Roland Vinyl Cutter Tutorial

The vinyl cutter works very similar to the milling machine and the laser cutter: a computerized head moves a tool along a path determined by the uploaded file. In this case, the tool is a small knife that cuts the top layer of the material leaving a backing in place. We will mostly be cutting vinyl supplied from a roll, but the machine is also capable of cutting flexible circuitry.

The vinyl cutter is one of the few machines it is okay to walk away from while it is operating, though it does move very quickly. For safety, keep fingers, hands, and any loose clothing or accessories away from the machine while running. 

Roland GX24 setup:

After you have powered the Vinyl Cutter on with the power button follow the directions below to get the vinyl setup in the machine.

To establish a new origin point. Use the arrow keys to drive the cutting knife to the new spot, hold the origin button for a second, this spot is the new origin. Roland Cut Studio Guide.

Open Roland Cut Studio. 

Import any images/ design you want to cut out – Silhouettes are best.

Insert the image file that you wish to use by clicking import and selecting the file.  

If using an image you will need to trace the image:

  • Some file types work better than others
  • If the design is coming from Illustrator save it as an Illustrator version 8
  • Select the image
  • When you have your image positioned, click “Object” and then select “Image Outline”
  • In the menu that pops up, click “Extract Contour lines”
  • This button allows you to define how many lines will be cut by adjusting the definition of the picture
  • Move the slide bar until the definition you want is shown and then click “Extract Contour Lines.”  This may take several attempts
  • When you are satisfied with the definition, you can move the path line, delete the original image, and then re-position the path lines where you want them on the material
  • Delete the original image
  • Position your image where you want it usually near the bottom left, if you have followed the setup direction above the image will have adjusted to material size
  • Draw a box around the image this will aid in the removal of the image later

When you are ready to cut, press “Cutting” on the top.

Select the “Roland gx24 ”

Click “Print”

A warning will appear- it is telling you that the origin is being flipped to the bottom to match the material, click OK.

The machine will proceed to cut out your image.

When it is done check that the cut is correct, pull the release lever on the back of the machine. This will allow the vinyl to roll freely.

Remove the roll and remove your image, do not cut holes in the vinyl roll, the only time you should ever cut the vinyl is if you are cutting all the way across it, removing an entire section after it is used up. 

Slowly and carefully remove any bits that you don’t want using the vinyl tweezers.

Using the squeegee apply the transfer tape to the image.

Slowly and carefully remove the image from the backing and slowly and carefully apply it to the desired location again using the squeegee to flatten and remove air.

Screen printing t-shirt instructions

Design: Create a design set it up in Cut Studio. Remember that small parts are difficult to work with, both in the vinyl step and in the silkscreen step. Make sure the image size is no larger than 8×10. Make sure there is a double box around the object. 

 Vinyl Cutting: Cut normally and remove all parts you wish to be printed on the shirt. Using transfer tape transfer the vinyl cut image to a screen. 

 Prepare the Screen: Mask off all areas not to be inked with painters tape. Place a sheet of cardboard inside the shirt, this will prevent bleed through and provide a stiff, flat backing.

Inking: Place screen on shirt squarely, have a friend press the screen down hard. Place a SMALL amount of ink on the mask and spread around with the ink spreader making sure to work the ink into the shirt from multiple directions. Quickly and carefully remove the screen while holding down the shirt. Wash the screen and ink spreading tool to prevent the ink from drying on and clogging the screen.

Drying / Setting the Ink: Use the hair dryer to dry the ink. Once dry, place parchment or wax paper over the image and iron the ink until the ink feels flat (the amount of time will vary depending on the type of shirt and material it is made of) this sets the ink into the fabric permanently. Wash separately the first time just to be save in case the ink has not completely set.