This three-part tutorial addresses how to create and apply hot fix rhinestone patterns on apparel using the LXI Rhinestone Wizard plug-in.
CUTTING: Plotting and Weeding Rhinestone Patterns
Step 8: Set Cutting Conditions. You are now ready to send the job to the plotter. But before you do, it is imperative that you set the plotter’s conditions for cutting the stencil film. If you are using a Vinyl EXPRESS EnduraCUT, this can be done right here in the Driver Options menu by simply changing the values seen above in the FD and Speed windows. Change the preset to Cut Slow, then set the force at 160.
If you’re using a more advanced cutter such as the Vinyl EXPRESS Qe60+, which we will be using for this example, it’s better to set the conditions on the machine. To do this, we will use the LCD control panel on the front of the cutter. Using the control panel, set the Force at 23, the speed at 15, and the Quality at 3. A higher quality setting slows the acceleration of the blade and makes it cut more deliberately.
Notice that the Tool setting displayed is 15U. We used a red top blade holder and 60° 15U blade. You may also use a 60° blade with the standard blue top blade holder, in which case you would select the 09U tool in the control panel.
Step 9: Perform a Test Cut. Always perform a test cut before sending a job to make sure you have the correct conditions. If you can’t weed the test cut pattern easily and cleanly, you won’t get satisfactory performance on the job you send. Here we see a perfect test cut, so we’re ready to send the rhinestone pattern.
Step 10: Send the Job. Now that the cutting conditions are right, we can send the job from the LXI Cut Plot screen. Simply go back to the PC and click the Send at the bottom of the screen. When it’s done, your pattern should be visible in the stencil. For this job, we are using the 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of blue stencil film that come in the Rhinestone starter kit.
Step 11: Weed the Pattern. This may seem like a daunting task, but this pattern, which contains 260 10SS sized rhinestones, took only ten minutes to weed. And once a pattern is weeded it can be saved and reused repeatedly so the initial investment of time pays off with each new garment that’s produced from that pattern.
Here’s what it looks like when it’s done.
Step 12: Peel and Mount. Peel the weeded stencil pattern from its liner and mount it to a backer board for permanent storage. The Rhinestone starter kit contains 5 8.5″ x 11″ backer boards ideal for this purpose. You may also use matboard, engraving stock, or any other rigid surface.
Now we’re ready to fill the pattern with hot fix rhinestones and transfer them to a shirt.