Laser Cutting vs. Die-Cutting

Nameplates & Dials, Overlays, Panels

If you are in the nameplate business, you have probably heard the terms laser cutting or die-cutting before, but do you know when one cutting technology should be utilized over the other? Each method of cutting possesses its own set of advantages depending on the project.

Laser-cut, polyester overlay.

Laser-cut, polyester overlay.

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is a form of cutting that utilizes a CO2 laser as a cost-effective alternative to steel rule die-cutting. Due to the narrowness of the laser beam, cutting with a laser can provide improved precision, and is a good choice to use for projects that require small and/or detailed cuts. The laser cuts all the way through the material, dropping out all internal cuts. Another benefit of laser cutting is the fact that the zone affected by heat is quite small compared to using die-cutting, which decreases the chance of the material warping where it is being cut.

Metal nameplate cut using a compound die.

Metal nameplate cut using a compound die.

Die-Cutting

Die-cutting requires die tooling which consists of cutting blades embedded in a wooden base surrounded by rubber cushions. Outside shapes and interior holes can then be die-cut in a single stroke. Hard tools (also known as Class A Tools) perform the same process; however they are made out of a harder steel and consist of both male and female tools. This results in a tighter tolerance and an extended tool life that can last millions of strikes before needing to be replaced. One area where die-cutting outperforms laser cutting is the quantity and speed at which it can cut materials. Since a die is able to cut multiple areas in a single stroke, it is able to perform at a much faster rate than a laser cutting machine.

While each form of cutting has its own list of pros and cons, ultimately the one you decide to go with depends on the specific product being cut. Always make sure to ask your manufacturer for their recommendation, and if cost is a factor be sure to take initial tooling charges into account when making your decision.


If you would like to learn more about Wilson-Hurd’s Nameplates & Dials, Overlays, Panels division and our printing and fabrication capabilities, please visit our website at www.wilsonhurd.com, or fill out and submit the form below:


Wilson-Hurd, founded in 1904, offers custom printing, fabricating, and electronic manufacturing services specializing in Electronic Control Products, Printed Electronics, POP Displays, Medical Contract Manufacturing, and Nameplates & Dials, Overlays, Panels.

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