For best results when cutting rubber mask with a vinyl cutter, follow these guidelines:
1) Make sure the cutter is cutting the rubbery side of the material. One side is shiny and slippery, one side is dull and rubbery. Always cut the dull rubbery side up. The shiny slippery side is the release liner.
2) Make sure the blade holder is biased up in the carriage if needed to allow for additional cutting clearance. For cutting rubber mask material you must either use the rubber O ring or manually bias the blade holder up with your fingers before tightening it down so it is touching the upper flange on the blade holder and not resting on the bottom for Saga and Precision cutters. This will ensure proper clearance for the blade holder shroud so it does not come in contact with the material top surface.
3) Make sure the blade extends from the blade holder almost 1/16″ = .0625”. This is to ensure that we have enough blade height available to cut through the material while not hitting the shroud of the blade holder. The material is .035” thick with a .007″ thick release liner. The blade tip should not be touching the material when the cutter isn’t in the down position cutting. If the blade tip is scratching the material when traveling over it then it is extended a little too far.
4) Use a 60° blade. This is the blue cap blade.
5) Use a force of 250 g – 300 g and a speed of about 108 mm/s for a 45° blade. This higher force is needed to cut the rubber mask material. Below are some minimum forces measured to cut through rubber mask with the Precision Servo cutter. Servo cutters are highly recommended for cutting rubber mask material.
a. 258 g using a 45° standard blade
b. 231 g using a 60° standard blade
c. 213 g using a 45° industrial blade
d. 200 g using a 60° industrial blade
6) Using too much force will cause the blade to jam in the release liner and not slide. We need just the right amount of force. The ideal force is the force needed to fully cut through the material layer and just barely nick into the release liner. The best force would be the force closest to the minimums as possible.
7) Use roller positions 1, 2, 3 and 4 for 15″ mask material and center the material over these three rollers best you can. The spool of material will be right against the roller bearing on the right side of the stand roller so it won’t be perfectly centered on a 720 Precision unit, it will be to the left of center just a little. For a standard 720 Saga unit you can get it centered. For 24″ wide material use the center of the cutter. We highly recommend that you cut the material to the length being used. This will allow the material to hang freely in the front and back of the cutter thereby reducing side loads caused by spooling off of the roll. We also recommend removing the basket.
8) Use firm roller pressure. The rollers will leave a slight impression on the material but it is OK. It is also important that the roller pressure be uniform. To achieve uniform pressure, either start at full pressure and release the same amount of pressure from each roller by rotating the thumb screws the same amount or start from minimum pressure and add the same pressure on each roller by rotating the thumb screw the same amount. Uneven roller pressure can cause your material to not track correctly causing text and graphics to move out of alignment.
9) When the material is not being cut do not leave the rollers in the down position. When you are not cutting and leave the cutter for a duration of only 15 minutes or so make sure to lift the rollers. This is due to the tendency of the rubber material to compresses and take a set under the roller pressure causing an impression in the rubber mask.
10) If your rubber mask material unwinds from the roller by itself contact support to obtain friction bands for your roller bar for the Precision series cutters.
11) Manually roll out enough material to cover the distance in your run. This will reduce force against the drive rollers and improve the tracking of your cutter. Cut the vinyl to the length needed for the graphic.
12) For the best results, rotate the vinyl in the cutter if you are using 15″ material with a 24″ (or wider) cutter. If you are using a 24″ cutter, cut the 15″ wide mask to 26″ long and place it lengthwise across the width of the cutter. This will align the longer lengthwise cuts on the material to be perpendicular to the rollers and will allow for much better tracking. This will limit your cutting size to 13″ x 24″ if you are using 15″ material. You can tile your graphic and piece it together after cutting if your graphic is larger than this size.
13) Grip is the ability of your vinyl cutter to bite into the release liner (or carrier material) repeatedly and track back along the bite marks accurately. Some material release liners such as with rubber mask are very hard and give substantial resistance to the bite from your knurled rollers. To enhance the grip of your cutter to the release liner we recommend adding a layer of masking tape to the back portion of the material to aid in grip for longer runs. Adding the masking tape to the release liner gives your cutter a softer material to bite into which substantially enhances the ability of the cutter to track accurately. The tape should only be placed along the length in the region that will line up with the knurled rollers. You can use any type of masking tape such as blue painter’s tape. See picture below as an example: