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Subject: Which do you prefer in a paper-trimmer: guillotine or rotary style? rss

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I will soon be in the market for a paper-trimmer... for use in cutting out cards / cardstock... homemade paper game "money".... or anything up to cardboard-counter thickness, really.

Which do you prefer and why: rotarty or giullotine?


Thanks!

-= Dave =-



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Rod Batten
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Heavy duty rotary trimmer (not the flimsy (flexible) kind meant for single sheets of paper.)

Years of darkroom work with heavy paper showed me how much nicer a good rotary cutter can be. Guillotine cutters pull the paper and you don't always get a straight line, I found it easier to control a rotary cutter mounted on a bar.

I've cut stuff up to heavy card thickness in a rotary cutter and had better results than I did with guillotine cutters.

The rotary cutter is also safer and the blade can be replaced fairly easily.
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Matt Worden
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What Rod said ... plus you'll want to get a metal straight-edge to run the trimmer along.

I've used it for cutting many different thicknesses of paper, laminated card stock, and even illustration board ... rotary is the way to go, imo.

-Matt
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R. L. Lloyd
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I think a rotary cutter is far superior as long as you are using one of adequate quality. There are plenty of poor quality cutters out there that would make you think otherwise.
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Rod Batten
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@Matt: you're referring to the hand-held rotary cutter (which I also prefer to other tools for straight cuts!). To clarify though, I meant the kind that is mounted to a cutting board and has a rotary blade mounted on a rail.

Like this one (random example):
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Apparatus wrote:
I think a rotary cutter is far superior as long as you are using one of adequate quality. There are plenty of poor quality cutters out there that would make you think otherwise.



OK, how does one figure out which ones are poor quality? Lots of plastic parts ??


 
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Martin Gallo
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I mostly like my Fiskars rotary cutter. The biggest problem is that the blade and carrier are not 'stable' and can wobble a bit - makes getting a perfectly straight line right where you want it tough. It is also getting hard to get the blades.
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We have an Edge Pro model rotary cutter at work and I've just found out that it doesn't cut nearly as straight as I thought. Too bad, too, since it wasn't exactly cheap.

I'm trying to find a photo of the one we have, but no luck. It's definitely not the model shown in the post above.
 
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Rod Batten
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The one in the photo above is a "Premier" brand cutter, which I believe is the same model I used ages ago (not sure if it's still available.) I never had any issues with straight cuts with that particular brand of cutter. YMMV.

NB: I believe that the rotary blade is secured with waffle washers and locknuts, maybe you can adjust the tension there and get better cuts (?).

PS: When using any cutter like this you need to make sure that the material to be cut is held down securely. The motion of the blade during cutting pulls the paper into the blade and skews the cut. You'll find this with both guillotine cutters and rotary cutters, but I found less trouble with rotary blades. Slow and steady with some force holding the material down as you cut should ensure a good, straight cut.
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ROTATRIM is the Bentley of paper trimmers:

www.rotatrim.co.uk

I think you can get them in the states. These babies aren't cheap. The dual rails are very strong and keep the trimmer on line.

EDIT: check out the Professional 'M' Series Rotary Trimmers on the site above.
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Isaac Citrom
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Great thread. I've been wondering the same thing.

I have great results with an x-acto and a straight edge. I haven't tried it yet but I'm wondering if the straightest cuts would be not with a rail-mounted rotary trimmer, rather with a good handheld rotary cutter plus a straight edge. For a straight edge I'm thinking of the ones used by quilters. They are large, made of hard plastic but most importantly they are very thick, giving the rotary trimmer a very good vertical edge. I find that anything mounted on a rail deviates to some extent but using a straight edge gives a perfect cut every time.
.
 
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I have been using one of these:


http://www.logangraphic.com/products/boardmounted/compact.sh...

It has a straight edge, works well as long as you change the blades with reasonable frequency. The blades are cheap, can buy in packs of 100.

Its very nice for limited production runs, can set the cutting depth with the adjustable bar to consistent size cuts across multiple pieces.

I also am printing art on 146 gsm cover stock, its both easier to align, glue flat (no wrinkles) and cuts cleaner.

I bought mine for self publishing Triumvirate. Will be cutting 400 playing boards from 100 sheets of art mounted on 4 ply chipboard and 400 scoring/dealer markers from another 25 sheets. Not having to measure, align, cut everyone by hand is going to be critical to making homemade look professional without taking two hours on each game.

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re reading the OP's post.

for Cards I use just a straight edge. Rotary produces a cleaner edge, but I have found it to be harder to keep the cuts straight and/or to cut through on 1 pass.

Most kinkos have the board mounted rotary cutters, I have used those on occassion but found its hard to keep cuts straight (the cardstock shifts too easily and to align the cuts with exact precision.

There is no real reason to upgrade to an expensive rotary cutter you've shown for making larger runs of cards though. POD printing is cheap enough that only a true masochist would consider making more than 20 decks of cards by hand!
 
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David Henry
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I use my works Guilloteen style one. It works well enough, but I feel it could be more accurate. Maybe I you worked up some kinda laser sight . . .
 
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fatetwister64 wrote:
Maybe I you worked up some kinda laser sight . . .

*ahem*



We bought a Swingline guillotine cutter w/laser sight, and it's junk! The sight will not line up with the cutting edge.. Which makes it kinda useless, I would say. The Xacto might work pretty well though. They tend to make good stuff.
 
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Brad Andrews
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I bought a cheap rotary trimmer at Walmart (around $20). It cuts great, but figuring out exactly where it will cut is a big challenge. I think my next "upgrade" will be to one with a laser sight or at least something that better tells me exactly where I am going to cut before I cut.

Brad
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andrews777 wrote:
I bought a cheap rotary trimmer at Walmart (around $20). It cuts great, but figuring out exactly where it will cut is a big challenge. I think my next "upgrade" will be to one with a laser sight or at least something that better tells me exactly where I am going to cut before I cut.

Brad

I've got a cheap "rotary on rail" cutter.
Getting the cut lined up accurately takes a bit of practice but eventually I'm better than +/- 0.5mm.

Though if the paper is not too thick then having a light illuminating the outside of the cutting edge from below will throw a useful shadow onto the paper exactly where it will be cut. (I get this effect sometimes when the sun is shining onto my table.)
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Chris Jones
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I use Guillotine personally but the best advice here is don't go cheap, you will regret it.
 
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Amen brother, That's really the best advice when buying anything, isn't it?
 
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Aleksander Zawadski
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I've been looking for a rotary trimmer recently. I've noticed 3.0cm and 4.5cm diameter blades are common. Would a good quality 3.0cm compare well with a good quality 4.5cm? or is diameter a big factor?

Thanks,

Aleks
 
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Alison Mandible
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I paid $18 at Michael's for this: https://www.michaels.com/recollections-signature-paper-trimm...

I assume this falls under "cheap paper trimmers" because, well, it was. But it's vastly more accurate than any guillotine cutter I've used (maybe those were cheap ones too?) and stays precise up to about 3 sheets of paper. (It can do 5 at once if you don't mind the bottom sheets being out of registration a little.)
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Guillotine.



Rotary can't cut all my sheets at once. I've used similar to above at Office depot, and saw a link in DIY to buy one on ebay once.

If you're doing it on the cheap, a cheap rotary/rail system is probably better than a cheap guillotine system. A rotary/ruler is comparable to a razor/ruler in my experience, and frankly, either is largely for a different purpose.
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James Wahl
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There are two different things referred to as guillotine cutters: one has the blade on a lever arm that is raised and lowered, and the other has a lever arm that raises and lowers a laterally mounted blade (like the great example above.)

It's the second type that is good. The best part of it for me is that it can trim an entire deck of cards at once, guaranteeing perfect alignment.

I think the cheap ("cheap" meaning around $100 here) Chinese guillotine cutters that have saturated ebay are awesome. I have one, it cuts through anything like butter, and the measurement markings are far more accurate than I thought they would be.

Drawback: it's hard to eyeball a cut, and takes a bit of experience. If your printer is consistent, though, and you're operating from a template that you know the measurements of, you can just cut by positioning instead of by looking.

I'm working on a indicator system for it using a laser level. I'll figure it out eventually.

Extreme advantage: you can stack all of your card sheets and cut them at the same time. Paper movement and accuracy is not an issue. Cutting out 200 cards takes about the same effort as cutting out 8.
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Vander Dlonk
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gmonk wrote:
Heavy duty rotary trimmer (not the flimsy (flexible) kind meant for single sheets of paper.)

Years of darkroom work with heavy paper showed me how much nicer a good rotary cutter can be. Guillotine cutters pull the paper and you don't always get a straight line, I found it easier to control a rotary cutter mounted on a bar.

I've cut stuff up to heavy card thickness in a rotary cutter and had better results than I did with guillotine cutters.

The rotary cutter is also safer and the blade can be replaced fairly easily.


This is exactly my experience. I got fed up with spending hours in the darkroom only to have a guillotine trimmer haggle-cut a print. I also echo the recommendation by others to shell out for a Rotatrim model. Pricey and worth it.


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Aleksaurus wrote:
I've been looking for a rotary trimmer recently. I've noticed 3.0cm and 4.5cm diameter blades are common. Would a good quality 3.0cm compare well with a good quality 4.5cm? or is diameter a big factor?

Thanks,

Aleks
My guess is that the larger blade may be able to cut through more sheets at once, but the biggest advantage would probably be blade life. Since fewer rotations are required for a given length of cutting, less of the blade comes in contact with the paper, and therefore the dulling is spread out over a 50% larger area. Just a guess, though.
 
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