business cards - corner radius

I’m planning for my first job on my press (C&P 10x15 NS) and have a few newbie questions.

I will be printing business cards and will be using Lettra 220#, 600gsm and will print on both sides. I’d like to finish the cards with a .25” corner radius. I have a 9x12 boxcar base and will use deep relief plates.

I read just recently in the APA’s site, in the tricks of the trade section that you can clamp the paper and cut the corners with a carpenter’s gouge (with the correct radius). I was planning to diecut the corners but I thought I’d ask for your input on this other approach.

The cards will have full bleed on one side of the paper. I was thinking of running the cards 4-up, possibly 6-up, then diecutting. Can anyone touch upon their setup for printing business cards on this 10x15 press?

Thanks for your help and patience with these novice questions. :)

Joshua

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Personally I print business cards one at a time using stock either with precut corners or cutting the corners afterwards with a Lassco tabletop corner cutter. If I were to use Lettra I might diecut them because with stock so thick I’d have to put fewer in the Lassco at a time. The Lassco is fairly durable but still for lighter work.

I print the cards one at a time because I think it’s easier to simply have to feed more often that to try and juggle cutting four-up cards along with cornering them as well and keeping everything the same size, square, etc. I realize this is a common practise and if I needed to print a few thousand cards I’d consider it. But with the quantities I do and the equipment I have I get excellent results one at a time with my press running at 14 ipm, a nice safe speed, and get almost 1000 cards in an hour.

Another reason I’d do them one at a time is because if I did diecut them I’d do it myself and while the 10x15 might handle diecutting four-up, that would be talking a chance I wouldn’t want to take, especially considering the thickness of the Lettra. Call me cautious.

Even though I’m a professional cabinetmaker, I wouldn’t use the chisel method. You’ll note that on a paper cutter both the stock and the knife are held rigidly. I suppose if you chopped one or two cards at a time you might have some success but otherwise the chisel is not likely to chop straight down through the whole stack and then the cards will be different sizes and the corner cuts likely skewed. Also, without some kind of jig or fence to place the chisel in exactly the same place on the cards each time you will have the same problem. Even on a regular corner cutter you have to watch that each corner of each stack is tight to the fences before cutting. There are other objections I’d have but I think those are enough.

On the other hand, there are plenty of people who have more experience than I do with this very thing and they might have different views and I too would like to learn more.

Rich

Front Room Press
Milford, NJ
http://frontroompress.com
http://frontroompress.blogspot.com

I usually run business cards two-up on our windmills, same base size. This is a pretty good compromise between production speed, impression area, and plate size (cost) when you’re not running a large quantity. Additionally a two-up die is a good size and less expensive than a larger multi-up setup.

Diecutting is a good idea for Lettra 220 when possible, as its softness makes it show every little mark, and the Lassco corner rounder does tend to mark the bottom card of each “lift,” which with this stock thickness is a few cards at a time at best. Even with brand-new cutting dies the results are a little fuzzy. The Lassco does work great for thinner stocks for which it’s likely intended.

Diecutting will leave the front perimeter “rounded over” and the back sharp-edged due to the direction of the cut. I usually cut with any large solids to the front, as they would probably have the odd sliver of white fuzz showing against the color at the edge otherwise.

Corner rounding is usually kind of a pain… I’ve been intrigued by this device: http://www.rosbackcompany.com/clipper.htm, but it is currently not available, and would set you back about $2200(!) That’ll buy you a lot of Lassco dies, or steel rule dies for that matter…

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Most Trade Diecutters have standing dies for round corner business cards as I do. It has been my experience that low end 1/0 cards are finished with a round corner machine and the high end 4/4 with foil/embossing are finished by diecutting. A 10x15 C&P should have no problem diecutting 4up as 44” of steel is well within it’s die load. However try to have 1/2” gutters as this cuts down on the bed of nails effect caused by cutting rules too close to each other. A word of note Jim you can get side face rule that puts the bevel in the waste area. Good luck Joshua.
Mike

Thanks, guys. Great insight into this. I will run this 1-up as my print run will be fairly low. I’m trying to track down a steel rule die maker close to Denver, Colorado if possible. Any recommendations?

Rich, I agree with your input on the chisel option. I’ll do it the right way.

I’m also curious if maybe the Crane Lettra 220# might not be the best choice for business cards given its softness? Maybe a more durable stock might be more functional.

Thanks again.

Joshua

Joshua, if you google steel rule die Denver Col. you will find them in Denver.
Mike

Thanks, Mike. Yeah, looks like ABC Die or Kamei’s Dies. Going with Kamei’s this time. Thanks again.