How to make a die cut machine

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I run a small vacuum forming co. I do a lot of reproduction inserts/blisters for vintage toys like Transforms, G.I. Joe and Star Wars. Each plastic insert I sell, comes with a card board backer. Each blister requires a different size, shape and creased for the card board backer. I know I could buy die for each one and use a die cut machine I am cheap and own numerous 3d printers and was hoping to be able to create my own dies.

Can anyone help me with this project? I’ve added some links so you can see what the inserts, card board backer and my idea are. Thanks for any suggestions.

Picture of Insert sitting on the Cardboard Backer: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ghAbUPZuB7-r4yYrVerjZlrPeqAjK3k0/view?usp=sharing

Laser cutter? Cuts, perfs and half-thickness cuts.
Alternatively, think of a cricut.

What about just making the shape out of 1/8 steel then press it using something like this machine.


No tracing just cutting. Saves on time by bypassing tracing.

Any suggestions on getting started. I was thinking it would be similar to an embossing plate.

it depends what you are trying to do, are you trying to print the plastic inserts to put the toys into?

I want to print dies so I can cut out the cardboard for the plastic insert. I current have to trace each cardboard backer, then hand cut it out, then score or crease certain sections. It is very time-consuming.

I could print the basic shape of the cardboard, but I want to be able to use it to score / crease the cardboard, not sure if I could make it sharp enough to actually cut it out.

I'm wondering if just making a stencil form to draw around, which you evidently already do, but which also clamps down onto the cardboard sheet so that you can trace it with a cutting knife might be a simpler solution. The stencils could be designed so that you could use a G-clamp on it on a workbench, and you could have small protrusions on the under side of the stencil which indents the folding lines in the cardboard.
I think it might be possible to print and make cutting dies but they would need to be very accurate and could turn into a mini engineering project; I'd be interested how you got along with it whatever the results. If you have a drill press, maybe you could use that as the base of the machine, where you can add/remove the die cutting apparatus when you need it. The dies themselves wouldn't necessarily need to be sharp and thin like a cookie cutter (that would also be practically impossible to print), they just need to provide the shearing force to cut the cardboard. Like a pair of paper scissors for example the blades aren't at a thin point, more like 80 degrees, and cutting action just comes from the paper being sheared not sliced apart. This also means the dies would need to be very accuarate e.g. if the screw is loose on a pair of scissors, the paper will just fold between the blades and not cut, or cut very roughly even if the blades are sharp. The gap tolerance between the outer and inner dies would need to be as close as possible, and you want an as wear resistant material as possible which is also stiff.
There's a new material made by Timet3d which is PLA which has nano diamonds in it which is wear resistant according to their website (although you will probably need a hardened nozzle to print it) and their was a new video done by CNC Kitchen which showed it was the stiffest material currently available. It's 40 euros for a 500g spool so it's not too expensive, and you could just use it for the cutting edge of the dies. These are just some things I've thought of if you choose to go down this route.
I think the first solution is probably much better if you can cut round the stencils quickly and accurately with a cutting knife. For the sort of batch production you're doing I think that may be better.

Okay that makes sense... I would agree with you that it is similar to an embossing plate, but overall it think that if you can print the die it will save a lot of time. If you would like some help with creating the dies, I could help with that I would just need some dimensions to work off of!

When I get home this evening. I can give you the dimensions of one. Any ideas of what I should use to put pressure on them. I can purchase a die cut machine at a pretty reasonable price, however, I don't know if the mold would with stand the pressure.

I'm at work and can't connect a youtube video. However, there is a video of two cylinders which were printed and assembled. When you cranked the handle, the paper went between the middle and would then be creased.

Honestly I feel, if you can get your hands on a die cut machine fairly cheap then that is the route to go. That would probably allow for the most efficient process.

hi i have one of these to do stickers / decals will also cut card shapes
hope this helps