At its most basic level, die cutting is the process of making repeated identical cuts from any given material using a die.  In manufacturing, this helps create numerous items with perfect duplication, quickly and affordably.  If you are a paper crafter, card maker, or scrapbooker, you can use die cutting for creating renderings of any shape again and again over a period of time.  Within minutes, you can create nine 10” circles for a colour blocked layout or 30 shapes of birthday invitations, with the perfect cut and shape each time. Moreover, die cutting machines are also used extensively for cutting shapes that are too detailed to cut manually.   

What is a Die Cutting Machine? 

The purpose of a die cutting machine is to apply the die to the surface it intends to cut, with sufficient force for cutting or creating a shape into the surface. In the crafts industry, die cutting machines can be manual or digital with many different features.  Manual die cutting machines come with cutting paths leading to compression rollers. The material, as well as the die, is moved by an electric motor or manual cranking of a lever. Digital die cutting involves placing the material on a cutting mat and feeding into the machine, where it is cut by the blade.  

What is a Die?  

A die may be defined as a form or pattern used for the creation of identical duplicates from materials such as cork, paper, foam, leather, wood, metal, chipboard, etc. Steel rule and thin metal are the two most used types of dies for manual die cut machines. With an etched metal construction, the centres of the thin metal dies are cut out.  The cutting edge of thin metal dies is a thin, raised area. On the other hand, in steel rule dies, a rule remains attached to a wood base equipped with steel edges. To protect the steel and ensure that the cut pieces don’t get stuck in the die, the steel edges of the wooden base remain surrounded by protective foam.  Compared to thin metal dies, steel rule dies have higher strength and cutting force. However, thin metal dies are more affordable and can create much more detailed designs.  

In digital die cut machines, digital files serve as dies and function as patterns that help determine what should be cut by the machine. Proprietary file formats are used by many manufacturers in their digital die cutting machines. Many others also import .jpeg files for conversion or widely available SVG files in their software.    

Manual Machines vs. Digital Machines    

 As an initial investment, manual die cutting machines are more affordable. However, it can be more expensive in the long run because of the cost of individual dies. Many paper crafters love using manual machines because of its ease of working with a wide variety of dies. Also, unlike digital machines, manual die cut machines can emboss thin metal and paper using plastic embossing folders.   

Digital machines, on the other hand, allow resizing and modification of design files to fit the crafters’ design style. These machines also provide 24/7 access to online stores for purchasing designs required for a project. However, as they require power to operate, they are not as portable as their manual counterparts.   

At RENZ Australia, we have a suite of advanced die cutting machines to match all your crafting requirements. Please contact us today to find out more about die cutters.