Machines that cut vinyl sheets
So you're looking for a machine to cut vinyl lettering? We put together this site as a resource for someone like you. Here we have information about vinyl lettering machines (cutters). You can find out the most basic information here about the different types of machines, the software you can use to drive them, and the lettering and decals you can make with them.
How a cutter works
A vinyl lettering machine consist of a few basic parts. You will find that most vinyl cutters are basically the same design. They will all have a pinch roller which grabs the vinyl sheet allowing it to transit forward and back in the machine. They will all have a knife that cuts down into the vinyl sheet. One common question people ask is how does the knife not cut through the sheet? Good question, it does not because the vinyl is pretty thin compared to the wax coated backing paper combined with the force of the pen being adjusted just the right amount. So, as you watch a machine work you will see the pen lift up and down and rolling the sheet back and forth cutting only the vinyl on the surface. Once the cut is finished you have to 'weed' out the excess unneeded material.
When you go to pick out a vinyl cutter you should should think hard about what you will be using it for because you can't upgrade them to larger sizes. Typical sizes range from 15", 30", 54", 60" with some odd ball sizes here and there. Say you purchased a 15" cutter to cut vinyl lettering you would be limited to lettering that is about 14" tall ( you need some excess), although you will probably be able to make the piece as long as you like. Your only option should you want to make lettering taller than your machine will do is to use a feature in your software called tiling. Tiling is pretty much a standard feature and breaks your jobs automatically into sections that have to be manually overlayed.
Cheap vs. Expensive Machines
You will be tempted in your quest to find a vinyl lettering machine to look at what we like to call cheapo brands. These are commonly found on ebay. This will basically come back to what is the intended use of the machine and what are you going to run it with? Hobbyist may be able to get by with a very cheap cutter, although it still isn't recommended. Look for a good used name brand machine before buying a cheap brand. Check out our machine type section for more information.