BLADE HOLDER SETUP GUIDE
Different cutters use different styles of blade holders. It is important to note that blade-holders are not universal, they are designed specifically to fit a particular machine, or series of machines. In the image below we can see that when three different blade-holders are lined up side by side, the flanges (or outer ring) are on the same plane, yet the blade-end of the holders stop at different lengths. Please use only the blade holder meant for your cutter.
This guide is designed to assist with the installation, calibration and trouble shooting of your Roland® compatible vinyl cutter blade and blade-holder.
NOTE: Standard cutting force or pressure (“press”) should be set to 100g on the cutter, for most vinyl materials.
NOTE: MH models come with a strip of masking tape to protect the teflon cutting strip. Please remove this tape to improve cutting quality. Make sure to remove the Masking Tape and the Clear Tape. Your cutting strip should look like in the example below.
STEP 1: Loading the blade into the blade-holder.
If your cutter came with a 3-pack of blades, open the blade pack and remove a blade from the foam packing material, then remove the red rubber protective cap. The red caps indicate a 45 degree blade. The blue caps are 60 degree blade. Be careful when handling the blade as the cutting end is very sharp.
Most blade holders will have a magnetic metal pin or “plunger” on the back end. This is meant only for loading and removing the blade so that re-calibration is not required. Insert the dull (cone shaped) end of the blade into the blade-holder and depress the metal plunger. You might hear a “click” when the blade makes contact with the internal magnet. If you don’t hear the click or if you can’t tell if the blade has seated all the way into the blade-holder; simply give it a gentle push on a firm surface as shown in the image to the right.
The blade is a consumable item and you’ll always get the best quality cut with a newer blade. Replace with a new blade when:
A typical blade holder and its main components are pictured below.
STEP 2: Setting the depth of the blade (or “blade calibration”)
IMPORTANT: For this step you’ll need either: a pack of post-it notes, a legal pad or a stack of notebook paper and a debit or credit card.
NOTE: Each blade holder will adjust in a different way but with all blade-holders, the blade stays stationary once it is inserted. The blade will only swivel; it is the cap or sheath of the blade holder that determines how much blade is actually showing.
The MH blade holder uses a sheath and set screw. When holding the blade-holder as shown in the image to the right; screwing the sheath on clockwise will work to expose more blade. Unscrewing it (counter-clockwise) will cover or reduce the amount of blade exposed.
The Zencut blade holder uses a sheath and adjustment knob. When holding the blade-holder as shown in the image to the left; screwing the adjustment knob clockwise will expose more blade. Unscrewing it (counter-clockwise) will reduce the amount of blade exposed.
The Creation blade-holder (also known as a Roland blade-holder) for the Laserpoint & Pcut uses only a cap with a rubber ‘O’ ring. The cap will either be solid black or solid silver in color. When holding the blade-holder as shown in the image to the right; screwing the cap on clockwise will work to expose more blade. Unscrewing it (counter-clockwise) will reduce the amount of blade exposed.
The “ball-park” length of blade that you’ll want exposed will be equal to half the thickness of a credit card. Hold the blade edge-wise against the side of your credit card. The tip of the blade should end half-way through the thickness of the credit card. If the tip of the blade goes past or reaches the other side of the card as in the pictured below, then you have too much blade showing.
Your blade should look similar to the image below. Note: this method is an approximation. Even this will likely be too much blade!
STEP 3: Testing and fine-tuning the depth of the blade.
The following assumes you’ll be using typical adhesive or heat transfer vinyl, with a thickness of between 2 and 5 mil. Take the blade holder (with the blade inserted) as shown below and -keeping the blade holder straight up and down - cut a circle. Don’t be afraid to use a bit of force.
The goal for this test is to set the depth of the blade so that you can cleanly cut a circle out of a single sheet of paper, while barely leaving a scratch on the piece directly underneath it.
If you cut through any more than a single piece of paper (as shown below) you have too much blade exposed.
MH Blade Holder Exploded View:
Creation Blade Holder Exploded View: