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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

 Die Cutting Machine Tips

Choosing A Die Cutting Machines

  • When you are considering a die cutting machine, check to see the choices with what dies are compatible with it. Some require the use of specific dies while others give broader choices.
  • Manual or electronic? The manual machines require you to use a crank to move the die through the machine. Electronic machines have a feed mechanism that moves the plates through. The manual machines are less expensive and more portable. But if you have issues with your hands, the electronic model is better for your issues.

Die Cutting Machine Tips

  • Pressure is what causes the die to cut into the paper. So, to get the best cuts, you need to have the optimum pressure. Some die cutting machines have adjustable rollers. That way you can create the pressure that you need for your projects. Other machines require adding extra shims to create the pressure needed to get the best cuts. Cardstock is a good and easy choice to add to the sandwich that you have created.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's directions when it comes to making your sandwich. (The sandwich is the order that the plates, cardstock and does are stacked). You can use low tack tape to secure the die to the paper so that it does not shift.
  • If the die has not cut through, rotate the flat around and run it through again. You can also add a cardstock shim to add extra pressure.
  •  Place your dies towards the edge of the cutting plates rather than the center as there is more pressure there.
  •  Use crisp cardstock or paper to prevent the fibers from stretching or breaking.
  •  To prevent cardstock from sticking to the die, dust your die with an anti-static bag or talcum powder.
  • Some dies, especially older ones, can be tricky to get the die cut out of. It helps if, before starting to cut, you wipe the die over with one of those fabric softener sheets meant for in the tumble drier
  • Keep your machine on a stable and solid surface, like a sturdy table; ensure it has enough space to keep all your dies, the material you want to cut, the platform, etc.
  • Running your sandwich and plates through your machine will cause you to hear cracking and popping…..and you’ll be thinking you’re killing or breaking something.  Nope, totally normal again.  What you are hearing is the tremendous pressure being created by your machine and your new plates adjusting to the metal dies and all that wonderful magic going on in that machine!!

Mats And Shims

  • When using a mat, especially a magnetic mat, you want to rotate the mat to extend the life of it. Rotate all of the shims and plates. You will find that they will last longer. Place a little mark on one side of the plate with a permanent marker so you will remember which side you used.
  • Cutting with the die face up will cut into your clear plates causing your plates to get scratched or engraved with the image of your metal die. Totally normal. These plates and mats are consumables meaning….you use them, they wear out, you buy new ones again.  If you are a mega crafter or power craft through a holiday, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Again, totally normal, don’t freak out.  
  • If these etched clear plates are causing you some distress, then die cut with the die facing into the magnetic mat (HELLOOO, cut and emboss in one pass). Yes, your magnet mat will also get worn out, you’ll have to replace them. But you know what lasts like forever (well, for me at least)?  The metal dies and the rubber mats, and metal shims…..those things I have not replaced in several years.
  • Always use one specific plate for the bottom of your sandwich. That means one plate will last longer. It will not take the wear and tear of daily use.
  • Always use a magnetic mat when die cutting. It holds the die in place and will help get a better result.

All About Dies

There are two major types of dies which include thin metal and steel rule. Made out of etched metal, thin metal dies have their centers cut out and have a flat back with a thin raised area that traces the design and functions as the cutting edge.

Another type of die is called a thinlet. Thinlits are wafer thin dies that make shapes that can be utilized on their own. These are practical to add to a project or to create a shape that’ll be converted into a 3-D pattern. 

Framelets are another type of die. Framelits are also wafer thin and can cut out shapes that create windows for stamped images.

  • Steel rule dies are sharper than thin wafer dies. That makes them the better choice when cutting heavier paper and materials.
  • Use a tool with a fine point to remove the fine pieces and the cut itself from the die. You could also use a needle that is placed in a small cork to do the same thing.
  • Not all dies are equal. Some thicker dies can cut through thicker materials while wafer thin dies are limited to paper die cuts.
  • Make sure that the die that you are purchasing is compatible with the machine that you have. Some machines are limited in the type of dies that fill fit in the platform.
  • If you are using a large die with thicker materials, run the die at an angle. You will put less stress on your machine.
  • Keep a piece of magnetic strip. When done with your doe, place it on the strip so it does not get lost. keep my dies in a Self-Seal Photo Album. Keep a picture of the die set on one side and the dies on the other. So, you can even see where the dies go back after use
  • Finding it difficult to remove the paper cutout from your die? Try cutting through a piece of wax paper along with the paper you are cutting. Place the wax paper between the die and paper you want to cut out, this helps to lubricate the die so the paper comes out easily. *

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