A plotter cutter is a machine that drags a knife on a horizontal X-axis through a piece of vinyl that is being fed back and forth on a vertical Y-axis using small wheels called pinch rollers. Plotter cutters use vector graphics to determine the path that the blade will take to cut out your image. Sound familiar?
For most people just starting in signage, a vinyl plotter cutter is the foot in the door of the sign world. For an awards shop looking to expand and get into signs, it wouldn’t be any different. A plotter cutter is a great tool that anyone looking to get into signs should have. The integration process is convenient as well – you can run your plotter cutter out of the same software as you use for sublimation and laser engraving.
For example, I use CorelDRAW as my main vector-based software. My Graphtec plotter cutter has a plug-in that allows me to send my vector designs from CorelDRAW directly to my plotter. I can take the same file and send it to my sublimation printer or my laser engraver, all from one computer and design software. Adobe Illustrator is another well-known design software that many plotter cutters integrate with.
It is important to note when looking for a plotter cutter that fits your needs to check whether it comes with a proprietary software or if it can integrate with existing software. Being able to use a familiar design software allows you to hit the ground running if and when you decide to get a plotter cutter.