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Finishing the Job


Cutting Tools Provide Affordable Finishing Solutions


By Amber E. Watson


Part 2 of 2

In part one of this series, we shared several powerful, multi-function finishing systems that cater to the wide format market. Depending on configuration and model, digital cutting systems can come at a high price, however, affordable options, including semi-automated and automated cutting tables, cutter bars, and sign and decal cutters are available from several manufacturers at an affordable cost.


Cutting Tables
The Fletcher Terry Company, LLC’s new F-60 cutter features a plastic knife cartridge that allows for quick and safe blade change, a lock down pressure clamp for tightly securing material, and a lock-and-cut feature ideal for in-house print shops. Cutting a variety of semi-rigid and flexible substrates, the F-60 unit is used as a tabletop or wall-mounted cutter. 


The F-60 features a cutting capacity of 62 inches. The cutting table is fabricated from a 1.5 millimeter sheet metal construction, equipped with a built-in squaring arm, and a full table measuring graphic grid. Its plastic knife cartridge utilizes a .015-inch thick blade, providing cutting and edge quality with all paper-based products, as well as PVC materials up to three millimeter thickness. The blade is permanently molded into a plastic cartridge for safe handling, quick blade change, and contains four measuring settings indicating depth of cut. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $679.


Cutter Bars
Foster Keencut’s Evolution - E2 precision cutter bar is a precise wide format manual cutter. Adjustable mounting brackets allow the Evolution - E2 to be affixed to any table to ensure straight and accurate cuts to within .008 inches over the entire length of the cut. Featuring a new high-performance double cutting head, it cuts everything from inkjet media and vinyl to semi-rigid substrates such as corrugated plastic and foamboard up to half-an-inch thick. List price for the Evolution - E2 cutter is based on size and starts at $1,295 for the 64-inch, and goes up to $2,045 for the 144-inch.


Sign and Decals
Expert Pro 52 provides sign makers with eye-catching graphics printed at speeds of up to 15.7 inches per second (ips), with 250 grams of cutting force, and 9.84 feet of tracking ability. Vinyl, heat transfer, vinyl films, and flock are suitable materials for the device with a maximum cutting width of 52 inches and a maximum media width of 58 inches.


The GCC Expert 52 LX meets the demands of the craft market with great tracking capability and an advanced AAS function for auto contour cutting. The Expert 52 LX features a cutting force of 250 grams and print speed up to 15.7 ips. Vinyl, heat transfer, vinyl films, and flock are also best suited for this machine, which offers a maximum cutting width of 52 inches and a maximum media width of 58 inches.


Mimaki USA, Inc. offers its FX Series II cutting plotters. The CG-75FXII, CG-130FXII, and CG-160FXII are priced at $4,295, $6,995, and $8,595, respectively. Each device provides continous crop market detection, long accurate tracking, and a FineCut plug-in option for print and cut applications. Of note is Mimaki’s half cut mechanism, which allows the backing sheet of media to be cut while leaving half cut connecting points. These are easily detached when necessary.

Mutoh America, Inc. Kona cutters are available in three sizes—30, 55, and 65 inches wide. Most customers run thinner materials through the cutters, such as vinyl to make decals and stickers, or photo paper to create pictures and posters.


Depending on the size of the device, cutting speed is adjustable up to 39 inches per second (in/s) at a maximum acceleration of 3G, which enables a cutting speed up to 55.6 in/s and an acceleration of 4.2G in diagonal movements. The price for the Kona 760 30-inch is $4,495; the Kona 1400 55-inch is $5,995, and the Kona 1650 65-inch is priced at $6,995.

Roland DGA Corporation GX series vinyl cutters are powerful production tools for signage, decals, labels, stencils, vehicle graphics, and decorated apparel. Ranging in size from 24 to 64 inches, GX cutters support a variety of materials, including vinyl, paint mask, reflective media, twill, heat transfer material, and sandblast.


GX cutters are compatible with all major design software packages and come bundled with CutStudio design software, allowing users to enlarge, reduce, reposition, rotate, and mirror images. CutStudio also cuts enlarged images as accurately as the original size and cuts TrueType fonts without outlining. Plug-ins for Adobe System Incorporated’s Illustrator and Corel Corporation’s CorelDraw are included as well. Roland GX cutters are supported by Roland VersaWorks RIP software for seamless integration. An optical registration system is included with each cutter, which automatically recognizes printer crop marks and aligns media accordingly.


The GX-24, Roland’s most popular cutter, accepts media from two to 27.5 inches in width. A curve-smoothing function ensures accurate cutting at high speeds, and blade offset values are adjustable to support a range of media thicknesses. The device is priced at $2,095. Roland cutters are backed by a three year warranty for the Pro series—36 inches and wider, and two years for the 24-inch GX-24.

The Right Fit
Deciding what cutter or router is best depends on many factors, including the type of output most often created and cut, budget, and a comparison of products to determine which offers what is most needed. A good, affordable cutter saves time and money in the long run. This allows print providers to focus on other aspects of the business and grow accordingly.


Click here to read part one of this exclusive online series, Multi-Function Finishing Systems.

Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.

Oct2012, Digital Output  DOFS1210

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