I read a post here several months ago, about die cutting machines.
This is what I understood:
The Accucut roller sistem (Mark IV and GrandeMark) is better than the Ellison lever system (Ellison Prestige Pro) because the die may move during the process of applying pressure, and in the roller system, pressure is compensated and die does not move.
And this is important in this machine if you use it to cut illustrated materials, because those machines are not intended to be used in boardgame exclusively, but in any other not illustrated materials where precission is not so important.
But recently I have found a third desktop machine and a different system. There is a tray that moves under the roller.
I wondered if this is even better than the other machines, because this one is more expensive and is used to make the protos for the big machines and test the dies.
The company is called Paperfox, and the machine is called H500A. Is the desktop model. The other ones come with legs.
This is the machine:
It cuts up to A4 size. I have received an offer to buy one for over 700€ in my country with free shipping.
The Grande Mark machine is about 600$ and must ship from USA to Spain (must add to price). And I am not sure if I can cut an A4 with it with total precission.
And more, I have seen that the Accucut web sells pressure roller replacement. ¿How often must the pressure roller be replaced?
Any opinion about the paperfox system precission?
Anyone have tried the H500A?
Thanks for your answers. Any opinion would be helpful.
Hmm... I wonder where do you get the die??? I watched the video but wonder how they produced the die used in it... I doubt it comes with a die because what die would they include???
I remember a post back earlier on that dealt with die cutting machines you could connect to your computer. From there it was able to cut all kinds of shapes... I think those type of machines are more user-friendly for your own cutting needs...
Also you need to have an A4 printer... I don't know if you have a color printer or B&W but if you are looking to cut A4 you must be able to print A4.
Of course, I´d get a custom die apart, there are lots of manufacturers, even in my country.
And of course, I´d print A4 (not including margins, so a little less than A4). But most printers are A4.
Of course, I´d print in color, I think it´s obvious.
I am not sure you can cut 1 or 2 mm cardboard with those die cutter connected to PC. I think those machines are for thinner materials. (stickers and thick paper)
And I think is much faster and cheaper to cut with a hand operated machine than the one you say.
It takes 3 seconds to cut a A4 full of tiles or counters. ¿How does it take to an automatic (small) machine?
I would cut 15 hex tiles per sheet, 5 cm between flat sides.
10 A4 sheets, 150 tiles, 1mm white cardboard, photo paper on both sides.(but this is another matter)
Well if you can buy a custom die for that machine, that makes more sense. You just have to make sure they manufacture a die for your specific machine (or is that standard somehow).
But one thing to consider: home printers do not print the same quality in terms of durability.
I had a professional printer print the cards for my CCG and well the quality of the cards was not that of poker cards because those cards are coated. When you rub cards during shuffling the ink comes off. The solution we (the printer and I) came to is to coat them with a thin plastic (on both sides). That made the cards VERY durable... That is also why we say our cards are high quality because of the plastic coating.
People have commented that "The Game Crafter" cards are high quality but... I have not seen how resistant they are to shuffling. Shuffling is pretty hard on cards. That's why cards are rounded, square cards wear out too quickly (especially when shuffling).
I have an accucut GRANDmark that we purchased for small scale production. I have not used the other you mention but after watching the video they seem to be virtually identical.
You should be able to get custom dies made for either, both use a plastic shield to protect the steel roller, I would just suggest you go with whichever is more economical for you, which considering your location I am not sure.
I will say I have had no complaints about the GRANDmark and they are constantly running deals, I would bet you could snag one kinda cheap, they also regularly run an offer to get one free with the purchase of $X dollars worth of dies. So if you know excactly what you will need for production that will save you a bundle also.
Someone mentioned the issue with the protective coating, that is what is holding up production for me right now, we are still trying to stumble through finding the perfect thing for us. Most professional machines are well out of the price range and scale for what we are doing.
If you have something you are going to use, I'd love to hear your ideas for it.
I don´t know the issue about protective coat.
I did my proto with:
ILFORD Premium plus glossy paper 290g
I bougth a bundle of 30 sheets per 11 €. I got three boxes and keep one still unused.
The touch is ok, the printing (150ppp) is perfect.
The thickness of the paper on both sides and the 1mm white cardboard results in a tile with a thickness and wieght very attractive.
I have used the proto for one month and had no problem with ink, maybe the problem is that cards are shuffled but tiles are not. So the tiles don´t suffer so much.
I like the result 100%. The only con. is the glossy, but ist´s a proto and i can always buy matte paper for production.
The spanish seller of the Paperfox has sent me a mail. I requested them a manual because I wanted to know if the pressure roller needs reaplecement. He says yes. You will have to replace it someday, depends on the intensive the use of the machine. Could be one year or ten.
In this machine the A4 die is not set paralell to the axis of the machine, in the ellison p,pro you have to do several cuts and lever manipulation, so the width of the input of the machine does not mean that you can cut properly up to that width. For example, the paperfox cuts perfectly an A4 not paralell to the axis but maybe it does not cut properly an A3 die parallel to the axis, even if the width of the input allows an A3.
The seller says the roller sistem like Paperfox or Accucut is 100% precission bcause de die is hold in its place by the presure roller, all time, and that´s why is used very often to make presentation cards.
Cutting perfectly with artwork on both sides is another matter that will come after this: the alignment.
Thanks for the answers.
Concerning the alignment issue Accucut sells what is called "pinnovation" dies. They have springy pins to force proper alignment every time. They work really well. I have also been impressed with their customer service. Having the online chat available is so much easier than relying exclusively on email or phone.
Well, that tool seems to be for cutting things with artwork on one side but is not related with the issue of glueing both sides of a cardoard, sticking the photo papers so that they are aligned and so, when the die cuts a tile the artwork is perfectly contained in it, on both sides.
I´ve tthought one method could be printing both back and front artwork (let´s say hex tiles) in a (let´s say) A4 in a way that whenfolding the A4 just in the middle, the shapes are coincident.
After this, you glue the paper and cover a piece of cardboard in both sides,using the guide of the folding done before.
If you print a full sheet with art and glue them back to front then place them inside the pins of the pinnovation die it aligns the sides.
Lets say you have a full sheet with 10 template hex shapes, you print the front art on that and back art on another glue them to your chipboard and run it through the die. There should be no shift.
We are working with 8.5x11" (US standard) sheets. Our chipboard and sheets are those demensions we make the art in gimp and convert to PDF then print, glue, cut. With very little variation, and reasonable efficiency.
In my case, between the two sheets there is a 1mm white cardboard.
I have to trust in the precission of the sheet and cardboard measures and squaring.
I think the better (and more expensive) the sheet and cardboard are, the more accuracy in the measures and squaring you get.
I have noticed in cheap A4 normal paper that those parameters are not always perfect, making it difficult to properly align upper and lower artwork. Nothing important if it is used for crafting or everyday disposable printings like text and all that stuff.
Of course, in case of perfect measure and squaring, both sheets of artwork should be pecfectly aligned. And 1 or 2mm bleed for the lower artwork, should ensure a good job.
In the case of electric die cutting machines the material cutting thickness depends on the machine.
Most of them will, as you say, only cut paper, very thin card and sticker sheets. No use at all for board game production. Their ability to cut thicker materials is all down to the cutting pressure of the blade.
Some of the better machines have a high cutting pressure that will slice through reasonably thick card stock - circa 1.5mm to 2mm.
The Black Cat Cougar has a cutting pressure of 950g while the KNK Zing has a cutting pressure of 750g. KNK also do a MAXX version which has a cutting pressure of 950g as well.
Well, it would be interesting to cut stickers, a round wooden disk would look better with the sticker of a resource and shoud be cheapier than a wooden 3d token like meeples or so.
Anyone knows if those machines are able to cut ONLY the glued paper and leave uncut the support paper? Little stickers are hard to separate from the support paper if cut together. (and if it´s a complex shape)
For general prototyping of card pieces I use a hand crank Xyron 1255 cold laminator/adhesive applier i got i off ebay for £10. It coats one side of the piece with a laminate and the other side with either permanent or repositional adhesive - with one pass through the machine.
I'm not sure if they still make them though - but they might have just changed the name to the XM1255. It looks the same.
Works like a charm, but they are expensive to buy new - for what they are. Still they pop up on ebay quite frequently.
The main downside is the cost of the refill cartridges, which make it prohibitive for general production. Once again, I pick mine up off ebay when needed.
The cartridges arent exactly high tech, so it might be possible to Mac Gyver some form of refill system - but i dont use it that much, so I havent tried.
Hummm, that is very interesting. I have always thought that a good photo paper makes no need of coating. But I didn´t know about cold laminators.
Perhaps cheaper photo paper results good with that kind of coating.
I see that those machines not only do laminate but also applies adhesive, and that is interesting for glueing an A4 or an A3.
In you tube it looks like it laminates one side and glues the other, so it is ready to be put on cardboard or so. And you can cut to the edge of the paper, no need of transparent margins.
It´snot expensive as it is operatred manually, no electricity or heat:
I have found several laminator (non industrial) that can work up to 10mm thickness, seem cheaper:
¿Wich thickness can handle the Xyron XM?
Thanks for the info! A new issue into prototyping for me to study!
PD: Wow, 85$ the repo rolls for laminating and adhesive( http://www.aifriedman.com/browse.cfm/xyron-dl1251-150/4,2414.html) and 475$ the machine. But.....quite not expensive for what it does.
There isnt much to the machine at all, and $475 is super expensive for what it is. Like I said, I picked mine up off ebay for £10 - about $15.
They tend to show up on there pretty often (im in the UK), especially the smaller 850 version - so I would def check there every now and again instead of buying new.
Theres one in the states on there now
Yes, there are smaller ones of about 85$, for A4 I presume.
For me would be enough, as long as the die cutter is that size.
But the big one can coat a whole boardgame in one pass. If one has an A3 die, that´s the machine.
I did a silly question. No matter the thickess because you coat paper, not cardboard. You first coat and glue with the machine, and after that, you stick to the cardboard.
Both die machine and this one together should give proffesional finish to protos or home editions and short runs.