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Buyer's Guide

Category:
How to I update drivers for the SignPal Cutting Plotter?
Have you ever upgraded your Windows operating system and then found that your cutting plotter does not work under the new OS? You probably need to update your system with the latest drivers. Please contact your local distributor or find the new driver at the GCC Club.
Simply sign up for the GCC Club, fill in your contact details, and you will receive a confirmation email immediately. After replying to the confirmation email, you will be able to download drivers which are compatible with Windows 9x/2000/XP for Jaguar, Puma, Ultra and Lynx series and handy VLCD software for Puma and Lynx users
I am new to the sign making industry. What model of a cutter do you recommend?
GCC supplies two series of vinyl cutters. They are the Jaguar and Puma series.
  1. The Jaguar series comes in four models (61 cm, 76cm, 101cm and 132cm in maximum cutting width). The Jaguar series is a versatile, professional line. The cutting speed of Jaguar is up to 1530cm/sec. It can track media up to 10 meters in length. In addition, its 600-gram cutting force can cut not only on vinyl but also on several other materials. Besides, the Jaguar series can pounce paper (pouncing tool is an optional item), making contour cutting, over cutting media, emulating tangential cutting and many other features a snap! The versatile Jaguar series can help sign makers make signs efficiently and precisely.
  2. The Puma II series has three models (30 cm, 60 cm). The Puma series has a cost effective and compact design. This vinyl cutter has a reasonable cutting speed and tracking ability, which is suitable for most of vinyl cutting applications. It user friendliness and easy operation helps new sign makers build up a business easily. It is a very good cutter for department stores or shopping malls that need to make signs for frequent promotional activities. It is also suitable for a beginner.

What are three things to look out for when choosing a vinyl cutter?
There are three things sign makers should consider when buying a vinyl cutter.
1. Tracking ability: Better tracking ability means sign makers can make a higher quality and bigger sign during one cutting job when compared with other cutters. Time is money. Better tracking helps sign makers make signs more efficiently.
2. Cutting speed:High-speed cutters make signs faster than slower cutters. Again, time is money. Faster cutter help sign makers make more money.
3. Cutting force:Cutting force: Cutters with higher cutting force can cut on various media. For example, cutting sandblast or reflective material needs a higher cutting force. If the cutting force of the cutter is not high enough, it will limit the sign maker’s business to only vinyl cutting.
What kind of software do I need to work with vinyl cutters?
All SignPal cutters come with free drivers, which work with Corel Draw. Sign makers can edit their signs with Corel Draw, and then send the data through the driver to the vinyl cutter, finishing the cutting job easily, even though Corel Draw is not professional sign-making software. There is some software designed specially for vinyl cutting, for example, GCC's SignPal software. It is best to use cutting software with GCC cutters. SignPal software has four different versions (Apprentice, Expert, Master and Pro) to fit the needs of all sign makers. In addition, sign makers can also buy Flexisign, SignLab, EasySign, Signwizard, etc. software. They all support GCC cutters.
Can I cut paper with GCC cutting plotters?
Yes, you can do it with a Jaguar series cutting plotter.
Can I pounce media with GCC
Yes, you can pounce paper with the Jaguar series. However, you need a pouncing tool (it is an optional item) to replace the cutting tool. The Puma series does not have pouncing ability.
Is there an easy way to create artwork in the center of irregularly-shaped object?
SmartCENTER is an enhanced function of "Center Mode”, designed for easy setup to find the center point on the working object, even on polygonal and circular objects.
The user-friendly feature allows you to operate effortlessly and time-saving. Learn how to setup: Video link
Which focus lens should I use for CO2 laser engravers?

GCC offers four different focal lenses for CO2 laser engravers namely the 1.5”, 2.0”, 2.5”, and 4.0” for different applications.  The number description, 1.5”, 2.0”, 2.5”, and 4.0” signifies the distance of where passed through beam will converge.  For example, when a beam of light passes through a 2.0” focus lens, the light beam will converge at a 2.0” distance resulting in a concentration of energy at that spot.

The resulting spot size from the different focus lens are also different and the following chart shows the different spot sizes achieved from the different lenses.

1.5” Lens
The 1.5” lens is best when used for engraving of very fine details

2.0” & 2.5“ Lens
The 2.0” & 2.5“ lenses are good for normal engraving and cutting of up to  10mm thick acrylic

4.0” Lens
The 4.0” lens is good for cutting of 10mm and above acrylic.

glass engraving

Engraving effects achieved with the different lenses
glass engraving

Cutting edges achieved with the different lenses
glass engraving

Can GCC LaserPro laser engraver make 3D images inside a crystal?
GCC LaserPro laser engravers embedded with 10600nm wavelength CO2 laser are designed for surface 3D engraving, 2D engraving, stamp, marking and cutting on non metal or coated metal objects; to make 3D images inside a crystal, a DPSS (Nd:YAG or Nd:YVO4) laser system will be required a shorter wavelength at 532 nm (green laser), 3 axis mechanical design of moving table with a special 3D engraving software to achieve the work.
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With the current design of GCC LaserPro laser engravers, surface 3D engraving, 2D engraving, stamp, marking and cutting application are most recommended. 
Which motor is right for you?
Two types of motor technology exist in the market, one is a Stepper motor and another is a Servo motor. Both technologies are employed to laser engraving machines. What exactly is the difference between these two control approaches? Which one is better for your equipment?

Servo control technology applies a higher quality motor and controller to send command to the motors and utilizes an encoder to feedback location values to the controller, so the motors always verify their positions. This continual link allows the motors to run faster with higher acceleration and speed that the laser engraver can cut or engrave and also you can move the laser carriage to any position and resume working precisely. Adopting the servo control technology, GCC LaserPro provides a completed line of servo-controlled laser engravers that have an exceptional reputation to produce some of the highest 2D and 3D engraving effects with superior accuracy.

Stepper motors means the motor moves step by step. This is an open-loop device without any feedback information. Thus, the motor cannot accelerate too fast or it will miss steps. Furthermore, the carriage cannot be moved freely by hand since the stepper motor does not have position feedback device to track carriages.

The following comparison sheet presents a clear and thorough examination between servo motor and stepper motor.
  Servo motor Stepper motor
Accuracy (1) High Low
Throughput High Low
Acceleration (2) High Low
Speed (3) High Low
Cutting quality (4) High Low
Oscillation Low High
Cost High Low
Size Big Small
Noise Low High

Remark:

  • (1) The servo motor provides constant positional feedback to the controller, which corrects any discrepancy between desired and actual position. When told to move 10 inches down and 10 inches right from home position, it would go exactly to (10,10) position as what it is told. The stepper motor applies the open loop communication with the controller, any steps missing would not be automatically corrected and thus accrue poor positional accuracy.
  • (2) The acceleration would be the crucial factor to decide the throughput of laser engravers instead of the speed value. The acceleration defines how much time the machine takes to reach the maximum speed. One 100ips laser engraver with stepper motor has much lower throughput than one 80ips machine with servo motor because of the acceleration differences. The stepper motors cannot have the high acceleration as the servo motors, due to the excessive high acceleration would lose steps and accuracy.
  • (3) A laser engraver equipped with a stepper motor have certain speed limitations due to the stepper motor’s poor torque characteristic under high speed movement, and the result is losing steps and precision.
  • (4) The stepper motor would lose steps and movement accuracy due to resonance of the motor at low speed movement. While cutting through material under very slow speed, any missing step would break the path movement harmony and destroy the cutting quality. The resonance also makes the stepper much noisier than the servo motor.
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