Die cutting on a tabletop press?

Hello! I have a C&P Pilot and a Showcard Model B. I currently print my business cards 2-up on the Pilot and use the lovely Challenge electric paper cutter in the fulfillment office of my day job to do all the trimming. One day, I hope to not have the day job, so I was wondering if it’s possible to do die-cutting on my Pilot. Is this something that would destroy my Pilot? I also have a Showcard; is it possible to die-cut on a cylinder press? With adjustable pressure, I could see it working, but the mechanical process is different than a platen press, so I wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea.

I know I can purchase an aluminum sheet to turn into a protective jacket online, but I haven’t done much looking on where to shop for dies.

If die-cutting is not a good idea, can I at least perforate and score on a Pilot? Where would I buy the dies used for such things?

Thanks for the help!

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I regularly do light die-cutting on my C&P Pilot. You will not be able to do forms with a lot of cutting rule length, but a simple business card die shape should be within the capability of the press. Having said that, I would not say that the Pilot was the best choice, but it does have the strength for simple rule jobs. Perforating and creasing should be no problem at all.

Use a mild steel or other hard-surface (not aluminum) for the backing plate against the platen. Aluminum works, but will cut too easily to stand up for long.

I think the Showcard press with its compressible roller surface may not be a good choice for die-cutting. If you had a good, steel sheet between the roller and the die, you might be able to use it, but be very careful in adjusting the pressures.

John Henry

Steel! Yes. I mistyped.

Thank you for that information.

I figured my Pilot would be a safer bet than my Showcard. I looked on the American Printing Equipment website, but could not find perforating rules even close to the small size I would need on my tabletop press. Is that something I can custom order somewhere?

You can generally get these from the standard letterpress suppliers such as NA Graphics:


NA Graphics sells 30” long strips, but perhaps they would cut to length for you at a slight upcharge, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

John Henry

Send me an email if you are just looking for a few pieces. I would be happy to send you some pieces cut to whatever length you need. .918” perf or slit and .900” score.

Thank you, Stuart!

So, I was digging through a box of furniture I have yet to organize (because I need a furniture cabinet!), and I found some perf rule hiding in with the brass and steel rule! How exciting! I have no idea how to lock it up, though:


I still do need some scoring rule, though. I suppose 6” and 8” would be two good lengths to have.