Let’s learn how to cut vinyl with xTool M1, the all in one laser and blade cutting machine.
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What is the xTool M1
This new machine has multiple functions that crafters love! It houses both a laser and blade for cutting and engraving materials from thick wood to super fine paper.
The machine is enclosed in a safe case with UV protection and multiple options for air filtering. This means I can use it effectively in my craft room.
The all in one functions allow me to laser cut and engrave wood, then switch to vinyl to add more detailed embellishments to my project.
Take a look at this xTool M1 review to learn all about the machine, it’s capabilities and see a few starter projects.
HTV vs Adhesive Vinyl
There are 2 main types of vinyl in the crafting world, HTV and adhesive. Let’s break these down and talk about how you can use each type.
HTV – Heat Transfer Vinyl. This type of vinyl can be cut using a blade like the M1 or a Cricut or Silhouette machine. HTV can also be cut by hand.
The material is activated by heat and can be adhered to most fabrics as well as wood. HTV is used to make t-shirts, tote bags, canvas art, wood signs and more.
Adhesive vinyl This type of vinyl acts like a sticker. It can be cut the same as HTV then transferred to any hard surface. No heat is required to make this type of vinyl stick.
There are 2 main types of adhesive vinyl, permanent and removable. This allows you to create long lasting or temporary projects.
Adhesive vinyl is used in all kinds of home décor and signs, as well as on coffee mugs or as pantry labels.
How to use the M1 blade cutting function
The xTool M1 has a housing that contains both a laser and blade. The laser is used for cutting and engraving a variety of hard surfaces. The blade is used for cutting finer materials like paper, fabric and vinyl.
xTool Creative Space is the free software that can be used with this new machine. When working with graphics there is a right sidebar that allows you to choose the type of cut you are making; laser or blade.
xTool has a wealth of their own materials and the software has recommended settings for these. In my tests, using the recommended settings has resulted in perfect cuts every time. There is also a reference guide that comes with material boxes and is available online.
xTool M1 materials range from basswood, to acrylic and metal as well as all types of vinyl and paper. The premium material box is a great way to test out everything the company offers and make a number of projects.
Watch the video to see the full process and learn how to cut vinyl with xTool M1
Make a shirt using HTV
If you have used a Cricut or other cutting machine you will find this process very familiar. Here are the steps to cutting HTV and adhering it to a cotton t-shirt. The video in this post is a visual walkthrough of this process and will show you how to cut vinyl with xTool M1.
First, and very important, clean the base plate of the xTool M1 using rubbing alcohol and paper towel. This removes any debris left behind from laser projects.
Pull the protective film off the back of the blue cutting mat and place it inside the machine. This adhesive ensures the mat won’t move around during cutting.
Remove the top protective film from the mat and place a piece of HTV matte side up (glossy side down) on the mat and press down.
Next, start up xTool Creative Space or XCS, the xTool M1 software, on your computer. Upload an image, I am using an SVG from Weekend Craft SVG membership program. The image needs to be reflected horizontally because HTV is cut from the back side.
The M1 has a built in camera that offers real time previews of the material in the machine. You can adjust the size of the graphic and see exactly where it will be cut from the vinyl.
On the right side, choose blade cut and the corresponding material, I am using PU heat transfer vinyl. The recommended settings that populate are ideal for this material.
Then, click process in the bottom right and then the button on the front of the machine to start the cut.
When finished, pull the mat out of the machine and place it back on the protective film. Then weed out the extra HTV using a weeding tool.
To adhere HTV to a shirt, you need to use a heat press or an iron. I am using the HTVRont auto heat press for this project, it’s easy and effective for all kinds of fabric projects.
Once the pressing is done, pull off the clear carrier sheet and the shirt is done.
Cutting adhesive vinyl with xTool M1
Cutting adhesive vinyl follows the same process as above. The main difference is regular vinyl is cut from the front, not the back, so there is no need to reflect the image.
Be sure to choose the correct material in XCS before starting the process.
After weeding out this design, use a piece of transfer tape to move the vinyl from the backing to the hard surface. A scraper tool is helpful to ensure everything is pressed down really well.
The combination of a 10W diode laser and a blade allow you to cut and engrave hundreds of materials with this machine.
I highly recommend the xTool M1 premium material box to get a feel for all the different types and see what you love to work with before ordering more.
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