Introduction: Vinyl Cutting for Begginers

The Camm1 vinyl cutter is made by Roland. They also make a small 3dimensional mill, and they are very well known for their musical instruments.

The vinyl cutter uses a small knife to precisely cut the outline of a picture into a sheet or piece of vinyl. The knife moves side to side and turns, while the vinyl is moved beneath the knife. What results from the cut process is an image cut into the material. The material is then 'weeded' where the excess parts of the picture are removed. It is possible to remove the positive parts, which would give a negative sticker, or you could weed the negative parts, giving a positive sticker. Removing the letters would be like removing the positive, giving a negative image of the word, etc.

Original artwork is better than copied artwork. Try to make your own, or get a friend to help you make something clever and original.

Initially, you will need to create a sticker of a basic design. Your name is a good first sticker. The size should be small, no larger than 3 inches on a side. Keeping your first images small will help you master the process quickly with a minimum of materials.

Step 1: Finding an Image.

Find or make an image that you want to make into a sticker. You can create an image with Open Office Draw, or Gimp. Other programs can work fine.Your image should be black and white with no gray for best results.

Save the image as a JPEG The software running the cutter likes to have a jpeg, Scaleable Vector Graphic (.SVG) can work fine as well.

You could also open with a preffered browser and copy and paste into the cutting program, which is in this case, CutStudio.

Step 2: Using the Software.

Open Cut Studio, the software bundled with the cutter.

Import your image. It should show up as a grayed out picture.

Right click on the image, then choose Trace Image Outline

A dialog box will come up, you can adjust the accuracy of the cuts by adjusting the values.

You will see an outline of your image laid on top of the picture.

Click the Move button on the upper right to put the outline in the bottom right of the design area.

Next, delete the picture.

Right click on the picture and choose 'Properties'

There are three tabs. For size, choose the size that will fit your sample piece of vinyl. The cutter measures in millimeters.

If you need to rotate the image to fit the sticker size, you can do that in the 'Rotation' field.

If you haven't already,  to put a box, oval or circle around your image to make it easier to separate later.

Step 3: Loading the Vinyl

Load the sample piece of vinyl into the machine. 
On the left side in the front and back are two LED 'eyes'. These are infared emitters and receivers which sense the presence of the vinyl. You have to position the vinyl so that it will cover these sensors. You also have to position the pressure rollers over the vinyl to make sure it will be able to handle the material. On the panel above the rollers, there are several white lines. The rollers must be positioned on these white lines or the machine wont run. Make sure the vinyl is running straight, or it may slip out from under the rollers. Flip the pressure lever to make the rollers press down, holding the vinyl between the rollers and the pressure bar. 

Step 4:

Check the display. It shoulde say Sheer unloaded intil you engage the pressure roller. Then you will need to use the down arrow to tell the machine you have loaded a piece or a roll. If you choose piece, the cutter head will move sideways, measure the space between the rollers, then it will move the piece out, the back in, then to its original position. This process used the 'eyes' to measure the height of the piece. you then should be able to see the readout on the display of the pieces measurements. 

Step 5: Cutting

 Press the Cut button on the icon bar.

The cutter head should then move side to side and the vinyl should move back and forth.

When the design is cut, you can use the arrow keys to move the vinyl out of the machine.

There is a groove on the front of the machine. Use a razor knife in this groove to cut the piece off. If there is enough material left, you can leave it in the machine for the next person.