I told you in tip #10 that it’s difficult to load materials like vinyl and HTV because they are floppy. I also said I’d let you know another reason they are tricky. That’s today’s tip. Because these materials are often on a roll, they become curled and that can cause all sorts of issues. Let’s look at some ways to deal with that. (To start with tip #1 one this series, go here.)
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Tip #12: How to work with curled material
When your material is curled, it can be tricky to load and cut because it can catch on the grooves and mechanisms on the machine. If the curl is on the bottom as you load, it can catch in the crevice between the front of the platform and the lower roller bar. That means it is more likely to load crooked. If the curl is up, it can get stuck in several areas between the roller bar, the motor box band (that black sawtooth one), the flat metal or plastic bar and the back of the machine.
What happens when the material gets caught in a mechanism is that it can’t move in and out of the machine correctly. The roller bar continues moving in and out but the motor box or material gets stuck in one area. That can be very scary because it makes a loud grinding noise. And it means that the blade doesn’t cut in the right place. The material can get overlapped on itself, or the machine makes cuts on top of one another. Obviously, none of this is good.
So what do you do with rolled material? Here are some tricks to use:
- Counter-roll the material so that it’s not curled so tightly in one direction.
- When storing rolls, keep them wound loosely.
- For sheets of vinyl or HTV, store them flat.
- If storing HTV in rolls, make sure the shiny side (carrier) in inward and the adhesive area (the side you cut on) is on the outside. Curling this direction has a lower chance of causing an issue. If it gets stuck in that crevice, you will usually notice that before you start cutting (if you followed tip #10).
- Use the riding on cardstock method to load. I find this especially useful on my Cameo 2. It seems that it catches in that crevice more often on this model.
- If you have a Cameo 3 or 4, make sure to space those middle-bar rollers across your material. That helps keep the material down in the middle instead of just at the sides.
- If you keep having trouble with the curled portions catching on the mechanisms as you cut, try using the arrow keys to load until the material is past all the mechanisms (see tip #11 for how to do this). I do this when I use contact paper for stencils. Because it’s really thin, it tends to roll and catch more than a regular vinyl or HTV. The cut starts farther down, but because it’s pretty cheap so I don’t mind wasting the top few inches to get a better overall cut.
In our next tip, I’ll give you some great hints for what to do when, despite all your best efforts, something begins to go wrong. You can often save at least a portion of your material with these smart solutions. Don’t miss it!