Blade and cutter settings

The thumbnail version:

  • There are things you should know about blade and cutter settings
  • If the information below is not enough you can refer to Roland

The full version:

According to Lily Hunter of Roland, one of the most common questions asked by printers new to the business or unfamiliar with Roland equipment, is about blade and cutter settings.

Roland provides a Cutter Blade Reference Guide on their support page but, not surprisingly, it is often overlooked (even printers seem to have the try-it-first-read-the-instructions-later habit). So Hunter recommends three things in particular that you should note:

    1. Blade Extension – The tendency is to set the blade in the blade holder with the tip of the blade visible. While this sounds intuitive enough, it’s incorrect. We don’t actually need to see the blade. A colleague of mine described this the best – you should feel the blade, but not see it. Run the blade over a scrap piece of vinyl and see if it cuts it. Our reference guide (page 2) states that the best amount of extension to use as a starting point is half the thickness of a credit card. Next, do a cut test to determine if additional downforce is needed and/or more blade extension is required.
    2. Cut Force – If you’re doing a CutContour (contour cutting), the media should be cut with enough force/pressure that you do not see cut lines in your liner. Cut force is measured in grams force (gf). For some media, like our HeatSoft™ heat transfer material, too much cut force actually pushes the cut media edges into the liner, resulting in cut media that is difficult to weed. On page 3 of the guide, there are recommended blade settings for different types of media.
    3. 45º or 60º Blade? Offset? The angle of the blade design is referenced in degrees. The offset—the measurement from the middle of the blade to the edge of the blade—determines the turning radius. Typically, a 45º blade is a multi-purpose blade for most media <3 mil. A 60º blade is best for thicker media (>3mil.)

For a more detailed discussion of cutter settings refer to the Roland website or reference guides.