20 ton workshop press for die cutting

A while back, we had some dies made by a company called Joseph Dixon. They are an excellent die-manufacturers: taking our simple vector art and creating a number of box-shaped dies which are far and away better than the hopeless versions we supplied!

Having had dies made, we looking to getting a clicker press to use them. Clicker presses are not only very expensive, but they also require quite a bit of room. Having neither the space (nor the money) to afford a die clicker, we got the next-best thing – a 20-ton bottle press of course!

Now Paul is quite getting into his custom embossing (laser cutting shapes and embedding  them into an mdf base before using them to emboss leather and leather-coated objects – notebooks, iPad/tablet cases and the like) so with a few of us showing an interest in using it, Paul took the initiative and set it up.

For our die cutting, we used a couple of 3/4 inch thick steel plates (they are very very heavy!) making a cutting make/die sandwich

Here we have a metal plate, a cutting mat, the card being cut, the die doing the cutting, and a second metal plate, all being squashed together by the 20-ton hydraulic bottle press.


It took a few attempts to find out how much pressure to use (it was lots, btw) and the surface to cut onto (a cutting mat placed straight onto the lower metal plate) before we got a good clean cut. But eventually, a few box-shapes came off the press:

The die we designed not only cut the outline shape, but also a window in the centre of one face, and also creates the crease lines for folding along each edge.

Cutting two or three sheets of card at a time on a manual bench press is much slower using a pneumatic clicker press. But it’s also about 50 times cheaper to implement, and still much quicker than manually cutting each box using a knife and scissors. So we’re calling it another win!

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