Guide to Large Format Print & Cut Projects with Romeo® and Juliet®

If you’ve been using the Romeo® or Juliet® high-definition cutters, you may be aware of the Print & Cut capabilities these machines offer thanks to the built-in camera. But if you’re not aware, read on to learn all about it!

Romeo and Juliet can handle print & cut projects beyond your typical letter-sized prints, like the new larger sizes of EasyColor™ DTV™. Taking on those large and high-volume print & cut projects is quick and easy thanks to the versatility of Leonardo™ Design Studio!

Sound interesting? You’re in luck, because this blog post explores tackling oversized print & cut designs using your Romeo or Juliet cutter.

How to Set Up A Large Print and Cut File in Leonardo™ Design Studio

Preparing the Art Board

Before you can get to printing and ultimately cutting, you’ll first need to prepare your artboard. Open Leonardo Design Studio and navigate to the Design Page. The Design Page is sized to a 12”x12” cutting mat by default. We’re going to need to change that!

Default artboard on the Design Page in Leonardo Pro.

The “Art Board | Cutting Mat” properties window is on the right-hand side of the screen. First click the “Material Roll” button to remove the cutting mat template from the art board. Then check the “Print and Cut job” box to enable a new dropdown.

You can select from a handful of new canvas presets that will automatically adjust your artboard and “safe area” from this new dropdown menu.

Not seeing your material size here? Don’t panic! Simply click the printer icon next to the dropdown menu to bring up your printer’s dialog box. Then choose your appropriate “paper size” and click OK. The artboard is now sized to your desired material!

Printer dialog window in Leonardo Pro.

Importing an Image

With your new, appropriately sized artboard now on display, you’re ready to import your cut files! Leonardo Design Studio supports importing JPG, PNG, and TIF image files for Print & Cut projects, in addition to SVGs. Just make sure you import your files as a “Print and Cut” project so you can edit the contours.

Import Image window in Leonardo Pro.

Creating Cut Contours

When you’ve imported your image as a Print & Cut project, you are introduced to the Create Cut Contours window. This allows you to tweak the cut lines of your design. Use the slider to adjust the mask tolerance for removing the background on the first page of this window. If you find that you can’t quite remove the background to your liking, refine the mask further by using the Advanced Masking Tools!

Create Cut Contours window in Leonardo Pro.

Once the background has been removed, click “Next” to move onto the next screen. Here, you’ll preview the cut contours and smooth them with the sliders on the right if desired. There’s even a box you can check to instantly remove or include holes (AKA “cavities”)! When your cut contours look spiffy, click “Next” to move onto the third and final screen.

Traced Contours window in Leonardo Pro.

In this last screen, you have the ability to add some finishing touches to your cut contour. Add an offset using the slider on the right or choose if you want to hide the background when it’s time to print. Looking to avoid those thin white outlines around your design after cutting? Include a Contour Bleed for a more professional result! When you’re done having fun, click “Finished” to place your design (with cut contours!) on the art board.

Offset Contours window in Leonardo Pro.

See something you like in the Design Library instead? You can turn those vector-based designs into Print & Cut projects, too! Simply find the design you want and click the “Open Design” button to bring it over to your artboard. Then click the “Build Contours” tool (shaped like a star) on the toolbar, select Print and Cut Logo, then click Apply. You will see registration marks appear around the design that automatically adjust when you scale the artwork!

Duplicating a Design

Now if you’re working with a single, large image, you can move onto the next step. But if you’re like me and you’re trying to print a bunch of smaller designs onto a large sheet of media, you’ll want to duplicate your design first!

To duplicate your design, you can simply select your design, then hold the Alt key (Option for Macs®) and drag to a blank area on your artboard. Upon releasing, your design will be duplicated! You can even hold the Shift key as well to keep your design aligned horizontally with the original. But if you’re a Leonardo Design Studio Pro subscriber, there’s a handy tool that makes this even easier!

The Tile Array tool can quickly duplicate a design as many times as desired. By selecting the design and selecting the Tile Array tool on the toolbar, a new window appears that allows you to choose exactly how many duplicates you want. And with the Auto Fit button, all it takes is a single click to create the maximum number of copies that will fit on the artboard! For a more in-depth look at the Tile Array tool, check out this blog post.

Tile Array tool window in Leonardo Pro.

Crop marks not fitting on the artboard after duplicating? No problem! Simply check the box for “Page Marks” at the top of the Art Board properties to bring them in closer.

Duplicated logos on the artboard in Leonardo.

Sending A Large Print and Cut File to Your Printer

Congratulations! You’re now ready to print & cut your design! Click the “Send Design” button at the top right corner of the artboard with your artwork selected. If you had multiple designs on the page, you would be able to choose whether to send specific designs or the entire artboard from this new window. Click “Send” to proceed.

Send Print & Cut Artwork window in Leonardo Pro.

Before you cut your design, you will need to (you guessed it!) print it first. The Print Artwork layer is selected by default in the new window that pops up. Use the dropdown to select your printer on the righthand side of this window. We already set your paper size earlier, so we don’t need to worry about that option right now. With your printer selected, go ahead and click “Send to Printer”, and then “Print” in the printer dialog box— but make sure your EasyColor DTV is loaded first!

Print Design screen in Leonardo Pro.

Cutting A Large Print and Cut File with Romeo or Juliet

Loading the Material

Once your inkjet printer delivers your full-color design, bring it over to your Romeo or Juliet to begin the second half of your “Print & Cut” project. EasyColor DTV is versatile and can be cut on either High-Definition cutter with or without a mat. Since we’re dealing with a large-format project, we’ll be skipping the mat this time!

Place the EasyColor DTV behind the pinch rollers, making sure that the registration mark with the small square is positioned in the bottom left. This step is important for ensuring that your registration marks are properly read by the built-in camera! Use the “down” directional arrow on the cutter touch screen to engage the pinch rollers and begin feeding the EasyColor DTV into the cutter from the back.

Loading a large sheet of EasyColor into Romeo.

Test Cuts

Feed the material into the cutter until you’ve reached a blank area of the vinyl. Adjust the speed and force (we recommend starting at a force of 5–10 and a speed of 10) in the “Cut Settings” menu on the cutter touch screen. Then, perform a test cut to ensure that your blade is cleanly slicing through the material. If the cut isn’t clean, continue adjusting the cut settings and performing test cuts until you achieve the desired results.

Weeding a test cut on EasyColor.

Not sure how to test cut? Check out this Juliet Blog Post or this Romeo Blog post.

Using the Built-in Camera

Once you’ve dialed in the cut settings, use the directional arrows on the home screen to fine-tune the alignment. Position the bottom left registration mark underneath the blade holder.

Positioning the cut head over the bottom left registration mark.

Head back to Leonardo Design Studio on your computer. You will see the “Cutting Contours” layer underneath the “Print Artwork” one on the lefthand side of your screen. Select the cutting contours and check the “Use Cutter’s Settings” box on the righthand side of the screen. You’ll also want to make sure the “Mirror” option is unchecked as Print & Cut designs do not need to be mirrored. If everything looks good, click “Send to Cutter” to begin the cutting process!

Send Cut Contours screen in Leonardo Pro.

The machine head instantly begins searching for the bottom left registration mark using the built-in camera. This typically only takes a few seconds, and once your cutter identifies the first registration mark, it quickly scans the remaining ones and begin cutting!

Failure to Read Registration Marks

On occasion, your Romeo or Juliet may not be able to identify the first registration mark and will begin beeping. Don’t worry! To move the little plus symbol over the registration mark, simply use the directional arrows or touch the screen to place it exactly where you want. The built-in camera will use this to know where to scan for the next attempt!

Adjusting the camera via the cutter touch screen.

After your cutter swiftly (and quietly) cuts your design, use the directional arrows on the touch screen to unload your material. You can now grab your EasyWeeder® and some TTD Easy Mask and move on to the application!

Heat applying an EasyColor logo onto a shirt.

Want to see Print & Cut in action with Leonardo Design Studio? Check out this video below:

Start Your Own Print & Cut Projects

Your cutter is ready to handle your extra-large projects with speed, power, and elegance with just a few small adjustments in Leonardo Design Studio! Achieving full-color designs on garments is no longer limited to big print shops or expensive equipment.

But what’s also great is that the versatility of Romeo and Juliet make them the ideal choice for so many more types of full-color projects! You can also tackle Print & Cut with materials such as stickers, magnets, and cardstocks. Unlike other cutters that use a traditional optical eye, the built-in camera can scan registration marks on shiny, glossy, metallic, glittery, and iridescent materials with ease!

Tackling a large format print & cut project using Romeo.

What type of Print & Cut project are YOU going to try first? Let us know in the comment section!