/> How to: Cut and Weed Vinyl
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Tips and Tricks : From Artwork to Weeding

The following guide will help you with the basic's in setting an artwork file up and the steps to cutting, weeding and heat pressing. Please note that this guide can be used for any computer cut vinyl.

Tips to Create a Vector File in Adobe Illustrator for Cut Vinyl Graphics

1. Create a new artwork page in Adobe Illustrator.

2. Download or create a vector file image. A good image sourcing site is Vectorstate.com.

3. Import or paste the image to the Illustrator file.

4. Adjust the size of the image using the top tool bar. Be sure to select the link icon, to keep the image in proportion.

5. Create a cut path for the artwork select Swatches or the Swatches tab in your workspace palettes and create a new swatch. Use the drop-down menu or the New Swatch button to do this.

6. The following will need to be changed

          1. Swatch Name: CutPath/CutContour
          2. Colour Type: Spot Colour

Use the CMYK colour collector to choose a colour of the cut path. It is best to choose a colour which will stand out so that you can see the cut path when editing on the file.

7. Select the image.

8. Change the image fill colour to NONE.

9. Change the image outline to the spot colour created.

Your swatch is alongside all the colour swatches. You can easily identify it as it has a small black triangle in the top left corner of the colour swatch.

10. When selected, this will create an outline of the image. This will define the final cutting or contouring path.

11. Save the artwork as a PDF or EPS, depending on your cutters software.

12. Copy the file to a USB.

You are now ready to set the file up on your cutting machine.

 

Tips to Create a Vector File in Adobe Illustrator for Printed Vinyl Graphics 

1. Create a new artwork page in Adobe Illustrator.

2. Download or create a vector file image. A good image sourcing site is Vectorstate.com.

3. Import or paste the image to the Illustrator file.

4. Adjust the size of the image using the top tool bar. Be sure to select the link icon, to keep the image in proportion.

5. Create a cut path for the artwork select > Swatches or the Swatches tab in your workspace palettes and create a new swatch. Use the drop-down menu or the New Swatch button to do this.

6. The following will need to be changed

           1. Swatch Name: CutPath/CutContour
           2. Colour Type: Spot Colour

Use the CMYK colour collector to choose a colour of the cut path. It is best to choose a colour which will stand out so that you can see the cut path when editing on the file.

7. Create an outline around the image (this will be the cut path).

8. Add bleed to your image, this will avoid any white hairlines in final print/cut graphic.

9. Use the CutPath swatch you have created as the outline colour (make sure there is no fill).

Your swatch is alongside all the colour swatches. You can easily identify it as it has a small black triangle in the top left corner of the colour swatch.

10. When selected, this will create an outline of the image. This will define the final cutting or contouring path. 

11. Save the artwork as a PDF or EPS, depending on your cutters software.

12. Copy the file to a USB.

You are now ready to set the file up on your print/cut machine.

 

Tips for Cutting Vinyl Media using a Roland GS-24

1. Set up the file in your RIP software.    

If there is text in the artwork, mirror the file so the text will cut correctly.

2. Insert the vinyl into the cutting machine, liner side down.

3. Adjust the pinch rollers to fit the width of the vinyl.      

4. Secure the media clamps by pushing them down.

5. Perform a Cutting Test

6. Check that the Pen Force slider is in its centre setting (0 on the scale).

7. Hold down the Test key until the cutter starts to perform a test cut.

           1. Use tweezers or similar to peel away the cut shape. 
           2. Check the cutting quality.
           3. There should be just enough force to leave a slight impression on the vinyl backing paper.  

 

8. Adjust the cutter settings, if necessary. If the blade cut through the liner, or did not cut through the media properly adjust the force:

           1. Press Force so that the blade force is displayed.
           2. Use the Up or Down arrows to change the blade pressure (up to increase the blade force and down to decrease it).
           3. Press Enter  to confirm.       
           4. Perform another test.
           5. Once satisfied the media is cutting and weeding properly, cut the artwork.    
           6. When finished, release the media clamps and remove your vinyl.

You are now ready to weed your artwork.

 

Tips for Weeding Cut Vinyl Graphics 

Weeding is the process of removing the vinyl material that is not part of your graphic.

1. Remove the excess vinyl from around the outside of the graphic.

2. Use a weeding hook to lift and remove the other vinyl sections that should not be in the graphic.

Note, the smaller the features in your graphic, the more challenging it is to weed.

Tips for Pressing Heat Transfer Vinyl using a Forte HP-3804 Heat Press  

1. Turn on the power to the heat press.

2. Adjust the temperature and timing to the specifications on the vinyls’ data sheet.

3. Allow to heat up to optimum temperature.

4. Pre-press your textile for 5 to 10 seconds. This will remove any oils or coatings which may be on the fabric that can prevent the vinyl from adhering correctly.

5. Position your artwork on the textile with the liner facing up.

6. Lower the heat press handle.

7. Lock firmly in place.

8. The heat press handle will automatically release when the time is up, so stand clear.

9. Peel the liner off the textile following the specifications on the vinyls’ data sheet. If the vinyl is a hot peel, you can remove the liner immediately, if it is a warm or cold peel, allow to cool before removing the liner.

10. Allow at least 24 hours before washing.

Refer to the Graphic Art Mart Heat Transferred Garment Maintenance for more information.

   

 
Click here learn how to create a Christmas Napkin

 

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