For shops expanding, what’s the next best equipment purchase?

For those who must have a new toy to add to their machines and presses, one of my top choices is a plotter/cutter. It’s a natural expansion for those outsourcing transfers. A plotter/cutter offers the capability to produce custom graphics and type for heat printing, but it can also be a fantastic addition to your embroidery department.

Though lasers deservedly garner adoration for their clean-edged cuts, the same simple cutter used to create team names and graphics in heat transfer materials can be set up to cut roll-fed polyester twill. This capability allows you to output traditional twill appliqué for jerseys, custom-shaped blanks for patch-making, and with the use of specialty flock material, templates for rhinestone designs.

One of the benefits beyond decorated apparel is that the same cutter can also be helpful within sign vinyl. Even if you aren’t planning to add signage to your public offerings, it’s a small investment in materials to make interior signage, window decals, and auto decals promoting your shop on-site and off. What’s more, simple window decals are a great add-on product, particularly in team and club sports. Moreover, if your vector source art is workable, you may already have most of what you need to create them for a given order.

In the last couple of years, I’ve fielded more inquiring about patch-making than almost any technique I’ve taught in my career. Luckily, it’s one of the capabilities decorators can add to their shop with a minor investment, especially if you have or plan on investing in a plotter/cutter.


Erich Campbell

Erich has more than 18 years experience as an award-winning digitizer, e-commerce manager, and industry educator. He empowers decorators to do their best work and achieve a greater success. A current educator and long-time columnist, Erich takes every opportunity to provide value to the industry.

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