Vinyl Express Vinyl Cutter
|3D Printing||2D Cutting||Misc|
|List of All Documented Equipment|
|Hive13 Asset Tag: None|
|Make/Model: Vinyl Express Q60 (google)|
|Arrival Date: 1/15/2015|
|Does it work?: Yes|
|Certification Needed?: No|
|Contact: Fab Lab area Warden|
Fully functional. Donated by a friend of Dave B (Tony). Will cut up to 24" vinyl sheets.
The hive should figure out a system for stocking vinyl and charging for it (just to break even).
Install driver. Plug in Vinyl Express Q60 into your computer. Under device and printers you should see an unspecified ‘USB Printing Support’. Right click and select ‘Troubleshoot’. It should automatically install the drivers, and then identify the Vinyl Express Q60 under Printers and Faxes.
I use Inkscape 0.48.5 to prep my image, but you need a program to actually cut the Vinyl. I used Sign Cut, but Linux has a free app linked to Inkscape called Inkcut. Some people have had success in running Inkcut on windows, and there is a tutorial here. http://www.inkscapeforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=4987&start=100
To print an image using Inkscape and Signcut, choose any image, and open it inside Inkscape. With the image selected, go to ‘Path > Trace Bitmap...’. Edge detection seems to be the easiest to use, but play around with settings. The lower the threshold the more detailed the picture. Keep it around .5, but may vary depending on what image you are using. When you are done with that, select your bitmap image and go to ‘Object > Fill and Stroke...’. In the ‘Fill’ tab, click the ‘X’. This will cause your image to disappear temporarily. Now click the ‘Stroke paint’ tab, and click the blue rectangle (right of the ‘X’). This will render your image so that It can now be cut. Save your image (for Signcut, .svg is fine) and you can now import into your cutting program.
Once you're ready to cut, turn on the vinyl cutter. select 'Rear Set' (Roll-1 or Roll-2 doesn't matter for this cutter). If it's says 'Front Set' press the left or right position button until it displays the 'Rear Set'. Press 'F1'.
The next screen will say 'Press enter key after releasing media lock'. Here is where you can release the media set lever and adjust the pinch rollers. The distance between the pinch rollers determine how wide of a printing surface you have to work with, so adjust to the edges of the vinyl. I try to leave about an inch of wiggle room on each side. Once the media and the pinch rollers are aligned, pull the media bar back into it's default position and press enter.
The pen carriage will now calibrate and sense the cutting distance between the two pinch rollers. Once it's done calibrating, it will say 'Condition #' and display ready. Once you get to the ready screen you can print from your vinyl cutting program.
WARNING!: When on the ready screen, you can adjust the Force, Speed, Quality, etc. A Force of 14 barely didn't cut all the way through, and 35 ripped the vinyl. Force of 20 seems like the best average setting.
HPGL vs. GPGL - Inkcut on Linux
When using Inkcut from Code LV on Linux, I had much more luck switching the cutter and Inkcut to using GPGL instead of HPGL - the software doesn't seem to insert HPGL "pen up" commands and the cutter will happily shred the vinyl.
To switch or verify the command language used on the cutter:
Install drivers from sign warehouse or graphtec (The sign warehouses Q60 is essentially a re-branded Graphtec FC-7000)