Powerful. Precise. Versatile. Long lasting. These are the first words that come to my mind when I talk about the FC8600 from Graphtec. Very few would doubt that this is probably the best ever commercial vinyl cutter that Graphtec came up with. In fact, it is probably one of the best in the market too.
The Graphtec FC8600 has five versions of different cutting widths. The lowest one has a cutting width of 24 inches, then there is one with 30 inches of cutting width followed by another one with a width of 42 inches. The two highest versions have cutting widths of 54 inches and 64 inches.
Performance wise, all four are great. These review will delve into the details concerning the FC8600. Do give it a read.
- Great choice for commercial businesses in the field of signage, apparel, decals, automotive markets, etc. Can be used by individuals too
- Adjustable cutting force that can go as high as 600g
- Great contour cutting
- Features Advanced Registration Mark Sensing system for superior cuts
- Can work smoothly with even the most complicated of medias be it amberlith, rubylith, high intensity reflective, etc.
Thankfully, the FC8600 is far better packaged by the manufacturers than a few other leading Graphtec commercial cutters in the market. We loved how the makers were thoughtful enough to include a standard media roll rack and floor stands in the package so you won’t have to buy them separately. The package comes with media catch baskets too so you can run large operations in peace without having to worry about the waste fly around.
The LCD screen is big enough in size to not confuse you while operating the unit.
The FC8600 cutters are in true sense commercial cutters and would need their own dedicated space in a room or workplace no matter how big or small the space is.
As we mentioned before, the FC8600 has five different versions with five different cutting widths of 24 inches, 30 inches, 42 inches, 54 inches and 64 inches. The cutting length is very high standing somewhere at about 164 feet.
From what we observed, the FC8600 maintains top notch cutting performance and tracking even at 50 feet length and looks capable enough to maintain the standard beyond that length too.
It’s safe to say that with a massive cutting force of upto 600g, the FC8600 is capable enough to cut almost any material that is currently in use in the industry. The servo motor and the high quality blades come in very handy on this regard. It can cut vinyl materials of all levels of thickness. It can work with packaging, labels, stickers, heat transfer media and masking media too. Moving on to the harder materials, the FC8600 can work smoothly even with the likes of amberlith, rubylith, sandblast resist rubber and stencils, automotive window and paint protection films, high intensity reflective films of diamond grade, self-adhesive vinyl as well as prismatic grade reflective sheeting.
Any business operating in the fields of signage or anything else would love to have a machine like this in the workplace. From what we can gauge, this is one of the most complete commercial cutters in the market right now.
In a nutshell, the FC8600 cuts with power and precision. Even at very long lengths, the machine holds onto its standard of high quality cutting and tracking.
To start off, the FC8600 scores high when it comes to contour cutting and perforation cutting. The positioning of the blade in this machine changes from its normal position to give quality contour cuts. This machine is capable of rolling fed media of up to 1.68 mm thickness. As mentioned earlier, there is almost no material in use in the industry that this unit can’t work with. The user can toggle and adjust the force with which the blades come in contact with the media depending on its hardness. This helps in eliminating the risk of wasting sensitive materials. Overall, the FC8600 is great for using different media. The push rollers are very user-friendly and there are about 3 tension settings. You can add more settings too and hopefully the cutter will suffice at making any media at home in it.
Another reason for falling in love with the FC8600 is that it can pretty much do about everything. This unit can cut through complex shapes with ease. The cutting speed is high when it comes to FC8600. A speed of 58.5 inches per second makes it perfect for large orders that businesses deal with. The cutting force can be adjusted as per need and can go up to 600 grams. And the FC8600 was made for the long runs. It can work tirelessly for hours on a stretch just as one would expect from a topnotch commercial cutter.
Two features basically set apart the FC8600. First is the Automated Registration Marks System better known as ARMS 5.0. This feature basically identifies registration marks on the media on its own and does its own axis alignment too to ensure that the cuts are precise and just the way you want them. No matter how repetitive a task might be, ARMS ensures that the quality remains a constant.
Another noteworthy element is the tangential emulation feature. The blades in FC8600 are smart and capable of repositioning and rising up while cutting corners to ensure highest levels of precision. And the cutter maintains decent speed while doing so too and doesn’t slow down drastically. Handling even the most complex of designs becomes easy due to this feature.
Speaking of saving time, the FC8600 can use its pen and blade interchangeably at the same time if the operation demands so.
The only thing we hated in this otherwise great cutter is that it only allows to save two preset conditions. Businesses or even serious hobbyists who work with various projects at once would hate this feature.
Software & Connectivity
The software collection of Graphtec FC8600 scores very well in our books. The unit comes with Graphtec’s homegrown software which is Graphtec Studio. Granted this is no Adobe Illustrator but is a decent software in itself. It is pretty easy to use and intuitive. The Graphtec Studio comes with decent editing functions. It allows configuring line styles. You can apply paint colors on objects with gradient and pattern filling options as well using this software. There are several editable auto shapes integrated into the software. There are the basic editing options like cropping, welding, joining, diving, etc. as well including bit map tracing.
And, the plotter settings can be handled straight from the software as well.
A plugin named Cutting Master 3 is provided with the package which allows the user to send designs from CorelDraw or Illustrator straight to the cutter. You can adjust your own registration marks and weeding settings with this as well. Just so you know, the Graphtec Studio is compatible with both Windows and Mac.
The Graphtec Studio allows importing files in EPS format which is a blessing for many of us.
Connectivity wise, the Ethernet connectivity ability of the FC8600 is a big advantage. Apart from traditional USB and serial port connectivity, the FC8600 can be added to a network as well for convenient wireless connectivity. We are sure lots of business owners out there would love to know this.
So that was pretty much about it as far as the Graphtec FC8600 goes. This unit cuts with power and precision. It is durable and can handle the most hectic of work schedules. Any serious hobbyist or business owner will love having this versatile and powerful machine around. No machine on earth is flawless but the FC8600 goes very close to becoming that.
Click here to find out the best price for this machine.