Best Vinyl Cutting Machines – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

Anyone going into the signage business necessarily needs a vinyl cutter. There are standalone and PC based cutters. It is important that the best vinyl cutting machine should be used to obtain professional and quality services. They can be used for both home and commercial purposes. They work on different type of materials though it depends on the features they possess.

Value section

Below, you will find more detailed reviews of different vinyl cutting machines.

Images
Best Choice
Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine
Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine
USCutter 28-inch Vinyl Cutter Plotter with Stand and with Sure...
Silhouette Portrait 2
Maximum Cutting Width
24 inches
12 inches
28 inches
12 inches
Score
92/100
95/100
90/100
95/100
Prime Status
-
Best Choice
Images
Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine
Maximum Cutting Width
24 inches
Score
92/100
Prime Status
Images
Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine
Maximum Cutting Width
12 inches
Score
95/100
Prime Status
Images
USCutter 28-inch Vinyl Cutter Plotter with Stand and with Sure...
Maximum Cutting Width
28 inches
Score
90/100
Prime Status
-
Images
Silhouette Portrait 2
Maximum Cutting Width
12 inches
Score
95/100
Prime Status

Last update on 2018-05-24 at 19:37 PST - Details

How to choose a vinyl cutting machine

There are some features to consider before getting a vinyl cutter that will comfortably suit your requirements. First is the cutting width of the vinyl cutting machine. Sizes range from small 6-inch cutters to large 64-inch cutters. Bestselling vinyl cutters, which are mostly preferred by hobbyists and producers of small crafts, fall between 9-12 inches. It should be observed, nevertheless, that a large cutting size is not an indicator of the quality of a vinyl cutter.

The quality of cuts should come in as the second feature to consider.The quality of cut depends on the type of software, drive motor, and reliability. Vinyl cutting machines operate on two types of motors, the stepper, and the servo. The servo motors operate on software commands, therefore, giving accurate cuts, and better control than the stepper motors which depend on physical gears. This, however, does not mean they are necessarily bad or of inferior quality.

Are you going to be working with different materials? Pinch rollers will be a significant feature for you. They permit to alter the amount of pressure applied to a variety of materials by the blade. Vinyl machines work with a range of materials including vellum, leather, wood, aluminum, and.

The capability to cut and perforate vinyl is another significant aspect to look out for when choosing a cutting plotter. It is a dual process that demands a vinyl cutter that can cut only on the face film of the material followed by cutting through the face film, adhesive, and the liner, without marring the platen. Finally, the warranty coverage might be a good consideration for some consumers. The warranty depends on the model of the cutter and they cover from 6 months to 3 years.

Best ways to use the vinyl cutter

The vinyl cutting machine can be used to produce commercial grade products. One of the most common uses of a cutting plotter iscutting labels and stickers. You can practice by creating labels for supplies, items, materials, and rooms in your phrases. They can be used to cut glow in the dark caution labels in a workshop.

Cutting plotters can be employed to design custom apparel. Create logos and art, and transfer them to your t-shirts, headbands, totes, and temporary tattoos. A t-shirt printing business can also be recommended, only that is required is creativity and quality in your designs.

Vinyl cutting machines can also be used to manufacture banners, wall decals, vehicle graphics, window art, and creating trim markers.

Prerequisites to using cutting plotters

A vinyl cutter, though similar to the printer is a bit more involving than the printer when it comes to its operation. However, the basics are quite straightforward and easy to follow. Loading the material will consist some steps. It is recommended that start by cutting a considerable size of the material from the primary roll, as the cutting plotter functions better than when it is fed directly.

The second step involves lifting the rollers with the use of a lever on the rear left of the machine. The next step is adjusting the rollers by use of the hand so that they coincide with the white markings along the cutting area. This ensures that they clutch the moving ridges. The piece to be cut is then placed under the rollers and then held tight by putting the rollers using the same lever at the back left of the vinyl cutting machine.

The cutting plotter will then display a message about the sheet unloaded, here select ‘piece’ and the machine will compute the width and length of that piece. Use the arrow keys to navigate to where you want the origin to be, then press and hold the origin button till an ‘origin is set’ message is displayed. To prevent your 12 inches copper piece from crumpling it is suggested that you prop up the cutter.

After finishing with preparing the cutting plotter, you can now connect it to the computer through a USB cable or Wireless activation. Information is on the computer is then fed to the vinyl cutter using a cutting program. Several programs are available in the market with the most common being Fixer Starter 10 and SignCut.

Product reviews of the best vinyl cutting machines

1. Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine

The Cricut Explore cuts the widest variety of materials. Cartridges are not mandatory for the cutter to function but they are cartridge compatible. This machine has $100 value of images and projects included in its digital database. Owners can also upload and cut their own designs including SVG files at no cost. The web-based software is offered freely and does not require upgrade fees.

Pros

  • The software is free and easy to use
  • The ability to try out designs provides an opportunity to explore the creativity boundaries.
  • It cuts the widest variety of materials.
  • The cutter is ideal for t-shirt printing due to its broad width of 23.5 inches.
  • It has a huge database of images and projects.

Cons

  • The machine needs internet connection to function.
  • It is hard to reconfigure blades so that they can be used on a different job.

2. Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine

This cutting plotter is able to cut a range of materials from vellum to textile with cutting sizes from ¼ inch to 12 inches wide and 10 feet long. The Silhouette Cameo has a ‘Print & Cut’ feature that enhances precise cutting around designs and images printed on a home printer. It is highly recommended for people who make stickers and printed iron ons. The Cameo comprises of a 12” cutting mat, a cutting blade and up to 100 preloaded designs to guide your way to becominga skilled vinyl cutter.

Pros

  • It is compatible with a variety of devices such as USB and SD card.
  • It is easily portable due to its light weight.
  • It comes with a month of free downloads from the Silhouette store when you purchase it.
  • It comes complete with both software and templates.

Cons

  • The cutting mat hardly remains sticky for long
  • It has a weak cutting force which causes occasional freezing while in action.

3. US Cutter 28-inch Vinyl Cutter Plotter

This vinyl cutter has two fully modifiable pinch-rollers that allow the use of a variety of materials besides vinyl. It comes with a dual position carriage where the front position is optimized for plotting with a marker or a pen. The 28-inch US Cutter is fitted with a blade holder that is Roland compatible. It has a media rolling system that comprises of a superior ball-bearing dual roller.

Pros

  • The superior ball bearing dual roller lets you place the material being cut on top of the roller, rather than through it, thus saving a lot time.
  • Roland blades are some of the most economical blades in the market hence no worry of breaking the bank when a blade breaks.
  • Easy to use program lets you go straight to work, facilitating time saving.

Cons

  • Setting up this vinyl cutter can take longer than anticipated.
  • The manual that comes with the product is seldom helpful.
  • The motherboard is likely to develop defects after a few months.

4. Silhouette Portrait Cutter

This is a light weight vinyl cutter that can cut a range of materials including clothing, cardstock, vellum, and transparencies. It comes with $10 download card and 50 exclusive built-in designs. It also has the capability to register and cut printed materials. The Silhouette Portrait is ideal for card and sticker crafters.

Pros

  • It is easily portable due to its light-weight.
  • It comes with a free Mac and PC software.
  • It can be used with a variety of materials.
  • It uses a USB cable for connectivity
  • It comes with built-in templates.

Cons

  • It can only be used for cutting small designs.
  • It is not durable.
  • It reduces the cutting speed when working on complex designs significantly.

Conclusion

The Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine is a fantastic vinyl cutter. It can be utilized for cutting the widest range of materials. It has a broad maximum cutting width that can easily accommodate t-shirts. It is cartridge capable even though it does not require one to operate. It is economical and easy to use hence making it a good choice.​

Thomas Roberge
 

This website was created and is supported by a person who has been in the business of working with power tools, dedicated to home improvement projects both professionally and for the do it yourself type of person.

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