Congratulations on receiving your USCutter vinyl cutting machine! Here is a compilation of some of the main things you might want to know right off the bat.
Your machine comes with a warranty that covers repair parts or replacements if something happens to your cutter. The amount of time can vary depending on the machine you purchased, but it is important to remember that the warranty applies from the day you receive the item and is only viable if you retain the original box and packaging. If you are not planning to use the cutter immediately, it is still suggested to open it up and make sure that everything is in working order so that you can benefit from any warranty repairs if needed.
Out of the box
In order to be sure you're properly using your new cutter, it's important to become familiar with it. Check out the online manual for your unit using the following links, which also can include stand construction and start-up videos. Some of the information in this article is also covered in these manuals.
|MH mk2||SC2||Laserpoint 3||Titan|
Cutting for the first time
Performing your cutter's first test cut will help you get used to the various settings involved before starting your personal projects. A successful cut means you can smoothly remove the excess parts of the vinyl, known as weeding. A successful cut is a combination of blade length, pressure/force setting, cut speed, and the type of vinyl being cut.
Generally, you will not want your blade to be sticking out further from the blade holder than half the thickness of a credit card. You want it to match the thickness of of the material you are cutting.
You can use the arrow keys on your cutter to adjust the pressure/force and the cut speed. The pressure controls how hard the carriage arm pushes the blade down onto the material, and the speed controls how fast the carriage and feed rollers move in unison to cut the design.
While we do not have specific pressure settings for cutting specific material, there is a general range you can start with before using the test option to dial in the appropriate settings. MH, SC, Laserpoint 2, and Titan will generally want to operate in the 80g-100g pressure range when cutting regular vinyl. Titan 2 and Titan 3 will operate in the 57g-60g for the same material.
Speed depends more on the type of design you are cutting. If you are cutting large or blocky objects, you can use higher speeds. If you are cutting smaller or more intricate objects then it is suggested to use slower speeds. Generally, starting around 300mm/s and then adjusting from there depending on the outcome is a good practice.
Placing your vinyl
Material placed in the machine is controlled by the movement of the feed rollers translated through the pinch rollers locked down on top of them. Some cutters have very specific feed roller locations and therefore have very specific pinch roller locations. If the pinch rollers are locked down on a location that is not a feed roller, it can prevent smooth motion of vinyl through the machine. Some feed rollers are not strong enough to pull directly from rolls of vinyl, and in some cases you will want to give the vinyl slack to make sure the motors can pull the material smoothly.
There isn't a "correct" location to place your vinyl; just make sure there are at least two pinch rollers locked down on it (generally near the edges), with more pinch rollers increasing stability. You can use the cutter's origin point setting to start cutting from any location (more on this shortly).
Even if the vinyl looks evenly placed, it might have a noticeable shift on longer projects. Your cutter has an offline/jog mode that allow you to use the arrow keys to move the carriage and feed rollers. This is either attained by using the Offline button (on MH mk2 and Titan) or hitting Enter while Local is selected (on SC and Laserpoint 2), and while in this mode your cutter will not receive cut data from the computer. Using these up and down arrows lefts you move the vinyl in and out, allowing you to check for feeding issues or to see if the vinyl angles some over a distance, giving you the opportunity to even this out before a longer job.
While in offline/job mode, you can use the arrows to move the carriage and material to where you want the blade to start cutting. Hitting Origin (on MH mk2), pressing Enter while Current is selected (on SC and Laserpoint 2), or Enter (on Titan) will set this location as the origin point where the machine will start cutting from.
Now that everything is configured you can do your first cut. Using the Test button (on MH mk2 and Titan) or hitting Enter while Test is selected (on SC and Laserpoint 2) your machine will perform a small test cut. Pulling out the material inside the square but leaving the interior object should allow you to verify that the settings are proper for smooth weeding. If this is not the case you can make adjustments to blade, pressure, and speed until the test cut pulls properly. If the blade goes through the backing of the material it is an indicator that you will need to reduce those settings.
If you are cutting adhesive vinyl you will want the gloss side up. If you are cutting heat transfer vinyl you will want the gloss side down.
Connecting to your computer
The main use of your cutter will be jobs you send from the cut software. Properly connecting your machine will reduce potential cut issues.
The main method you will be connecting with will be the USB printer cable, a similar cable to those also used with your printers and other devices. The cutter may also come with another cable, a 9-pin null modem serial cable. This will often not be used as computers rarely have connectors for these and might need a serial-to-USB adaptor to properly connect with. While you may not use this cable it is a good idea to keep it stored somewhere in case you need it in the future.
It is strongly suggested that you set up the cutter in a location that limits tripping over these cables as it could potentially damage your machine if that happens.
Installing your cut software
You will likely either have VinylMaster Cut or Sure Cuts A Lot Pro 3. Both are compatible with Windows PC and Sure Cuts A Lot is also compatible with Mac OS.
This software information will come on a product card, a smallish cardboard card with the VinylMaster logo on one side and the PSN and download location on the other side.
Here is the download location for VinylMaster Cut
|Sure Cuts A Lot Pro 3
This software comes on a disc with the serial number printed on the back of the case.
If you need to download the software you can do it here
Installing driver for your machine
Generally the driver will be handled by the installation of the cut software
Sending your first job to cut
Now that your machine is connected and your software is set up you will want to ensure the cut software has the correct information in it.
The connections in VinylMaster are under the Vinyl Spooler, you can get there by going to File > Cut/Plot > Vinyl Spooler or the Launch icon (space shuttle) -> Vinyl Spooler. On the right of the Vinyl Spooler is the Connection tab and you will want to make sure that the profile for your cutter is there. The connection method should be Direct USB Port, except for SC and Laserpoint 2 which should be Direct COM Port. Then just make sure that the USB Port or Port match the connection you have with the cutter while it is powered on (either an alphanumeric string or a COM#).
The connections in Sure Cuts A Lot can be reached by clicking on the Cut With Cutter icon (paper with scissors) or by going to Cutter > Cut With Cutter. Once this window is open you will want to make sure the Model matches your cutter and it is set to USB for the connection method, except for SC and Laserpoint 2 which should be Serial (COM) - Mac OS will only have USB as the option here and that is fine for all machines.
Initially sending over some text or a simple object created in the software is a good way to make sure your cutter is receiving data properly. Once the design is on the document, in VinylMaster you can select File > Cut/Plot > Send to Cutter or the Sent to Cutter icon (blade holder) or with Sure Cuts A Lot the Cut With Cutter icon (paper with scissors) or by going to Cutter > Cut. Make sure that the object you want to cut is in the preview window before you cut it then click the Cut Now or Cut button.
Cutting your own files
Now that you know how to cut with your software you will want to access your files for personal projects.
You can bring a multitude of files into the cut software to cut with your machine. There are a few ways to do this depending on the file type. The File > Open option is primarily for opening up files saved in the natural cut software format and generally used with projects you have already created so you do not have to worry about converting them again. File > Import allows you to bring a large variety of files into the document in their original format, often ready to cut with your machine.
The final way to bring a file over allows you to convert images into a line, or vector, format to cut with your cutter. This allows you to use Google image search as your image library. In VinylMaster use the Image > Vectorize (Trace) Image option and in Sure Cuts A Lot use File > Trace Image or the Trace Image icon (green field with single tree).
Introducing VinylMaster Cut by Future Corporation
Sure Cuts A Lot Video Tutorials by SVG Cuts
Common Day 1 issues with your vinyl cutter
Carriage off track
Sometimes during shipping the carriage can get popped the track it moves on. A myriad of cut issues can occur if the carriage is not solidly connected. You can tell a carriage if off track as you will see the back wheels off the groove they fit into, the carriage might feel loose or wiggly, the carriage might look like it is tilted in one direction, or a loud noise is coming from the machine when powered on. Pushing the wheels back into their groove is usually all it takes to resolve this issue.
While your machine is in offline or jog mode, it will not receive jobs sent from the cutting software. If you send a project and it does not cut, check to make sure that it is not in offline mode. Usually there is a light next to the Offline button or the control panel will display Origin Current On (for SC and Laserpoint 2) when it is in this mode. Hitting Reset or setting the Origin point are the easiest ways to exit offline mode.
Guides for other issues are included in this support site
If there are other strange things happening or something does not seem to be operating correctly we have a selection of other support articles for your machine that you can check out elsewhere in this support center.
You can also check with our Technical Support team by submitting a ticket for general concerns, or starting a chat or giving us a call for more pressing issues.
Submit a ticket through the button at the top of this support site.
Support can be reached at 1-425-481-3555 and is available Monday through Friday, 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM Pacific time zone.