I have been recently playing with a lot of vinyl due to acquiring a 15" plotter. I would like to start experimenting with printing on vinyl. My question is, what is the process like?
1.) Do you print to master sheets and then cut, or cut and then print individually?
2.) How do you die cut in the first place? I attempted to drop the blade as low as it could go to get through the backing on the vinyl, and it did not produce very good results. What kind of die-cutting machines for vinyl are out there?
I am currently wanting to stick to basics, squares, rectangles, and circles.
Plotters aren't made to cut all the way through the backing. They are only supposed to cut the vinyl part. If you want to attempt die cut printing, try using the plotter to cut a shape (say a circle or something) ganged up 4 x 4 or so. Then peel out the background leaving your shapes. This makes it easier to line up your screen. Print on the shapes and cut everything out (not the circle but a square around the circle) with an exacto. Your design will still be a circle but it will have a square border of backing. If you try cutting out everything to the edge, you'll be staring at a total headache.
I've done only a couple using a sign writer-friends flat-bed plotter. (sounds kinky i know)
I printed as many as would fit on the sheet, plus a couple of reference marks (regs will do) then, using the original layout document, created vector paths with as few anchor points as possible for each sticker (this sped up the cutting), popped it on the plotter/cutter thing, registered the knife on the reference marks and pushed GO! each sheet took a while though. I wouldn't wanna do it like this for any serious runs... I'm sticking to rectangles, or a friends cutting die that only does 8x 4inch round stickers per sheet.