Please share your tip/trick that will keep this contour cutting catastrophe from happening again

RG

New Member
A couple of weeks ago, I had a 4'X8' print to contour cut. It was printed on 3M IJ180cv3 cast vinyl and laminated with 3M 8515 cast laminate. My plotter is a Summa D120. I loaded the vinyl in the plotter like a big sheet and fed it forward enough to see that tracking was OK. I sent the file and the plotter fed it all the way to the end as usual to make sure there was the proper amount there to cut and it started cutting. During the cutting, the vinyl became terribly skewed. Before I could stop it, it was cutting where it should not have been cutting. I reprinted and laminated. This time I mounted the 8' print on an empty core and put the flanges on the ends of the core and loaded it on the plotter. It cut perfectly this time. Yesterday, I had another 8' print to contour cut. I attached it to an empty core and again put the flanges on the core ends before loading it on the tracks on the plotter. It finished about 90% of the cutting and again became badly skewed. I DO NOT think this is the fault of the plotter. I think that the laminate is attracted to itself on the back side of the plotter where it makes contact and that causes the problem. Is there a tip/trick that can solve this problem? Should I not be using the flanges that came with the Summa plotter? Thanks for any suggestions.
 

GAC05

Active Member
I don't have a summa but I do have problems with contour cuts now and then.
I was cutting a big sheet of 15" round floor graphics and the stuff was so thick and heavy it was skewing badly enough after a couple of rows that it started to ruin the run. I had 10 full sheets already printed and lam'd so there was no retreat.
Is your cut just one big outline or are there multiple paths that can be separated?
What I did
Load the material run it end to end several times to check tracking and also have the grit rollers put some impressions into the material to aid the tracking.
Second thing was to pull the cutter away from the wall and drop the outer rails of the basket on the front and rear. This allowed the vinyl to slide down onto the floor almost straight out going both ways so it did not fold at all.
3rd was to slow the plotter to a crawl and back off the cut depth so the blade did not leave even an impression in the vinyl backer.
Last thing I did, that you might not be able to do, was go back and color code the rows of circle paths so I could cut just 2 rows then have the cutter return to base. Resend the job so it would cut the next set of 2 rows after re-scanning registration marks. This allowed me to check the skew and reset the pinch rollers if needed without losing the printed sheet.
Got the job done and only needed to reprint the 2 rows that died on the first sheet.
I print in Flexi and cut using the cutting master plugin for AI on a Graphtec CE6000 (their cheap model).

Good luck with it. I know it is no fun to take expensive printed laminated material on a one way trip to the dumpster.
 

Snydo

Member
I wouldn't reccomend using the media flanges with such a short sheet. They are awesome for longer runs, but they can cause skewing when your cutting the last few feet of a roll. Loading the media as straight as possibly is the most important thing you can do, and like Gac05 said...feed it back and forth once or twice to improve tracking.
 

RG

New Member
When you mention the laminate. Do you mean some excess laminate on one side of the print that hasn’t been trimmed off?

No, there was no excess laminate on either side of the print. That couldn't have been the culprit here. But, I can see where excess laminate hanging over the sides could be a very bad thing.
 

RG

New Member
Best option is to turn on the “panelling” on 4 points in cuttercontrol. It helps A LOT.

I'm using Flexi 12. In the Rip and Print plotter window I have "Panel Margin" set to 0 and the "Optimize cutting order: Optimize distange" function is not checked. Should those values be changed? If so, what is a good choice. One section of the print that I was cutting is a US flag which was about 6' long.
 

ikarasu

Active Member
I'm not too familiar with suma... But for graphtec we have intermediate marks. Where it'll put a set of marks to read every xx inches, I usually set mine to every ft since all you waste is a few cents in ink. are you using 4 marks (Just the corners) or more?

If the media is skewing it has to be getting caught on something... or one of your pinch rollers is at a different pressure. The 2 outside ones should be equal, and whatever inside ones should be set to light pressure.

Depending on how much margin you have between your crop marks and your image, it could also not be reading the right thing as a mark. At least on the graphtec... there were times space was so tight I had almost no space inbetween the registration mark and the image. It read part of the image, thought it was the mark and kept going...which of course made the beginning cut perfect, but when it got to the other side it was really skewed in its cutting. I'd sit there and watch, make sure it's reading the crop marks properly and not picking up a part of your image.


Again... not too well based on Summa, so sorry if any of the above advice is off / doesn't pertain to summa. We've cut 30-40 FT jobs without it skewing on our graphtec...and I hear summas track better, so you should have no issues with 8 FT cuts.
 

RG

New Member
Yes, I also set it to place registration marks about every 12" and the marks are about .5" away form anywhere the knife will cut. The plotter has cut perfectly since the day I set it up 2 and a half years ago. I have not tried to change the pinch roller pressure. Maybe I should look into that.
 

ikarasu

Active Member
The graphtec has a big lever in the back that changes the pressure...3 settings, low, medium and high. It's in the worst spot because I've had media thats curled go up, hit it, and change it to loose...then it of course skews because one side has pressure and the other doesnt!

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/830848/Summa-S-Class.html?page=38 It looks like summas may be hittable as well..

One of your wheels could also be damaged / causing issues...if theres a flat spot it wont feed equally. Theyre like $80 from a dealer... but you can buy them online for cheap. If you're plotter is a few years old and never been changed, it might be worth spending $20 to buy a set on ebay and replace them, it's pretty easy. Less likely to be your problem since it's not always tracking off and only occasionally, but for the price, it doesnt hurt to refresh them.
 

netsol

Member
ikarasu

i would strongly suggest the (more expensive) OEM rollers

in my much earlier business we serviced commercial and broadcast VCR's and studio equipment. my rule was any roller that contacted tape (SUBSTRATE, IN THIS DISCUSSION) should be oem. the rolands, etc have tapered outside rollers, which maintain even tension as your substate moves back and forth. replacing a worn oem roller with a chinese look alike can be the only thing you can do to inject a random variable and make everything worse
 

Reveal1

Member
I'm using Flexi 12. In the Rip and Print plotter window I have "Panel Margin" set to 0 and the "Optimize cutting order: Optimize distange" function is not checked. Should those values be changed? If so, what is a good choice. One section of the print that I was cutting is a US flag which was about 6' long.

We set optimize cutting order to 10"-12" which covers most lettering. Your plot will sometimes cut a section, then move as much as several feet to cut another section, then back to a section right next to the first. Optimize minimizes that random order, forcing the plot to cut all complete objects within that horizontal area, minimizing the movement vertically and thus possible registration issues, not to mention increasing the speed of the cut job as a result. If an object exceeds your predefined measurement, it will for example it will cut a 24" circle in it's entirety but then go back to the next object at the beginning.
 

Lindsey

Not A New Member
I think using the flanges/rollers and a core is a good choice. Make sure the pinch rollers and grit rollers are clean. Slow down the speed.
 

pkeshtgani

New Member
I'm using Flexi 12. In the Rip and Print plotter window I have "Panel Margin" set to 0 and the "Optimize cutting order: Optimize distange" function is not checked. Should those values be changed? If so, what is a good choice. One section of the print that I was cutting is a US flag which was about 6' long.

sorry for late reply. We don't use Flexi we use only but given that, we set all values at CutterControl and and in Onyx we choose to not override them! if that makes any sense! Its best you maximize the use of cuttercontrol and create profiles there so that in Summa panel you chance choose what you cutting and the profiles are always set there. hope that helps bit.
 
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