Steel rule die cutting is a common process used to cut a range of sheet materials, including paper, cardboard, rubber and plastic. Most standard cardboard boxes and packages are made using this relatively straightforward technique. In addition to cutting out shapes, it can be used to create creases, perforations and slits.
The die is constructed out of a flat base or substrate that is usually made out of high-grade and high-density plywood; the plywood is usually composed of hardwoods, such as maple, and is free from voids or other imperfections. Some special dies may require aluminum or steel substrates. The die-maker uses a special bandsaw or laser cutter to cut precisely positioned slits into the substrate. The steel rule itself is essentially an elongated razor blade made out of hardened steel. The die-maker cuts and bends the steel rule and positions it into the slits in the substrate.
The final step in creating the die involves the addition of ejection rubber. Rubber pads are adhered to the substrate to help eject the material after it is cut. Without the inclusion of ejection rubber, the material may tend to get stuck amongst the steel rules.
Read more: What is Steel Rule Die Cutting?
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