Introduction: Pier 9 Guide: Roland VersaCAMM Vinyl Printer
This Instructable is for Workshop Users at Pier 9.
Requirements for using this machine at Pier 9:
- Take General Workshop Safety Class.
- Read through this Instructable.
- Do your first print with Shop Staff.
- Note: Any print longer than 4 feet should be approved by Shop Staff in advance.
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.
Step 1: Setting Up the Printer
We store our print materials on two rolling carts.
- Each roll of material should have a wooden tag with : Material Name, Head height, Cut options.
- Please keep material labeled correctly.
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, by lifting up a corner, to make sure your are actually using sticker material.
Removing the Material roll
It is important to wear nitrile gloves when changing material.
The oils on your hands can leave marks that affect print quality.
- The black lever on the front left side of the machine, unlocks the rollers.
- Walk to the back of the machine and lift the material out of the machine.
- Rest one end on the ground, unscrew the black nob on the Material wheel to release and remove the Material Wheel. Flip the material and unscrew and remove the other material wheel.
- Place the roll back into the storage racks and tape the material to it's self, 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.
- Two black rings can be moved to sandwich the Wheeled material asembly.
- Feed the Material through the rollers from the back to the front. Print side facing up.
- Setting up the Rollers : Maker sure the black lever is in the up position (Unlocked). There are 7 rollers that hold down the material. Each roller has to be under one of the blue strips found above the rollers. The two end rollers should have an extra blue square on them. The machine reads these squares to determine the edge of the print area. Make sure these are on the edge of your material. If you are using a smaller material, you may need to remove some of the rollers by sliding them over to the orange zone and pulling the extras out.
- Lock the material : Once all the rollers are in the correct position (Under the blue rectangles). And the end rollers are on the edge of your material, lower the black lever (Found on the front left).
- Once the material is locked down, the machine will measure the distance between the two edge rollers. If installed correctly, the machine will display the correct distance between the two edge rollers, signifying your print area.
Note : Some material rolls are really heavy! You may need a second person to safely remove the material. Also, if the roll is extremely heavy, it may cause an error in the motors, you can prevent this by manually unspooling some of the material in the back of the machine, so the motors won't have to pull on the whole roll.
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.
- Menu > 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. Physically push this down or up to correspond with high or low.
- Accept the new height on the screen.
Check Cut Setting
The machine has two blades.
Scoring Blade : This will score custom shapes in our vinyl sticker material that have a backing.
Cutting Blade : This will cut a straight line across Paper or Vinyl and remove your print job from the roll.
Do not cut! Many thicker materials can not be cut, check the wooden label and make sure cut options are turned off, do this in Roland Versa Works Software.
Check Ink Waste Bottle
If you see a message saying check, or change Ink Waste Bottle, grab shop staff.
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 VersaCAMM to recognize your cut lines.
Applying Cut Outlines
-The Cut Contour Feature is only available for Vinyl stickers. Please check the wooden tags on each material to find out if the Roland can score it.
If you want the machine to score the outlines of your work, you must setup a cut line in your drawing in Illustrator(aka boundaries or outlines).
Applying a Cut Contour 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 any of the 3D Printshop's computers.
2. Open the Swatches window (Window > Swatches) and in the bottom left corner of the swatches window, there is a small icon called libraries. Click on that and scroll down down to the Roland VersaWorks.
3. Select the desired vector and apply the pink cut contour swatch color to the stroke of the line.
5. Make sure your cut lines are on the top layer of your document.
6. When saving as an .EPS, Make sure to uncheck "Convert a stroke to an outline". To do this, save the file, and in the saving options, under Transparency - > Custom. A box will open up and you can uncheck "Convert a stroke to an Outline". If this option is grayed out, skip this step and save your file.
7. When saving as a .PDF. Save as Acrobat 4(PDF 1.3). In advanced tab, click custom and uncheck "Convert a stroke to an outline. If this option is grayed out, skip this step and save your file.
9. Once you load your file into Roland VersaWorks, check the settings of your document. The cut line will show up as 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.
- If you are having problems sending your file, you can convert your file to raster in Illustrator. Effects -> convert to raster.
- The knife does not cut perfectly. Because of this, you will want your artwork to fill past your cutline. You can apply an offset in Illustrator by selecting the shape / Artwork and going to Objects > Path > Offset Path.
Step 3: Upload + Setup Your File in VersaWorks
Upload and Setup of your File
Roland VersaWorks is loaded on all 8 of the Printshop's main computers.
1. Open up Roland VersaWorks and load in your file. Go to File>Add Job to Queue A or B.
No difference between Queue A or B
Your job will then appear at the bottom of Queue A or B.
Nesting : You can nest 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 Print Settings
Double click on your loaded file to open up the Job Settings Window
In your Job Settings window, you will need to check settings in the following four tabs :
3. Print Settings
When setting up a job to print the most common menu options to use are Layout, Quality, Printer Controls and Cut Controls.
A. Layout: allows you to set up the arrangement of your images on the print material.
- Click Get Media Width : This will set your media size to match the measurement on the Roland VersaCamm
- 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.
- Choose the closest material to match your material : Generic Vinyl 1 = Vinyl Stickers
- Print Quality : Choose High Quality, Standard or High Speed. This tells you how long your print will be.
C. Printer Control:
- If you are using a "do not cut" material like canvas, make sure cut sheet after output unchecked. You will use scissors to remove the print from the roll at the end of your job.
- If your material is ok to cut (Paper/vinyl) you can check Cut Sheet after Output which will use the cutting blade to remove the material from the roll.
- Tip : I tend to always leave this option unchecked. Then, once the job is done, I can manually tell the machine to cut off my finished job by going to Function > Sheet Cut. That way you can grab your material before it falls on the ground and get's dirt stuck to your print job.
D. Cut Controls:
Operation Mode : Choose the correct Option for your Job : Print and Cut or Print or Cut only.
Cut Image Boundaries : If you check this button, the machine will score the outside square of your file. This square is represented by a blue box. This can be useful if you want to cut out a Jpg picture and don't want to apply a cut contour to it.
F. Press ok to save your job settings.
Step 4: Printing
Before you press Print, double check that your vinyl is correctly placed into the printer and that it lines 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.
Spraying a coat of Soapy water onto the material surface before setting your sticker can drastically help laying down smooth vinyl. We have a red Spray bottle with soapy water for your use.
- 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.
Please Post your creations to Instructables and have a great time using the Roland VersaCAMM Vinyl Printer!