Machine suggestions printing + cutting/perf

I’m rather new to this, and I’m working on a project where I need to print, and cut/perf on cardstock or handmade paper. I’d like to use a chemically etched plate for printing and 1 die for the cut/perf step. I’ve been looking at c&p machines, but I’m curious to know if anyone has any suggestions on the best equipment for the job. Any suggestions would be very appreciated!

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I’m afraid that, like so many things in life, the correct answer is “It depends.” What size is the item you’re printing? are there large solids that will be printed in it? Fine lines? What size and how complex is the cutting and perfing die? In the end, what will matter is how much pressure is needed over how big an area.

Platen presses like the C&P can’t produce as much pressure over large areas as they can over small ones (pressure can be roughly thought of as force divided by area). The closing force of the platen against the bed is largely fixed, so a small die area will get a higher pressure than a larger one.

Cylinder presses like the Vandercook are able to produce higher pressure over larger areas because at any given time the contact area is just the part of the cylinder contacting the die.

Die cutting and perfing especially are dependent on pressure. You can certainly die cut on a C&P. Many people have. You’ll just have to determine if the area of your die is such that the presses you’re considering will provide enough pressure safely.

You speak of working on a project. If this is a one time thing, you will be far better off paying to have it done. Purchasing a press, and all that goes with it, and then learning how to use the machine will be expensive in money and time. If you were to continue to use it regularly, you could look at it as an investment.

Wow, thanks for the speedy response guys!

To answer your question mephits, I’ve attached an image of the shape to be die cut; the outer line to be cut and the inner lines to be scored. The shape is about the size of a business card, but I’d like to put multiples on one die to do small production runs. I also plan to experiment with other variations of the same shape, and maybe embossing.

In terms of printing I’d like to be able to experiment, but the importance is less than that of the ability to diecut. One alternative would be to only do the die cutting and have the parent sheets printed professionally.

Inky, this project is an ongoing endeavor :). I’ve had multiple dies made and had a handful of production runs, but going to a printer reduces my flexibility and ability to experiment, so I’ve come to the point where it’s time for a machine.

After reading your response, it has become clearer to me that die cutting is more important for this project right now than printing… Especially if I could use the same machine for embossing… The ability to print would be nice, but the primary function I’m looking for is die cutting.


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As a cutting die for speedy production runs you would lay up the job for a motorized auto platen all the straight edges in the carrying grip with all the straight cuts along the leading edge of th shapes with no rules ,these you would cut on a guillotine to remove the job quickly from the parent sheet ,no notching would be necessary so that looks like a nice run for someone !! You could on hand fed machine over print prediecut untrimmed sheets , such is the amount of thinking you need to adopt , dont always look at printing first as a grace if the shapes you need will be used for other projects , carefully planned formes from all parts of the run can save a lot of work if approached from all angles , ie pre cut wont be a good job on a heidelberg platen overprinting because of sucker bar design catches the rear cut edge and snatches it or just rips up , although there is a bodge for that ,( or a butchered bar for the purpose ). If you are using a old press to die cut keep good knives in your dies and keep the frailty of cast iron to mind when multi planning to the sheet .

If you have access to a laser-cutter, you could focus on the design rather than the mechanics of press setup and operation. Lasers can engrave, cut, perf and score (but not emboss/deboss).

Places like TechShop have lasers and many other resources you might find useful for your experiments.

After experimentation, production might be more cost-effective using a press for some of the operations.