View Full Version : Plotter cutter for vinyl

Brent Vander Weil
11-01-2007, 10:28 PM
Anyone out there recently bought a plotter cutter for vinyl? I want to get a 24" model and if anyone has a gently used one PM me and lets talk. What features and bells and whistles are necessary and job time savers and which ones are fluff to make the features catagory on the brochure longer? :-)

Joe Pelonio
11-02-2007, 8:28 AM
I have 3 of them currently, all have the same basic features. Usually the "extras" have no affect on what you can do with it, but are just nice to have. For example the Gerber by Mutoh has an automatic sheet cutter. After the cutting is done it will cut off the material for you and it drops onto the floor.

Then there's more or less information available on the LED screen.

The differences between them are mostly quality, how accurate they are and how long they last, the speed at which they cut, tractor feed vs friction feed, and the width of the material they can cut.

Tractor feeds require a perforated edge vinyl, and are not worth it unless you are doing a lot of very long runs of 20-30 feet or more.

My Gerber 24" cost $6,000, the Graphtec 30" $3,000, and the Copam 24" $600.

The Gerber lasted 4 years before needing a major repair. The Graphtec is going on 5 years with no problems at all, and it runs all day most days. The Copam is less ecxpensive (made in China) and I use it when I have lots to do and can use 24" vinyl. So far it's been a great machine for the money.

Whatever you get make sure that it's capable of cutting sandblast rubber stencil, and doing pen plotting as well as cutting. Also it's a plus if it comes with software that allows you to create and cut, or to at least import and cut Corel and other standard vector files.

Brent Vander Weil
11-03-2007, 8:05 PM
As usual Joe you have imparted a wealth of knowledge to my shop development process... I see there is kind of a wide range there... I actually started working for one of my clients in a sign shop on a temporary full time basis and have been working with vinyl almost exclusively... I always thought it was tough to work with and hard to apply... but with the right tools and patience it is really not too bad... we were using a Graphtec there, but it just died a couple of days ago... not sure what the replacement will be, but it too was 5-6 years old and had never even hiccuped so it seems like a good brand...

I had been looking at a Roland CAMM-1 also... looks like it can be had for around $1700... ever had any experience with there products?

Joe Pelonio
11-05-2007, 8:12 AM
I have never owned a Roland, but from people that have it seems to be a mid-range machine in quality and price, probably better for a small startup shop, not really a 8hr/day workhorse.

Brent Vander Weil
11-07-2007, 10:52 PM
Well Joe I decided to go with a package from SignWarehouse.com and got a Graphtec 24" CE5000-60 Model. I went with the top level package they offered mainly to get the Vinyl Express Master Plus software... The program seems to be fairly inclusive of the features and design capabilities I want to have. They throw in a few graphics packages that look interesting too, I figured for the difference in $ I may as well go the distance... now to figure out the world of plotting and melding it into my laser world... I plan to use it for making the layout templates for my acrylic letter signs alot too... just have to figure out how to get everyhing to go to the right place and print so everything is correct... LOL oh well it's always a challange.

Thanks again for your input Joe... always appreciate it!


Joe Pelonio
11-08-2007, 8:12 AM

Not quite the adventure that a laser is, but still a fun new experience.

For acrylic letter installation templates I cut card stock on the laser for smaller ones, they can be taped together if a bit larger. For really big ones I too use the plotter with a pen and 24" paper. What I do is to plot the layout in actual size, then cut it off about 1/4" above the bottoms of the letters. Tape that bottom strip to the wall level, and just make sure that none of the adhesive or 2-sided foam tape goes to the bottom where it would stick to the paper.