Here are some settings and general information for the Morristown Makers’ vinyl cutter. The machine is a Seiki SK-870T and we are driving it with Inkscape using the Plot extension. Other cutting software may work for the machine, but you will have to do some testing on your own to get it working.
This information is not intended to be comprehensive. It is expected that you have received training on using the machine before this information will be helpful.
Power and USB
The power plug is on the left side of the machine along with the ON/OFF switch.
On the right side is a serial and USB port. Through testing, it seems that the machine works better while using a USB to serial cable plugged into the serial port. There is one attached to the cutter. Please do not remove the cable as it needs to stay at the shop with the machine.
Speed and Force
The speed and force of the cut are controlled by the arrow pad on the right side of the top of the machine.
The speed is controlled by the up and down arrows. This should be about 300 mm/sec. This seems to work well on normal vinyl cuts. There would be value in testing different materials and speeds to see what are appropriate speeds for different materials.
Force is controlled by the left and right arrows. 70 to 90 grams of force seems to work well with normal outdoor vinyl.
Lift the lever on each pinch roller and slide the vinyl under the rollers. The levers should be raised each time after using the machine. This prevents flat spots on the rollers.
Slide the material through the pinch rollers and line it up straight. There are alignment lines you can use to set the right edge of your material correctly. (This is explained clearly in class).
Adjust the pinch rollers to about 1″ from the outside edge of the material and the third roller approximately in the center of the material. Be careful to avoid setting a pinch roller in the center of the machine where the two knurled rollers come together.
Orienting Cutter Head
Using the control panel of the cutter, press the Leave button. This allows the arrow buttons to move the cutter head into position. Place the cutting tool to the bottom right of where you want the machine to cut out your artwork.
After getting the tool in place, press the Origin button. This will take the machine out of move mode and set the origin position. You should be ready to send the job from Inkscape and start cutting.
NOTE: In testing, it seems that the machine is more consistent with making proper cuts if you hit the Origin button at least twice after setting the cutting position.
Sending the Job from Inkscape
After the artwork is prepared in Inkscape, it is time to cut. A quick look at View | Display Mode | Outline inside Inkscape will show what will be cut in the next steps.
Extensions | Export | Plot is the menu item that will get you started in sending the job to the vinyl cutter. However, before you can cut, you need to make sure your Inkscape is configured with the correct settings.
Most of this first screen will not need to be changed. The most important settings to choose are:
- Port type: Serial
- Serial baud rate: 9600
- Serial byte size: 8 Bits
- Serial stop bits: 1 Bit
- Serial parity: None
- Serial flow control: Hardware (DSR/DTR + RTS/CTS)
- Command language: HPGL
The Parallel and Serial port information will be specific to your computer. Our cutter does not use a parallel interface. The actual serial port number may change if you have another USB device plugged in when using the cutter.
For a Windows machine the serial port will be something like COM1. For Linux it will be similar to /dev/ttyUSB0. I am not certain on a Mac. I would be glad to work with someone who has a Mac to see if we can get it configured.
Default X and Y resolution is 1016. You should not need to change these values. The Pen number is used when using layers to distinguish different colors of vinyl for a layered job. This is not something we will cover in class. Pen force and Pen speed do nothing on our cutter.
The degrees of rotation are used to turn the art in various orientations for cutting. Normally you will want this to be 90° or 0°. To cut the art in the orientation you see on your Inkscape screen, change this setting to 90°. At 0° the artwork will cut front to back (rotated 90° counter-clockwise from what’s on screen).
Mirror on X axis will flip your artwork from left to right. When rotation is set to 90° (what you probably want it to be most of the time), this is used to create a sticker that can be put on the inside of glass and seen properly from the outside. Mirror on Y will do the same (except flipping the art front to back) with the same results when rotation is set to 0°.
Center point at zero is used when you want the cutter’s origin to be the center of the artwork instead of the bottom right corner. This is probably never what you want for a vinyl cutter.
This tab can be left default for good cuts. However, these settings can be adjusted if you find a special case where they can help.
Apply / Cut
Hit the Apply button to send the job to the cutter. Enjoy your cut piece!
Paying for Vinyl
We charge $2 per foot of the 24″ wide vinyl. This is the vinyl that is owned by the shop and available for your use. All other vinyl at the shop belongs to another member and should not be used without permission. You are welcome to bring your own vinyl to cut on our machine.