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How to choose

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How to choose

Postby Daryl » February 22nd, 2012, 8:38 am

Laying around feeling ill today, thinking that spending money might make me feel better.
Still running the notion of a plotter/cutter thru my sick mind.
Whats the difference in all the names plotter, cutter,vinyl cutter, some print some dont.
I find myself getting confused.
Who can you recommend as a reputable company that can guide me thru the questions,the whole process( cutting mask for stone) what needs to be purchased ,etc.
Or a web site that is devoted to guiding thru the process.
Did Google search and just a bunch of advertisements, maybe not asking right questions.
Thanks
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Re: How to choose

Postby Inga » February 22nd, 2012, 11:41 am

Daryl,
Unfortunatley, this decision making on vinyl cutters is a daunting task for most folks, as there is really nobody out there (that I know of) that will take you by the hand and tell you everything you want to know and more. You will find individuals trying to sell "their" particular product, of course.

Look for a machione with tangential cutting mode, and if you are doing stone, look for a machine that will handle AT VERY LEAST 33 mils of rubber.. . .but you really want to be able to put 48 mill rubber in there if you are going for doing stone work. I would rule out the sprocket feed machines unless you are made of money, so that narrows it down a bit. Of course, they track the best with the heavy rubber stencils. . ..

I would also rule out the no name models off of eBay. The one cheap cutter that folks DO seem to be pretty satisfied with, is the MASTER cutter, but they do not have tangential mode (swivelling blade that makes for lean corner cuts on heavier materials)

SPEED means NOTHING for our work. Don't let them try and sell you on this, and you will not need a printing funciton uneless you decide to go into that business. Some cutters will have a pen plot function......this can be useful but is not necessary.

Sign Warehouse has (or HAD) a "Q" series cutter that was supposed to be a rebranded GRAPHTEC and I have heard a few folks very pleased with that machine, as the savings is consideerable.. (Sign Warehouse is notorious for lousy service though)

Maybe somebody else has some other tips to add. . . .
~Inga
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSJv5ta9hwU
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Re: How to choose

Postby Inga » February 22nd, 2012, 11:43 am

OOps...you didn't mentioned doing heavy duty stone work.....so why did I get that in my mind? :?: :?: You do't need to handle 48 mils if you are only doing glass, but tangential cutting is alwasy desireable ad a plus. Servo motors are also the better ones.
~Inga
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Re: How to choose

Postby KBrownlee » February 22nd, 2012, 12:35 pm

I agree with Inga! :D
I did cut corners in the purchase of my cutter...I have regreted it ever since. I would spend as much as possible on a great machine so that it will last you a LONG time without huge problems.
Just my 2 cents.

Kerri in Arkansas
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Re: How to choose

Postby Daryl » February 22nd, 2012, 3:28 pm

Thanks for the input

what should i expect to pay, $500,$700,$1000?
I really dont want used ( i need tech support and or as Inga put it somebody to hold my hand).
I dont know enough about what Im looking at or for to make a decision on brands, quality, material needs and cost of materials.
These are some of my concerns....
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Re: How to choose

Postby KBrownlee » February 22nd, 2012, 4:30 pm

I personally would choose new...
What you are going to pay?....low of around $500 high$ as much as you want to pay. My friend that has a sign and banner shop spent $2500.00 for his. BUT!!!! he uses it ALL day EVERY day. He has had to use mine on occasion...but, he really doesn't like it very much. It is loud and slow. Not what he really needs in his shop, but for me and my needs, it is fine as I do maybe 25% of my business in vinyl. SO...
Someone to hold your hand? Well, we are here to help as much as possible. But, you need to determine if you are going to do rock and anwser some of the questions that Inga has asked....then that will help us help you.

Kerri in Arkansas
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Re: How to choose

Postby JESS » February 22nd, 2012, 8:07 pm

Daryl-
I'm gonna hold you by the foot, and tell you that you won't go wrong with Graphtec or Summa. :twisted:
Jess
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Re: How to choose

Postby Kelly Harris » February 23rd, 2012, 7:30 am

I had a good experience purchasing a used Summa. It was about 12 years old at the time but looked to be in great condition so I went for it not even knowing what to do with it. I contacted Summa tech support and they were more than willing to help, they walked me through all of the free software I needed to download from their site to get it working and stayed with me until I had it operating. I was in my local sign supply shop the other day inquiring about parts for my machine, I was concerned that if one day something happens to my machine it won't be repairable because of the age of it. To my surprise Summa still uses most of the same parts.

I'd like to encourage used but I'd hate it if you found something that was a lemon. Something else I just thought of, that same sign store sells used/rebuilt machines and only the good brands. Perhaps check the stores around your area.
PS CS2, CD X4, Acer laptop, Canon 700F scanner, HP laserjet 1600 printer, Epson Stylus 1400 printer, Intuos 4 tablet, Letralite, Summa D610 plotter, 2 cabinets, 2 pressure pots, 60 gallon air compressor, Fuji S8100 DSLR.

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Re: How to choose

Postby bernie » February 23rd, 2012, 11:11 pm

I would shop the used market but know what you are looking for so you end up with a good piece of equipment. Check out
tech support for some of the better companies as they will become your best source of help. Don't buy 'made in China' as you will
not get tech support. I have the Allen Datagraph and their tech guys are excellent. I have heard the same for Summa
and heard good about Graphtec.

There are a lot of people out there that thought the sign business or sandblasting business was 'easy money' and jumped in with both feet,
spent a ton of bucks on equipment and then ... didn't use it. Or used it just long enough to discover this new venture of theirs is 'work'.
Their equipment is sitting in a corner somewhere.

Being in the right place at the right time doesn't hurt. Run an ad that says 'looking for ...' you may be surprised at the response. If
you get no response ... run it again. Craigslist is a good place to start as well as local sign shops. Shop carefully, when you find what you think is
a good piece of equipment talk to the tech guys before you buy if you have any questions the seller can't answer, etc.

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Re: How to choose

Postby Stroh's Engraving » March 26th, 2013, 10:22 am

Just my two cents. I can't wait to get a nice Graphtec or Summa but.... I have a Creation PCut CT900 That I got from US Cutter back in 07 or 08. I paid around $400 and this thing has paid for itself 1000 times over. There are some annoying features to it that I don't care for such as the knurling on the feed roller is spaced out instead of being full knurl which sometimes causes the Anchor heavier rubber to get off track. I'm just saying, its a decent machine that I didn't think would last more than a year but it's still my work horse. If you're looking to test the waters with plotting then give it a shot, but if you can afford it, I am all for Graphtec and Summa. Also, depending on the work that you plan (or even don't plan) on doing, get the biggest plotter your budget and space will allow and opt for the media basket as well, especially if you have pets. Nothing more annoying than your vinyl or stencil dropping down to the floor and picking up a ton of pet hair only to clog your machine later. :B:
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