Dirt Fisherman

Graphtec cutter making random line cuts...

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Hello fellow sign people.

I'm new here.

Before I signed up, I just started having this INFURIATING problem of random lines ruining my vinyl.

Yes. I had read every post I could find on the subject, which lead me to here.

I'll preface by saying, this just started happening a few days ago. After reviewing the material I found here,

I took it upon myself to mechanically ground the machine's chasis, as well as douse it with Static Guard.

I also checked the machine's settings, ensuring it was set to HGPL (absolute), as it always has been. I

even took the damn thing apart & cleaned it up.

 

I am using a Graphtec FC210060a, which I bought brand new in 1995. Up until this started happening,

this machine NEVER gave me an ounce of trouble. I realize that it's dinosaur-old, but it's always been

used lightly, well-maintained, and never been set in a condition detrimental to electronics. For it's age,

it's in excellent condition. I've only run SignLab on it. I've always run it from a cpu that is never connected

to the internet. So, it's always been "stand-alone".

 

My problem is identical to another member here, "icepic13", who posted a video on August 29, 2017.

The lines don't usually show up in the same spot. Sometimes, the display will read: "ERROR 1 Instruction

not recognized", after it's finished. I have already re-installed the driver & rebooted, but to no avail.

 

I'm running this through an LPT port, which I've also replaced the data cable. I was considering switching

to a Serial cable, but I don't know if that would make any difference, nor do I have a USB Tripp-Lite.

 

I am at my wits end. I refuse to give up on my cutter (We go WAY back.).

Can anyone shed some light on this?

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Do you have a pen attachment and if so have you tried using it?

Does it do it on just a particular design, or is it all designs?

Have you tried different software? There are several free trial programs out there, give one of them a try.

If your PC is old enough to have a LPT port, I would guess it probably has a serial port as well, so no need for a Tripp-Lite. The serial port is a 9 pin D connector. Looks like the VGA connector, only less pins.

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Thank you very much for replying!

I should have mentioned that, too. But yes.

Unfortunately, the pen does it also. So, I'm beginning to think I have

a communication problem.

Since this starting happening, I've opened a few files & got that random result.

I've even imported other vector files, just to see if they were somehow corrupted.

I also installed an antivirus & scanned the entire cpu. And... nothing.

I've only used one brand to output to my cutter: SignLab. However, I do use CorelDraw

but don't use it to cut. 

And, of course, there's no serial port, other than where the monitor is plugged into.

I had thought about getting a TrippLite. The cutter connection is a 23-pin RSC232,

so I'd have to get an adapter.

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Yes, the pen would rule out static as the source of the problem so it's either comms, or the cutter itself. Could be a portion of the cutter's memory has gone bad maybe.

I'd try different software next. I just had a problem over the weekend where different software fixed the problem. The big difference for me though is that my bad cuts were at the same point every time.

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could be a bad board - graphtecs don't generally have static issues  - but at 24 years old it would have many issues 

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24-years is good mileage out of a cutter. wow! i hope my Graphtec last that long.

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I really appreciate the responses... more than you could know.

I've been married to this machine since 1995. And, as you can imagine, I am devastated.

However, I realize that getting 25+ years out of a cutter was a gift that kept on giving.

I'm still hanging on too tight. But I know that nothing lasts forever (damn it).

 

Now that I'm in the market for another 24" machine (& spoiled rotten from the Graphtech),

I am working with a small budget. My question is... are these machines I'm seeing

advertised for less than $400 a scam of some sort? It looks too good to be true.

What do you sign people think? I'll buy something used, but if it's new...

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after owning a graphtec be prepared to be disappointed in anything else - no way around that part - I would not go lower than the sc2 and again it will be noisy and not as accurate as the old graphtec

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4 minutes ago, Dakotagrafx said:

after owning a graphtec be prepared to be disappointed in anything else - no way around that part - I would not go lower than the sc2 and again it will be noisy and not as accurate as the old graphtec

sc2? Forgive me, but it's been 25 years since I've shopped.

Noise, I can live with. Less than quality, not so much.

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the better of the low end cutters is uscutters SC2 model - I am sure you can tweak it to cut pretty good - just dont expect any of them to stand next to a graphtec.  I had  a titan2 and it did respectable work but still have my graphtec ;)

 

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4 minutes ago, Dakotagrafx said:

the better of the low end cutters is uscutters SC2 model - I am sure you can tweak it to cut pretty good - just dont expect any of them to stand next to a graphtec.  I had  a titan2 and it did respectable work but still have my graphtec ;)

If my cutter was still breathing... I'd be braggin! Yep. Spoiled. Rotten.

But, were you referring to the model, listed: USCutter Vinyl Cutter MH 34in Bundle - Sign Making Kit w/Design & Cut Software, Supplies, Tools... for $379.99

 

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16 minutes ago, MZ SKEETER said:

The Titan 2 is UsCutter's cheapest 24-28" cutter with a servo motor.   We tell people to stay away from the MH cutters.  Bottom of the barrel.  With many know problems. 

https://www.uscutter.com/TITAN-2-Vinyl-Cutter-28-53-68-inch

Thanks MZ.

Is this compatible with other sign-cutting software?

Hate to think my SignLab is dead, too.

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  Your welcome. Titan cutters are rebranded Saga vinyl cutters.  Not sure how many years they have been out. Not as long as the Graphtecs.   All cutters from UScutter come with cutting software.   You never stated how old your Signlab is.  But older software should be able to export .eps files.  And import into newer software.    I am a Flexi software person myself. I have 2 Graphtecs FC series on both.  You might also want to look into some newer model "used" Graphtecs. 

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I was looking at the Titan (not the 2).

It's the price that I'm leaning on. Appears to be a good machine.

Not nearly as loud as I thought it would be. But really... I'm not cutting for NASA.

So as long as it's accurate... I'm a happy guy.

And yeah... the first thing I thought about was doing my SignLab thing,

then exporting. I'm using version 7. Old, but not that old. Lots of formats

to choose from. 

 

I gotta tell ya... this is all too weird. Honestly, I feel like a fish out of water.

I need a hug.

 

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a titan is a stepper motor cutter - the titan2 is the lowest price servo motor cutter . . . 

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Any new cutter will come with the lowest end vinylmaster software with it - newer and no subscription

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when I started shopping the us cutter reps were trying to talk me into starting with either an mh so I had the least amount invested in case I decided to get out or step up and buy a servo cutter. I needed a larger cutter so was out of budget at that time to buy a Graphtec the size of my sc I ended up with. im a 3 yr old newbie. so what ive learned is its pretty hard to use a stepper cutter or  cutter that doesn't have features that  a lot of the servo cutters have after using 1. now I don't know what your older cutter would have compared to the machines I have been using. I would say go with a used Graphtec ce model , I picked up a good cond, well kept ( knew the guy) ce-5000-60 . nice machine.  I haven't used this new sc2, just my sc model. and can say doesn't hold a candle to the ce.  a friend has and swears by the titan 2. new 800-$900  used ce 300-$600 is what ive seen. picked mine up in the middle of that.

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14 hours ago, cardudenc said:

when I started shopping the us cutter reps were trying to talk me into starting with either an mh so I had the least amount invested in case I decided to get out or step up and buy a servo cutter. I needed a larger cutter so was out of budget at that time to buy a Graphtec the size of my sc I ended up with. im a 3 yr old newbie. so what ive learned is its pretty hard to use a stepper cutter or  cutter that doesn't have features that  a lot of the servo cutters have after using 1. now I don't know what your older cutter would have compared to the machines I have been using. I would say go with a used Graphtec ce model , I picked up a good cond, well kept ( knew the guy) ce-5000-60 . nice machine.  I haven't used this new sc2, just my sc model. and can say doesn't hold a candle to the ce.  a friend has and swears by the titan 2. new 800-$900  used ce 300-$600 is what ive seen. picked mine up in the middle of that.

Thanks for chiming in, Dude.

Like yourself, and any other person who's had the experience of owning a Graphtec... I know what the brand brings to the table.

Now, I have my eye on a new Titan 2. However, a used CE/FC is not out of the question. But... where the hell do I find them?

If I found what I was looking for, wouldn't I be taking a chance on the same thing happening? Or, am I overthinking this?

 

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Check online auctions sites and Craigslist.  I picked up a FC8000-75 last year for $1000 free ship.  It took me 15 minutes to fix it.  Cross cutter was stuck on it.  They had the speed wide open on it, so it ripped the vinyl right away.  I own a FC7000-MK2-75. So I was able to fix it pretty quick after I got the speed way down, so I could see what it was doing.  Picked it up off of Ebay.   There are Graphtecs on there all the time. I wouldn't buy a real old one, on Craigslist you can go see it run. I would hope. 

Graphtec has that new 20" Graphtec CE-lite-50 for about $900.  

https://www.uscutter.com/Graphtec-CE-LITE-50-20in-Cutting-Plotter

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Hello again...

Well... after taking my Graphtec apart, I came to the conclusion that there was no way this was getting fixed.

I'm convinced that it's a board issue. Since I don't have a clue as to which board went bad (there's 3 of them),

and since I an NOT an electronics tech... and no parts or support available:

I sprang for the Titan 2. (Yeah. The servo sold me.) I have it set up, and VinylMaster is ready to go.

I just got done putting this thing on casters. Believe it or not, I found "ready to install" casters at Harbor Freight.

What are the chances that a $3.50 caster from HF would fit PERFECTLY into the base? Still SMH.

 

Anyway... I'm finding it hard to believe that I can't find a single instructional guide to the control panel, as to

how it actually functions. I have some text set up in VM, but I don't know how the film & design should be oriented

to the cutter. I have no idea how to initialize this thing (after turning it on, and loading the film, then what?).

How does the machine know where to start? How does it detect the front edge of the vinyl? How do you set

the machine to read in inches? Where's the starting point? See... that's what happens when you've been

attached at the hip to something for 26 years... Man. This is weird.

 

I've actually had this new unit over a week, and haven't cut a single thing on it.

Would anyone mind bringing me up to speed?

 

20190421_150454.jpg

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Thank you for your reply. Yeah... I already saw that.

Minimal means nothing, with the right information. There's more info about the blade, and how to install it!

It's great that, if you press a certain button, it does a certain thing. But it doesn't help if you don't know why it performs that function.

Despite not being one, I was hoping for a copy of the "Idiots Guide to Using the Titan 2". While I'm still confident that this machine will perform well...

I'm really dumbfounded that more-elaborate documentation isn't available for this technical wonder.

 

When I bought my Graphtec, in 1995, it came with MANUALS. Those manuals left no stone unturned, as well as being well-illustrated.

I got the User's manual, Out-of-box Setup, & Cutting Operation manual. Now, I realize that things have changed, and I haven't bought another Graphtec.

But... gee whizz! I'm probably right, when I say that this control panel controls all kinds of operations. Well, other than being told to press a

button to do a certain thing, why not give the user the entire rundown of operations, how & when to use them, & explain why it does what it does?

 

My apologies. I don't mean to bark at ya like that. I'm frustrated, spoiled from past experience, and still in the dark.

Thanks again for taking the time to help me out.

 

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