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Common Mistakes To Avoid While Using a Vinyl Cutting Machine 

If you have a vinyl cutter machine, you may be wondering why it is not giving you the results which you have in mind. It may also mean that you are struggling to get the best results whenever you use the machine.

Well, there are certain things which may be causing your frustration which has to do with how you are using your vinyl cutting machine.

Also, if you are yet to buy your vinyl cutter, you also need to read this article so that you can start enjoying your machine from day one. We have taken our time to present you with the mistakes which you must avoid while using a vinyl cutter machine.

1) Not to make test cuts

A common mistake to make is to start your final design directly on the vinyl material you want to use for your design. Always, always practice your cuts on an extra vinyl sheet rather than on the one you are thinking of using for your design.

Especially if you are new at this, you should practice your design on several other pieces – vinyl or any other material – until you get your shape right. You can practice the same design on another material, or you can try making some simple cuts for practice.

When you feel confident enough to make the final cut, you should do it on the final piece of vinyl.

2) Not testing the machine first

Before you start working on a design, make a few random cuts on a spare piece of vinyl to see if the machine is working properly. There can be a lot of things that can be wrong with a vinyl cutter machine, especially if you haven’t used it for a few days.

Starting on the design you want may waste valuable vinyl material, so it is always important that you test the machine first to see if it is working correctly. For this, you may keep a few random pieces of unwanted vinyl material around for testing.

3) Not investigating the problem

If, and when, the designs come out wrong for some reason, the most common mistake to make is to immediately start on another piece. The right thing to do would be to try and see what went wrong, to pinpoint the mistake before trying again.

Even when you are not really a technical person, a simple investigation can reveal if something is wrong with the machine. So instead of automatically reaching for another piece of vinyl, take a moment to see what went wrong.

4) Not paying attention to the blade

Sometimes, we don’t pay enough attention to the exposure of the blade. We exposure the blade more or less than we need it to. When the vinyl material is a thin one but we have exposed the blade too much, it might cut into the mat as well as the vinyl.

In the long run, this will dull the blade and create problems the next time you want a precise cut.

On the other hand, not exposing the blade much when the vinyl material is thicker will result in a partial cut. You will end up with only half a cut on your vinyl material, which is a bigger problem.

Trying to make another cut on the same vinyl material is definitely going to ruin it completely. Result – complete loss of material and time.

5) Not stabilizing the material before cutting

Unless you are using vinyl or iron, you need to make your material absolutely stable before you use it on a vinyl cutter machine. This is especially applicable if you are using paper or thin leather.

You need to stick these materials (paper, thin leather, silk, etc.) on a sticky mat before running it through the machine. Sticking the material on a sticky mat will keep it stable enough to make your cut on it. You can easily remove it from the sticky mat after you are done with the design.

6) Not understanding blade offset

Not many people who have not used a vinyl cutter – or a similar machine – before exactly knows what blade offset is. Blade offset means the distance between the centre of the blade to the tip of the blade.

Sometimes, the reason behind a bad cut is the wrong blade offset; managing the blade offset to adjust with the design will give you the correct cut you are looking for.

7) Deciding on a wrong reason for a bad cut

Sometimes, after a wrong cut with your vinyl cutting machine, you might suspect that you are stuck with a bad or dull blade, or a chipped one. But it can just be that the exposure of the blade was wrong, not the blade itself.

Therefore, before making the final cut, it is recommended that you check the exposure of the blade, and whether if the exposure is right for the material you are about to use.

Test cuts also help; if you can make a few random test cuts on a similar piece of material, you can be sure if your blade exposure is right for your material/design.

8) Not studying the manual

Almost no one reads the manual they get with a technical or electrical appliance, which is always a big mistake. Manuals always have the correct instructions to follow if you want to use the machine perfectly.

Besides, manuals also have instructions on what to do in case of a troubleshoot or how to take care of your machine.

9) Not paying attention to the machine while working

It is recommended that you should always be near your vinyl cutter machine when it is in use. Even the most complicated designs don’t make much time to complete, and the user should always keep an eye on the machine while it is being used.

Don’t leave the room for the few minutes that it takes the machine to complete the cut, because if the machine runs into some trouble, you might have to stop it.

10) Not cleaning/servicing the machine

Like most other technical/electronic appliances, your vinyl cutter machine will also need regular cleaning and professional servicing. Don’t let too much time pass between cleaning and servicing sessions.

You may be able to clean the machine regularly by following the instructions that come with the manual, but the servicing should be left to the professionals.


We have taken the time to research on this and we want you to enjoy your vinyl cutter machine by avoiding the above mistakes. Not only will you work with peace of mind, you will save unnecessary costs.

I also believe that if you avoid these mistakes, you are sure to use your vinyl cutter machine for a very long time.

Relevant reading: Types Of T-shirt Printing.

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