Is it the best of the best? You will find out in this Graphtec CE6000 Review
Okay, fine, I will do a Graphtec CE6000 Review. Almost every week, I get a request to review this machine. I’ll be upfront with you. It’s not for the casual user. For some, the sticker shock alone will deter you from buying it.
It’s supposed to be the best money/value machine. Since I was asked continuously, I’ve decided to put it to the test.
You probably are used to my style by now. I won’t beat around the bush. I will tell you both the highlights and shortcomings of this machine. And yes, even this seemingly perfect Graphtec has flaws.
Before we get into the deep end, let’s take a look at the machine.
What Will I Learn?
- Machine Specs
- Graphtec CE6000 Versions
- How does it work?
- Unboxing and Setup
- Size and Weight
- Technology Rant
- The Look and Feel
- Speed and Sound
- Cutting force
- Blade Calibration
- Graphtec CE6000 Features:
- ARMS tech
- Tangential Emulation
- Graphtec CE6000 Highlights (Pros)
- Graphtec CE6000 Drawbacks (Cons)
- Who’s it for?
Graphtec CE6000 Versions
The Graphtec CE6000 series has different versions on the market. By versions, I mean sizes. There’s the CE6000-40, CE6000-60 and CE6000-120. The 40 version is the 15-inch vinyl cutter. The 60 version is the 24-inch vinyl cutter, and the 120 version is the 48-inch vinyl cutter.
I’m mostly doing hobby level stuff, so there was no reason for me to get the 48-inch machine. I’m not planning to go commercial, and I love to experiment with different materials and not just vinyl.
So as my test machine, I’ve chosen the 24-inch version. Believe me; it’s big enough. Since I didn’t want to buy it, I searched for a place to rent it. I was in luck in like three days the machine arrived.
I’ve signed for the package and asked my husband to carry it in. Forty-two pounds is not that easy to move.
I’ve already known the drill; this wasn’t my first commercial-grade machine. As you know, I have my crafting room set aside. Since I’m not working in a vast factory, my space is limited. Previously I’ve reviewed the Roland GX-24 series and the USCutter MH series. On both occasions, I camped out in the garage.
That’s the only place I could fit these big machines. I got some grief from my husband because the car was out in the driveway, and we had to get it washed frequently.
To make this long story short. Make sure you have enough room to work with the machine because it’s bigger than the desktop ones.
How does it work?
The Graphtec CE6000-60 is a straightforward machine. You create the design on a computer. Connect this computer to the vinyl cutter. Load up the machine with the vinyl of your choosing. Then hit cut. The machine will make accurate cuts and create the design in the vinyl.
After the machine is done with the cutting process, weed out the excess material. The final step is to apply your design on your designated surface.
If you would like to simplify the workings of this machine, then it would be a highly precise electric scissor. Did I mention that it’s fast? You have probably seen in the chart above that the max cutting speed is 35 inches/second. You don’t reach this cutting speed with desktop vinyl cutters.
This is how the Graphtec CE6000-60 works in a nutshell.
Next, we’re going to get into the machine characteristics. And of course, if you want to skip ahead, you can read the pros and cons first. There are certain things I don’t like about the machine, so that I will speak up.
Unboxing and Setup
As you have heard, the machine is heavy. I mean, the other two commercial machines I’ve reviewed recently wasn’t featherweight category either.
I already knew the drill with the machine because I’ve worked with similar ones before. You need to assemble the legs first. For this, you will need an electric screwdriver if you want to save time.
The instructions are straight forward if you follow the manual. I remember with the MH series. The English were broken, so certain parts were hard to understand. Each time I got stuck, I went on Youtube. I’m happy that I’m not a pioneer with this machine, and so many have used it before me. Now I can harvest their knowledge, and I can get my machine up and running faster.
Before you mount the machine on the legs, do remove any and every packaging material and stickers.
After the legs were assembled, then came the heavy lifting. I’m glad that I wasn’t the one who had to do it. My husband always bragged about his strength. Now it was the perfect time to test it out. He worked up a decent sweat.
I’ve connected the machine to the power outlet and hit start. Whenever I do it with a machine, I feel like the guys at OCC. Just like when they are starting up a bike for the first time. Will it turn on? For me, fortunately, it did.
That means I was in business.
Let’s look at the specs a bit in detail.
Size and Weight
As I mentioned, it’s a big machine 35x23x41 inches big. So no wonder I had moved out from my cozy crafting room.
It weighs 42 pounds with legs and everything. Now I won’t be bringing this machine to my kid’s show and tell anytime soon.
Once it’s set up, it doesn’t move.
As soon as I’ve set up the machine, I hit the brick wall called old technology. We got so used to wireless and contactless tech that we can’t imagine the world without it. Let me walk you through how this dinosaur era tech works.
First, you need to install the software which came with a CD. Yes, those thin and small Frisby looking things. What if I don’t have a CD-ROM? Well, there’s no other way around it. You still have two options. You can find a friend who has a CD-ROM and ask them to rip the CD into an image.
Or go on Amazon and buy a USB CD-ROM. It costs around $25. If you are working with storage technology, it might be a good investment for the future.
Then came the connection to the machine itself. Since the machine is compatible with both PC and MAC, then you can connect with any cord. This meant that I had to move my PC in the garage as well. No problem, my hubby helped me with the move.
Finally, everything was set up and was working correctly. What a relief. Now it’s time to put this machine to the test.
The Look and Feel
I’ve done a bit of research on this machine and people said that it improved. If you compare the CE6000 with an earlier version, the changes are significant. (I’m scared to look at what kind of tech did they use back then floppy disks?).
Graphtec CE6000 has a big LCD and big buttons. So it’s easy to control it. Since the buttons are well spaced out, there are no issues with butterfingers.
You can navigate the menu in two ways. You can choose simple or advanced settings. It removes some advanced features.
A cool feature with the machine is that it can memorize up to 8 settings. This means once you set up the speed and cutting power to specific material, you can quickly access it. You save time by not having to look up the data and then program it in.
Also, there are machines on which you have to redo the settings after every shutdown. No matter if you are using the same material over and over. So far, I love what I see about this machine. It has many time-saving features.
Speed and Sound
Since this is not a cheap product, the components are from the high-end category. This means that there are no conventional stepper motors used. As you know, stepper motors are all too standard and cheap. That’s why nearly every vinyl cutter, which is under $300, is powered by these motors.
There’s nothing wrong with stepper motors. They do a good enough job. Since they are steppers, they are louder and slower than their servo counterparts.
When I first experienced a servo motor cutting vinyl, I was like: What’s that sound? Exactly. It was so quiet. If I would put a Silhouette machine next to it, the difference is out of this world.
As you have seen, the Graphtec CE6000-60 reaches the top speed of 35 inches/second. The bigger machine the 120 has a high speed of 39.99 inches/second. That’s close to lightning speed. No wonder if you are working on large surfaces like these, speed is essential.
Here’s a hot tip for you. If you consider buying a commercial-grade machine, make sure it has servo motors. Yes, it will cost you more initially. But nothing compares to the speed and the quietness of those motors.
If you can make big jobs faster than it’s all worth it.
The cutting force for the Graphtec CE6000 is set at 350g. It’s a sufficiently strong cutting force. We’re talking about vinyl and maybe paper, not balsa wood or chipboard.
In most cases, you will be using 100g as a cutting force. You see, if you apply way too much force, you cut through the material and scratch your machine. Everybody wants to avoid that scenario.
Here’s my big issue with the machine. Setting up the blade depth is a real pain. If you are used to the X-acto blade, you want it sticking out as much possible. Well, with vinyl cutters, it’s a bit different.
The recommended blade hight is half of a credit card’s width. How good is your eyesight? Can you see that small, or you need a magnifying glass?
This is where I miss the Silhouette’s Auto Blade. You push cut, and the machine does everything.
The calibration can take some time. You can do this with the machine or manually.
With the machine, it would go like this. You lower the blade to a certain length and mount it. After that, you do a test cut. Pay attention if you see that the blade is ripping into the material hit pause immediately. Otherwise, you can scratch the machine.
If you see that it didn’t cut through on the first cut, then it means you have to lower the blade a little bit more. By changing the blade height, you will eventually nail the right cutting depth. The good thing about the machine is that it applies the same pressure no matter what. So you might be able to calibrate faster like this.
Don’t forget if you change the material; you need to redo the calibration.
The second option would be to calibrate it manually. You get a sticky notes stack and try to cut through. To get the right blade depth, you need to cut through only one page. It’s a good idea to keep the same pressure, so your results don’t get skewed.
Graphtec CE6000 Features:
ARMS stands for Automatic Registration Mark Sensor. I’m willing to make a bet that it doesn’t mean anything to you. Well, let me give you an example so you will be able to understand.
As you know, this is compatible with print and cut technology. This means that after you’ve printed something you can easily do a contour cutting. This is the best way to multiply stickers.
Before you print out the material, you need to place contour cut lines. These are in the shape of an L letter. You need to add one to each corner. This will help the machine to triangulate better and faster.
After you have added these contour lines, you can print it. The next step is to add the material into the machine. The machine will detect the contour lines and do the job.
You should see this baby go. For testing purposes, I’ve added 64 stickers. And they were cut out in a matter of minutes. I’m a huge supporter of contour cutting.
Neither the Cricut or the Silhouette would be able to compete. First of all, they don’t have the necessary space, so I would lose a lot of time by switching the mat in and out. Plus, speed is not the same. I can see how beneficial it is to have a commercial vinyl cutter by my side.
Does this remind you of math class? Yes, you’re not far from it. This tech helps you make corners sharper. As you know, when the machine has to follow a curve or take a corner, something has to happen, so the cut becomes smooth.
Now Graphtec CE6000 smoothed this problem over. It did it the following way. Every time it has to change the direction, the blade is raised and pivoted. This means that you can create perfect circles or any oval-shaped cuttings.
The machine has three settings to use this option. With the first option, it is highly accurate; thus, the speed will be reduced. This is the best option if you are working on a sophisticated design.
Option two is the medium one. This gives you the bests cut at the best speed.
Finally, option three is when you disable this feature.
Since these machines are old, they never really supported MAC computers. The Graphtec CE6000 is different. It helps it. This is good news for everyone who owns one.
You can see that these machines and software were created in the 20th century. You are paying for the software. I was like, why? I like the other payment model better. Just take a look at Cricut or Silhouette. The program is free, and you can pay for the design if you don’t want to create it yourself.
I bet that both companies are making a handsome profit every month. They all have more than 100,000 designs uploaded, and they probably take a certain percentage off the sales price.
Compare those number of selling software for $50-$150 once, maybe a few more times if the company want more people to access it.
As I mentioned earlier, everything comes on a CD. What do you get in the package?
There’s all the good stuff: Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, Cutting Master, and Graphtec studio software. Plus, we shouldn’t forget the training videos. That’s a good touch.
The Graphtec studio software runs fine on PC and Macs, as well.
The warranty for the Graphtec CE6000 is the usual one year. And you can extend it to two. Recently I’ve looked at Amazon and over there you can extend the warranty by four or even five years.
This is a good sign. Not long ago, I’ve reviewed USCutter’s MH series. Guess what it only has a 90-day warranty. If that doesn’t make you jumpy, I don’t know what will.
I did a bit of research and found a YouTube video where the spokesperson talks about the differences. His words, not mine, you get what you pay for. So why does this product exists is beyond me? If the manufacturer only believes that the machine survives 90 days than what?
It seems for them the one year warranty is a feature, not something that’s legally mandated in other countries.
Graphtec CE6000 Highlights (Pros)
It’s been a while since I’ve written this many pros for a machine. So here it goes.
The machine is quiet and works fast. The price range is okay for commercial purposes. Speed does count, and this machine delivers with its servo motors.
With the ARMS system, you can duplicate stickers fast and easy.
Thanks to the Tangential Emulation, you have smooth and clean cuts.
The Graphtec CE6000 cutter plotter has built-in error detection. Let’s say that you haven’t aligned the vinyl correctly. Then it will automatically detect it. Here’s the golden rule. The machine cuts straight. How you load the vinyl results in crookedness.
If you miss the alignment by 1/100 of an inch, the cut will end up crooked. Do you want to know the 30-second fix for this? It’s quite simple. All you have to do is unroll the material to your cutting length. Wait and see if the material ends up crooked.
If it doesn’t, then guess what, the cut will be successful if it doesn’t, then readjust and do this test again.
The machine has a sensor that detects the width of the material. Now, if you are working with shorter content, you will get a constant error, and you won’t be able to cut. This sensor can be turned off from the software. In other models, you would tape it over. This method is more elegant.
If you look at the machine more attentively, you can see some blue lines. These indicate the position of the grid rollers. This makes the feed better, and the material won’t skip.
Besides all these fancy tricks, I love the speed and how quiet the machine worked. Hands down, it’s a good vinyl cutter for big projects.
Graphtec CE6000 Drawbacks (Cons)
It would be lovely if this machine would get a facelift for the 21st century. As in having a wireless connection would be amazing.
Since you need a cord, you have to have your computer around. Forget about Android or IOS that’s way in the future.
What surprised me was this, there was no catch basket. Would it be so hard to include it? That left me disappointed.
This machine isn’t that heavy-duty either. Other machines have a sturdier build.
The software is way too old-school. Don’t get me wrong it does the job, but you need a CD-ROM for it to work.
The price is on the upper side. I wouldn’t get this machine as a starter. Until you have some experience under your belt, you should go with a cheaper version and later on upgrade.
Who’s it for?
It’s a pricy machine so that will rule out many people. With the price, you save time. With the Graphtec CE6000 cutter plotter, you can do big jobs with ease.
Let’s say you are doing a T-shirt business with this machine you can create a full A4 size in one go. This saves you on material cost and time again.
What can you do with this vinyl cutter? There’s a big list of materials you can work. I’ve cherry-picked the most important ones: Screen Protector (for cellphones this is in high demand), Signs, Rhinestone Templates, Heat transfer paper, Decals, Stickers, Etching Stencils, Window tints. I want to highlight that the Graphtec cutter plotter does a great job with heat transfers. If you want to start your own T-shirt business besides this machine you will need a heat press.
As you can see, there are many business opportunities. The machine will be perfect for any of them. The decision comes down to you. In which business will you create a name for yourself.
Best of all, you won’t have to clean or order mats. The machine doesn’t need them.
The Graphtec CE6000-60 made it in my best of the best article. Check it out at Best Professional Vinyl Cutter post.
We have reached the end of this Graphtec CE6000-60 Review. It was a long journey. It’s been some time since I’ve created such an in-depth review.
With this vinyl cutter, you can quickly get started and earn money. There’s a learning curve, and the training videos will get you over that hump. It’s a pricy machine so not everyone can afford it. But for those who invest will reap some excellent rewards.
This is how many people have characterized the Graphtec CE6000 cutter plotter in a few words: accurate, reliable and user-friendly. This is why the Graphtec CE6000-60 got a spot on my best of the best list.
Thank you for reading this long. If you have used the machine or you have feedback, let me know below. Also, if you want me to review a machine hit me up.
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