Steel Rule Dies
A steel rule die, also referred to as a cookie cutter die or clicker die, is a flatbed die containing sharp blades in the die board situated in a particular line in accordance with the required part design. Steel rule dies cut the required part design from sheets of workable material and are the most common type of cutting tool used in conventional die cutting processes.
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Design of Steel Rule Dies
Steel rule dies consist of a die board, steel blades, also called rules and ejection rubber. The steel rules are thin steel strips with a sharpened edge, called a cutting edge, which the die-maker cuts and bends, then places into slits in the die board, or substrate, to be held into position. Where the cutting edge of the steel rules is positioned depends on the type of steel rule that is used. The die board can be made from high-density plywood that is composed from hard woods such as maple. The final step in creating the steel rule die involves the addition of ejection rubber. Rubber pads are adhered to the die board in order to help eject the material after it is cut. Without the inclusion of ejection rubber, the material may tend to get stuck amongst the steel blades. There are several different types of steel rules: center bevel rules, facet bevel rules, flush bevel rules and side bevel rules. Center bevel rules are the most common, in which the cutting edge is centered between the two faces of the rule. Facet bevel rules also have a centered cutting edge; however it is diamond-shaped to provide cleaner cuts. Flush bevel rules use a cutting edge that is in line with one of the faces of the rule; however these rules have poor longevity. Side bevel rules have the cutting edge slightly off center, providing longevity and good cut quality.
Applications of Steel Rule Dies
Able to attain the highest accuracies of any die cutting process, steel rule dies can represent the most intricate of forms. Steel rule dies are typically constructed from hardened steel and are used to cut materials including cardboard, rubber, paper, plastic, thick foams, aluminum, fabric, leather and Kevlar. Steel rule dies have proven beneficial for industries including packaging, automotive, electronics, printing, medical, textile, aerospace and telecommunications. The steel rule die can come in a variety of thicknesses that reflect the application or function it is to perform. These applications are diverse and include prototyping, new part development and the production of parts such as cardboard boxes, packages and stationary. In addition, steel rule cutting dies can cut slits, creases and perforations as well as cutting out shapes.