How Does a Die Cutter Work?


Die cutting is a process that allows the same shape to be generated uniformly in various materials. These materials include paper, wood, plastic, metal or fabric. The cuts made, called blanks, are just that. These unfinished pieces are not decorated and need to be finished by adding embellishments or decorations. The importance of die cutters is uniformity. Without using a die cutter, it would be a painstaking and timely process to make shapes all the same size, without being irregular.

The Die

Sharp blades, also called rule, are specifically shaped to make a certain design. This bent blade is mounted to a backing, often made of wood or metal. The result of this is known as a die. Dies come in many sizes and shapes for different uses.

Material used in the process is placed on a flat surface with a structured or supportive back. This material is then pressed onto the blade of the die, cutting through the material to result in the final cut or blank. The amount of blanks made at one time can vary due to the material used and the purpose. Some die cutters can slice through many layers of material, making many blanks at once.


There are many applications for die cutting. An individual can use die cuts in scrapbooking work. This allows a scrapbooker to make shapes for various pages in a scrapbook to be more aesthetically pleasing due to the cleanliness and perfection of the shapes. Another great example of a die cut is a cookie cutter. Cookie cutters allow a baker to make all cookies the same size and shape to bake more evenly in the oven and to look more pleasing to the eye. Doing this by hand would take a lot of time and would result in irregular shapes. Factories also use die cuts in the manufacturing process to make products more uniform.

Preventing Waste When Die Cutting

Although die cutting allows a factory to make uniform materials, the work is still very meticulous. Factories require these cuts to leave very little excess material behind, forming waste product. Oftentimes, die cutters are positioned close together on a support in order for the waste to be minimal; however, there will still be some waste product, which most factories rework for other projects or melt down and reuse.


Die cutters vary from use to use. The sizes can range from as small as a cookie cutter to large machines used to cut auto or boat components. The price also varies from a few dollars for the smaller ones up to thousands of dollars, or more, for the larger models.


Die cutters are very simple to use, no matter what size is being used. Safety precautions are especially needed with the larger machines that are normally used for cutting wood and metal. These machines can slice a body limb with ease. Safety glasses and awareness of surroundings are crucial to be as safe as possible.

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