Static dissipation in vinyl cutters is a very common and frustrating issue. Static dissipation causes a variety of issues including:
- Stopping during cutting
- Losing connection between the cutter and the computer
- Cutting lines where there is no artwork
- Missing cuts where there is artwork
- Uncontrolled motor movement
- Spilling vinyl onto the floor
- Carriage moving to the outer limits of the cutter range when the artwork is within the range of the cutter
What happens is that vinyl holds significant static charge so coming off the roll, the vinyl is charged. In addition, the vinyl generates additional charge when it rubs against the center portion of the vinyl cutter. This center area is usually painted or coated so it is insulated and will not dissipate the charge. When the charge reaches a certain level, the charge will dissipate to ground. Usually, the path that the charge dissipates through is the USB port / cable. When this occurs, the flow of this charge will disrupt the communication between your computer and your cutter causing the above issues.
To mitigate these issues we highly recommend static grounding string. It is available here. Static issues get worse as the humidity gets lower. Cutting above 25% humidity usually does not cause the issues above. Below this level we start to see the above issues. In Phoenix, AZ, where CutterPros is located we normally have days in the single digit humidity levels. We cannot reliably cut long length images in Phoenix without the use of the static grounding string. Similar low-humidity environments are created across the country in the winter when furnaces or wood burning stoves are running without a humidifier.
Always make sure your cutter does not bypass the ground prong of the three prong outlet. Grounding your cutter is extremely important to dissipate static charge. If you use the ground string and bypass the ground outlet the charge will have no place to go and will still cause the same issues. Make sure the outlet you are plugging into is correctly Earth grounded.
Although we have found that the ground string works the best, if the static grounding string is not used, there are other things you can do to mitigate this issue including the following:
- Slow down your cutting speed
- Use anti-static spray (Available Here)
- Add humidity to the environment with a humidifier
- Use an ionizer
If you believe you are experiencing static discharge issues please contact us at http://www.CutterPros.com