Graphtec Craft ROBO Vinyl Cutter
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The manual for the vinyl cutter is here.
|25th October 2018||Functional|
How to use it
The vinyl cutter is used to cut self-adhesive designs of various patterns (typically text and logos) to be stuck on to a workpiece. For more advanced usage it could also be used to make stencils for chemical processes or paint.
Preparing the Design
Prepare the design in Inkscape.
- Set the document properties to units of mm (milimetres) - this will avoid confusion!
- Draw the design actual size. Obviously fill and colour don't matter, it only cuts outlines.
- If the design includes text, use the "Path -> Object to path" option in Inkscape to make paths. This applies also to any other object which is not a path.
- All cut lines must be in black and with a line with of 0.25pt
- Ungroup everything before cutting (Inkcut doesn't like groups)
- Orientation - the cutter will cut ALONG the roll by default. This is not usually what you want for small pieces (width < 500mm). So rotate it 90 deg. If creating a very large design (e.g. 500mm high text), then leave the design "the right way up".
- Once everything is drawn and made into un-grouped paths, use the Inkcut extension.
- The correct driver software is installed on Design Station 1, but you can also install it on your PC (see below)
Setting-up the Machine
- Turn it on
- Ensure it has connected to the PC correctly
- Loading vinyl - make sure that the feed clamps are clamped in appropriate places. (Feed in vinyl from the back)
- Setting cut pressure - this is the parameter "p=" shown on the cutter screen. Set it so it cuts through the vinyl but not the backing. Use "test" button to check.
- Setting the origin - set the origin to the bottom *RIGHT* corner of the working area, not the bottom left!
- Offline the cutter
- Position the cutter head using the arrow buttons (Do not try to move manually)
- When in correct position, press the "zero" button
- Put cutter back online
- To test the machine, the "test" button cuts a small rectangle. You can use this to check (e.g. on newly loaded stock) that it's cutting through the vinyl cleanly
Connection via USB in Linux, means the device is probably /dev/ttyUSB0, Make sure that the serial baud rate is set to the same on the PC in Inkcut, as on the front panel menu. (see Tech Details below) Ensure you have read/write permissions to /dev/ttyUSB0, this can be done by running sudo chmod 777 /dev/ttyUSB0
Applying Vinyl to Workpiece
There is a roll of "transfer film" which is "sticky but not too sticky" somewhere.
- Prepare (clean, dry, lay out etc) the workpiece.
- Cut the vinyl to size with scissors etc.
- You can "weed" out the unwanted pieces at this stage, or manually remove them from the workpiece afterwards.
- Cleanly stick the transfer film to the top of the vinyl.
- The tricky part - now remove the backing from the vinyl, you should be left with the self-adhesive stuck to the transfer film.
- Stick the vinyl to your workpiece!
The cutter shows up as a standard USB<->RS-232 converter cable, and talks HP-GL.
The best software for printing (From Linux at least) is InkCut an InkScape extension. Simple convert stroke to paths, select what you want, and `Extensions->Cutter / Plotter->InkCut`. Click the 'Properties' top-right to set the correct serial port (probably /dev/ttyUSB0) and speed (defaults to 38400, but you can set it via the menu button and LCD on the cutter).
Forget about Inkcut plugin, Inkscape will cut directly. Install drivers from http://www.microcontrols.org/arduino-uno-clone-ch340-ch341-chipset-usb-drivers/ (These work in Win10) Turn the printer on, then plug usb in Find Com? in device manager In Inkscape rotate your text to correct orientation, path>objects to path, right click and ungroup Click Extentions>Export>Plot... Set com? and baud 38400, when printer is zero'd and online then click apply and it should start cutting.
If the power supply messes up
If the power supply goes wrong in an especially weird way then it will cause the vinyl cutter to set some internal lockout that prevents it recovering even if a good power supply is connected. This can be diagnosed by checking the clock signal on the main CPU on the vinyl cutter's circuit board. If it's in lockout then the clock will be grossly distorted.
The fix for this is to connect the vinyl cutter to a known good power supply (24V at not less than 2A) then while it is powered up remove the firmware EEPROM module which is bolted onto the main PCB. This causes a hard-reset of the internal state and clears the lockout. Then power off the cutter and replace the module and re-start the cutter. This should restore normal operation.
Parts and upgrades that are planned/Budgeted/Purchased for in the near future
Graphtec Craft ROBO Caretakers
These are the people who look after and repair the Graphtec Craft ROBO, they're the ones to contact if there's any problems with it
If you make any non-trivial changes to the Graphtec Craft ROBO or perform maintenance please note it here, delete records older than 1 yr