Pop Out Decals Stickers with FlexiPro and a Q Series or FC8000 Vinyl Cutter

Printed Pop Out Decals With a Perf Cut

Here’s how to cut “Pop-Out” printed decals using a vinyl sign cutter and FlexiSIGN PRO.

Yes, you CAN make Pop Out Decals Stickers with FlexiPro and a Q Series Vinyl Cutter

If you sell printed, contour-cut decals, you know that printing and cutting the images is only the first step. Okay, the first two steps. If you’re selling decals, especially at an event like a race or festival, you still have to cut them from the sheet of vinyl to give to your customer.

This can be done manually, or with a trimmer.  But wouldn’t it be nice if the vinyl cutter could do that for you?

If it’s a Q Series or Graphtec FC8000 plotter, it can. These advanced machines can perform a standard contour or “kiss cut” around the printed graphic, then cut through the vinyl in a perforated pattern so that you can then pop out the decal and hand it to your customer for them to apply whenever they choose. It’s called Perf cut and it’s pretty nifty option, especially for on demand decals. So how does it work?

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How to Clone Printer Setups in FlexiSign Pro’s Production Manager

FlexiSIGN Pro Duplicate Printer Setup

Using “Add Setup” and “Duplicate Setup” in FlexiSIGN Pro will bring order out of chaos
in your print shop.

In the 1996 comedy Multiplicity, an overworked Michael Keaton decides to simplify his life by cloning himself.  To no one’s surprise, the plan backfires because the clone decides to copy the idea and clone himself resulting in copies of copies.  Since the copies of copies are all slightly defective, comedic chaos ensues.

Of course we all know real life is nothing like the movies.

In real life, you can use a feature in the Flexi Sign Pro Production Manager to clone your printer and bring order out of chaos.

Here’s how in 3 simple steps.

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Print & Cut Workflow: Full Bleed Decals

Having the right RIP software is essential to managing print and cut work flow. Even more essential is the design process. Whether you’re using an integrated printer cutter or a two machine system, creating a graphic to be printed and cut requires knowing how you want the finished graphic to look.

When you design a contour cut decal, keep in mind the final step is not cutting the printed graphic on your vinyl cutter. The final step is handing it to a customer who will peel and stick the decal. If you’ve not taken the final step into consideration, that last step can pose an additional problem. Does your newly peeled sticker have an uneven white border around where the unprinted media has snuck inside your cut path? This happens frequently when producing contour-cut vinyl appliqués. The end result is an unprinted halo around your graphic that despite its diminutive size detracts from the professional look you want.

Banish the Border

There is a simple way to prevent their appearance on your graphics – design your graphic with a full bleed border thick enough to account for the alignment error between the print line and the cut line.

A full bleed contour will give you an extra margin of error so that if your cutline is just a hair or two off the intended path, the end result is still a neat graphic without an unprinted halo. The solution will be slightly different depending on whether you’re working with a vector graphic or with in imported bitmap on a transparent background.

Five Easy Steps

To produce a full bleed contour cut decal from an imported bitmap with a transparent background, simply set the contour cut path inside the printed area. You can do this by following five easy steps:

  1. Import your bitmap file
  2. Select the bitmap, then, select the Magic Wand tool (from the bitmap edit toolbar. If you don’t see it, go to File/View Toolbars, and check Bitmap)
  3. Using the magic wand, select the white area that will be outside the print. Then, from the top menu bar, click on Bitmap.
  4. From the drop down menu, select Make Transparent. This highlights the white area to be deleted. Then, you guessed it; delete these pixels. Now you have a bitmap with a transparent background around which you can place a contour cut line. If you don’t do this, your contour cut line will follow the rectangular outline of your raster file, which is very frustrating. (see Figure)
  5. Now select the bitmap and, from the Effects menu, select Contour Cut. This will open the Contour Cut dialog box in Design Central. In the second window, there is a numeric value that determines the border between the edge of the print and the placement of the cutting path. Click on the small down arrow at the right edge of this window until this number is reduced to a negative value. (See Figure 2) This places the cutting path inside the print area, automatically producing a professional quality, full bleed contour cut decal.

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Print & Cut Workflow: The Secret Ingredient

One of the most beneficial and perhaps misunderstood capabilities of Qe and Q Series plotters is contour cutting pre-printed graphics. Many people believe that cutting out a printed graphic is challenging and difficult. Not so. As long as you have the right components, it’s really quite simple.

What do you need? A digital printer, a vinyl cutter with a reliable registration mark sensor, and intelligent software to coordinate the work flow. The software is the most often overlooked ingredient. Many people purchase an ARMS-equipped vinyl cutter and assume all they need is CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, or basic CAS software, then they cannot figure out how to get the process to work as intended. Then they call tech support.

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