Equipment/Vinyl Cutter CraftRobo
Equipment / Vinyl Cutter
The Vinyl cutter is a small (210mm wide) Graphtec CraftRobo device. It can cut a variety of materials, up to around 400mm long. Items smaller than 210mm wide can be used by putting them on a special support sheet.
Using the Vinyl Cutter
The Owners are those nominally in charge of the equipment, organising its maintenance, helping others to use it, and generally being a point of contact.
The current Owners of the Vinyl Cutter are:
- Simon Stirley (e-mail simon at stirley dot me dot uk)
If you have any questions, problems or concerns around the vinyl cutter, these are the people to contact.
No formal training is required to operate the Vinyl Cutter. If you intend to make something using the cutter please read the Health & Safety and Safety Notes sections below before doing so. The manual is also available online in case you require additional information.
Health and Safety
The vinyl cutter is a potentially dangerous piece of equipment which must be operated with due care. The top things to always remember when using the vinyl cutter are:
- ONLY USE THE VINYL CUTTER IF YOU HAVE READ THE SAFETY NOTES BELOW
- NEVER LEAVE THE VINYL CUTTER RUNNING UNATTENDED
- ONLY CUT APPROPRIATE MATERIAL
- SHARP BLADE - when handling the blade (eg. to adjust or change caps for different thickness) take care not to cut yourself
- TRAPPING - The head and roller of the machine are moved by programs in the machines memory. Be careful when near the machine, it will possibly move even if the PC is off. Always keep the cover closed when cutting
(This is a rough draft, please refer to the official documentation if in doubt.)
- Check the cutter is clear from any remnants of previous operations, and turn on with the button on the top right-hand side. The light should come on blue and the blade index itself to the home position.
- Start 'RoboMaster' software
- Create design, e.g. by adding text. To add a pre-created image, click "Insert -> File" (doesn't support PNG -- you can use Paint to convert it to BMP; JPEG works directly), then while the image is selected, click "Edit -> Get Outline" to start the autotracer. "Paste and Quit" adds the cutlines to the design.
- Click "File -> CraftRobo" to start the Controller
- Insert media into cutter by aligning with the white rollers and using the manual feed dial on the left-hand side (it turns in the opposite direction you'd expect) till the end of the paper is roughly lined up with the metal bit. If you are using media narrower than A4 then use the carrier sheet.
- Make sure Thickness is set to correct value for inserted media -- you can click 'Test Cut' (after the head has been moved to an appropriate position with the Cursor buttons). This will cut a triangle inside a 1x1 cm square at the current position of the head.
- Click "Cut" and confirm to start the cutting process
- If you want to insert an image and RoboMaster (or the Autotracer) doesn't like it, check the number of colours -- 1bit images should always work.
We are currently in the process of establishing ideal thicknesses for various materials. Please fill in known values in the table below.
|'hot-flex' vinyl (iron-on transfer, cut on the back)||5|
The Graphtec supplied 'RoboMaster' software for Windows has been installed on the PC which is also connected to the 3D printer.
Software to drive the cutter is available for linux now, but has not been installed or tested yet.
As the device is fairly narrow the media must either be cut down from regular bulk supplies, or bought ready cut. MDP supplies stock plenty of different media ready to use.
There are currently two rolls of application tape, a 'weeding' pen and a spare blade with the machine. There is also some leftover sticky-backed vinyl and some iron-on 'hot-flex' material (yellow, zebra & giraffe print). The shiny surface is the top, on which the iron is placed, so this has to be cut on the back and the artwork mirrored before cutting.
How we store consumables, and how they are paid for has yet to be decided.
The maintenance of the Vinyl Cutter is carried out by the Owners, with some basic maintenance being carried out by Users on every job. It is not known what maintenance will be required yet, and the manuals don't list any specific operations. If you have a problem, or have to carry out some maintenance, please report it to the Owners so that it can be addresses for future occurrences.
We expect to have to change the following parts for general maintenance:
- The blade (guess every 6-12 months)
Maintenance Shopping List