A vinyl lettering machine is a machine that creates vinyl letters, shapes, and designs. These machines can be found in a range of sizes and are typically used in conjunction with sheets of vinyl intended for use with such devices. This type of machine can be used commercially in sign making or can be used by a hobbyist who wishes to create custom vinyl letters and shapes for scrapbooking, card making, or other similar purposes. A vinyl lettering machine can also be used with sheets of specially prepared vinyl that can then be applied to create signs on windows, walls, and other surfaces.
Sometimes simply called a vinyl cutter, a vinyl lettering machine is typically used to create vinyl letters and shapes that can be used for a number of purposes. The vinyl used with these types of machines typically consists of thin sheets of vinyl with a thicker wax paper sheet on one side. These sheets of vinyl can come in a wide array of sizes, and the maximum size of the letters and shapes produced typically depends on the machine. The most common sizes for a vinyl lettering machine are 15 inches (38.1 cm), 30 inches (76.2 cm), and 60 inches (1.524 meters), though larger commercial sizes can be found.
A vinyl lettering machine typically works by programming a particular letter or phrase into the machine. Some machines will connect to a computer where special software is used to create an image that is then transmitted to the machine for cutting. Other types of machines feature digital displays and pre-programmed letter shapes and sizes, which allow the user to select a desired letter. The vinyl lettering machine then uses a roller or similar mechanism to feed the vinyl sheet into the machine and cut the letter, designs, word, or shapes selected by the user into the vinyl.
Typical designs for a vinyl lettering machine utilize a blade mechanism that cuts through the vinyl but does not cut into the somewhat thicker paper on which the vinyl is layered. This allows the resulting letter or letters to remain together on the sheet until ready for use. Letters and shapes created can then be peeled off the paper and used for scrapbooking or other purposes. Vinyl application fluid and certain vinyl sheets can also be used with a vinyl lettering machine to create vinyl images that can adhere to surfaces such as walls or windows.