Does anyone make vinyl graphics or stickers?
This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now just as a hobby. I’m just wondering what kind of hardware I need and what the process is.
I’d like to be able to make full colour die-cut stickers and also cut vinyl vehicle and window graphics.
I’m already handy with Photoshop and Illustrator so the design side is covered. I already have a good quality Canon printer. Can I use this normal inkjet printer to print onto transparent adhesive vinyl? Then will a vinyl cutter cut them out for me?
Does anyone know the step by step approach to making these things? Any hardware tips for suitable printers or cutters? They seem to range on ebay from very little to mega money.
I’m doing a lot of searching on forums and Youtube and trying to piece it together but surely you can’t go wrong asking on STW as a back up 😉
I’m not looking to start a sign writing business or anything. I’m surrounded by people who are into cars and bikes so if I could sell enough to pay for materials I’d be happy. It’s just been on my mind for ages and I’d like to scratch the itch!Posted 4 years agogavtheoldskaterMember
you can do vinyl stickers with sublimation, the results are excellent. super clean designs. all the direct print ones i’ve bought have always been a bit smudgy and dull. but you get what you pay for!
i’ve also screenprinted single colour stickers using a good waterbased ink, they are ok, ideally you need to go with solvent inks.
for cutting vinyl a cheap ‘have a go’ option is a craft robo/cameo sillouette. used you can get them for about 100quid or less. its quite tricky vinyl, after playing about on the small scale there is no way i would want to do large format!!!
if you want any advice message me, its good fun to play with.Posted 4 years ago
Good help, thanks. I’ve got a sublimation printer for doing 4×6 photo prints and it’s great. I didn’t realise that’s what you needed for colour stickers.
I’ve been watching a couple of vinyl cutters on ebay, both local to me and the big one has just been relisted at a lower price.
and, this one
Am I right in thinking that the ‘optical eye’ feature on the big one is what you would use to cut around the full colour stickers after they’d been printed on a sublimation printer?Posted 4 years ago
I used to be the head engineer at http://signmaster.co.uk/ if you want me to answer any questions i’m more than willing.
As for your first questions on printing, water based inkjet and sublimation onto vinyl are not really any good, durability and colour fastness is poor and will not last. You need eco-solvent, solvent, latex or uv-curable printer for any kind of durability.Posted 4 years ago
Wow It’s amazing who you can run into on STW!
I just want something I can set up in the garage and have a tinker with. Do you have any recommendations for hardware that will make nice, bright, durable, full colour stickers that I can look out for on Ebay?
And what is your professional opinion of that Liyu TC1261E I posted above? It’s towards the upper limit of what I want to pay but it’s local and I could see it working.Posted 4 years ago
I have never heard of/seen one but it’s probably rubbish unfortunately. The equivalent machine from one of the main manufactures like Roland or Summa would cost 10 times that so it’s probably the vinyl cutter equivalent of a Halfords BSO I’m afraid.
That said, however, it might be OK for occasional, hobbyist use, if you can afford it maybe take a punt on it? I would be looking for 24″ machines though, you really won’t need anything bigger.
Printer-wise you will need to spend a few thousand (at least) to get anything worth having I’m afraid. If money were no object this would be the perfect machine for a desk-top sticker studio: http://www.rolanddg.co.uk/products/print-and-cut/bn-20/
Although printers are cool, you can do a lot with just a standard vinyl cutter. I would be looking out for an old Roland CX24, there are a couple on eBay at the moment. It is a great machine, I used one all day every day for years before it finally gave up the ghost. (They do not come with optical recognition as standard, but if you can’t print onto vinyl anyway this is not a great loss). You’d need an old-style parallel port connection as well (or a converter cable).Posted 4 years ago
Printer-wise you will need to spend a few thousand (at least) to get anything worth having I’m afraid
Really? is this an exaggeration? I’m not looking to corner the local sign writing market, just knock out some cheap stickers for the local rally and drift hooligans!Posted 4 years ago
Afraid not! As havinalaff said, if you want the print to be fade/scratch/waterproof the cheapest way of digital printing is eco-solvent, and there aren’t any non-pro level machines that I’m aware of. Anything else just isn’t going to last.
But you can do awesome looking decals just using single-colour cut vinyl (and a bit of time/imagination) that will last years and all you need is a cutter!Posted 4 years ago
just to prove to gav that digital prints CAN look bright and super clean, here’s an old cossie I did a few years ago
all the decals are printed including the plain blue as I wanted to colour match the painted part of the car. You could do all of it – except the flags – in normal cut-vinyl though which will do your local boy racers/drifters just fine!
Don’t get to do anything like that these days unfortunately, all the money is in boring stuff for me now. 🙁Posted 4 years ago
I would be looking out for an old Roland CX24, there are a couple on eBay at the moment.
Both broken and with the same problem.
I’ve clearly opened a huge tin of worms here. At this point I’m drawn towards the Cameo Silhouette. They’re cheap, there’s one local and they seem to have a big following. There’s lots of dedicated youtube videos featuring it. What’s the worst that could happen?Posted 4 years ago
If you’re looking for sonething cheap and small i’d get a graphtec craft robo. The generic chinese cutter are cack. If you can use illustrator you’ll be fine. If i remember rightly the craft robo has a plug in.
These guys have summed it up in regard to full colour work. The small roland machines are about as cheap as it gets but print heads and parts can be very expensive. Best option is to approach a trade supplier of print.
Buy a cheap graphtec. Make a few quid with it then buy something bigger and japanese.Posted 4 years ago
At this point I’m drawn towards the Cameo Silhouette.
Yeah that would certainly seem the better option that a cheap Chinese cutter – proven reliability plus strong user base are both plusses. I’m sure they hold their value as well so you probably wouldn’t take much of a loss if you decided to upgrade in the future. Go for it. I had loads of fun making stickers for mates, etc (until I got too busy to have any fun!) Plus you already know Illustrator, that is half the battle won before you even start!Posted 4 years agobradleyMember
My work recently done a job it was 100 QR codes on car vinyl so they could stick them on this company’s vans. Pretty impressive watching this thing cut lines then peel the excess away and you’re left with QR codes…
I’m a litho printer and this side of things is done in our digital depart who also do large format, I don’t really understand digital inks/toners though…Posted 4 years ago
THIS THING looks like a beauty!
On further reading I’ve discovered it can cut up to A3 in width and up to 3 metres in length. That’s a bloody massive sticker. It also does that ‘optical eye’ location trick for when I’ve found a few grand to buy a printer.
Right, if anyone spots me selling bike stuff in the classifieds this week, this is where the money is going.Posted 4 years ago
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