Are the cheap vinyl cutters worth it?

Drewster2016

New Member
Hello all,

I’m looking for some input on if the cheap cutters like uscutter mh series are worth buying. I need to get a cutter for company to cut some vinyl to letter up a truck and some dumpsters. Do you think the mh series could handle that? Or should I spend more money to get a better unit?
I’m considering getting a 34in model.
Any input would be appreciated
Thanks!
 

Drewster2016

New Member
Do not buy that model. I've owned it and it stinks. go at least 2 levels above that.
I don’t want to spend a bunch of money for something I’m going to use one time to letter everything and then maybe once every few months. What model would you recommend?
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
I have the Titan II and is a great machine for not a lot of $

The cheap $300-$500 machines will get the job done, nothing wrong with them. They are just loud.
 

kheebl

New Member
I have the Titan II and is a great machine for not a lot of $

The cheap $300-$500 machines will get the job done, nothing wrong with them. They are just loud.

I agree they will get the job done, the cheap models have stepper motors so they are much louder, but will work. I started out years ago with a cheap Stepper motor plotter and it made me tons of $$.
 

Drewster2016

New Member
I have the Titan II and is a great machine for not a lot of $

The cheap $300-$500 machines will get the job done, nothing wrong with them. They are just loud.

for something that is going to get such little use I think a cheap one should be fine
I agree they will get the job done, the cheap models have stepper motors so they are much louder, but will work. I started out years ago with a cheap Stepper motor plotter and it made me tons of $$.
not really concerned about noise, it’s just going to be used to letter up a truck and a few dumpsters and then probably won’t get used more than once every month or so. If a $300 one can do it just fine then I think that’s the route I’ll go, I don’t have any experience in this so before I spend money want to make sure it’ll work!
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
The $300 steppers cut just fine. I had a cheap Signwarehouse one for YEARS and only retired it because I wanted a quieter machine. Quality of the cuts were the same. I've also used a $2000 Roland cutter and it did no different.
 

Notarealsignguy

Active Member
I've had the $300 one for about 8 years, sc or mh? The step up from the cheapest. I haven't used it in a while but it never gave me any trouble. My friend has one too, he got it right after me and uses it in place of his 4b for his own stuff. Another option is to find a local shop and just send them whatever you need. You're really not saving anything doing it yourself, even with a cheap machine.
 

Jeremiah

Member
My shop has 2 us cutter laserpoint 3. And 2 more expensive Rolands. All do the job great. BUT , if I were in your situation I would just have someone cut the items for you. Why spend for a cheap machine and material ? I can not see it being with it !
 

Drewster2016

New Member
I've had the $300 one for about 8 years, sc or mh? The step up from the cheapest. I haven't used it in a while but it never gave me any trouble. My friend has one too, he got it right after me and uses it in place of his 4b for his own stuff. Another option is to find a local shop and just send them whatever you need. You're really not saving anything doing it yourself, even with a cheap machine.
I contacted a few local shops and they want stupid money for just simple lettering. Just lettering the truck alone it would pay for the cutter. Then add in the few dumpsters, having my own machine makes sense I feel like.
 

ikarasu

Active Member
The more expensive machines track better. If you're just cutting a few ft in length a cheap one will work.

If you're doing 5-10 vehicles it'll likely be cheaper to outsource than to buy your own machine.


Keep in mind you'll also need to premask these to put them on a vehicle... If you have no laminator you'll have to do it manually... Not the hardest thing in the world but if you have no experience it's tricky.

But the cost of material, the machine, premask and time associated with learning to do it properly will likely cost more than outsourcing. If you're interested in learning I'd say go for the cutter. If youre just trying to save a few bucks... I'd calculate just how much you'd actually save and see if it's worth it to you.
 

Jeremiah

Member
I contacted a few local shops and they want stupid money for just simple lettering. Just lettering the truck alone it would pay for the cutter. Then add in the few dumpsters, having my own machine makes sense I feel like.
Dont go into detail on the job , just order cut vinyl and apply it yourself. If you walked up to me and it was easy, I would do it for less than your material cost Including machine.
 

ikarasu

Active Member
I contacted a few local shops and they want stupid money for just simple lettering. Just lettering the truck alone it would pay for the cutter. Then add in the few dumpsters, having my own machine makes sense I feel like.
Theres a few factors that play into this.

How many decals are you ordering? If you're buying one decal that's 6" x 40" and theyre using 30" Media... then they're charging you for 30" x 40", not 6" x 40"... etc. You have to use up all the material to get a good price.

The most expensive part in cut vinyl is the labor in weeding material... Ask them for a price on just cutting and you'll weed / premask it. They'll probably do it for a quarter of the price they originally quoted you if thats the route you go.

Are you comparing to the correct material? Most shops will quote you a cast vinyl since it's for a vehicle...I know we'd never quote or offer a cheap calandered vinyl. However if thats what you're looking up on uscutter... you can always ask for a calandered option. It's not the right material for a vehicle... but thats probably what you were going to buy anyways... So if you want a competitive quote, I'd ask for that.

You're likely being charged artwork time...even if it's simple lettering. Supply your own file. If it's a cut ready vector... they just load it and hit a button.


So in short... Ask them how much to cut some cheap, calandered vinyl, no weeding or pre-masking needed, with supplied artwork... Then see what their price is. Heck...you could even offer to supply the vinyl if you want it to go cheaper. Keep in mind it costs them the same amount in labor to cut 1 decal as it does to cut 20 decals... So the more you get cut in one go, the cheaper it's going to be.
 

Notarealsignguy

Active Member
I contacted a few local shops and they want stupid money for just simple lettering. Just lettering the truck alone it would pay for the cutter. Then add in the few dumpsters, having my own machine makes sense I feel like.
It may seem like that on the surface but in all actuality, the expense isn't the machine, it's the labor with file prep, measuring, weeding, taping, trimming and putting it on. Trust me, save the hassle and have someone make the vinyl and you put it on. You can buy a nice hammer for $25 but that doesn't mean that it makes sense to build your own house.
 

Drewster2016

New Member
Theres a few factors that play into this.

How many decals are you ordering? If you're buying one decal that's 6" x 40" and theyre using 30" Media... then they're charging you for 30" x 40", not 6" x 40"... etc. You have to use up all the material to get a good price.

The most expensive part in cut vinyl is the labor in weeding material... Ask them for a price on just cutting and you'll weed / premask it. They'll probably do it for a quarter of the price they originally quoted you if thats the route you go.

Are you comparing to the correct material? Most shops will quote you a cast vinyl since it's for a vehicle...I know we'd never quote or offer a cheap calandered vinyl. However if thats what you're looking up on uscutter... you can always ask for a calandered option. It's not the right material for a vehicle... but thats probably what you were going to buy anyways... So if you want a competitive quote, I'd ask for that.

You're likely being charged artwork time...even if it's simple lettering. Supply your own file. If it's a cut ready vector... they just load it and hit a button.


So in short... Ask them how much to cut some cheap, calandered vinyl, no weeding or pre-masking needed, with supplied artwork... Then see what their price is. Heck...you could even offer to supply the vinyl if you want it to go cheaper. Keep in mind it costs them the same amount in labor to cut 1 decal as it does to cut 20 decals... So the more you get cut in one go, the cheaper it's going to be.
I’ve done some research and since it’s for a vehicle I am certainly going with a cast vinyl, Oracle 751 I believe is what I was thinking. I wouldn’t mind having a shop do it if it’s cheap, but I kinda want to learn the process and do it myself, especially if I’m going to be having to replace the lettering on the dumpsters every so often.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
After reading your profile and reading your posts so far, you are not a sign shop/person whatsoever. Therefore, I find it hard to wanna help you in a decision like this, since you are skirting around the very people locally and asking professionals how to help you screw them. If you cannot afford to have something performed by a professional, how do you figure you can do any better ?? With an attitude like yours, you'll have a tough time being in business. Not to mention the way you tried to obtain your information.

Good luck.
 

Drewster2016

New Member
After reading your profile and reading your posts so far, you are not a sign shop/person whatsoever. Therefore, I find it hard to wanna help you in a decision like this, since you are skirting around the very people locally and asking professionals how to help you screw them. If you cannot afford to have something performed by a professional, how do you figure you can do any better ?? With an attitude like yours, you'll have a tough time being in business. Not to mention the way you tried to obtain your information.

Good luck.

let’s break down your comment since I believe it was unnecessary.
not once did I say I was a sign shop
I’m not skirting around the local people and trying to screw them. I posted on this forum trying to get some advice to see if getting a cheap cutter for myself would be worth it. I contacted a few local shops and told them what I wanted and they gave me a price, and after pricing out how many I’m going to need, I started to consider getting my own cutter to do them myself.
2ndly I didn’t say I cannot afford to have them done by a professional, again I got pricing and did some math, and if I got my own cutter it would be cheaper in the long run, plus I can make the lettering whenever I need vs waiting and making a trip to the shops. Never said I could do it better.
3rd. With my attitude, what are you talking about? And with the way I tried to obtain my info?
I didn’t realize posting on a forum to obtain info is apparently the wrong thing to do. But thank you for your reply!
 

Jeremiah

Member
I’ve done some research and since it’s for a vehicle I am certainly going with a cast vinyl, Oracle 751 I believe is what I was thinking. I wouldn’t mind having a shop do it if it’s cheap, but I kinda want to learn the process and do it myself, especially if I’m going to be having to replace the lettering on the dumpsters every so often.
You do not want to listen to the truth, everyone has tried to tell you. We all learn from mistakes. Now you Go For It ! I agree with Gino. Something is just not right here !!
 

Drewster2016

New Member
You do not want to listen to the truth, everyone has tried to tell you. We all learn from mistakes. Now you Go For It ! I agree with Gino. Something is just not right here !!
So the truth is having a sign shop do it instead of learning something and doing it myself? Okay
What’s not right? That I’m asking questions?
 

Notarealsignguy

Active Member
In the grand scheme of things, how much are you actually going to save? You'd save more sending a driver home early and you hopping in their truck for a couple of hours a week. Better yet, make sales calls in the few hours a week that you'll waste cutting vinyl.
You are missing the point. A big mistake in business is trying to do everything yourself. It's stepping over a dollar to pick up a penny. Focus on generating more revenue and profit, not wasting your time to save a miniscule amount of money.
I could save $150 a month by buying a dump trailer and hauling off my own trash, but why?
 
Top