die cut business cards

We are die cutting a 50pt duplexed cotton business card on a Windmill. We can cut them on a standard cutter but get a little bullnosing and only cut a few at a time. When we die cut them we get a little feathering thoguh very minor since we only cut 90+% or so through the cotton stock as it breaks away it is not a perfect finished look. Is there some other way to set up the die plate to get a better finish. We toyed with using a slave stock on the plate that would be cut into as the rule passes through the business cards. We also wondered about a thin rubber mat but are looking for other ideas. We want perfect in an imperfect world.

Log in to reply   14 replies so far

I am a Big fan of Long Center Bevel Rule for thicker stock. I know you have had the die made but, maybe having it re-ruled is an option. Then longer bevel tends to not “tear” the sheet as the full width of the rule does not enter the sheet as soon as a standard rule.

I agree with Ericm, also you may want to try a side bevel for the same effect.

Long bevel and side face rule can solve plenty of problems. Emery board or sand block can clean up the edges small stacks an inch or so thick at a time. May work in your case does work in mitigating the tags that are left on finished product after nicking dies to keep sheet together at high speed.

Thanks for the feed back. We are working more with 2 and 3 ply jobs since the quantity is small in many cases only 1 up. We are going to retool a die with the long bevel and see if it helps. We don’t like to nick the dies and can in most case get by. We balance our die cut by packing behind the steel plate ( something one of you told us). I actually look at the back of my cut to see just how far I can go before I cut all the way though and in most case they pop free with just a slight touch or movement after they deliver. I will let you know what happens.

Thick stock often holds itself together and nicking die is not needed that often on platens but more on cylinders. Good for you packing under die jacket, that’s professional. You may want to look up articles by Kevin Carey about die cutting. for example

The article above that Mike refers to is good with one exception. I think that the illustration of the “Dremel” type tool with the “Cut-off” type wheel for knicking is very mis-leading. the standard wheel sent with those tools is Way too thick for the purpose of knicking. Unless you are doing corrugated boxes.
I acquire from my die maker much thinner wheels. those Dremel type wheels are probably .020-.030” thick. I get and use .012-.015” thick. Much better for the purpose of knicking.
Also, Take into account the paper “Grain” when placing a knick. A knick, “With” the grain, is much stronger than a knick across the grain.
The long bevel rule will help with thick stock as it will not separate the piece from the scrap as much during the cut.
And yes, you will want to cut down to and against bare steel plate. Make Ready is most effective when behind the die, but it depends on your setup. you want an aprox .020” hardened steel plate between make ready and die if possible.

Eric the article is likely about high speed folding carton work on Bobst type presses. Theory is still the same. My nicks when required are from a light tap with a piece of dull 4pt clicker rule. Make ready behind the die is most common but not correct Think teeter totter rocking rule. Note Kevin is the guy the big guys call.

ok Mike.i agree with you on that, but, i have run Bobst, Saroglia’s, Sanwa’s,and Brausse, 40 inch presses. I now just run my Kluges and Windmills. you are correct in that 5000/hr is much different than 1500/hr. especially when considering inline versus in and out. I am sure this guy is a great reference, but, to be honest, we just figgered it out..i will however, keep this link if I happen to have problems in the future. most of my customers now, want no knicks. they see the stack and freak out. they don’t realize that on one piece, the knick is not visible. drives me nuts some times.

Eric Same here on the figuring out. The trade mags and membership in the IADD just got too expensive and most articles were for Bobst type eqpt. Have 2 Heid. platens ,KSBA and a 20x30 Thomson Colt with foil. Always hoping to be slow enough try do some experimenting.

Thanks guys for all the great feedback. We are always looking for the best way to get it done right and you make that possible. We know a little , guess a little, and learn a lot from your feedback.

when die cutting, keep MR behind the platen sheet thin as possible.
Bring general pressure up to where you are cutting around 15% of the image. then start spot packing. if you have a plate between the back of the die and and lockup, this a good place to do MR. you need to be able to hit an image sheet , then transfer it to behind the die. pressure adjustments can be made accurately then.
A windmill just does not like a lot of packing under the platen plate. creasing matrix and the like can be a problem. the bars swing soooo close.

Good points Eric I see where you’re coming from. I often make my dies in .927 or .923 cut to give the clearance and allow me to do all packing under the platen die jacket. If a short run needs a little help to cut scotch tape on the die jacket works. I only do it if the spot under the die is contained by bridges/notches in the rule. Packing under the die is most common and most cost effective in the short term. Behind the die is a slippery slope that can get out of hand. When I was just making steel rule dies I liked the extra die repair work but as the owner of a few presses I like to protect my investments.

Also note the style of jacket I use can easily be clipped on and off. I know it can be a pain with some of the screw in jackets. When I have time I would like to get some die jackets made that work more like the Thomson platen style. Very easy to patch behind platen.

right mike. Thompson, C&P, Kluge, all have Very hard steel platen plates. the die cutting plate for my windmill is stainless, so it is much softer. i don’t like to pack under that much as it will “dent”. This affects a job on the next run.

Thanks again for making me smarter. You feed back is a big help. Now if you could just make me prettier, younger , skinnier.