How Vinyl Lettering is Cut?

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Vinyl used for sign making is cut using a Vinyl Cutter. 

vi – nyl (vÄ«’nÉ™l) n. – Any of various typically tough, flexible, shiny plastics, often used for coverings and clothing.

(defined) A vinyl sign cutter is used by professional poster and billboard sign-making businesses to produce brilliant weather-resistant signs, posters, and billboards using colorful rolls of adhesive-backed vinyl film that have a removable paper backing material. The vinyl can also be applied to car bodies and windows for large, bright company advertising.

Generally the hardware is identical to a traditional plotter except that the ink pen is replaced by a very sharp knife edge that is use to score the surface of the film to cut out each shape, and the plotter may have a pressure control to adjust how hard the knife presses down into the vinyl film. The vinyl knife may be shaped like a normal pen and can be mounted on ball-bearings so the knife edge rotates to always face the correct direction as the plotter head moves.

Once the film has been scored, the cut-out pieces are peeled off the backing paper and carefully assembled by hand to form the final image. A heat gun may be used to melt/bond the vinyl pieces to the signage. Unused sections of film are rolled up and saved for later use.

The colors available are generally unlimited but requires a large collection of separate rolls of each color needed. To prevent creasing of the film, it is typically stored in rolls about 3 to 4 inches in diameter, and the typical vinyl film roll widths are 18-inch and 36-inch. It is common for a company with a vinyl sign cutting service to have an entire room filled with rolls of colorful film supplies for their signage customers.

sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plotter (bottom), http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vinyl (American Heritage Dictionary)

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