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Not sure what cutter to get...


New Member
1st of all, I've came here off and on for a couple years, but finally serious enough to actually post and look further into this whole vinyl thing.

Rather than make another post in the other section to introduce myself, I'll just bore you with the details here instead :cool:

I'm looking to get myself a cutter mostly to save money (well, sort of) when I letter my race car. I don't exactly have any big plans to start my own gig with this, but I can kind of see doing a couple other cars in the future. I have some design experience (self taught) and I've made several designs for cars on the computer, and just gave the files to a sign guy to cut out. They liked that arrangement since around here very few sign guys like to do race cars, and I liked it because I got what I wanted (usually a good thing lol). Of course once I have a cutter I'm sure I'll find many many more uses for it... that might help me justify it with the wife. :thumb:

Anyway, since this isn't exactly going to make me money, I'm not looking to dive into the new cutter market, and definately not looking to get into the printer/cutter stuff either. Ok, well I want one, but the ole budget doesn't.

Used seems to be the best option, and occasionally there's some good buys out there. I've already done some research and quickly found out those "deals" that are on ebay all the time are junk, and that it'd be best to stick with one of the big name's to avoid certain frustration.

24"-30" would be as big as I'd need, I "could" probably make due with a 15" cutter, but why bother when there's hardly any price difference to go up to a 24".

Ok, so enough rambling for now.. my questions. Are there any good (brand) cutters out there other than Roland, Graphtec and Summa? I don't exactly have a price range in mind, but it would be really nice to stay under $1000-$1500, of course, less is better since I'll have to stock up on some vinyl too.

Thank you ladies and gents for your time and help!


New Member
Stick with Roland, Graphtec, or Summa. Not only will you appreciate the difference in quality, they will hold their value a lot better when you go to sell. It will be hard to sell a cheap chinese-made cutter (if you could sell it at all).

Roland, Graphtec, Summas can last 10-15yrs+


New Member
Why don't you just get a bottle of shoe polish and paint your number on yourself and save all that money??

Actually, the best way to do this numbering thing is to get an exacto knife and cut them that way. By a roll of vinyl and away you go. If doing a few numbers is all your really going to do you will not need a machine, and a computer, and a software package.


New Member
I was helping a friend find a cutter (he just got one) and Steve from Rayco Sign Supply has couple of 24" cutters... a Roland and a Mimaki I think he was asking for $800 or so for each. He gets them on trade ins and usualy lets them go very reasonable. He also had a 15" Stika new but out of box for $650. Try giving him a call if you did not find one already 773-267-5200.
Stick with your major brands as stated. I like my roland GX-24. Works and performs as advertised. A 24" cutter is ideal for racing... a 15" is way to small for numbers. Most rulebooks state a min. 18" tall number.

Stay away from the signwarehouse breed of cats cutters.


New Member
I have a ioline smart track85. You can make long runs with it, I like it. 34"
I have a Graphtec ce2000 its fast and cuts smooth , 15' runs at best. 24"
Also a ROLAND 960 thats still going 11yrs. 24"
They have all been good to me.
Do spend 1000 or more for piece of mind and reliability.
Good Luck!


New Member
I also have a ploter I am interested in selling and I have flexi 7.6 that I will sell also the plotter is a 30" vinyl express I have had it since 2001 I have original shipping box etc, also I am not that far from you if you like you can come over and check it out, also have extra blades cutting strips etc.. I think graphtec made these plotters for sign wharehouse, the flexi is a full print and cut version, if interested pm me //chopper
At the prices some folks charge, you could never save enough to justify the purchase of even the cheapest plotter. There's a guy on eBay doing numbers for under $20 and a ton of them for less than $30-35. If your goal is to save money, eBay is the solution. If these prices are "too high" then you are not looking at this very realistically. Neither are the sellers on eBay.


New Member
Since I do more than just numbers, I think it's worth it to get a cutter, but I'll agree, if I just did numbers, then ebay is the way to go.

Around here to get a car done (similar amounts of vinyl, time etc) around here will cost you at the very lest $500, usually more. Of course the big guys are doing wraps for $600 and up (heck one even does them for $450), but those guys aren't local, and they are swamped. I kind of like the vinyl solid color look better than wraps myself, but that's a whole other topic.

Anyway... the last couple years I've spent between 300-400 for my vinyl, and thats a steal, but I've helped him out a lot with other stuff, so it was kind of a trade job too. I think he's getting out of it, at least doing the big stuff anyway... I'm curious to try it and the price of the machines isn't too out of reach compared to several years ago, so it's easier to justify it now-a-days. Sure I'll still have the cost of vinyl (I'd guess around $200 at most), so I'll save some money, ignoring the cost of the cutter. If I can do a car or 2 a year that'll easily pay for the cutter.

Saving money is a relative term to say the least. If I was out to save money, believe me I wouldn't be working on building a new house and racing (much less both at the same time lol)... But by no means do I have money to burn either... just have to have the right balance. But... if I can get a new toy, have fun doing it and sort of save money doing that, why the heck not :wink:


New Member
if I can get a new toy, have fun doing it and sort of save money doing that, why the heck not
Your comment shows a complete lack of commitment and respect for what real sign persons are trying to do. This is not a game for most of us here. Your post is exactly why so few of us simply refuse to work with racers in any way. You brag about building a house, and building a race car, then tell us how you want to save a few bucks.

All you are doing is looking to push away a real sign maker to save yourself a few bucks. Why? They are worth every penny you spend with them.
Your buddy was doing it and now is getting out of it. Why? because he knows its not worth it to do it himself. He realizes there are better things to do with his time. I'll bet he spent a nice load wasting materials and time as wil lyou, Good luck.


New Member
Humm, I'm sorry I offended anyone (especially you Tech), I really had no intention of doing that.

I'll agree, you professionals do earn your money, and in some cases don't earn enough. There's no way I can argue that if someone wants a completely professional job (be it on a race car, sign, banner, or heck even a model car) they should call a reputable person in that industry.

Yes I'm building a house, and doing a good share of the work myself. Should I hire a HVAC guy to do the work, even though I do it for a living. Should I hire a carpenter to do the trim work enough though I've done it for years, have the tools and skills and time? Heck, I build parts for my race car, because I can. Sure I could go buy a bumper for it for a few hundred dollars, but when I can make one that's equal or better quality than I can buy for 1/4 of the price, do you not see a reason I should do it?

People who have hobbies are going to be around, always have, always will be. I built my own website, and it's far from the best, but hey it was fun, I enjoyed doing it and it's not the worst either lol. Sure it would look better if I had a pro do it! I enjoy working on my truck, giving it more power, adding useful things here and there... Sure I "should" take it to a qualified mechanic at every chance I can get.... but if I enjoy working on it, and have the tools and capability, do I really need a mechanic to install gauges when it would take me an afternoon?

I'm by no means trying to take business away from any sign guy, and if the comment of me doing a couple cars a year implied that I'm sorry, as that is very far from happening any time soon.

The guy who did it previously did it on the side. He was a sign guy back in the day, but wanted to work for someone else instead of owning his own business. Now he's some sort of water tech at the treatment plant, making way more money. No doubt he's getting out of it to have more free time, he used to enjoy making signs, probably will continue to make signs, just not as frequently so he enjoy the other things in life.

Every board is different, and believe me I did my best to not get peoples under-roo's in a wad. I think most everyone here is helpful and willing to help just about anyone with most reasonable requests (no doubt you are one of them). Please don't take too much offense to my wanting to get a vinyl cutter so I can have some fun and in the end make something kind of useful.

I'm a member of an HVAC board, and I understand there are lines you don't cross. I won't help someone fix something that could be unsafe or create condition. But at the same time, if someone wants advise on what system is best, or system add on, believe me, they'll get an eye full of words that hopefully are helpful. In a very vague way, it's the same here. If I was asking about a cutter so I can open up shop and show you sign guys "how it's done", by all means, put me through the wringer. But I'm sure there are plenty of people on here that do little things as a hobby because they enjoy doing that kind of thing in their spare time.

Air Art Girl

New Member
There are lots of great plotter in your price range. Stay with a professional brand. We have 2 Rolands and they are great.


New Member
gee.. i bought my last ROLAND PNC-1100 from a HOOTERS CUP RACER...who had the same idea you do!!!!!!!!!!
i luv it, since iam an old piston head kinda guy, been messin with racecars most of my life(why you think iam in the sign bussiness? i could paint better than any of the other guys))))))). and ive heard all the all the crap why you want to do your own letters....BUT....YOU WHO HAVE NO MONEY.....will go to the best engine builder in town and spend $1000's on drivetrain, tire, suspension...AND NEVER BLINK AN EYE WHEN THESE PEOPLE ASK FOR THE MONEY FOR THEIR WORK................BUT you all of a sudden become the CHEAPEST ARSEWHOLE IN THE WORLD when you want some lettering for this $1000's of dollars hunk of go fast(no matter how good the car is, if you cant drive it...it wont win)and now WE WHO GO OUT OF OUR WAY TO DO NICE WORK FOR YOU...get it in butt..CAUSE WE..........OUTA ALL THE PEOPLE YOU HAND OVER YOU MONEY TO TO RACE......we can DO IT CHEAPER....cant we????????
i love hipocrites...............or as we call em CHEAP ARSS B..............!!!!!
ive seen this crap to many times in my RACE LETTERING DAYS. i would go to shos to letter stock cars, and all i hear is man i paid $XXXXX for this intake, or i give $XXXXX for thes adjustable shocks, or man such a deal i got on this engine build cost me $XXXX good deal huh?
THEN WHEN IT COME TIME FOR MY MONEY.....puttin up with guys hammerin and bangin, weldin on the race car as iam tryin to letter it.........breathin their cigarette smoke and kickin empty beer cans outa my path.....I GET THE LINE ...I ONLY GOT $150 FOR YA... but ill get you the rest after i race tomarrow...... see what i mean?
OFFSHORE RACE BOATS....also like this. iam lettering one afternoon day before race its gota have numbers......while iam doin the lettering, UPS pulls up, drops off a box and the guy PAYS THE UPS GUY $750.00 CASH...for a set of stainless steel headers for a 454.........BUT WHEN I FINISH....i give him the bill.....and its CAN I PAY YOU TUESDAY..........IAM FLAT BROKE RIGHT NOW!!!!!! so dont ply on my sympahty on how EXPENSIVE WE SIGN GUYS ARE........


New Member
Man this is getting kinda far off topic.... guess I should have just left it at what cutter is best... no... that'd be about like the ford/chevy thing lol I've never said sign guys are too expensive have I? The I have no money thing doesn't stand with me... If I need something, I either buy it or wait until I have the cash to buy it. I never bargained with the guy who did my vinyl before, he needed some work done that I could do, so I did it, he chose to make me a deal on the vinyl. I don't go to the most expensive race shop either... Flame on, but a good friend has helped and taught me how to build motors.... of course I should have only bought a motor from an engine shop... never should have built my own huh? I have no doubt a lot of you guys have a chip on your shoulder for racers, as a lot of the stereotypes are true. I don't blame you for getting tired of the "I'll pay later" or "can't you do it cheaper" lines. I'm not one of those guys, and besides that, if I do my own car that's one less racer you'll have to worry about. I didn't expect to fit in around here since I'm not a pro sign guy, but man I'm really starting to feel like the outcast who's not welcome.