The Vynil Cutter

Its Wednesday again people!

And we are continuing our weekly ritual of taking a Workshop at the local Fabrication Laboratory. This week’s attraction: The Vynil Cutter!

Happylab Vynil Cutter

It is a beauty. Kind of.

Its purpose is quickly explained, cut some foil following a Vector, a path. The reason for me even mentioning that it cuts along a Vector is for you to understand what that actually means.

Think of your Inkjet Printer, the way it works is that it works down its way on the sheet of paper that is getting pulled through by going in straight horizontal lines and ejecting ink wherever necessary along its way to create a picture, or text. The sheet of paper goes in one direction only. Those 2 factors combined limit the quality of diagonal lines to the diameter of the smallest stain of ink it can produce (the pixel of sorts). If you are a Gamer, think of it as diagonal lines where you can see the steps in them. (just put some game to a low resolution and turn anti-aliasing off and you’ll see what I mean).

A Vynil Cutter works differently, the cutter goes along a Vector. This means that it does not only go along the horizontal of a sheet of paper (in this example) and assembles a line by putting the ink in the appropriate place in said horizontal line. The cutter actually follows the line itself, moving the paper back and forth, making them as accurate as it gets, but therefore not being able to create as complex shapes as the other kind does or way slower at least. To get back to the videogame-example, it would be as if you couldn’t see the textures of the characters, but only the outlines (with extremely high anti-aliasing on).

Said technique is not suited to print out photos, but it is perfect to cut complex shapes out of a piece of foil. ;)

You can’t really cut paper with it though, so let’s take a look at what you can actually use.

The requirement for a material to be workable with this is that it has 2 layers, a layer of a carrier film, and a layer of the film/foil you actually want to cut.

You have to get the pressure the Cutter’s knife applies to cut through the foil, but not the carrier film. Which is easier than you might think, it is basically the same pressure for all the materials you usually work with (which is a foil to stick on cars/walls ect., and one to iron on fabric), if you have something special, you just have to do a bunch of test cuts, usually works out just fine and the machine itself has a function for that.

Vynil Cutter Workshop - The group

They call it the “Gateway drug” to Laser cutting

Most people use the Vynil Cutter in combination with the heat-plate right next to it.
What they do is, they design some cool T-Shirt in a vector program, have it cut by the cutter and then, well “stick” it to the T-Shirt, it is easy and quite satisfying, combined with really cheap T-Shirts, you can have a lot of fun with it for little money. (Be a bit more creative than just an “I’m with stupid ->” kind of shirt please)

Just look at the prices of these shirts, you’ll understand what I mean by little money then.

Shirts here!

And here is the textile film you stick on it, this is 50×50 cm and only 6 Euros, so, yeah.

Go ahead and create some incredibly retarded Shirts! The ladies especially love insider jokes and Math-Jokes (Mathematics, not Meth) dick jokes work too, trust me. Or not.

Happy Making!

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