Edge lifting is a common problem in the cutting of wide format vinyl. Graphic printers refer to these lifting edges or corners as “vinyl ears.” When the plotter blade begins to move across the vinyl, it can cause the corners to lift.
The problem of vinyl ears is common and annoying. Here’s a closer look at why it occurs:
- Improper offset – The offset is crucial because it is the measure of the effective width of the cutting edge. The offset is a parameter that can be adjusted depending on the cutting conditions, including speed and force. The offset will give the cutter information on how far beyond the actual corner tangent he or she can move in order to drag the blade’s tip to the same point. Having an incorrect offset will prevent the plotter from articulating the corners correctly.
- Worn out blade holder – A worn out blade holder could also result in vinyl edge lifting. Over time, the grip of the holder on the spinning blade will weaken. The degradation is hardly noticeable because it happens very gradually, but there will be a point when cutting will result in the lifting of the corners while the blade spins and changes direction.
- The graphic is smaller than the arc of the blade – The most common cause of vinyl edge lifting has nothing to do with the offset or blade holder. When the arc or corner on a letter is very small, it cannot be correctly cut using the standard 45” blade. It will be similar to mowing a sapling using a riding mower when what is actually needed is a zero-turn tractor. Using a 60-inch blade instead of a 45-inch blade could help solve the problem. It will effectively shrink the offset and tighten the cutter’s turning radius. This will allow the blade to make a finely detailed arc.
If the person doing the cutting is knowledgeable and careful, the problem of vinyl edge lifting can be remedied.