It doesn’t matter if you’re printing stickers, vinyl window screens, or full car wraps—a critical piece of equipment in a print shop’s arsenal is the vinyl cutting machine. 

Whether you’re using a Roland vinyl cutter or a Summa brand cutter, the results are generally the same. Some brands may offer features that others do not, but in the end, it depends on your individual needs. So, how does a vinyl cutter work?

Blades Versus Lasers

Both bladed and laser vinyl cutters have their pros and cons; both options generally work in the same way—the cutter will feed the vinyl through and make cuts as needed. The vinyl is then reversed back through the machine in order to make a cut in another area or change the shape of a cut currently being made. 

Rather than a feed system, some laser cutters work by laying the vinyl out on a table and the laser moves to place itself over the area to be cut. These are typically the fastest cutters on the market. 

Bladed vinyl cutters are able to handle thicker and more durable materials that a laser cutter wouldn’t be able to slice through without burning the edges. For the thickest materials, bladed vinyl cutters are the way to go. For thinner materials, lasers offer unmatched speed. 

Another downside of the bladed system is the need to replace blades as they dull. A dull blade can ruin an expensive piece of work by tearing rather than cutting. Lasers have no such downside, but they come at a high cost compared to their bladed counterparts. However, over time, the cost and time of replacing blades may eventually outpace the upfront cost of a laser cutter. 

Lastly, there are also dual-purpose printer-cutters that offer the ability to both print and cut your designs using just one machine. This can help keep the cost of a sticker maker low. However, when it comes to specialized applications, a dual-purpose machine may not be as effective as a single-purpose machine.

Software Is Just as Important as Hardware

A blade or a laser is only as smart as it is programmed to be. Most mistakes in the laser or blade cutting process aren’t a result of machine error. Typically, a user error was made in programming the cutter. 

For this reason, understanding how software translates your designs into cuts is critical. Airmark offers a large variety of printers that can print on vinyl, cutters, printer-cutters, vinyl rolls, inks, and software for all of your vinyl printing and cutting needs. 

Don’t understand how something works? Are your cuts not coming out the way you want? Our world-class customer service team is ready to help you with any questions you may have, whether it’s software or hardware related. 

In Summary

Vinyl cutters are complicated machines, but anyone can understand them with the right help. Airmark’s staff has an advanced understanding of Summa and other products and software, and we can help you make the most of your vinyl printing and cutting business!