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I have a Roland Stika-12 plotter cutter.  I use it to cut large numbers to put on the sides of cars for the dealer I work at.  I'm cutting one number at time, then line them up when I put them on the cars.  When I go to do a car, say "$35,900" on both side of a car, I cut "3", then "3", then "5" then "5" and so on.  After I cut six numbers I cut the length of vinyl, weed and apply the tape.

What I had been doing is just supporting the vinyl with a broom handle and hang it under a bar stool.  The problem was the plotter cutter is not strong enough to pull the vinyl off the roll, the plotter cutter's rollers would slip on the vinyl.  I would always pull out some slack, or at least try to remember to.  If I didn't pull out slack, the start point and end point of a cut would not meet, thus a waste of material and time.

I needed a cheap and easy fix.  I had some spare patio door rollers I picked up for a CNC mill project and it dawned on me I could use them to solve my problem.  I just needed a few other parts

Step 1: Items Needed for This

Items I already had:

 - TV tray that is made of wood.
 - patio door rollers (Lowed or Home Depot, under $10 for a pair)

Items I needed to complete this:

 - 3 foot length of aluminum L strip
 - 24" length of 1/4" all thread
 - four 1/4" X 20 nylon lock nuts
 - eight #12 X 5/8" sheet metal screws.

Aside from the TV tray, all of the other items was less than $20 total.  

Tools used were a drill and set of drill bits, a pair of pliers, hand saw, small clamp, and a box wrench.

Step 2:

I took the aluminum L strip, and cut two pieces about 15" long.  With a pair of pliers, I bent the tip of the corners up some.

Step 3:

I laid the all thread on the aluminum strip against the bend corner, scored a line and then drilled a hole just past the line (away from the bent corner) and then ran a screw into the hole, but not flush.  Repeat for the other strip.  The screw and bent corner will keep the all thread in place so it can't move.

Step 4:

This was the least fun step...  Getting the nuts with the nylon inserts into the correct positions on the all thread.  I started a nut on the all thread, using a pair of pliers to hold the all thread and wrenched the nut back and forth several times, removed the nut, then started it back on the all thread, nylon insert first, then worked the nut way on down until it was in position.  Slip on a patio door roller, then put another nut on and snug it against the roller.

Space the rollers as needed.

Step 5:

I used a couple of small clamps to secure the aluminum strips to the underside of the TV tray, put the all thread and rollers though a new roll of vinyl and adjusted the aluminum strips so that the vinyl roll was squared up to the TV tray and there was a small gap with a new roll.

Then I used a small drill bit and drilled pilot holes though the aluminum strips and into the bottom of the TV tray as shown in the photo here.

Step 6:

With the pilot holes made, enlarged the holes in the aluminum strip so that the screws would drop right in.  I also enlarged the holes a little bit in the TV tray for the screws.  I put a small piece of tap on the drill bit I used so I would not drill too deep.

Lay the aluminum strips back on the underside of the TV tray, the holes should line right up.  Secure with the rest of the screws.  I only used 3 screws for each of the aluminum strips, towards the weigh bearing side. 

Step 7:

With the aluminum strips in place, it is ready to use.  Just place the all thread rod though the roll of vinyl and then place on the strips between the bent corner and screw.  The vinyl doesn't slide around because of the then edges of the patio door rollers kind of have a bit of bite in the inside of the roll.  And then the bent corners catch on the threads of the all thread rod.

Step 8:

I gave it a test, cut a few bit numbers and they all came out perfect.  The plotter cutter is able to pull the vinyl off the roll now without any issue.  The TV tray can still be folded flat, and if needed, just remove the aluminum strips and it is a safe to use TV tray again for guest.

Side note, your wife may not like this project... something about "spikes coming out of" her TV tray may piss her off.  But fear not, a few beers later she will be fine.

Some foot notes, in my case, a new roll of vinyl is almost the tipping point of the TV tray with nothing else on it.  So I placed the cutter on the far side of the tray, away from the roll to help balance things out better.  And the all thread snags pants as you walk by.  I'll be cutting the all thread down so it doesn't extend past the aluminum strips much.

Good work!<br />

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