Troubleshooting Basic Vinyl Tracking Problems

  • As simple as it seems, a major reason for poor tracking is improper alignment of sign vinyl. Long runs will be impossible to accomplish without learning to load and align vinyl properly. Take at least 30 minutes when receiving cutter / plotter to learn its "personality." Discover the cutter's alignment marks and how to use them with different vinyl films.
  • Allow the sign vinyl material to fall away from the cutter in both the front and the back.
  • Make sure desktop cutters rest on a table that is at least 24" wide. The table should be at least 8" from the wall.
  • Check Down Acceleration - the speed at which the cutter comes to a halt;  Up Acceleration - the speed the cutting blade moves from one letter or graphic to another; and actual Cutting Speed. All can effect tracking. Running any plotter or cutter at an extremely high speed can cause slipping.
  • Do not permit your cutter to pull vinyl off from a heavy 50 yard roll. Since most cutters do not have an auto unroll feature, they will pull on the heavy roll of vinyl at their usual working speed. The snapping that results could have a disastrous effect on tracking.
  • Make certain you are using the correct sign vinyl film. Some vinyl materials are designed to work better in cold climates, others in warm areas. Know which ones are appropriate to use under your conditions.

Spot and Alleviate Static Electricity Problems

Notice that there are more tracking problems during the cooler, dryer months of the year? Static electricity could be the culprit. So much static electricity can build up that your cutter can actually stop working altogether. Here's why: Just roll out some vinyl and hold the back of your hand against the vinyl as it drags over the big roll from either the bed or the cutter. Notice how the hair on your hand stands on end? Well, the faster the cutter rolls the vinyl the more static electricity is generated. What's more, during the cooler, dryer months of the year, conditions are ripe for the production of even more static electricity. What can you do? The best solution to correct this problem is to put a humidifier in the room where the cutter resides. Or wipe the vinyl down with a static guard cloth or static guard spray.

Get Better Tracking with your R-Series Cutter

This video applies the above principles when working with an R-Series II.

If you continue to have basic vinyl tracking problems, or more complex ones, please contact our helpful product support technicians using the help link icon found on the bottom right of any page of