A wooden "form chase" containing sharp steel rules is mounted on a flat bed or cylinder press, often a letterpress converted for die cutting. Sheets are fed through the press either by hand or automatically, and the steel rules are pressed through the paper from extreme pressure applied by the press.
Some tips on die cutting:
- Die cutting is usually the last step in the production process, but should be planned for at the start of the project. MGTL can help with comps, samples, die lines, etc.
- Digital line art (i.e., vector art) is required, preferably created in Adobe Illustrator.
- Don't use raster (pixel) art, such as .tiff, .jpg or .psd formats.
- Assign a unique spot color to the die line so it can be imaged separately.
- Create die lines mathematically, not visually, as they must be exact.
- Build the die line first, then place artwork on top of die line.
- Avoid delicate patterns.
- Keep die cut areas at least 1/4" from the edge of the paper.
- Allow tolerance between the die cut area and printed areas as it is difficult to hold tight register.
- Output a print of the die line and trim and fold to verify it is correct before placing type and art.
- Sharp points can turn out ragged.
- Heavier paper(24# and above) with a consistent surface and cotton content is optimum.
- The edges of the die cut may damage adjacent pages during shipping. Slip sheets can be inserted to protect critical printed areas.