Sign & Print

Sollex is the leader in manufacturing blades for industrial use. Sollex knives and blades are chosen by manufacturers of graphic products, signage, labels, and packaging material for their superior quality and durability. 

We offer blades for Summa, Gerber, Aristo, Atom, and Zund plotters. We also manufacture blades for industrial machines to order.

Perhaps you need scalpels and scalpel blades for detailed cutting? Or snap-off blades or utility knife blades? Sollex has them all in stock. If you have any questions, email order@sollex.se.

What is a vinyl cutter plotter?

Vinyl cutter plotter is also known as vinyl cutter, vinyl plotter, cutting plotter, craft cutter. This category of cutting plotters can also include cutters and drafting equipment, including flatbed cutters, roll cutters and hard sheet cutters from brands such as Summa, Gerber and Roland. 

A cutting plotter is usually controlled by a computer that can digitally produce art pieces, vinyl signs, graphics, stickers, designs, posters, billboards, T-shirt logos. The vinyl graphics are used often for outdoor advertising and marketing campaigns. Vinyl plotters are most often used to produce stickers and labels from adhesive vinyl, but they can also cut other thin materials.

You should be aware that vinyl cutters are designed by default to cut vinyl, which means that the default settings and knives included with the plotter may not be suitable for cutting graphic designs such as paper. If you are cutting other materials than vinyl, you will need to change the blade and adjust the pressure and depth of the installed blade for a good result.

The plotters have rollers that hold the cutting material and move it back and forth, and on top there is a head with a knife that rides right and left and cuts according to the design loaded in its program. The knife in the head can rotate, so it is very flexible in cutting. The tip of the plotter blade is barely visible from the head, because the material, e.g. vinyl is thin and you only need to cut the top layer and only barely touch the adhesive layer underneath the vinyl. The tip of the blade extends out of the plotter head to a distance smaller than the thickness of the bank card.

What Is the difference between a vinyl cutter & a vinyl plotter?

What is the difference between a vinyl cutter and a vinyl plotter, even though they are used synonymously? You could say that all vinyl cutters are plotters, not all plotters are cutters. 

Vinyl cutters and vinyl plotters are used for different purposes because they have different tools. Since printing a banner on a single vinyl sheet is less costly and time intensive than creating an overlay image, many sign companies use vinyl plotters, which print large-format advertising banners with ease. For jobs that require single-color or semi-transparent vinyl, such as window tinting or vinyl coverings for cabinets, vinyl cutters are used. 

To produce a multi-color design by vinyl cutter, several different cutouts of different colors of vinyl are superimposed in a pattern on top of each other. The result is a colorful image with more depth than what is printed on a single sheet of vinyl.

Because the vinyl cutter cuts rather than prints, the vinyl paper is either printed before going through the vinyl cutter or retains its original pattern before being printed. 

The main device difference between a vinyl cutter and a vinyl plotter is the use of a knife, not a pen, as in conventional plotters. This blade sits on bearings that can move just like the pen and can cut out complex patterns, including lettering and other calligraphy, depending on the quality of the particular vinyl cutter.

What is a digital cutter machine?

Digital cutter is also known as cutting table, digital cutter, digital cutting system/ machine, automatic cutting machine, sign & graphic digital cutter. The digital cutter is often an industrial application and looks like a large flat vacuum table above which there are heads with knives or a pen mounted in them to process the material.

Digital Cutter is used to cut materials that cannot be cut with a vinyl cutter or a laser cutter: non-rigid and porous materials such as plastics, synthetic fabrics, foam rubber, or leather, flammable materials such as foam board and cardboard which may be too difficult or impossible to cut with roll plotters. Static cutters can also cut much thicker and heavier materials than a conventional roll or sheet plotter can handle.

The material is placed on the table, and a vacuum pump is turned on and air pressure is applied to the sheet, holding the material in place. The table then works like a normal vector plotter, using various cutting tools to cut holes or slits in the material. 

You can read more about digital cutters in our “Zund Digital Cutting Systems Overview” blog article, where we took a closer look at modular cutters from Zund

What can you cut with a digital cutting system?

APPLICATIONS OF DIGITAL CUTTING MACHINES

Scope of application

Material to cut

Outcome of use

Packaging industry

cardboard, polypropylene, foam materials

packaging, packing form, POS displays

Fashion industry

woven, non-woven, fleece, felt materials, leather, textiles

textiles and leather goods, upholstery, furnishings, vehicle upholstery, carpet, accessories, clothes and shoes

Advertising industry

sandwich board, corrugated plastic, cardboard, folding carton, films, paper, canvas, foam, foam board, PVC banner, polycarbonate, polypropylene, vinyls, rubber etc

POP-materials:  shelf signage, signs, graphics, displays, labels, decals, textile banners, stickers, labels, vehicle lettering and graphics, flock/ flex templates, technical textiles

Because digital cutting systems are often modular, it makes it possible to cut and process many different materials for different purposes that are not listed in the table above. 

How long do vinyl cutter blades last?

There is no set life span for a plotter knife, but there are some factors that it is a good idea to know and consider in your work to extend the life of your plotter knives for a longer period of time

  • Noticeable roughness and uneven cuts are a sure signal to replace the blade.
  • Thicker sheets of vinyl, metallic materials, and reflective surfaces blunt the blades much faster. Sharp blade edges wear out faster because they are constantly grinding against glass and metal elements added to the material.
  • The most obvious sign that you need a replacement is damage to the blade itself. Noticeable chips and nicks on the edge mean you need a new blade.
  • The blade will blunt much faster if you make too deep cuts in the vinyl paper liners, so it's important to control the pressure and depth of the blade extended beyond the head where the blade is mounted. How accurately you adjust the blade for the materials you are cutting affects the life of the blade.
  • Keep the plotter knife clean by periodically inspecting the blade holder and removing any debris. Debris buildup in the blade holder can prevent the blade from rotating properly and degrade the quality of the cut. 
  • Choose the correct blades for your plotter. Install them correctly and choose the correct blade angle. 
  • Keep a supply of replacement blades for your cutter, keep track of blade wear and be prepared to replace them with new blades when the quality of cut decreases. 

Regularly replacing your vinyl cutter blades will keep your vinyl cutter running long and cutting smoothly and quickly. Similar rules apply to knives for use in digital cutting systems.

Similar rules apply to knives for use in digital cutting systems.

4 Simple rules to choose the right blade for the vinyl plotter

  1. The first thing to think about is the thickness of the vinyl used. The thickness of vinyl film usually ranges from 1 to 6 millimeters. No doubt a blade designed to cut 1 millimeter vinyl will not be able to cut through vinyl that is for example 6 millimeters thick. For this reason, you should make sure that you have the right blade for cutting to the appropriate depth. If, on the other hand, you use a blade that is too thick, you will end up cutting through the backing on which the vinyl is glued, which will ruin your product.
  2. The second thing to keep in mind is the type of vinyl you are using. There are many types of vinyl to choose from. For example, reflective vinyl requires a certain blade angle regardless of its thickness.
  3. When choosing blades, you should also pay attention to the size of the pieces you will be cutting, because if you use a blade that is too big for small pieces, they may end up with uneven edges.
  4. There are different types of plotter blades, each with a different cutting angle. Each is designed for a specific range of film thicknesses. 

What are the 30, 45 and 60 degree blades used for?

30, 45 AND 60 DEGREE BLADES APPLICATION

Application

Thickness of material to cut

Material to cut

30-degree angle plotter blades

to make shallow cuts

for detail work

up to 2 millimeters thick

To cut thin media such as window tinting, film, and rice paper

45-degree angle plotter blades

standard and universal blade to use

from 2 to 6 millimeters thick

To cut paper, vinyl, stickers - this blade is suitable for most media

60-degree angle plotter blades

more effective for thicker or tougher media

6 millimeters thick or thicker

To cut thick media such as flock, sandblast, rhinestone, foil, magnetic foil, masking film, reflective foil, reflective vinyl film, self-adhesive foil, self-adhesive vinyl, textile, felt

The three most commonly used vinyl plotter blade angles are 30, 45 and 60 degrees. The only difference between the blades is the angle of the tip.

30-degree angle plotter blades

A 30-degree blade is capable of making shallow cuts. It can only cut media up to 2 millimeters thick. However, the 30-degree angle plotter blades can cut films less than 2 millimeters thick. This knife is also called a detail knife because it is the one most commonly used for any details that are less than 12 millimeters high or wide. 

45-degree angle plotter blades

The blade is known as a standard blade. This blade can cut film from 2 to 6 millimeters thick. Because it offers a wider range and covers more common vinyl sizes, it is also one of the most popular blade sizes because of this flexibility. The 45-degree blades are also ideal for cutting almost any detail larger than 12 millimeters. 

60-degree angle plotter blades

A 60-degree blade is capable of cutting vinyl film 6 millimeters thick or thicker. This blade is needed for instance for cutting a reflective film. This is the second most common blade along with 45-degree blades to be able to cut a wide variety of signs and graphics.

Guidelines for increased plotter blade performance

  • Remove the blade after using it from the cutter and store the blade in its packaging while you are not using it
  • You should be careful in handling the blade and prevent any drop or bump
  • Avoid touching the tip or edge of the blade with your fingers, as hand sweat can cause the knife to rust
  • Before you start cutting any material, perform a cutting test and adjust the force in the plotter to avoid blade tip breakage
  • Use the correct blade angle for the material you want to cut
  • It is recommended that you use different blades for each type of material
  • If the blade needs to be cleaned, you can use any low-density lubricant to remove rust

Need a supplier for your replacement plotter blades?

Sollex has a wide selection of plotter knives in its range. We make our blades from high quality steel and guarantee long-lasting durability. If you can't find the knife you need on our website, please contact us with a detailed request by mail order@sollex.se or phone +4635-15 75 00 and we will make a plotter knife for your company.

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