How To Connect Vinyl Cutter To a Computer? Palmgear
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For you to use your vinyl cutting machine to cut that design that vinyl material into your desired design, you’ll first need to connect it to your computer. This is because the machine’s blade will heavily rely on the computer to direct it on where/how/when to cut your design.
That said, connecting your vinyl cutter to the computer might sound complicated if it’s your first time doing it.
But don’t fret. It’s nothing complicated, and you don’t need to be a techie to get it done. We have prepared this beginner-friendly guide to show you how to successfully connect up your vinyl cutter to a computer.
Connecting A Vinyl Cutter: The Basics
Before we can get into more in-depth details, it’s worth noticing that different vinyl cutters have different methods of connecting them to your computer.
Most of them usually connect up through a USB port (you might need to install some drivers for this connection to be successful).
Also worth noting is that most of the best vinyl cutting machine models are usually made to work with PCs and not the Macs, so before connecting up things, you’ll need to check the compatibility of your cutter.
Before you connect your cutter to the computer, you’ll also need to ensure it’s in online mode.
Once you have connected your cutter, you’ll need to establish a connection between it and the cutting software you’re using. This is as simple as selecting the correct port or specific cutter in your sign cutting software (we’ll show you how to do it below).
KEY steps to follow when connecting a vinyl cutter:
(For this guide, we’ll focus on how to connect your vinyl cutter to a computer via a USB port as this is the most common method for most cutting machines on the market today)
Follow these steps to connect your cutter to the computer:
1. Power on your cutting machine.
Start by attaching the power cord to your cutting machine and then plug it. Turn on the power and ensure your machine is in online mode before heading to the next step.
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2. Get the necessary drivers.
If you know the basics of a computer, then you understand that you can’t directly connect a cutting machine to your computer and expect it to work correctly without some devices.
Luckily, this step isn’t hard to perform; it’s just like installing new software on your computer.
Your cutting machine manufacturers might include these drivers in a disc that accompanies the package, or you can simply download them from their official website.
3. Install the drivers onto your computer.
Once you have obtained the drivers, it’s time to install them onto the computer.
If you have the drivers in the disc, simply insert the disk into your computer to access them.
If you downloaded them to your computer memory, simply head to the downloads folder, unzip the file (if it’s in zip format).
When you insert the disc, your computer will automatically detect new hardware and display the found new hardware wizard.
Follow all the steps to install the driver(s), and then head to the next step…
4. Check the COM port assigned to your USB port
This step is crucial to establishing a successful connection between your cutting software and cutting machine before you start the cutting process.
Head to your computer’s device manager to get the COM port.
If you’re using Windows 8, simply hover your mouse to the screen’s bottom-left corner and right-click. From the resulting expanded window, select the Device Manager option.
For Windows 7 users, you’ll need to click the Start button and then choose the Control Panel option. In the list that shows up, find the Device Manager option and click it.
Because you have already installed the drivers and your cutting machine is installed on your computer at this point, you should be able to see a Ports option on the Device Manager.
Go ahead and click the arrow next to the Ports. This will reveal the COM number (note down this number somewhere as you’ll need to select it when setting up your cutting software.
5. Install the cutting software.
If you haven’t set up your cutting software on your computer, then this is the step to do it.
The cutting software installation is just the same as with any other software you have installed before.
Once you’re done installing it, launch it, and load a sample design to be cut by your cutting machine.
Click on the Setup menu (or the corresponding button depending on the software you’re using). Choose add setup, select the model of vinyl cutter you wish to connect, and click Next.
Look for the connection tab on your software to change how your cutter is connecting to the computer (in our case, you’ll need to change the Port Type to Direct USB Port).
Next, select the COM port number you noted down in the previous step and click the Finish or Done button.
6. Send to the cutter.
Having completed this setup process, your cutting machine is now recognized by your computer (and the cutting software), and you can send your design to the cutter to start the cutting process.
Before you begin working on the actual project, you might consider making a test cut to see if everything runs right with your step.
Create a simple design with your software, adjust the cut settings for the material you’re cutting, and then hit the cut button.
If your machine cuts your test design without any problems, it means you did everything right. And now, you can start confidently working on your project.
IMPORTANT: The above guide on how to connect your vinyl cutter to a computer is generalized and works for all cutters. We highly suggest that you use this guide alongside your machine’s user manual for even easier connection process.
Connecting your vinyl cutter to a computer is quite simple, and you don’t need to be a computer geek to get it done. Just follow the steps we have outlined above to connect the two devices and start cutting your first stickers, decals scrapbooks, etc.
Remember to consult your machine’s user manual for more details on how to connect your specific cutting machine to the computer.
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Most machines for crafting, vinyl lettering, and other material projects, are controlled with the computer, tablet or smartphone. They are connected with a USB or serial interface. Some models also have wireless Bluetooth technology so you don’t need the cable nor are close to the machine for controlling the working process.
Every machine must have software which contains a set of commands that allow you to create and design images and patterns on your computer and then send it to the device to cut it. Some devices have a feature to cut the image that you’ve printed on your home printer which is a useful user-friendly function.
Most software available on the market is surely compatible with Windows systems such as Vista, 7, 8 or 10. But, few of them are also compatible with the Mac system. Mac is developed by Apple, so if you have one of their devices you should search for Mac compatible vinyl cutter models.
If you are interested in buying a machine for cutting vinyl and other materials but have a device with Mac operating system, you should pay attention that the model has software such as Sillhouete Studio, Graphtec Studio or VinylMaster Cut and Design software. But, if the model that contains compatible software doesn’t suit you, there is another solution. You can try to search devices with a built-in scanner that doesn’t require computer control. You just scan printed image and then the device will cut it for you.
All important settings are adjustable with a control panel on the machine. Some software includes an online app that is cloud-based and it connects more devices at the same time. These are also compatible with any operating system and have included a lot of already created images and design, so sometimes the computer or PC isn’t required.
We have found 5 vinyl cutter for Mac available on the market. In this review, we will describe their technical specifications that could be important for you such as cutting width and length or maximal cutting speed and pressure. We will also describe their design, mechanism, and usage.
Review of 5 Most Popular Mac Compatible Vinyl Cutter Models
USCutter 28 Inch Titan 2 Model
This model has 28 inches maximum paper feed and 24 inches maximum cutting width. Maximum cutting length is 25ft which is enabled with high-quality pinch rollers and grit rollers. The device is made from aluminum frame construction and all other parts are metal. It’s 38.5 inches long, 17.2 inches wide and 13.6 inches high. It weighs 59 pounds.
The device has contour cutting function which means that the system can print the image and then cut it precisely around the printed area. Precise cutting is enabled with a four-wheel carriage that has laser guided crop mark alignment. A wide range of materials can be cut such as vinyl, window film, paperboard, stencil, mask and other.
The titan made blades enable cutting of the thickest materials. Package includes three blade types: 30-degree, 45-degree and 60-degree blade. The blade holder is compatible with the Roland blades which are the most economical ones on market. The big LCD display with backlight shows you cutting speed and force. You can adjust both of them and navigate with the settings menu. The buttons are also illuminated for easier control.
Maximum cutting speed is 37ips and maximum cutting pressure is 1.65 pounds. The performance is very quiet because this model has a servo motor. A great feature is the emergency start/stop function that allows you to restart the device while it’s working. This device is compatible with the Mac system and Windows through USB and serial interfaces.
The software is VinylMaster Cut which enables you to do many things with materials, for example, the spool function enables making multicolor items without switching different colored vinyl rolls. The system has 4MB internal memory. Repetition accuracy is 0.0003 inches. With the product, you will get the floor stand and the catch basket. The package also includes a blade holder, a pen holder, a USB, and serial cable. The manufacturer offers a lifetime phone support.Characteristics:
- 28 inches of maximum paper feed
- 24 inches maximum cutting width
- Maximum cutting length of 25ft
- 5 inches long, 17.2 inches wide and 13.6 inches high
- VinylMaster Cut software compatible with Mac and Windows systems
Cricut Maker Electronic Model
This model has two types of blades. The first one is a rotary blade which cuts through very thick material and it’s ideal for fabrics. Knife blade cuts very heavy materials like matboard and 3/32 inches thick balsa wood. You can do sewing projects, leather crafts, the model made from balsa, paper crafts, iron-ons, and other DIY projects.
Design app is available for this Mac compatible vinyl cutter so you can design your own projects on the mobile phone or computer. You can create your own designs or download them for free.
This model has a double tool holder which means it can do sketching and cutting at the same time. This can make faster your working process. The device weighs 23.8 pounds. Its length is 21.2 inches, width is 7 inches and height is 5.9 inches.
The device has a USB port for connection with the devices and data transmission. Also, you can connect wirelessly to the device with the Bluetooth. Package includes fine point pen, two 12 inches long and wide cutting mats, design apps, 50 free images, and 25 sewing projects. You will also get materials.Characteristics:
- Dual carriage
- Knife and rotary blade
- Weight is 23.8 pounds
- 2 inches long, 7 inches wide and 5.9 inches high
- Bluetooth wireless technology
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Silhouette Cameo Model
This device is 23.9 inches long, 11 inches wide and 8.9 inches high. It weighs 14.2 pounds. The system has an auto blade function which is a very user-friendly feature because the blade adjusts itself automatically according to the material type.
It can cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, fabric and many other materials. Maximum cutting width is 12 inches and the maximum cutting length is 10ft. The device has a pen adapter so you can replace the blade with a pen and do sketching. It is PixScan compatible which means it can cut precisely around printed area or position cut lines in the specific area on the material.
A package includes 12 inches long and wide cutting mat, vinyl trimmer, hook, spatula, and Ratchet adjustment tool. Materials are also included such as 12 inches long and wide oracal 651 permanent vinyl, premium transfer tape and other.
Best Vinyl Cutter For Mac
You will get a guide for vinyl application, 7 e-guides by Silhouette school, and a 1-month membership to Silhouette U and Silhouette Club. The device has 200 designs included and $25 digital downloads from Silhouette design store, but that can change from time to time. A USB cable and power cord are also included.
The Studio software is suitable for Windows Vista/7 and higher, and for Mac OS X 10.5.9 and higher. You can plug this device in your computer or control the working process wirelessly with a built-in Bluetooth. Required power outlet range is 110V-240V.Characteristics:
- PixScan compatible
- Built-in Bluetooth
- Silhouette Studio software compatible with Windows and Mac
- 12 inches maximum cutting width
- 10 ft maximum cutting length
Silhouette America Curio Crafting Model
This vinyl cutter for Mac has three embossing methods: path emboss, score and emboss, and print and emboss. The device has a deep-cut blade which is able to cut up to 0.08 inches thick materials. It’s 17.2 inches long, 5.5 inches wide and 7 inches high. It weighs 7.5 pounds.
It has 0.2 inches clearance so you can feed thicker materials. You can cut a variety of materials such as paper, card stock, vellum, fabric, vinyl, stencil and much more. The device has Silhouette Studio software which is suitable with both PC and Mac computers.
The Silhouette Design Store has a lot of designs, patterns, images, and fonts that you can download and use for your own DIY projects. With this Mac compatible vinyl cutter, you can create etched metal, embellish foils and metals, multi-color design or stippled ink projects.
The dual carriage holds the pen and the blade at the same time so you can do writing and cut at the same time. The USB cable is included and you can connect it to your device for control of the working process.
Print and cut feature allow the device to register the materials that you have printed with your own desktop printer and then it cuts them around the printed area. The package includes cutting and embossing mat, fine and wide embossing tips, USB cable, AC adapter, and software CD.Characteristics:
- Dual carriage
- Print and cut feature
- Thre embossing methods
- 2 inches clearance and 0.08 inches blade’s cutting depth
- 2 inches long, 5.5 inches wide and 7 inches high
USCutter 15 Inch Table Titan Model
This vinyl cutter for Mac has four wheels carriage and titan made blades that ensure precise cutting. Contour cutting is enabled so you can print wanted image and then cut it. Its very precise since the registration marks are sensed with a laser. It can cut a wide range of materials such as adhesive vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, paperboard, paint mask stencil, low intensive reflective and other. The device has 3 pinch rollers.
Its length is 28 inches, width is 17 inches and the height is 12 inches. Weight is 26 pounds. VinylMaster Cut software is compatible with Windows too. Command set is suitable for HPGL. The USB 1.1 and 2.0 interface are included, and serial RS232 port. You can plug it into your computer or PC and control the working process.
The performance won’t be as much quiet as in the previous model since this one has stepper motor type which is louder. Required power outlet range is 110-120V at 3AMP or 200-240V ar 2AMP. Maximum cutting width is 15 inches and maximum paper feed is 19.5 inches. Maximum cutting length is 180 inches.
Aluminum frame and high-density ABS plastic made sides make the device durable. On the device, you will notice a large LCD display which shows you cutting speed and force. Its illuminated for easier reading, but the buttons aren’t. The speed and pressure are both adjustable. Maximum cutting speed is 31.5ips while maximum cutting pressure is 1.12 pounds.
The device is Package includes pen holder, USB cable and serial cable, power cord, Roland compatible blade holder and 3 titan blades (60-/45-/30-degree). When buying this product, you get lifetime phone support.Characteristics:
- Contour cutting function
- USB and RS232 serial interface
- 5ips maximum cutting force and 1.12 pounds maximum cutting pressure
- Titan made blades and Roland compatible blade holder
- Maximum cutting width is 15 inches and maximum paper feed is 19.5 inches