Here are four factors that effect cut quality:
Blade Depth is a major factor in how well the machine cuts and, and along with the downforce/pressure, determines how easy or difficult it will be to weed the material. Too great of blade depth is as bad as not enough. We do not recommend trying to adjust the blade depth according to the numbers on the blade holder.
- Remember that the blade should only stick out of the blade holder far enough that it can cut through the material you’re cutting but it should not be out far enough that it could cut through the backing as well. You never want more depth than what is necessary.You can test for correct blade depth by manually cutting a circle.Lay a scrap piece of material on a hard work surface (not on a nice table in case you happen to cut through the backing).
- With the blade holder in your hand press down and cut a circle in the material. Press down using a moderate amount of force while you cut the circle. You will not be able to cut through the material backing when the blade depth is set correctly. If it cuts through the backing then the depth is too much and you need to retract the blade.
Downforce/Pressure is how hard the machine presses the blade down into the material. We recommend only using enough downforce/pressure necessary for cutting the type of material you’re using at the time. Excess downforce/pressure can make more work for the machine which can cause parts to wear prematurely and may cause issues with tracking or cut quality.
- The amount of downforce/pressure necessary to successfully cut different materials will vary. Even though they may be about the same thickness, denser materials, such as metallic, require more downforce than standard vinyl.
Speed of the machine is going to be up to you. The default speed setting should work fine when cutting standard 2-4 mil vinyl material. When you’re first getting to know your vinyl cutter it may help if you run it at a slower speed.
- This actual value for the downforce/pressure and the speed is different from machine to machine.
The Cutter Protection Strip runs the length of the machine directly under the blade’s travel. If no material were loaded the blade would actually hit or cut the strip. It provides support for the material as it’s cut.
- New cutter strips have no grooves or cuts. With use the strip will develop a groove from the blade pressing into the material as it cuts. This is normal.
- Cutter protection strips, or teflon strips, are consumable items and should be replaced every 6 months to one year.
- If the blade depth were to be set incorrectly allowing it to cut through the material and the backing, this would damage the strip, lessening the time before it is required that it be replaced.
- If you find that the machine cuts properly on one side of the machine (left to right) but no matter how you set the blade depth it cuts too deep or too shallow on the other end, this may indicate that the protection strip needs to be replaced.
- There are many other issues that can be attributed to having a bad strip though they may not be as obvious. This is why making sure that the strip is in good condition is important.