View Full Version : Lining up vinyl

Scott Shepherd
11-12-2007, 7:45 PM
I have an 80 piece job that's vinyl on dibond. It's 2 lines of text, 1 1/4" tall letters about 25-27" long. The pieces it goes on are cut, and about 3 1/2" x 29". I don't have a great way to cut items super straight (or even close to straight), so I'm a bit puzzled how to do this job with the greatest of ease in lining each one up prior to sticking it down without having to measure every single one.

I've thought about putting something in the copy that would touch the edge or something, so I could align it easily that way.

I'm sure I can get through the job the hard way of just working through it, but it sure seems like there's a better way. I haven't cut the vinyl yet, or even started the job, other than open the box of cut dibond.

Any tips for doing this type of job the most efficient way? Am I off base when I am thinking about putting something in the copy to line it up? If not, what would be the best thing to do?

James Stokes
11-12-2007, 8:28 PM
I usually try to put a border around things like that. It makes it easier to align and looks better with the border.

Scott Shepherd
11-12-2007, 8:30 PM
Thanks James, I can't do the border on this one. I've been asked to duplicate something that already exists, so I can't vary from the format.

Joe Pelonio
11-12-2007, 11:26 PM
Scott, this wastes a bit of vinyl but overall the time savings is worth it.

On your setup create a 1/8" thick line above the top of the text, that would
exactly line up with the top of the dibon.

Weed and tape, then cut apart at the top edge of those lines.

When applying, line that line up with the top edge of the dibond, and every one will be perfect.

Just don't let the lines touch it after peeling the backing. You can even peel the line off before applying, since the transfer tape will line up.

Barb Macdonald
11-13-2007, 7:40 PM
We use jigs that can either be taped to your table, or made permanently using some sort of cheap base. It's great for when we have more than one to do, and we can re-use the jig for future orders, if we use a permanent base.
Place your piece of material on your base, table or otherwise. Tape some sort of stop at the top, and slightly wider than the material on both sides, slightly larger so all pieces will fit. Then we use another long piece of cheap stuff, tape it (on both "stop" sides) straight across the material. Draw a centre line, or a margin or whatever, and you're done. You just need to mark the centre of each of your strips of vinyl, easy enough to do, and line up the strip of vinyl with your centreline and baseline of text, already measured out when you taped the long piece (used as the baseline) down. It's useful to use a piece of silicon release paper as the long baseline piece, because letter descenders don't stick to your jig.
I hope that's helpful. I also hope it makes sense:)
Sign on:)
xenetech rotaries, the old darlings, epilog ext 60 watt (I do LOVE it now, thanks to the creek:), CASmate, (yup, really, dongle and all) corelx3, and a serious lack of wood working knowledge. We make lots and lots and lots, of whatever customers want!

Scott Shepherd
11-13-2007, 8:14 PM
Thanks for the tips, I'll be working on it later this week (it's part of a larger job), so I'll take it all into consideration. I imagine with what you all have said, and actually getting a piece of vinyl cut and in my hand, I'll be able to put it all together and make it work with you guys help.

Thanks for the input, I do appreciate it.

Scott Shepherd
11-26-2007, 1:20 PM
Just an update on how I did this and possibly some thoughts on whether or not this was an easy way or if I did it the hard way.

I took a scrap piece and put some alignment marks on it near the edge. Then I included a couple of alignment marks on the actual copy. I sprayed it with RapidTac and then applied it, lining the marks up, and then squeequing (sp?) the copy part. When I lifted it, the alignment marks were left on application fluid, so it was easy to just pick them up. I left that area really wet throughout the process, and only lightly sprayed it on the actual part.

Takes about 60 seconds to do the entire thing at the high end. Probably a little less. I only lightly used application fluid, so I let those dry and then just peeled the transfer paper off.

It ended up giving me really nice, bubble free lettering. Below is also a photo of part of the order. It's dibond, cut to rectangles.

(Click all to Enlarge)
Marks on extra piece.

The bottom of the white rectangle lines up with the edge of the extra piece.

Center mark.



Make any sense, or way off base?

Joe Pelonio
11-26-2007, 4:28 PM
That's a clever solution. I'm in the middle of a job doing 165 signs on PVC, and they are reverse weed (pull out the letters). In this case it's easy because I cut the vinyl 1/16" oversize and apply to meet the top edge, turn over and trim the excess off. If I were to cut it exact size I'd have to apply it perfectly and due to saw blade width my material might not all be exact. I timed myself and these I do at 3/minute.

What I described above is the same as this, except that you'd have to create that top edge strip to line up with the top of the material. What you've come up with works for you so I'd stick to it (no pun intended).

Scott Shepherd
11-26-2007, 4:50 PM
Thanks Joe, I'm always having to check to see if I'm heading in the right direction. I'm not from the sign world, or vinyl world, so I have to figure things out outside of that knowledge base, with the exception of getting help from you guys.

In some ways I like that a lot because I can just be creative, and in some ways, I wish I just knew the easy way to do it :)

Man, you're doing 3 a minute, that's rolling. I still can't believe how quick you can make money with vinyl. My cheapie plotter has paid for itself so many times, I can't count. Just the last job it ran, it paid for itself about 4 times, and only took about two total days.

If I could keep that puppy loaded, I'd be a happy man.

Joe Pelonio
11-26-2007, 4:58 PM
If I could keep that puppy loaded, I'd be a happy man.

This job is an example of what I get from parking companies, I have another right after it for 19 larger signs. I do work for 4 different companies, each has from 10 to over 100 locations that they run, and all need signs.

Look under "parking" in the yellow pages and look for local companies and send them a letter and/or brochure. Obviously that works better in a large metro area with a lot of large buildings with pay garages and lots.