Choosing the Right Cutter to Finish the Job
Every shop requires finishing equipment outside of the standard knife blade, ruler and cutting mat to achieve professional results and to increase productivity. When choosing a cutter outside of this trio, it is important to look at several factors and ask yourself a few questions before investing.
What materials are you looking to cut?
This is the most important factor to look at, as not every cutter will cut every material:
Do you trim mostly flexible materials like paper and vinyl? Then a horizontal cutter is the way to go due to the ability to work at hip-height, attach a catch basket and get a very accurate, straight trim in no time. If the material can be cut with a pair of scissors, you need to look for a rotary trimmer. If the material requires a utility blade for cutting, then you need to look for a cutter bar or vertical cutter.
Do you want to trim and finish textiles? A horizontal cutter has the option of adding either a rotary blade for knitted or cold-cut textiles, or a bracket and glass platen for an optional heat knife that will cut and seal woven textiles all in one pass.
Is more than 50% of your work rigid board or substrate? Then the vertical cutter is your best choice due to the option of different blades and the simplicity of standing a sheet in the cutter and simply pulling down the blade. Note that a vertical cutter will not cut flexible materials.
How thick is the material you want to cut? Most vertical cutters can handle anywhere from ¼ – ½” thick. Anything thicker will require a flatbed router like a Summa F or Aristo Flatbed Cutter.
How many pieces are you cutting? For example, with Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) cutting a few sheets daily is do-able, however if you have 100 sheets to cut every day you will want to look at a flatbed router like a Summa F or Aristo Flatbed Cutter to maximize your productivity.
Do you want to bend rigid substrates to create a 90⁰ fold? Most cutters are designed for cutting purposes, however you can also score materials by controlling the blade depth on a horizontal cutter. Look to a SteelTraK vertical cutter with the ratchet V-Groove cutting tool to make true 90⁰ fold that won’t crack the face of ACM or fluted material once bent into place.
What are your space constraints?
Working space within a shop is always a critical decision factor. Vertical cutters can take up more floor space if you are using the optional legs, or if its not being hung directly on a wall. For horizontal cutters there are options that are designed for permanent mount or potable use. They can screw directly into an existing work-table, Foster Big Bench or onto a flatbed applicator like a Rollover with special mounting brackets.
How will a new cutter add value to your shop?
- Reduce time and labour, which increases profitability
- Eliminate the time and cost of re-dos
- Decrease the expense of overtime pay
- Help prevent on-the-job injury with superior safety features
These 3 models are the most popular available from ND Graphics. If you would like to view the entire Foster catalogue, you can see it here.
- Higher production cutter for semi-flexible and rigid materials
- Accuracy of up to 0.008”
- Can be mounted permanently to work table or Foster Work Bench
- Sturdy torsion bar enables a single operator to lift and control the entire cutter bar from either end
- High-performance double cutting heads accept two blade holders at one time, making it ideal for bi-directional cutting.
- Double cutting heads allow for:
- Switching between two blades without changing blades
- Using the same blade type in both directions for bi-directional cutting
- Using the same blade type in the same direction to score and cut through in a single pass
- Long-lasting Graphik blades can be interchanged quickly, maximizing productivity
- Perfect for cutting up to ½”: Acrylic (¼”), Sintra/PVC Board (10mm), Polystyrene, Corrugated Plastic, Foam Center Board, Gator Board, Cardboard, Banner, Fabric, Textiles, Self-Adhesive Vinyl, Paper or Tissue
- An introductory horizontal cutter for semi-flexible and rigid materials
- Accuracy of up to 0.008”
- Can be either portable or fixed. This unit can be used on site for final cuts or stored when not in use
- The device allows operators to easily lift the cutter bar, slide the material in place and clamp down to make precision cuts
- You can combine the Javelin Series 2 with the Keencut Surface Mounted Lift & Hold or with the Big Bench Xtra to create a complete cutting table and workstation
- Perfect for cutting up to ½”: Acrylic (¼”), Sintra/PVC Board (¼”), Polystyrene, Corrugated Plastic, Foam Center Board, Gator Board, Cardboard, Banner, Fabric, Textiles, Self-Adhesive Vinyl, Paper, Tissue
- Developed specifically for the tougher and thicker rigid and semi-rigid substrates used in today’s signage market
- All blades cut on the same line. No wasted panels – no mistakes guessing where the cut line is
- Two flip stops can be engaged or disengaged without disturbing the settings, make cutting many items to the same size quick and easy
- SteelTraK is available in a 65”, 82” & 98” cut size
- Includes a wall mounting bracket or optional free-standing kit
- Perfect for cutting up to ½”: Aluminum Composite (4mm), Acrylic (¼”), Aluminum (.040), MDF Board (3mm), Sintra Board, PVC Board, Polystyrene, Corrugated Plastic, Cardboard, Foam
- Center Board, Flexible Polycarbonate (3mm), Gator Board, Glass (¼”)
- Designed for tight budgets, the Excalibur 3S vertical cutter is economically priced and provides most of the cutting capabilities of the SteelTraK
- A new self-lubricating bearing included on both cutting heads, can handle thinner hard substrates such as ACM, PVC and foam board
- Twin-wheel Cutting Head can cuts up to 3mm: Aluminum Composite or MDF board
- Utility Blade you can cut up to ½” (13mm): Foam board, Ultra board, Honeycomb board, Corrugated plastics, Excel PVC foam board
- Scoring Blade: Scores up to ¼” (6mm): Acrylic or Plexiglas