6 foot desk I'm going to use but if the graphics get too big I'll laminate a 4x8 sheet of mdf and throw that on top of my cheap pool table.

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5 minutes ago, Intheshaw said:

I currently have a 2x6 foot desk I'm going to use but if the graphics get too big I'll laminate a 4x8 sheet of mdf and throw that on top of my cheap pool table.

I took over the kids air hockey table that wasn't being used - 40x72 cutting mat fits in it and has a ledge so I don't have items like xacto's rolling onto the floor

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For a stencil the simplest is to just add a box around the whole thing and cut it all and pull out the letters. I usually just add a background square of a different color and make the edges how ever big I want to have around the outside. I don't paint but I do this for sand blast stencils for glass blasting. Practice with small stuff before you go for the big one. 

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Have you gone all the way with putting the item in your cart and going to checkout out?  You can see what the shipping is.   I just did,  I live in the midwest. and it was a FLAT RATE GROUND  $86.99  The 24" Graphtec  CE6000-60 Plus  with the heat press.  Those cutters are not shipped Freight.    Ground ship.   I have bought several .  Even a 30" is shipped Ground ship.    If your going to buy other stuff.  vinyl etc.  make it a 2nd order with $11.99 shipping. It will be shipped Ground also. 

 
   

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The CE6000-60 doesn't require a liftgate. The box is more cumbersome than is it heavy. The stand will be in a separate box.

If you're buying it off of eBay, just make sure that it's a new machine, and that someone will honor any warranty, if necessary.

I'd also recommend that you put in an order for Clean Cut Blades, and an extra cutting strip from the get go. Better to have the cutting strip on hand when you need, and not have to wait for it to get to you.

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You're right, the note for freight related to the 120 not the 60. I'll probably just buy it all from here as well as whatever oracal is on sale. Looking at getting the sign shop starter kit as well.

Are the clean cut blades sold here? Are they called the clean cut premium blades?

Working on putting together my cart and I'll post it up before I order to make sure I'm not missing anything. Everyone here has been a huge help so far.

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