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Paper Cutter Guide
Why use a cutter?
Paper cutters are a useful tool that can save you large amounts of time. Paper cutters/trimmers are designed to save time by cutting large amounts of paper at a time or precisely cutting documents.
Paper cutters can be used to cut large stacks of paper, trim a book or cut photographs into the perfect size. Cutters/trimmers can be used for many applications.
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Things to consider before purchasing a paper cutter.
What will you be cutting?
Different materials require different types of cutters/trimmers. Some of the materials you may want to cut are photographs, cardstock, thin plastic, foam board, cardboard, particle board and standard copy paper.
How often will you use your cutter?
Many cutters come in a manual or automatic format. Manual cutters require one to two free hands to complete the cutting process, while automatic cutters are motor/hydraulic/pneumatic-powered and some high-end guillotine cutters even adjust themselves according to the cut needed. If you will be cutting documents in large volumes, or simply would prefer not to overexert yourself, you may want to use an automatic cutter.
How many sheets do you need to cut at a time?
Some smaller paper trimmers will only cut one to two sheets of paper at a time. Larger, guillotine cutters cut up to a three-inch stack of paper. Make sure your cutter meets your present and future cutting needs.
What size of paper do you need to cut?
Paper cutters come is a wide variety of sizes. You may want a cutter that cuts different sizes of paper. Paper cutters generally get more expensive as you increase the paper cutting size. You may or may not need a larger cutter.
Is space/mobility an issue?
Will you need to move your paper cutter from one desk to another or from one office to another? Paper cutters can be heavy and take up a lot of space. Some larger guillotine cutters take up a lot of space and are not mobile, whereas some lighter cutters can easily be moved from one location to another. Workstations with wheels are also available to make transportation easy.
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What are the different types of cutters?
Although many cutters can be used as photo trimmers, some specifically designed for cutting photos.
The LiteCut photo trimmer is an example of a photo trimmer. The LiteCut is a standard arm cutter, but has a built-in light that shines through the photograph making precise cutting easier.
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Economy Paper Trimmers
Economy paper trimmers are some of the most recognized paper trimmers. Economy trimmers are frequently used in schools and churches and usually consist of a metal cutting arm with a wood base. These cutters are good for occasional paper cutting and usually cut four to 10 sheets of paper at a time.
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Arm Cutters and Trimmers
Arm cutters are similar in appearance to the economy paper trimmers, but they are designed to be used more frequently and cut more sheets of paper at a time. The arm cutters can cut between 15-50 sheets of paper at a time.
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Rotary Paper Trimmers
Rotary paper trimmers cut paper in a different way than traditional paper trimmers. A rotary trimmer uses a round blade, encased in a cutting head, that slides along a metal bar. When the cutting head slides across the bar, the blade cuts the paper. Rotary paper trimmers are widely used by photographers and are perfect for precision cutting.
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Foam trimmers work a lot like a rotary paper trimmer. Foam trimmers use a cutting head that slides along a metal bar. While the cutting head slides across the bar, the blade cuts the foam. Foam trimmers are designed to cut through Styrofoam and mounting board.
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Manual Paper Cutters / Guillotine Cutters
Guillotine cutters are high-end, high-volume paper cutters. Guillotine cutters cut whole stacks of paper into various sizes. The paper is placed on the cutter, a clamping mechanism is locked into place and handle is pulled, which brings the blade down through the paper. Some manual guillotine cutters can cut up to 800 sheets of paper at a time.
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Electric Semi-Automatic Cutters
Electric semi-automatic cutters work similarly to the manual guillotine cutters. The biggest difference between the two is that semi-automatic cutters have a power-driven blade, which does not require any manual help. Paper is placed on the cutter, a clamping mechanism is manually locked into place and a button is pushed to bring the blade down through the paper.
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Electric Fully Automatic Cutters
Fully automatic guillotine cutters are capable of cutting large amounts of paper. These cutters have a power-driven clamp and blade. Many fully automatic guillotine cutters are capable of cutting a three-inch stack of paper. You can also choose a fully automatic digital cutter. The only difference between the fully automatic cutters and the fully automatic digital cutters is the way you adjust the cut. The standard fully automatic cutters are adjusted manually, the fully automatic digital cutters self-adjust after you type the measurements on the keypad.
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Electric Fully Automatic Digital Cutters
The fully automatic digital guillotine cutters are capable of cutting large amounts of paper. These cutters have a power driven clamp and blade. Many fully automatic guillotine cutters are capable of cutting a three-inch stack of paper. The only difference between the fully automatic cutters and the fully automatic digital cutters is the way you adjust the cut. The standard fully automatic cutters need to be adjusted manually, but the fully automatic digital cutters self-adjust after you type the measurements on the keypad.
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Back Gauge - The back gauge is located on a heavy-duty guillotine cutter. The back gauge helps to adjust how deep the cut will be. The back of the paper sits against the back gauge.
Base - The base is where the paper lies while being cut.
Cutting Wheel - The cutting wheel is used with rotary paper cutters. The cutting wheel is located in the cutting head, which slides across a bar while cutting.
Cutting Head - The cutting head houses the cutting wheel on a rotary cutter. The cutting head slides across the rotary cutting bar while cutting.
Cutting Blocks - Cutting blocks are placed in the base of a guillotine cutter. Cutting blocks are usually made of plastic. The blade meets the cutting block after cutting paper. The cutting block keeps the blade sharp by preventing it from cutting into the metal base.
Cutting Arm - The cutting arm is what is manually pulled to cut paper on economy and arm trimmers.
Clamp - The cutting clamp is what holds the paper in place while cutting. This prevents any movement.
LED - Stands for light emitting diode. These are lights on an instrument panel that turn on and off, indicating what you should do or what is being done.
Lower Blade - Arm cutters have a lower blade that stays in place while the upper blade slides against it. This sliding motion cuts the paper, much like scissors.
Narrow Cut - The narrow cut is the smallest amount of paper that a guillotine cutter can cut.
Pre-Illuminated Cutting Line - Many guillotine cutters have a pre-illuminated cutting line that makes a lighted line exactly where the blade will cut through the paper.
Self-Sharpening - Many rotary cutters feature a self sharpening cutting wheel. While the cutting wheel is being used, it slides against a metal bar that helps keep it sharp.
Side Guide - The side guide helps you align the sides of your paper before cutting.
Upper Blade - Arm and economy trimmers have an upper blade. The upper blade is what you manually pull down to cut paper.
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