Vinyl Printers for Sale

A Basic Guide to Vinyl Signs, Decals, and Graphics

Can the vinyl sign software you use create professional quality vector graphics? Many cannot.Personal Computer: The first thing you need is a personal computer. Today’s sign software is in the ‘Cloud’, so you’ll need internet access; broadband if possible. You’ll want enough processing power and RAM to run the software efficiently so look for a PC with a 2.0 GHz processor or better, 2 GB of RAM, and 4 GB of open space on your primary hard drive. 4GB of RAM is recommended. Your monitor should have a minimum screen resolution of 1152 x 854 and be capable of 16-bit color. Those are pretty easy targets to meet these days so you don’t need a state of the art computer.

An Apple MAC will work, but you’ll find that in the sign industry, you’ll have a lot more options with a Windows PC. If you’re a die-hard Apple fan, you can use Adobe Illustrator, but you’ll be limited to buying specific brands of vinyl cutters that come with Mac compatible plugins. Please click here to read more about those.

Signmaking Vinyl and Application TapeVinyl Cutter: We have a staggering variety of cutters available: too many to talk about here. If you don’t have one, you’ll want to start here with our Basic Guide to Choosing a Vinyl Cutter. Here are a few quick tips. For small, simple graphics less than 10 feet in length, a Vinyl EXPRESS R Series cutter may be ideal. If you plan to make small intricately detailed images, the Vinyl Express EnduraCUT 2 will excel by virtue of its advanced digital servo motor. To add longer jobs and thicker media to the mix, a Vinyl EXPRESS Qe6000 is the best value. We have over 20 other options, including plotters for high speed sign production, T-shirt transfers, contour-cutting printed graphics, automotive window tint applications, sandblasting, and more. So check out the aforementioned buyer’s guide or give us a call and we’ll try to find the best cutter to help you meet your aspirations.

Signmaking Software – The Secret Ingredient

“Starter” Package Perils: Most people entering the sign market either as a vocation or hobby spend so much time deciding on which cutter to buy that they give little thought to the software purchase. This is a mistake. Whether you’re making inspirational wall decor or commercial banners, choosing the right software can mean the difference between fulfillment and frustration. This is because the difference between good graphics and great graphics is often in the design.You don't need a state-of-the-art computer, but you do need internet access and a good processor The design tools are in the software, not the cutter. Choose wisely. Click here to view a summary of the various design tools found in our four levels of LXi Software.

Some companies offer trial or temporary software that has to be renewed every month or year. Or cracked and pirated software that could contain viruses and malware. Avoid this like the plague it is. You need real, professional signmaking software with the features you need to be successful.

Use your own software? Many people come to the vinyl graphics game with other software applications they’d like to use. The most common of these are CorelDRAW, Illustrator, and PhotoShop. Some of these applications will work. Others won’t.

Vinyl sign cutters use vector graphics, which are composed of straight or curved paths connected by points or nodes. It’s line art in its simplest mathematical form. These paths determine the motion of the blade on vinyl and therefore, the shapes the cutter produces.

Transfer or App Tape with SqueegeePage printers, like the one on your desktop, are driven by software applications that convert pixels to dots. These are referred to as raster or bitmap images. Raster based software is difficult if not impossible to use for vinyl graphics because its output is in dots; a form your vinyl cutter can’t convert to shapes and letters. The most popular of these raster based graphics applications are Microsoft Paint, Corel PhotoPaint, PaintShop Pro, and Adobe Photoshop.

CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, and AutoCAD are all vector applications that can be used with vinyl cutters. Depending on which cutter you choose, you may be able to send your artwork directly from the software to the plotter, or design the artwork in your vector application and send it indirectly by using a dedicated sign software (CAS) application like FlexiSign or Vinyl Express LXi.

Sending files directly from CorelDRAW or Illustrator requires a plug-in. These are most commonly found in brand-name plotters from companies like Graphtec and Roland. Sending files indirectly by using FlexiSign or LXi is a more common process that gives you more options in the brand and cost of the vinyl cutter you choose. This requires exporting your art in a common file format, then importing it to the sign software, before sending it to the cutter. While it can be done, there are tradeoffs. Producing the artwork entirely in dedicated sign software is the most efficient and reliable option.

Converting raster graphics to vector objects: Many clip art packages are provided in raster format instead of vector format. This means they print fine on your page printer, but not on a vinyl cutter. How can you convert these raster images into vector objects? Built into our LXi Expert, Master and Master Plus packages are an auto-tracing feature which creates vectors from raster or bit images. These are not perfect vectors, and often need hand or manual optimizing and tuning, but this feature can save you a lot of time.

Silhouette Silhouette Cameo Material Cutting Printer - Ideal for Scrapbooking, Vinyl, Stencils, and more
Art and Craft Supply (Silhouette)
  • Comes with:
  • x1 Silhouette electronic cutting tool plus accessories
  • x1 9in x 6ft transfer tape - BONUS!
  • x1 12ins vinyl roll. Any available color - BONUS!
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Avery Avery Removable Window and Wall Signage, InkJet, 8.5 x 11-Inches, White, Pack of 10 (22800)
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Coleman Cable Coleman Cable 03518 Flat Plug Extension Cord, 16/3 Grounded with 3-Outlet Trinector Tap, 12-Foot
Home Improvement (Coleman Cable)
  • Slim design reduces office clutter
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  • Ideal for small home appliances, general household electronics, entry-level computers, printers, adsl modems
  • Allows furniture and appliances to be tight to the wall
  • Less likely to be knocked out of the wall, children less likely to come in contact with blades

FAQ

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