The Roland VersaCAMM Vinyl Printer is a high quality vinyl printer with a scoring knife. It can print on many different materials to create large format posters, labels, stickers, car decals, window stickers, signs, banners, and much more.
Requirements for using this machine at Pier 9:
- Take General Workshop Safety Class.
- Read through this Instructable.
- Do your first print with Shop Staff.
- Any print longer than 4 feet should be approved by Shop Staff in advance.
Step 1: Setting up the Printer
Next to the Roland are two rolling storage racks, with a wide variety of paper, sticker materials, spray masks, etc. Each printing material has a laser-cut wooden label with the material name, Head Height , knife setting requirements (high or low), as well as material cost. Please keep materials labeled correctly.
It is important to wear nitrile or cotton gloves when changing material. The oils on your hands can leave marks that affect print quality.
- Unlock the Vinyl printer by pulling up on the black handle found on the front left side of the printer. This will lift up the blue rollers that hold down the material.
- Remove the roll of Vinyl from the back of the printer and unscrew the clear plastic wheels from each end of the roll.
- Place the roll back into the storage racks and tape the ends, so that the roll stays together.
- Take the wooden material label from the front of the machine and place it on top of the roll.
Installing New Material
- Choose your new material, inspect the wooden Label for important information (Head Height, Cut Options) and place it onto the Velcro above the control panel found on the front right of the machine.
- Take the two clear plastic wheels and insert them into the ends of the rolls. Tap the ends, to make sure they are as far into the roll as possible. Next, tighten the black nobs as tight as you can, to secure them to the material roll.
- Take the completed Material-Wheel assembly and place it into the back of the machine. There are two Black rings on the material feed that can be adjusted to accommodate different material sizes. The roll should be as close to the back left of the machine (close to power switch) as possible. If you need to make the black rings smaller or wider adjust the ring on the right.
- Feed the Material through the rollers from the back to the front.
- Move to the front of the machine and while the black handle is still unlocked, you can move the rollers freely. There are 7 rollers and 7 potential spaces for rollers marked by blue rectangles. Rollers will only work if they are under one of these Blue Rectangles. If you are cutting on a material smaller than the 7 roller positions allow, you can remove a roller by sliding it down to the orange exit point. The two outside rollers have an extra blue square. The machine uses this blue mark, to measure how long your material is. So, you will want to have these two rollers on the outside edge of your material.
- Finally, once you have the correct amount of rollers, push the black Lever down to lock your material into place.
Print Head Height
Check the wooden label for your material roll, it should note High or Low. You will have to move the print head up or down depending on this information.
- You can change the height on the Roland printer by pressing the menu button on the machine control panel.
- In the Menu, scroll down to Head Height. Select this and the print head will physically move so that you can inspect it.
- Find the White lever on the print head, shown in the photo above. Pushing it down will move the head to a LOW height setting, moving it up will set it for HIGH. Accept the new height on the screen and you are ready to print.
Check Cut Setting
Next, check the wooden label to see if the material is a "DO NOT CUT" material. The scoring knife is only meant to score the top layer of Vinyl Stickers, so Canvas and other thick materials will damage the blade. You will turn off cut settings for those materials in the software section of this Instructable.
Check Ink Waste Bottle
On the Vinyl Printer, underneath the control panel, there is a plastic bottle for the waste ink. From time to time, this fills up and shop staff needs to replace it. Please check BEFORE you begin your print and make sure that the waste ink level is not above the line on the bottle. If it is above this line, please alert shop staff, so that we can quickly change this out and get your print on it's way.
- Most of the rolls are 54 inches, but I usually make my art board 52 inches to make sure it will fit. Always measure the material yourself as some rolls are smaller than 54 inches.
- Any print longer than 4 feet should be approved by Shop Staff in advance
- The most popular material at Pier 9 is White Vinyl Sticker. This material takes color well and is used to make Vinyl Stickers. It is easy to mix this up with regular white non-sticker vinyl. Check the label and then double check the material to make sure your are actually using what you intended to.
Some of the available materials at Pier 9:
-White Vinyl Sticker
-Black Vinyl Sticker
-Yellow Spray Mask
-Sun-defusing Car Vinyl
-Clear Sticker Vinyl
Step 2: Adding Cut Lines to your Artwork
VersaCAMM will recognize .EPS, .JPG, .PS, .TIF, .RVW and .PDF files. Use .EPS or .PDF if you want to use the VersaCAMM to recognize your cut lines.
Applying Cut Outlines
-The Cut Contour Feature is only for Vinyl. Please check the wooden tags on each material to find out if it is ok for cutting.
If you want the machine to cut the outlines of your work, you must setup a cut line in your drawing (aka boundaries or outlines).
Applying a Cut-Score Path to your Artwork:
- Follow these steps to turn a vector line, into a Cut Contour that the VersaCAMM will recognize.
1. Open your file in Illustrator on the 3D Printshop's Master Computer.
2. Open the Swatches window (Window > Swatches) and in the bottom left corner of the swatches window, there is an icon called libraries. Click on that and scroll down down to the Roland VersaWorks.
3. Apply the Pink "Cut Contour" swatch to the desired vector.
4. Save your file in a format that supports vector lines. (.EPS, .PDF)
5. Once you load your file into Roland VersaWorks, it will show a red, moving, dashed line around your defined cut area. If it shows a solid pink line or nothing at all, then the vinyl printer does not see your cut path.
As explained in the next section, you will load jobs with a Cut Contour into Queue B, and the cut lines will show up as a moving dotted red line.
Step 3: Upload + Setup your File in VersaWorks
To print on the Roland VersaCAMM, you have to use the Print Shop's Master Computer located on the Epilog Workstation.
1. Open up Roland VersaWorks and load in your file. Go to File>Add Job to Queue A or B.
Note : If you have added a cut contour. Load your file into Queue B, It will see your cut lines as moving red dots. If they are still a static magenta line, it is not recognizing your cut lines.
Your job will then appear at the bottom of Queue A or B.
Nesting : You can next files together which will allow you to print multiple files on one job. Select all of the desired files with the shift key. Right Click the group of files and choose Nest. These files will now be connected under a single print file.
2. Open up Printing Options.
Double click on your loaded file to open up the Settings Menu. A new Window will pop up with the following tabs:
Menu Options: Layout, Quality, Color Adjustment, File Format, Mark, Printer Controls, Cut Controls, Job Management, Clip and Tile, Variable Data.
3. Choose your Print Options
When setting up a job to print the most common menu options to use are Layout, Quality, Printer Controls and Cut Controls.
A. Layout Tab: allows you to set up the arrangement of your images on the print material.
- Media Settings - Turn on the printer and press Get Media Width. This will update Roland VersaWorks with the size of your material.
- Scaling - This will allow you to increase or decrease the size of your image.
- Print Properties - This will let you add copies or change the orientation.
B. Quality Tab: choose the Print Quality tab to choose the quality of your print and find out how long the job will take.
C. Color Adjustment Tab: these are simply Color, Contrast and Brightness options.
D. Printer Controls Tab: The most important area here is Cut Sheet after Output which will cut a line after your image to separate it from the roll of material. Do not use this feature if you are cutting on thick material such as Canvas as it will ruin the blade.
E. Cut Controls: choose your cutting options such as: Print and Cut, Cut Only, or Print only.
If you choose Print and Cut, it will print out the image and cut the defined cut contour lines.
-Cut Image Boundaries : This will cut out the border of your artwork. It is represented by the blue outline around your artwork.
F. Press ok to save your job settings.
VersaCAMM will recognize .eps, .jpg, .pdf, .ps, .tif, .rvw
-Note that you will need a file that supports vectors if you want to apply cut lines.
Step 4: Printing
Before you press Print, double check that your vinyl is correctly placed into the printer and that it is lined up with the blue rollers. Talk to Shop Staff if your job requires over 4 feet of Vinyl!
- Turn on the printer by pushing the power button on the control panel. If this doesn't turn on the machine, there is a switch on the back of the printer.
- In Roland VersaWorks right click on your job and press print. You can also print by going to Job -> Print or by clicking the Printer Icon on the bottom left of the screen.
- The printer may take a couple minutes to warm up and prepare before it begins to print. It will RIP the file first, and then print the job.
- If you have used anything other than standard Vinyl sticker. Please remove your material, place it back on the rack, and set up the machine with white vinyl.
- Clean up the area and throw away any scraps.
- Always leave the printer turned on!
- After printing, it is a good idea to allow large prints with lots of ink to dry before rolling or folding the vinyl.
- Longer prints that touch the floor will fold over on themselves. It is important for you to be there to guide the large print through touchdown on the floor and to block off the area (with shop staff) so users won't step on your beautiful print.
Step 5: Applying Vinyl Stickers
Applying large stickers can be difficult. They often get bubbles, wrinkles, or end up misaligned. A couple handy tips will get you closer to successful sticker sticking:
- Get a friend(s) to hold down the edges and evenly place the sticker on your surface.
- There are a number of different wedges, squeegees, and rubber rollers stored in the Lista cabinet next to the Vinyl Printer. These tools can be used to evenly lay down a sticker and work embedded air bubbles out of the sticker. Please return these items to the drawer when done!
- Spraying a fine coat of Soapy water onto the material surface before setting your sticker can drastically help laying down smooth vinyl. This works really well on metal and windows.
Please Post your creations to Instructables and have a great time using the Roland VersaCAMM Vinyl Printer!