Custom cutting

Posted by Graeme McKinstry on 30 July 2012 | 0 Comments

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We have recently purchased a programmable cutting machine (Blackcat Cougar 24"). I have been using this machine as a simple die-cutting machine and have also experimented with embossing.

What can it do?

We have produced some diecut business cards, some table-talkers, and some food labels, to name just a few. We first print the material, usually on card, on our digital press and then put it through the cutting machine to be cut out.


It is great for prototyping designs and for doing short runs of diecutting material. Large quantities can be handled on a traditional diecutting machine, but at the very least, concepts can be proven. We can also diecut larger sheets than most traditional diecutting machines which gives us more flexibility in design.


Everything that needs to be cut has to be stuck down on a cutting mat. The surface is tacky so it works well—until the paper dust makes the surface non-tacky. Then you need to wash the mat and possibly reapply some adhesive.

The process is manual. You need to align the card so it is square on the cutting mat; then move the cutting so it will begin cutting in the right place relative to your print. There is a laser dot on the cutting machine for alignment so I print a dot on the material to be cut so as to help alignment. Even so, there is a lot of nudging of the cutting head to get it exactly in the right position. You can align three corners but this is even more time consuming. 

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