Creasing/Die-cutting on a Vandercook?

Alot of cutting and creasing in the UK seems to be done on Heidlebergs – I haven’t got one of those, so my question is this: does any one use their Vandercook for cutting and/or creasing and if so what do you use?

For cutting I assume you would pack/protect the cylinder from the die with absorbent material – is there a hard rubber blanket people use?

For creasing I can envisage using brass rule – or are there dedicated creasing ‘widgets’ out there?


John Christopher

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Eric Holub
15 years ago

Properly, die-cutting is done against a hard surface, not a yielding one. Rubber would give an indistinct crease, or cuts and perfs with burred edges or dulled rules. Steel die-cutting jackets are made for many presses, even Vandercooks. However, heavy diecutting really would shorten the life of the press. But simple creasing, perforating and slitting certainly has been done on the Vandercook.
Steel rule is used commercially to cut, perf and score, and brass rule is acceptable for scoring. Steel rule is usually 2 points thick, and creasing rule may have rounded edges. Modern practice is to use creasing matrix, and an older method is to use two rules separated by two or three points and to glue a string between them on the topsheet; the thicker the stock, the wider the spacing. Either way a well-defined hump is created in the paper, one that stretches the fibers on the outside of the fold so the paper has in effect a hinge that can be folded without cracking of the stock. Note that the bulge normally goes to the inside of the fold.
For perfing or even a little slitting, steel bands can be glued to the topsheet (some have used 2-point brass or even steel strapping). Perfabase is one brand, being flexible spring steel 1/8″ or 1/4″ wide. Used with .910″ rule, printing and perfing can be done at the same time. Sabertooth is another brand; rather than glue, it has small teeth which grip the packing. Rule should just kiss the steel.
Whatever kind of rule is used, bear in mind that rule running the length of the bed will penetrate the packing with greater force than rule aligned across the cylinder and may need to be lower than cross-rule would be. As rule forms get more comlicated, they also exert more force against the press, and the Vandercook was not engineered for, say, diecutting forms with many running inches of rule such as CD jackets or tough stock like chipboard. People may do it, but I wouldn’t advise it.

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