Hi, I’m looking to pick up a vinyl plotter/cutter to do some simple graphics on the bikes that get powdercoated rather than wet paint. I’ve previously had a Graphtec desktop thing but that was many years ago. Does anyone have any suggestions? It doesn’t need to be big, I won’t be doing anything bigger than bike graphics so one of the smaller desktop things would be fine.
I use a Cricut for my vinyl graphics. Works pretty well and I make t-shirts also
I have a silhouette portrait 3 and it does the job. Get the uprgraded software, it’s better than the free one. I can even cut heat transfer vinyl to make nice t-shirts!
I’ll add another vote towards the Cricut Machine. I’ve used one for years, it does a great job.
We have a Cricut as well. We’ve never used anything else, so we can’t make a comparison, but we are happy with it.
Thanks for the feedback. The Cricut looks like the one to go for. I presume I can cut DXF files with it? I use Illustrator and don’t want to be tied into proprietary design software.
We are able to use a .DXF. I can’t recall if it’s a direct input, or if we needed a file convertor. In any case, it can be done.
Using the Cricut since a few years, I think I have the first model that came out, you can buy them at any Michaels or Jo-Ann (in the USA).
Works very well
You will need to use their software to print, it’s free if you own a Cricut and I have printed from both image files and SVG (my favorite format), you should be able to convert from DXF to SVG
I had the full size maker, but got the mini Joy to replace it:
The Joy is quite a bit cheaper and smaller. My only complaint with the Maker is that it requires a lot of desktop space at all times. The Joy is big enough to cut masks for downtube logos. Although, not big enough to cut entire wraps. You can get the 4.5x12" mats
I’m using a Silhouette Cameo 4 (which you can get refurbished for $100 off!). I’ve enjoyed it! I read some recommendations against the Cricut when I was doing my research but honestly can’t remember what those were. The software is dead simple to use with either a CAD or Adobe Illustrator workflow - it uses DXF natively.
The 12" width bed is nice for most things, but some materials like high-temp masking tape only come in 24" which is a bit annoying.
I wonder if you can cut a 24” wide roll in half on a bandsaw or similar? When I first got my Silhouette they didn’t make Oracal in 12” wide, but sellers on Amazon and eBay were cutting it down from bigger rolls. I never tried doing it myself.
I’ve used a Cricut and a Graphtec and vastly prefer the Graphtec – especially if you’re using a variety of media. For work I have to run Nikkalite reflective vinyl, whatever that yellow masking vinyl is, 23k gold leaf stuff and some of the cheaper exterior grade materials. The Cricut worked well but the graphtec is a bit better at handling delicate vinyl and more detailed graphics. The blades last a bit longer with the Graphtec too.
All this comes with the price.
Silhouette is owned by Graphtec and their consumer line. I’m not an expert but it seems like the mid-level (Deore) option between your Alivio Cricut and XTR Graphtec.
The annoying thing with the Cricut cutter is the software. It used to be web browser only. Now they have a dedicated desktop application that requires you to log in to their site to use so they can try to sell you pre-made designs. Maybe Graphtec and Sihouette have better software?
Well, you guys suck! I was happy to buy the Cricut but then you come along with all your chat about the Silhouette!
It looks like I can pick up a Silhouette for about half the cost of the Cricut and I don’t really need all the engraving and other stuff the Cricut seems to offer.
Haha. I was the same. Now I trawling for reviews of the machines.