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Media and board Cutters and Trimmers 101

Posted by Kevin C. on

We are often asked “what is the best product for me to use to cut my media.”

Well, there is a different solution for each type of media. Adhesive backed vinyl, Boards, Coroplast, Metal, Paper, Laminated prints, Canvas Ect. We will take a basic rundown of the types of Cutters and Trimmers in this article. We will give more details of specific products on a follow up article “Media and board Cutters and Trimmers 102”.

So let’s start with cutting paper, laminated prints, inkjet or photographs. We will need a cutter with a sharp blade that will come in different forms: A cutting shear, guillotine cutter, rotary trimmer, hand-knife with ruler, and tools that have a straight blade. Depending on how many prints you need to trim some heavy duty Guillotine cutters can handle over 500 sheets at a time. Rotary trimmers are mostly used for this because of the longer length it can cut.

What is important with thin paper is that the paper is held down as it is cut assuring a straight and even cut.

Adhesive backed vinyl laminated or not will require a strong straight blade as we are now dealing with layers of product that must be cut in one pass. A rotary blade is not the best choice because the adhesive can gum up the rotary blade. Rotary blades are tough to clean where a straight edge blade can simply be removed at any time.

Foam/Gator Boards, Coroplast, Cardboard, Styrene, and similar materials will require a Stand up Vertical unit with a BLADE that has a clamp down feature or a tabletop cutter that has a pressure plate and a BLADE. Forget about Rotary or Guillotine units they will not work to cut board material.

Textile Cutters can be rotary pressure wheels, Cutting Shears or Heat Knives.

Hand-held very sharp Shears will cut fabric with little or no accuracy. Using a Textile Hand wheel with a Ruler and a cutting mat is a good way to cut as the fabric weave is under the rotating wheel and the fibers are separated with the wheel. Using a blade will tend to stretch the fabric and cause it to gather. The Heat Knife is the best way to go with Textiles as the fibers are separated then heat spliced together in one pass. Thus making it the most clean way to cut Textile cloth.

In my next article, I will detail the types and brands of these cutters and trimmers so you can see what is the best and most versatile for you.

  • media cutter
  • paper cutter
  • paper trimmer