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What Does a Cutting Printer Do?


According to experts, humans now have an eight-second attention span. It used to be longer. However, new advances in "look at me" technologies have caused it to shrink quite a bit. 

Unfortunately, this shorter attention span makes marketing far more difficult than before. But luckily, commercial printing services can offer a wide variety of print special effects these days. If you use these, you can wow potential customers into paying attention. 

One of these special effects is die cutting. This involves shape cutting your printing materials with a cutting printer. Read on to learn more about this process. 

What Is a Cutting Printer? 

Where a regular printer prints out images, a cutter printer prints out shapes. Essentially, the materials will get fed into the cutter printer. Then this machine will use the tools it has to cut a shape or shapes into the material.

With commercial printing services, cutting printers will usually cut out the same shape again and again. How exactly each cutter printer cuts a material depends on its type. 

What Are the Types of Cutting Printers? 

Different types of printers use different tools and mechanisms to cut into materials. Each of these excels with some tasks but struggles with others. So what type of die cutting is appropriate for your print project depends on your needs. 

Rotary Die Cutting Printer 

Rotary die cutting printers utilize a rolling can-shaped component called a die station. On this component are dies. These are blades that manufacturers have made into a certain shape.

Solid and Flexible Types 

Die stations come in two main types: solid and flexible. Solid die stations are only composed of an engraved metal cylinder. Flexible die stations consist of a sheet of engraved metal that is affixed to a magnetic cylinder. 

How It Cuts

A person will feed the machine with the chosen material. This will then travel down along a conveyer and pass under the die station. As the material passes under the cylinder, the die cuts shapes into the material. 

Cons of Rotary Die Cutting 

The dies in a die station have to get replaced for each new shape. However, this can be perfectly cost-effective with a large order. 

Another issue is that the blade die used for cutting can easily cause injuries. But as long as the workers observe proper safety rules, this shouldn't be an issue. 

Pros of Rotary Die Cutting 

Rotary die cutting printers are very fast and flexible. They're also great for unique designs and complex shapes.

Flatbed Die Cutting Printer 

The top of the "die station'" of a flatbed die cutting printer has a flat rectangular shape like a book. On the downward-facing side of this book are the dies. 

The Die Types 

A flatbed die cutting printer usually uses custom steel rule dies. Manufacturers will usually make these in the shape or design that a client wants to produce. 

How it Cuts 

The machine will press into the material using hydraulic pressure. This motion will punch out the shape. Think of it like a baker pressing down on a cookie cutter to make the dough into a certain shape. 

Cons of Flatbed Die Cutting 

One of the issues with flatbed printing is that the pressure can cause the material to curl. Luckily, printworkers can avoid this by only using materials of a certain thickness. 

It can also take longer to set up and cut flatbed printed cuts. However, this isn't too much of an issue when the client only needs so many products. 

Pros of Flatbed Die Cutting 

The hydraulic pressure makes it much easier for flatbed die cutters to cut through thicker material. In addition, it's easier to closely group materials so there's less scrap waste. On top of that, steel rule dies cost less than rotary dies. 

Digital Die Cutting Printer 

Digital die cutting printers are different from the other two cutting printers in one significant way. Instead of using dies, these printers use other tools. 

The Tools Used 

Digital die cutters use blades, lasers, and tool bits for shape cutting. These can be programmed by a computer to cut certain shapes into the material. 

How it Cuts 

A worker will make the desired design using computer software. He or she will then export this design into the machine. The cutting printer will then cut the material according to these specifications. 

Cons of Digital Die Cutting 

Digital die cutting printers can burn a lot of energy and produce dust and smoke. These can be mitigated by using alternative power sources and wearing proper safety gear. 

This type of die cutting is also expensive. However, the convenience of this die cutting method can quickly make up for this issue. 

Pros of Digital Die Cutting 

Digital die cutting printers are highly effective and fast. It's also very easy to make custom and complex designs with this kind of machine. 

How to Use a Cutting Printer to Its Fullest Potential

To ensure that whatever die cutter printer you decide to use works as intended, you need to take the right steps. Otherwise, you could end up with final prints that can look unprofessional. 


To start with, make sure that your employees are properly trained to work the machine. This will prevent any breakages and ensure the cuts are perfect. 

Measure Twice 

Make sure that the final cutting design is exactly what you want before you start your printing project. There's no going back once the shape cutting starts.

Be Creative 

Remember that a cutting printer allows for all kinds of print special effects. Don't let all this potential go to waste with an unimaginative design. Find out how to be creative!

Let Us Handle Your Commercial Printing Project

In sum, a cutting printer works by either pressing dies into a material or cutting the material via mechanical means. As long as you use a cutting printer carefully, you can get an excellent printing project that stands out from the rest.

If you don't want to handle the logistics of buying and using a commercial cutting printer, try our services. Our high-quality standards and client-centered approach will ensure your satisfaction. Get a price quote by filling out the form on this page.
Posted: 1/18/2023 9:30:00 AM by Maggie Vietri | with 0 comments