If your manufacturing company has recently purchased a new plastic die cutting machine, you may be concerned about cutting your first project. If so, use the following three tips to increase your chances of success during your initial uses of your new machine.
Use Materials Specifically Designed For Your Machine
Before you even turn the machine on, look at the design and material you plan to use for your first project. You want to make sure the thickness of the plastic you plan to use is designed to withstand the cutting action of the machine's cutting dies.
When selecting the type of plastic to cut, you also want to consider the use for your final project. For example, if you are wanting to create an intricate display for your company's products, it should be thick enough to not only stand on its own but also withstand the weight of the products.
Once you have a specific option in mind, look at the rating of the plastic, then compare it to what the machine is designed. You can find out this information in your particular brand's packaging, as well as from the manufacturer.
Make Sure The Dies Are As Sharp As Possible
Once you have selected the proper plastic for your project, make sure your dies are as sharp as possible. Since they are new out of the box, they should be sharp enough to cut through your plastic. However, you want to make a test cut to make sure.
Select a scrap of the plastic you intend to use, then draw a few wavy lines around the edge of the piece. Then, cut along those lines. After you have made the cuts, lightly run your finger along the edge to make sure there are no sharp, jagged edges.
If you find that the edges are too rough, you have two options. Your first option is to replace the die with a new one that is recommended for your machine. Your machine may have come with several replacement dies that fit the extension.
Your second option is to attempt to sharpen the die yourself using either a handheld file or a Dremel attachment designed to sharpen metal. Only use this option if you have some training or experience with sharpening such objects. Since the die's surface needs to be perfectly even, sharpening it incorrectly could warp your design cuts.
However, a small amount of roughness is acceptable. Those can be taken care of using the next tip.
Cut The Outline And Designs Twice For A Clean Edge
For a clean, professional edge on your sign or other projects, you should always cut the outlines and designs twice. This ensures that any rough, jagged edges are smoothed out.
The first pass is meant for cutting out the outline of your projects, followed by any design work you wish to include on the insides of the plastic pieces. Using a slow, steady hand, pass the edges and design lines along the cutting die while it is operating at the lowest speed.
This process may take some patience. Trying to rush through the second pass could create uneven lines, as well as put gouges in the plastic. If this happens, you may have to start over with your project.
Using the above tips can help make your first few attempts at using your new machine successful. However, if you are still unclear about how to use it, you may want to consult with a plastic die cutting service, such as Accurate Products Inc., to see if they can give you further advice or even a demonstration on how to use your new machine.