Instructions for 2.009 vinyl cutter
There is a Rolland Camm1-server vinyl cutter available for 2.009 use in the Pappalardo lab.
This tutorial guides you through the steps of using the vinyl cutter in the Pappalardo lab, running it from the 2.009 computers. The vinyl cutter is located in the 2.009 computer area. If you're using a different set up or computer, you're on your own!
1. Choose your vinyl
2. Load the vinyl roll on back tray
3. Push lever down on the back left of the machine
4. Feed roll the vinyl through the machine
The edges of the vinyl need to be secured by the rollers. To grip the vinyl (so the vinyl feeds correctly and does not skew during cutting), the rollers need to be pressing down on the roll over the knurled sections, which are indicated by light grey rectangles above the rollers. In image below, vinyl is only under one roller.
The image below shows a good setup, with the roller near the end of the vinyl and also over the knurling.
6. Lift the lever to engage the feed rollers
8. Determine media size
The vinyl cutter recognizes three sheet types: roll, piece, and edge. For a roll, the cutter just measures the width and assumes the roll goes to infinity in the length of the roll. For a piece, the cutter will measure width and move the sheet forward and back over optical sensors to obtain its length. For an edge, the cutter will measure width and move the roll forward and back to measure the front edge. You will almost always choose edge as this option will waste the least vinyl. Use the up and down arrows to select what type of media you want the cutter to call this and press enter.
The measurements for an 'edge' piece are shown below. You can see that the carriage moves across the roll, then advances the roll until an optical sensor sees the edge.
9. Make note of media the width
The lab computers are set up with Adobe Creative Suite (CS6 or creative cloud). Illustrator has a plugin that will output vector artwork to Cut Studio (which is Roland's proprietary vinyl cutter software). It's a bit of a clunky workflow, but this tutorial should help you navigate it.1. Open Illustrator
CS6 or CC are fine, the plugins are installed for both.
2. Set up your artboard
Remember the width of the media from wen you loaded the vinyl? Set this as your artboard width. This will help you get everything to fit on the roll. Height is up to you, it depends on your design and is in the length of the vinyl roll.
You'll see a window similar to the image below.
As you can see, the heart from the design rendered but the text did not. The text is not an outline yet.
Select the text you want to render, and click "outline text" in the plugin window. This is the same as expanding its appearance. But if you add things like outline strokes to the text, you'll want to expand the appearance (fill and stroke) using Illustrator commands. The command in the Cut Studio plugin does not expand the stroke.
Now the text will show up as an outline (vector)!
The large button on the top left of the plugin window will output these paths to Roland's software.
Cut Studio will open and appear as below.
Go to File -> Cutting Setup. You'll get a window shown below and you want to select the printer as Roland GX-24.
You will see that the paper now shows its size as "user size". Keep it portrait.
The software will ask you about moving your object. Click Yes.
Now the software will show and image in which your artwork is at the bottom of the page. This means it'll be printed at the end of the roll, which is what you want. For mysterious reasons, the paper extends to the right and above much more than the Illustrator artboard size. But as long as the Illustrator artboard wasn't larger than the vinyl size, everything is fine.
Select File -> Print and choose Roland GX-24 as the printer. Like other printers, the job will wait in the queue until you turn the printer on. Once you have hit print and have the cutter plugged in, the job will start. You do not have to confirm it on the cutter.
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