Die cutting vs digital cutting: which one is right for your print?
If you’re looking to make your marketing materials a little more engaging, a custom shape goes a long way.
Better Printing offers both die cutting and digital cutting to help you create unique shapes - but what’s the difference, exactly? Here’s a quick guide to die cutting and digital cutting.
What is die cutting?
In the world of printing, die cutting provides a quick and inexpensive way of cutting lots of printed items into identical shapes.
Your design is printed on a square or rectangular sheet of material (typically paper or card), then placed in a machine which has been loaded with a custom-made ‘die’ or ‘punch block’ (a block of wood with a metal blade, bent and folded into the desired shape).
When the machine presses the printed sheet and the die together, it cuts out the shape of the blade into the material in an instant.
What is digital cutting?
Unlike die cutting which uses physical dies to create the shape, digital cutting uses a blade which follows a computer-programmed path to create the shape.
A digital cutting machine consists of a flat table area and a set of cutting, milling and scoring attachments mounted on an arm. This arm allows the cutter to move left, right, forwards and backwards.
The printed sheet is placed on the table, and the cutter travels across the sheet along the programmed path to cut out the shape.
Which one is the better option?
It all depends on the kind of job. If you’re looking to trim a high volume of smaller items printed on paper or cardstock, die cutting is the far more cost-effective and time-efficient option.
Once a die has been assembled, it can be used over and over again to create a huge number of identical shapes - all in a fraction of the time of a digital cutter. This means the costs of assembling a custom die can be somewhat offset by using it across a large quantity of items (and/or reusing it for additional print runs in the future).
If you’re looking to trim a low volume of large-format items (especially those printed on thicker, tougher materials such as dibond), digital cutting is the better option. There’s no need to pay for a custom die; plus you can create more intricate shapes via digital cutting.
Better Printing can provide die cutting and digital cutting for all sorts of high-volume and large format prints. You’re free to create your own unique shapes; or we can provide a range of popular shapes using our in-house die blocks. To find out more, get in touch with us today.