INEXPENSIVE STARTER PRESSES FOR DIE CUTTING
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Written By Mark Batson Baril

THREE REAL QUESTIONS FROM THREE REAL COMPANIES...

    Hi!
    I'm a designer in Pittsburgh specializing in custom-designed invitations, programs, etc. for special events. 90% of our work is made by hand. I'm looking for a desk-top sized hole-punch unit that could punch from 1 to 5 1/8" holes with approx. 1/2" spacing between the holes in sheets of paper. I also have other shapes that need to be cut in small quantities. Do you have anything like this or can you recommend anyone I could contact?
    Thank you!
    More Than Words

    Sirs,
    I own a small business and have all of the equipment needed to manufacturer neoprene can coolers, except something to cut a 2 1/2" circle of 5mm thick neoprene. I had a die made and attempted manual procedures, such as using an arbor press and even just a rubber mallet. I just can't get enough pressure to cut through the rubber. I don't want to spend a fortune on more equipment. Do you have any recommendations?
    Lou Frazier

    HI Cutting People
    My husband and I own a small specialty credit card manufacturing business in New England. We print and then laminate sheets of paper with a heavy plastic that makes them feel and look like credit cards. Currently we cut these out with a blade on a table. Our quantities are increasing quickly into hundreds per week and we would like to put a round corner on the cards too. Do you have any suggestions?
    Linda Quinn

These three situations have been dealt with time and time again. All three of the questions have similar elements that make for a common answer that makes a whole bunch of sense.
The common elements are:
  • They are Small businesses with limited cash resources.
  • They probably operate out of their homes so they need small machines that won’t; wake up the neighbors, need three phase power, or need an army and a crane to lower into the basement.
  • Quality cuts are needed to produce a high visibility product.
  • Low tonnage needed – max. of probably 5 tons.
  • Shapes to be cut are all conducive to using steel rule dies as the cutting tool.
  • Low quantities mean that a hand operated press will work fine. High speed cutting and stripping are not concerns at this point in their businesses.

There are probably a dozen types of presses out there that could be used for these applications. There are the standard presses from the hydraulic clicker to the clamshell to the pneumatic punch press style that are all still a bit on the over-kill side. They would not be a good total fit for the situation. There are at least two really cool machines on the market today that are the perfect fit.
    1. They are hand operated presses that develop the pressure needed.
    2. They are cheap to buy – less than $500.00 US.
    3. They cut a reasonable size image (max. 9˛ x 12˛ approx. – 228mm x 305mm),
    4. They are small and lightweight and take relatively little training to use.
    5. They can use steel rule dies as there cutting tools and can also be used for embossing.
    6. They are safe to use.

The Ellison Machine is a bearing equipped cam operated type machine that acts as a flatbed platen type cutting press. A large handle allows the operator to make the impression with little effort while maintaining excellent registration and cut quality. The press is a table top model and is very safe to operate. http://www.ellison.com

The Accucut Machine is a roller press type machine that acts as a flatbed platen type cutting press with pressure being exerted as the die passes under the top roller. This press is also a table top model and is quite safe to operate. http://www.accucut.com

Both machine companies will take a sample of the material to be cut and the tooling you own or a in stock tool they own and will do test cuts. This allows a real live test so the customer won't buy a machine that will not work for their business. What a deal! Both companies also act as suppliers for custom and stock steel rule dies and embossing tools.

If you strike out with the presses, one other route may be to have an outsource shop cut the parts for you. It could be quite cheap and maybe a good route to take. A local diecutter, laser cutter, Waterjet cutter, sample cutter or prototyping house will be able to help out in any of the question cases outlined.

We hope you enjoyed the article. Please contact Cut Smart if you would like more information on this subject.
 

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