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Area 49

This guide provides information on how to use technology within Area 49, as well as guides for digital technologies and physical projects. Area 49 is available for use by all current students, faculty, and staff.

Vinyl Cutting

A vinyl cutter functions similar to a printer.  A computer controls the movements of a tiny sharp blade used to cut out shapes and letters from sheets of self-adhesive vinyl that can stick to walls, windows, and doors. Check with a Makerspace Monitor to learn how to use the vinyl cutter.

Vinyl Cutter General Info

Roland Vinyl Cutter

Roland CAMM 1 GS-24

Location: Makerspace

Use Options:

  • Training

Cost: $2 per linear foot

Vinyl Cutting

Check out the quick-start version of instructions below. We've taken these from the Roland CAMM 1 GS-24 user manual.

  1. Lower the loading Lever located in the back left side of the machine. Do not use excessive force, handle gently.

Loading Lever

Fig. 1. Loading Lever

  1. Place your desired roll of paper on the counter behind the machine. Feed the paper from the back through the front similar to the first image shown on this page. Both edges of the paper and the outer pinch rollers should be aligned.

 OkNot OK

Fig. 2. Feed location

  1. The left edge of the paper should be parallel with the one of the many guide lines.

Guide lines

Fig. 3. Guide Lines

  1. Raise the loading lever
  2. Turn on the machine
  3. Select material to use, either “roll”, or “piece” Allow it to automatically measure the paper size.
  4. If this is your first time using the machine, run a test print. Press & hold the “TEST” for about 2 seconds and a small cross should cut. Peel pieces of the test print off the vinyl. The blade should cut through the vinyl and lightly score the paper backing without cutting through. Adjust the paper and pen force accordingly. Press the down arrow to feed paper forward. Cut a horizontal line across, cutting the test print off.
  5. Open the file in Adobe Illustrator. 
  6. Move the image to meet the lower left hand corner of the white page.

Image location

Fig. 4. Image in lower left corner

  1. Under “Image Tracing,” click the drop-down menu for “View.” Select “Image tracing with outline.” To make weeding (removing unwanted pieces of vinyl) easier, you can press “M” to select the rectangle tool and click and drag to draw a rectangle around your design.
  2. File > Print. Change printer to “Roland GS-24”. Setup > Preferences > “Cutting area” click “get from machine”. Adjust parameters if needed. If using roll material, double check length parameter. Print.
  3. Raise the loading lever to feed paper forward as needed. Cut a horizontal line across.

cutting vinyl using guide groove on machine

Fig. 5. Cutting vinyl one print has finished


Material Slips Away Before Printing

  1. Maker sure loading lever is lowered and that the pinch rollers are within the edges of the material.
  2. Go back to step 11 above, make sure the measurements of the “cutting area” are correct.

Error Message: "Motor Error"

  1. Turn off the power
  2. Lower loading lever
  3. Load material again.

To create the file for cutting

To create a vector image from a raster image

Option 1

  1. Open the image in Illustrator.
  2. Click the image and go to Object > Image Trace.

Option 2

  1. Open the image in Illustrator.
  2. Place the image on the first layer.
  3. Add a layer above the template layer.
  4. Use the paint brush tool to trace the image. Hold the spacebar to move the image while tracing.

To clean up the lines

  1. Go to “Object” and “Expand Appearance.”
  2. Go to “Window” and choose “Pathfinder.”
  3. Press “n” on the keyboard to get the pencil tool and shape the lines you want to change.
  4. Use the “Merge” and “Trim” tools to clean up the lines.
  5. Select the full image (Ctrl + A) before moving to and from these tools.

To save an image for cutting

  1. Find and save a vector image and open it in Illustrator.
  2. Save it as an svg file.
  3. Print the file to send it to the cutter.

Transferring Your Vinyl Cut

spatula, pick, tweezer, scissors, and scraper for weeding vinyl cuts

Vinyl Tool Set 

  1. The vinyl tool set is stored with the Cricut Machine.
  2. Use the tools to weed, or remove, pieces of the vinyl that are not part of your design.
    • If you have difficulty weeding your design, check to be sure the machine has cut all the way through the vinyl. You may need to adjust the cutting depth it it hasn't cut all the way through. 


Transfer Paper

  1. Ask a Makerspace Monitor for transfer paper.
    • Please only take as much transfer paper as you need for the size of your design.
    • Transfer paper can also be used more than once and we ask you reuse it whenever possible.
  2. Line up transfer paper with the top and cover your full design with the adhesive side of the transfer paper.
  3. Use the scraper tool to press the transfer paper down across your full design. 
  4. Pull up the first few inches of the design and cut off the back below it.
  5. Line up the top of your design and transfer paper where you want to place it.
  6. Press down the transfer paper with your design onto your material. 
  7. Starting at the top, slowly peel down the remaining backing and slowly smooth your design and transfer paper onto your material.
    • Use the scraper tool to help smooth it down. 
  8. Firmly rub the full design to be sure it sticks.
  9. Peel off transfer paper slowly, starting from the top.