Introduction: How to Make Stickers on a Vinyl Cutter

Create your sticker image in photoshop.  Watch your image size.  I tried to keep mine around 4"x4". 

One suggestion, make your text larger than I did.  The vinyl cutter can still manage this size, but it takes  forever to weed. 

Step 1:

Find out what format you need to save your image as.  For me, .DXF worked the best.  In order to save it to that format, I saved my photoshoped image as a jpeg, and then reopened in CorelDraw. 

Once it was in CorelDraw, I saved it to the .DXF format to a flash drive. 

You can also convert the image to outlines, but that's optional.

Step 2:

Turn the vinyl cutter on.  The switch is on the left hand in the bottom corner. 

(This might seem silly to include, but it took me way too long to find that switch.)

Step 3:

Put the blade into the vinyl cutter.  You want to make sure that the blade is at the right height within blade holder to cut the vinyl but not the backing.  Once that's at the right height, loosen the locking knob on the carriage assembly.  But the blade holder in the blade holder slot (This is the larger slot.  The smaller one is for pen tools.)  Make sure that you push the blade holder down all the way into the stop.  There is a lip on the blade holder that will rest on top of the slot.  Gently tighten the locking knob. 

Step 4:

Take your vinyl and slide it under the clamps on the vinyl cutter.  Watch out for the areas that say "Do not clamp."  I used a larger sheet, so I clamped each on of the sides, and put one clamp in the middle.  I also found that working with larger sheets of vinyl was much easier than smaller pieces.

To close the clamp, pull up on the arms on the back of the clamps.  When you need to release them, push down again.  Make sure all the clamps are locked before you start printing. 

Step 5:

Go to the interface panel on the vinyl cutter.  Set the origin location.  To do this on our machine, you select offline (hit the "online" button until you see the x and y coordinates.  The Online button allows you to toggle between online and offline).  The left and right buttons move the blade.  The up and down buttons move the vinyl forward and backward.  Once you have your blade in the upper corner of your piece, hit the "Origin" button.  Then hit "Online" again and this will make this you new origin.

You also use the interface panel to change the cutting speed and blade pressure.  I found that a speed of 40 and a pressure of 100 worked the best for my project.  Any slower or faster than that would snag the vinyl. 

Step 6:

Open your printing software.  We use FlexiStarter at TechShop Detroit.  Go to File and select import.  I found that import worked more smoothly than open.  Then go to your flash drive and open your file that's in the .dxf format.

Step 7:

Go to File > Cut/Plot.

Step 8:

In Cut/plot, you can set up your cuts.  In Material, you enter the size of your vinyl sheet.  Mine was 24"x36".  I then adjusted my images to be just slightly smaller than 4" to ensure that they would all fit without going off the edge.  In "Copies," enter the amount of stickers you want to generate on this sheet.  FlexiStarter will automatically place them on the page so that they fit with in the dimensions of your material. 

I then went over to the options tab (the third tab over that looks like the blade tip without the plus sign by it.)  I deselected all weeding options, because, in my test runs, they always cut into the image.  Also, my image was so small, that they were not really that helpful in this instance.

Step 9:

Hit send!  The blade will begin cutting out your images. 

Step 10:

Once I had the printed sheets, I cut out the individual stickers first.  Then, I began weeding out the letters with an exacto knife.

Step 11:

After the weeding is done, just stick and enjoy!  (Or take to Burning Man and pass out to your friends!)