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CAD-Cut Vinyl: How it Works


What is CAD-Cut Vinyl printing?

CAD (Computer Aided Design)-Cut printing is a method of heat transferring onto t-shirts and clothing. It is most commonly used for printing the numbers, names and logos onto sports t-shirts. CAD-Cut vinyl is actually the material used to print onto the fabric, and it is cut with the aid of a computer.

cad-cutHow does CAD-Cutting work?

The process uses different CAD-Cut vinyl materials which are cut, usually into a number or name, and then applied to the garment using a heat press. To ensure the cutting is perfect a computer is used to control the process. The picking of the excess vinyl is known as weeding. Once this has been done the vinyl is heat-transferred onto the t-shirt or garment.

Types of CAD-Cut vinyl

Different vinyl colors and textures can be used to customize t-shirts and clothing. The most popular vinyl is plain block color, but also available are effects in polka dots, chevrons, animal print, jeans, army, leather, and stripes. Before you consider which vinyl to use make sure you consider all the options. Maybe green zebra will work for t-shirt printing for a school team or club – OR you can print the numbers of rugby shirts in pink polka print!

cad-cut vinylCAD-Cut vinyl can also be layered to create unique garment printing effects. The vinyl usually comes in a roll and is cut using a vinyl cutter, flatbed cutter or hand cut. Choosing the right vinyl for the material ensures it keeps its pristine condition and doesn’t peel off after washing. The correct application process is also vital as poor quality vinyl printing won’t last long.

The most popular CAD-Cut vinyl materials are:

  • Airflow Heat Transfer Material – this is a breathable vinyl that allows air circulation as it contains tiny holes. This is the perfect printing solution for sports shirts.
  • Thermo-FILM Heat Transfer Material – a great vinyl that doesn’t absorb dyes from the fabric (dye migration) and creates a sharp and bold transfer. Great for contact sports like rugby as it’s strong and anti-abrasive. It has a semi-gloss finish and gives sports shirts a professional look.
  • Fashion-FILM Heat Transfer Material – this vinyl is great for fashion clothing as it’s thin and very soft, has a matte finish and is good for detailed designs.
  • FLOCK Heat Transfer Material – flock has a suede-like feel and finish and is perfect for layering two colors as it has a distinctive look and texture. Flock is great for printing on fashion t-shirts and clothing.

distressed logoThe benefits of using CAD-Cut Vinyl

CAD-Cut vinyl is ideal for garment printing of 1-3 colors of smaller quantities, for example, a football team’s strip.  Other benefits are:

  • Durable finish
  • Easy to apply
  • Washable
  • Available in many colors and patterns
  • Easy to add letters or numbers to an existing printed garment
  • Fast – no setup time as with screen printing
  • Matte or gloss finish
  • Can be used on any colors

About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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