Tag Archives: blades

The Sign-Maker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handy USCutter Infographic

Vinyl products can be seen everywhere, once you know what to look for. Stickers and decals on car windows and truck fleets, ads on work vans, signs and banners of all kinds, t-shirts and all sorts of apparel. Vinyl is low cost, easy to work with, and provides consistent professional results for all sorts of crafting and decorating projects.

It can’t be a secret what makes all these wonderful vinyl products possible. USCutter sells thousands of vinyl cutters each month, many to first-time users. Our typical new user has an idea for a product or project, did their homework, googled “vinyl cutter” or found us through Ebay.

But once the vinyl cutter arrives in the mail, it may not be abundantly clear how to start making wonderful things. DON’T PANIC! Everything starts with the vinyl cutter, it’s the star of the show. But there’s a whole supporting cast of loveable materials, and each one of the players has to work together to make the whole production possible.

This USCutter infographic [printable pdf] introduces all the major actors: choosing the correct vinyl, the right application tape, and cutting blade to make any project possible, especially ones you may not even have thought had anything to do with vinyl. It’s designed to answer the question: “What do I need to make…”

Etched glass window designs… Contour-cut digital graphics for stickers… Lettering or decals for interior wall decoration… Letters and textured decals for t-shirts… Long-term outdoor signs and banners…

Clues on how to approach any job.

Your vinyl cutter makes it all possible…

BLADE HOLDER 2015: Cutting Blades and Blade Holders

bladeholder41415Name’s Cutter. I’m a Blade Holder. It’s my job to hold up a sharp blade to a piece of material and make something useful out of it.

I don’t ask why. I’m just taking orders.

I have a variety of weapons at my disposal depending on what sort of material I’ll be working with that day. First off, I have a skinny deep blade with a 60 degree angle (shaped like a stiletto). I use this angle of blade on my vinyl cutter when I want to cut thicker materials like flock or sandblast mask, or abrasive materials like reflective vinyl and Siser Glitter. The blade doesn’t have a lot of surface area to provide resistance so it glides smoothly through the media. However, this means it wears out pretty quickly. It’s also good for fine detail work. I like to do a good job, and make clean cuts, so I replace this blade at least twice a year.

Then there’s my everyday blade. 45 degrees of sharp hard carbide steel. This is a shallower fatter blade so it wears longer with constant use. I use this on a majority of my cutting jobs, for indoor and outdoor vinyl graphics, and printable media.

A 30 degree blade is very shallow and flat, so it won’t cut too deep, and works well for scoring as well. Recommended for heat transfer vinyl, and sheer ultra-thin materials like window tint, laminate, and paper.

The nice thing about being a Blade Holder is that I’m adjustable and interchangeable. If you like the job I’m doing on a particular material profile (my blade depth is set just right so I’m not cutting through the liner or leaving behind unweedable vinyl) you can just switch me out with a fellow Blade Holder (who specializes in a different material profile eg. different blade depth and cutting angle) whenever you’re switching materials.

Installing and setting a blade on your new vinyl cutter is a crucial step for getting the most from your purchase. Here is a link to complete instructions for this process.

Certain Blade Holders are only compatible with certain machines, so refer to our website product pages when it’s time for you to add an additional or replacement Blade Holder to your operations.

The most common blades we sell are Roland Compatible in the 45 and 60 degree angles. USCutter offers a 6 pack (45 degree) or a mix (45/60 degree) for $14.95! If you have a vinyl cutter from the Graphtec Corporation, there are a number of special configurations for specific cutting jobs, with specialized blade depths and widths, cutting angles, and blade holders. This will be of interest to those in the window tint and other special markets. These products are also available through USCutter.

If your vinyl cuts “dog ear” / push up around the cut lines, you are probably using too much blade. Go to a 60 degree for fine detail cuts and sharp corners. If you are getting incomplete cuts or ragged edges along the cut lines, it’s probably time to change out your blade. Hopefully, it’s not too late.