As with all mechanical equipment, there are certain steps that should be taken to minimize the wear and tear of the Graphtec plotter/cutter devices. Since maintenance is important, this TNC is dedicated to offering information not only on how to maintain the plotter, but also tips on saving your plotter/cutter from damage. By following these suggestions on a regular basis it will ensure that your cutter will be working at its optimum condition and extend its productive life. Follow the instructions regarding the placement of the equipment to inhibit damage to your device (See Where to Install your Plotter). As for cleaning the cutter, do ALL of the suggestions on a regular basis, either daily or weekly.

Where to Install Your Plotter

  • Place the Cutter in an area where there is little or no dust.
  • Do not place the plotter in direct sunlight.
  • Stabilize the plotter on a level surface.
  • Do not place near a machine or object that produces a strong magnetic field.
  • Try to set the plotter in a place where there are no boxes or other obstacles.
  • If there are obstacles in the moving path of the film, this can cause the film to twist and will lead to skewing.
Many customers create a separate office where the plotter is free of dust and can be kept cool. This is not absolutely necessary, but it can be advantageous.

Before You Leave the Shop Each Day

  • Be sure the pinch rollers are raised. Leaving the wheels latched down over long periods of time tends to cause indentation on the wheels. This causes poor tracking until the indentations are worked out from continuous use.
  • Use a soft cloth to clean the cutter. By wiping the dust off daily, this can stop the dust buildup that could cause problems later on.
  • Clean the tool tip. Blowing air around the blade area can do this. Vinyl and other debris can get caught up in the tool, restricting the swivel movement of the blade.
  • Clean the wheels weekly. See Cleaning the Wheels below.

Cleaning Your Cutter

The tools that will be needed for cleaning:
  • Paper towels A small wire brush (one that looks like a toothbrush). Rubbing alcohol.

Cleaning the wheels:

When the wheels track over the vinyl, there is a tendency to pick up small amounts of adhesive. The adhesive can build up to the point where it will cause poor tracking. When this occurs, the rubber wheels have to be cleaned. To do this, follow the steps below:
  • Take a paper towel and drench it in alcohol.
  • Latch the wheels down, preferably with the vinyl or paper loaded.
  • Press it against the rubber wheels.
  • While holding the paper towel on the wheel, press the DOWN ARROW key to move the wheel forward. Do this until the glue and other debris is completely removed.
Tip: If the accumulation of glue has become thick, use a pair of tweezers to remove the glue.

Cleaning the grit rollers

After a period of time dirt from the shop, little pieces of paper, and other debris can get caught on the grit rollers. Remove this by taking the toothbrush-like wire brush and gently scrub the grit rollers. Scrub in a circular motion. Be careful not to scrape the paint.

Maintaining the plunger

The only thing that needs lubrication is the plunger. Remove the red or blue shaft to expose the bearings at the end of the shaft. Lubricate the bearings with the vial of grease that came with the plunger. If the vial of grease has not been provided, any silicon grease will do.