Diecutting Question

So I’ve got a C&P 10x15 that I’ve done printing work on, but have now started to experiment with doing diecutting work.

I bought a die from Apple Die and starting playing around with it last night. For my very first try I put the die on the press and ran a sheet of cardstock through by hand, off impression. At the point of printing, I lowered the impression lever and meet significant resistance, so I threw the impression lever back up. I backed the press off and confirmed that it had been a (nearly) full throw.

I brought the platen back upright and decided to clean the diecutting jacket (it had about thirty years of packing tape on it). I put another sheet of cardstock down and ran the press through by hand on impression. I took the sheet off and examined the diecut — it’s a nine-up playing card setup with just the tops and bottoms (plus the rounded corners) being cut by the die. The corners looked fine but there were noticeable bends in the straight-line cuts (into the cards, away from the ejector rubber between the rules).

That’s when I noticed something I should have paid attention to… the last time I used the press was for another diecut experiment, that time with a hobby-store bought die. I had mounted up that die with chipboard, trying to bring it type-high, and had put a piece of thin-gauge steel underneath the die-cutting jacket to help with the impression. I took the jacket off and removed the steel plate and put the jacket back on… virtually no impression, but now I’m worried… did I ruin my die?

I’m hoping that it’s just without packing, the corners are hitting sooner and since there’s no ejector material on the card side of the metal, it’s flexing inwards. Also would running it at speed mean less chance for the metal to flex? If the die is bent, is there any way to fix it or should I just get a new one made?

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Your die-maker can replace the rules only in the board if you have damaged them. They do this all the time. Printers usually order dies .918, as die-cutters order .937 so that scoring and/or perf rules may be .918 . If you have both kinds in your shop,it’s a good idea to mark your dies .918 or .937 in heavy marker. Good luck and have fun!