The most commonly asked question from customers who are new to the printing/cutting industry are related to the blade and cutter settings.
Roland has a good Cutter Blade Reference Guide for the GS-24, but this useful resource is often overlooked. With that in mind, lets highlight three things from that document.
- 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. You should feel the blade, but not see it. Run the blade over a scrap piece of vinyl and see if it cuts it. The 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.
- 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 Roland 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. Below is the chart from that page:
45° or 60° Blade? Offset? The angle of the blade design is referenced in degrees. In the illustration to the right, the angle is 55°. The offset – the measurement from the middle of the blade to the edge of the blade – determines the turning radius. In the illustration, the offset is 0.5. Typically, a 45° blade is a multi-purpose blade for most media < 3 mil. A 60° blade is best for thicker media that’s > 3 mil.