Adhesive Vinyl - Frequently Asked Questions
How do I remove self-adhesive vinyl?
The best way to remove self-adhesive vinyl is to use heat. Either a hairdryer or an heatgun can be used to create temperatures of at least 200o but care must be taken not to actually melt the vinyl. It should be heated so that once softened the corner can be lifted enough to start gently peeling back at 180o and slowly removed. Never pull the film towards yourself at 90o, always peel flat along the substrate at 180o to prevent damge to the surface underneath. Once the vinyl has been removed it will probably be necesary to remove some residual adhesive.
How do I avoid air bubbles?
To avoid air bubbles it is important to remove trapped air beneath the surface of the vinyl. Whether the vinyl has been applied using a Dry Application method or a Wet Application method then this is best done by meticuously squeegeeing outwards from the centre of the graphic. It is also important when removing the application tape that this is not done too soon after the graphics have been applied and not too quickly either. For the best results work at a slow and steady pace and make sure that the application tape is pulled back at 180o instead of pulled up at 90o.
How do I avoid ‘edge curl’?
This can be a problem on self adhesive materials if it is contour cut or die cut straight after printing especially in darker coloured areas where there is the most ink output. Freshly printed graphics should be left to dry before any cutting or laminating so that the residual solvents from the ink can evaporate.
The recommended time for this 'gassing off' is 24 hours but we would recommend 72 hours if possible. The printed media should be hung vertically in a dust free area with ventilation.
If the media needs to be cut before this time then allow a minimum of 6mm border around the image and always conduct a suitability test.
It should also be noted that if the contour cutting does cross into the printed area this can contribute to excessive shrinkage of the vinyl face film when applied.
If freshly printed vinyl is cut in the printed area too soon the vinyl might shrink. Laminating too early might, depending on the amount of ink used, affect the functionality of the film (adhesive power / service life) by preventing the residual solvents from evaporating.
If the drying process of the vinyl takes place after application to the substrate the vinyl will probably shrink and come away at the edges.
The vinyl is not cutting all the way through?
- The blade is dull or chipped
- Improper blade extension
- Cutting pressure is not high enough
The cut lines are not complete?
- The cutting strip is damaged and needs replacing
- The blade is dull or chipped
- The cutting speed is set too slow
- The blade holder needs to be replaced
How do I cut circles correctly?
- Incorrect blade offset (see Curved Corners below)
- Change the font to a Sans Serif font as Serif fonts have sharp angled corners
How do I avoid vinyl lifting while cutting?
- Increase blade extension as it may be dragging through the adhesive
- Replace the blade with a new sharp one to ensure that it can cut through cleanly
- Use a blade with a higher angle as low angle blades may not cut the adhesive effectively
How do I make sure my corners are square?
Ensure the offset setting has been adjusted to match the blade.
How do I avoid the vinyl not releasing from its backing liner?
It is sometimes easy to assume that the application tape is too low tack to remove the cut and weeded text / graphics however this rarely the case.
More often than not the reason for this problem comes down to excessive cutting blade pressure which scores into the backing liner. The best way of checking is by peeling back some cut graphics and checking that the blade has only just marked the backing liner and that there is no scoring into the liner. Now check the reverse of the backing liner to check there are no visible impressions of the cut path coming through. If this is visible you need to reduce the cutting pressure incrementally and produce a number of test cuts to achieve the optimum pressure. Once this has been done the graphics should lift away easily.
The best method of removal instead of pulling the application tape away from the surface of the graphics is to turn the graphics over and remove the backing liner away from the adhesive side.