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  • Which Cutter and software to go for

    Posted by Shaun Whitehouse shaun whitehouse on April 28, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Hi all

    I’m looking for any advice on cutters and software.

    I’m on a tight budget but looking to upgrade to a decent cutter from the cheap Chinese stuff.
    The software I’m using is winpcsign which came with a cutter I got.

    I’m not sure which cutter or software to go for.
    I’d like to get into printing in the future so I’m thinking about something where I won’t have to learn new software etc.

    I’d like to be able to design print work too so I can sort out the back and forth with the customer then I just need someone to print it for me.

    I have also looked at a lease option on mimaki fxII 130 with your print supplies (which are fairly local to me so could be good if I had any issues, they are super helpful too)

    I’m just not sure which way to go [emoji21]

    Martyn Heath replied 4 years, 11 months ago 5 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Martyn Heath

    April 28, 2018 at 9:31 am

    I did the same move as you 3 years ago. I upgraded from a cheap chiness 610 plotter. I was designing in an old version of illustrator cs2, and cutting from flexi starter.
    I Upgraded to a graphtec ce6000 610 plotter, best thing i ever did, not one mistake. Took me a while to get to this point because of finances but i wish i had done it sooner now. This comes with its own cutting software and plugin for illustrator ( i upgraded to cs4).

    I now wish i could upgrade to a 1200 version as im printing (mutoh) and cutting from my graphtec but once again its a lot of wonga.

    My opinion is that if your upgrading to a good branded plotter then you need the matching software, being corel, illustrator or flexi sign with the plugins. I might be wrong but ive only ever seen winpcsign being used with the chinese brands.

  • Peter Johnson

    April 28, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I can’t recommend highly enough to upgrade from the Chinese cutter. I started with 2 of these, but upgraded a few years ago. The difference/quality was instantly noticeable.

    If you can afford (and have the space for) a 160cm cutter, then go for that. Also, make sure it has the facility to read registration marks on prints for contour cutting.
    This will then allow you to cut all sizes and when you do invest in a printer, you already have the cutter in place.
    If you can’t afford the larger cutter, then just stick to another 60cm cutter (but a quality one; Graphtec, Summa etc..) and save up for the larger one.
    I think it would be a false economy to get an in-between size and then have to upgrade it yet again when the printer comes along.

    As to software, you want a good design package that allows you to work with vector graphics. The 2 leading ones are Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. The latest versions of these are quite expensive, but you can get a monthly subscription to Adobe. Not sure about Corel.

    I use Corel X8 (and V.12) as I have used that for the last 12 years or so, but I’ve been recently thinking about switching over to AI. My cutter is a Graphtec, so I have the free plugin that allows me to send directly from Corel to my cutter.

    I also believe Signlab is an all in one package for both printers and cutters? I’ll leave a Signlab user to confirm or deny this.

  • Chris Wilson Chris Wilson

    April 28, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I second both comments above.

    I also look at it as a investment for the future, not just now. No point buying something that can cope with your current work load but not with growth. You’d just end up spending more money.

    Also these branded machines come with warranty’s etc.. you’ve got to think how much money you would loose if it broke and took 2 weeks to sort. Also reputation lost for not being reliable during that period. I know personally if we were down for 2 weeks we would loose more in turn over than our printer and plotter are worth. So we have the fail safes in place.
    We’re in a fast past game at the end of the day. Quite often a shop sign is the last thing thought of, and no customer is happy
    If it’s fitted a week after they’ve opened.

    P.s you do get a subscription to Corel. Also a 16 day free trail of there software available at the moment.

  • Jonathan feeney Jonathan Feeney

    April 28, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I had 2 cheap plotters and just last year bought a roland GS-24 which is a cracking little plotter very precise and it has a plug in for corel i ise corel x7 and can send jobs striaght to roland cut studio which comes with the plotter i think if memory serves me right it was are the £1200 mark but worth every penny cheers

  • Shaun Whitehouse shaun whitehouse

    April 28, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks everyone really appreciate your feedback.

    Yeah I see exactly what you are saying iv had issues getting cutting strips, blade holders and also having issues with tracking and incomplete cuts.

    Definitely need a branded machine.

    The graphtec cutters seem to be rather popular. Where would be a good place to buy one from?

    My main work flow is vehicle signage and clothing and I’m currently using a 24inch plotter which im managing with but occasionally a bigger machine would help if a shop window job or larger van came in.

    I could fit 1 large cutter in my office but that would be it I don’t think I’d get a printer in aswell.

    Does the free plug in for Corel draw come with the graphtec cutters? Or do you have to find it online.

    I’m in a same situation with finances just plodding along.
    I manage with a 61 plotter now so suppose I could still manage with a better one and maybe outsource the larger cut jobs and any print work as and when they come in.

  • Chris Wilson Chris Wilson

    April 28, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    We run a 610 plotter as we bought a print and cut machine. Slows production down a bit sometimes, but saves have the two. We do a lot of garments also and this what mainly goes through the plotter

    Graphtec comes with the plugin I think.. but they recommend using there own software. We couldn’t get the Corel plugin to work.

    As you said you can outsource prints for the time being. If you have a print machine you really need a laminator to go with it, especially with car graphics.

  • Shaun Whitehouse shaun whitehouse

    April 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks Chris

    Yeah I looked at some of the print cut machines they look handy especially in a small unit.
    Maybe in the future I might go down that route.
    Especially like you say if needing a laminator too that will take up some space.

    Do you use graphtec owns software?

  • Martyn Heath

    April 28, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    I got my ce6000 from mdp supplies