If you want to cut vinyl properly, you need a machine you can trust. Over the years, the experts at Roland have gained a reputable as being the industry’s best vinyl cutters. Their machines provide pinpoint accuracy, sharp image production, with excellent weeding and transfer tape.
With the help of a Roland vinyl cutter, you can make professional grade signs in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a computer-generated vector file, a roll of vinyl, and a Roland cutting machine to get started making the signs you or your business needs.
Are you ready to get started making the best homemade signs and vinyl graphics? In this article, we go over everything there is to know about Roland vinyl cutters and share our opinions on the best models in production. This way, you can get up and running making your own graphics and signs knowing that you have made an informed purchase.
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What is a Roland Vinyl Cutter?
Vinyl cutters are computerized machines that are like printers in their design. However, instead of printing ink on paper they cut vinyl and other roll media to form designs that can be used to make signs, stickers, and decals. If you own a business or are a graphic designer, promoter, or marketer, you can use a vinyl cutter to create the materials you need.
Roland DGA Corporation is the American branch of Roland DG Corporation, which is a Japanese sign and graphic arts manufacturer. Since 1981, Roland has established itself as one of the world’s leading brands when it comes to inkjet printers, vinyl cutters, and graphics supplies. They also create technology for digital music equipment.
Beginning in the 1980s, Roland vinyl cutters started taking over the vinyl cutting market. Today, they are the undisputed gold standard in the world of vinyl cutting. Many businesses and graphic designers refuse to work with any equipment that isn’t Roland branded, which is a testament to their reputation for excellence.
How They Work
Roland vinyl cutters work in essentially the same fashion as any other vinyl cutting machine. However, Roland cutters tend to perform better than most other brands on the market since Roland machines utilize the best software and technology.
Like most vinyl cutters, Roland machines follow a basic 4-step process to create their wonderful vinyl graphics, decals, and signs.
Before the Roland vinyl cutter can create the cut you want, it needs to know your desired design. Using the Roland CutStudio software, you can easily make homemade patterns and designs that can be saved as an image file. However, you do not necessarily have to use Roland’s proprietary software to make these files.
Once your design is complete and saved as a file on your desktop, it can be sent to the vinyl cutter via a USB transfer cord or Wi-Fi depending on how new your machine is. After the machine receives your design, it will automatically move on to the next phase.
Now that the vinyl cutter has your design file, it will commence the cutting process. The machine uses a robotic arm-like device to operate a small blade which cuts the outline of your design into the roll media of your choice (typically, this is vinyl). During the cutting phase the machine holds on to your roll media with a mechanism called the “release liner”.
Like an inkjet printer, the vinyl cutter blade rapidly moves from side to side until the project is complete. Where the machine needs to make an incision, the robotic arm will lower the blade onto the vinyl and begin cutting. When cutting is not desired, the robotic arm will lift the blade off of the vinyl sheet. After a minute or two, the outline of the design will have been cut.
Next, the vinyl machine needs to undergo a “weeding” process. This involves removing the negative (unneeded) parts of the vinyl from the design. For this, the machine relies on the release liner to discard the bits you do not want in your design. Some models will keep the negatives, which would leave you with a negative (reversed) image of your design.
Last, your vinyl cutter will attach an adhesive film to the reserve side of your design if you select that option. Once the adhesive substance is laid onto your design, it will effectively turn into a sticker which can be posted anywhere. After you pull the sticker off of the release liner, the vinyl can be applied to any surface (like a metal or canvas sheet) to create a sign.
How We Choose Our Ratings
At HeatPressGuide, we work hard to earn your trust. That’s why we always hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards when we review products. For example, we refuse to accept financial contributions or donations from companies whose products we review. In this case, we have no affiliation or partnership with Roland DGA Corporation.
We are an independent company, which means our reviews and ratings will never be influenced or compromised by third parties. Unlike some other review websites, we always stay true to our principles and will never let our reviewers have their judgment tainted by external influences. We think this is necessary for earning your trust as a reader.
Last, we feel that it is important to mention our review process. For every product we review, we consider a diversity of factors such as cost, usability, intuitiveness, durability, setup time, and maintenance requirements. By taking a wide-reaching, holistic approach to our reviews we believe we can provide the best accurate and unbiased ratings possible.
Top 6 Roland Vinyl Cutters
With our prologue out of the way, we can move on to the good part. From here on out, we will be reviewing Roland’s vinyl cutters to find out which are the best. Read on to discover everything there is to know about Roland vinyl cutters and their various benefits and drawbacks.
Roland CAMM-1 GS-24
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The Roland CAMM-1 GS-24 is Roland’s flagship vinyl desktop cutter. And for a good reason! This device combines elegance and efficiency to create a chic, low-profile machine capable of crafting stunningly well-made signs, decals, and graphics. Plus, the CAMM-1 GS-24 features a best-in-class 3 Year Trouble-Free Warranty, so you can shop with peace of mind.
Once you used the CAMM-1 GS-24, we knew it would be hard to ever go back to using regular old Roland vinyl cutters. While at a higher price point than most other Roland vinyl cutters, the CAMM-1 GS-24 warrants the price increase and then some. This machine can do it all: vinyl, hard paperboard, film, stencil paper, and more.
Our favorite aspect of this desktop cutter is the fact that it runs nearly silent. We could fall asleep next to this thing, that’s how quiet it is. Despite its lack of sound, it still comes up big where you need it most: by providing down force of over 300 grams to cut through even the densest of substrates. Truly, this model is a cut above the competition.
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The STIKA SV-8 is Roland’s smallest hobby decal machine for home, office, and school use. As the first in Roland’s STIKA line of small-sized vinyl cutters, it is priced at an attractive level which makes it appealing for regular household users that don’t require a device for professional purposes.
Despite its low price, the STIKA SV-8 is bundled with many incredible features that we were impressed with. For instance, this machine comes with the Roland CutStudio software which allows users to create their own custom designs in minutes and automatically port them over to the machine when they are ready to cut. Talk about convenience!
The STIKA SV-8 is easy and fun to use when compared to other off-brand models. We were able to craft professional-looking decals and stickers without any headaches or worries. Plus, with USB plug-and-play functionality, it was a breeze getting this machine up and running.
CO-Z 34″ Vinyl Printer Machine
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Like the SV-8, the Roland STIKA SV-12 is a fantastic, lightweight vinyl cutter that is capable of pulling off large-scale projects without any fuss. Although slightly larger than the SV-8, the STIKA SV-12 is able to freely move around any desktop as it designed to not take up much space and to easily transported around an office setting.
Our opinion of the SV-12 is essentially the same as our opinion of the SV-8 since they are virtually the same device. The only substantive difference between the SV-8 and SV-12 is their size. The SV-12 is 33% larger than the SV-12 and is therefore capable to handle and cut much larger roll media up to 12 inches in width.
Brother ScanNCut SDX85S
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Last in the STIKA line of household vinyl cutters is the Roland STIKA SV-15, which is the largest and bulkiest of the STIKA cutters. Unlike the other units in the STIKA line, the SV-15 is capable of handling roll media up to 15 inches in width. For most non-power users, this size may be excessive. Unless you intend to make very large signage, we recommend a smaller device.
However, if you are interested in crafting large vinyl displays and decals, this is the machine for you. With an industry leading money back warranty, the STIKA SV-15 is a fool-proof vinyl cutter that provides excellent value for your money. Best of all, the Roland CutStudio software makes transferring your image from the computer to the machine an easy, fuss-free process.
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The CAMM-1 GR-640 is a behemoth of a vinyl cutter. Made by the experts at Roland, the GR-640 is massive in size as it can cut media up to 64 inches wide. While this machine performs excellently, it is almost certainly more than most household users need.
We recommend using this machine if you need to make heavy-duty signs and billboards for local businesses. If you work in the graphic design industry or you promote events or companies, the GR-640 can deliver all the performance needs you require.
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Last, the CAMM-1 GR-420 is a smaller and more budget-friendly edition of the GR-640. Built to cut roll media up to 42 inches in width, this machine is more likely to appeal to household users that do not do large-scale graphic design work on a commercial level.
Our experience with the GR-420 was positive, although for the money it may be better to invest in the GR-640 instead. This is because they are in a similar price range while the GR-640 is able to perform at a much higher level since it can handle larger roll media sizes. However, if you will never need to cut above 42 inches in width then the GR-420 is the model for you.
We covered a lot of ground today. Who knew there was so much to know about Roland vinyl cutters? Honestly, there is so much to know about vinyl cutters that it can feel a bit overwhelming to shop for them. At HeatPressGuide, we understand that. That is why we put together this quick guide containing the most important takeaways and tips from today’s article:
- Look for models that come with Roland CutStudio software included
- Overlapping cutting features are important if you want to cut thicker media like card stock
- If you expect to use it a lot, make sure you also buy a stand for holding your roll media
- If portability is a concern, opt for a model mounted on four wheels
- Make sure the specs on your home PC or Mac are compatible with the Roland software
- For extra convenience, make sure the pinch rollers are fully adjustable