With the variety of paper cutters on the market today, how do you know which one is right for your needs? Well, this article discusses the merits of rotary paper cutters. You may want to add one to your set of tools.
What is a Rotary Cutter?
Most of us have used, or at least seen, the “chopper-style” paper cutters that seem ubiquitous in schools. You know the kind, a rectangular wooden table with a machete on a hinge that lops off anything hanging over the edge. Those paper trimmers have been in use for as long as schools have existed, it seems. But there is an alternative.
A Rotary Paper Cutter, or Rotary Blade Paper Cutter, is a flat table with a small, circular blade on a track to create perfectly straight cuts. The cut is made by sliding the blade along the track, over the paper, just like a pizza cutter. The sharp blade rotates as it rolls over the paper.
Rotary cutters can also be used for other materials, such as card stock, laminated pieces, material, vinyl banners, etc.
Long, Straight Cuts
What makes the rotary paper trimmer unique is the track, or rail system holding the blade carriage. The rails keep the blade moving in a straight line, no matter how long the cut is. The old chopping cutters tend to lose cutting accuracy the farther the cut gets from the pivot point. Rotary cutters maintain the exact same cutting angle throughout the length of the cut.
And rotary cutters can be LONG. There are rotary cutters on the market that have a 120” (that’s 10 feet!) cutting length. Try holding up a 10-foot long blade on a regular cutter, let alone hold the paper still.
Another aspect that makes rotary blade paper cutters popular is the fact that the blade is covered. To make a cut, you hold a blade carriage that completely encompasses the blade (the red part in the image above), except for the small section that allows it to roll over the paper. The blade carriage never lifts off the machine during normal use. The only time you can touch the blade is when changing it.
Up to now, you might have wondered why anyone would use anything but a rotary cutter. The downside is you can only cut a single sheet at a time. You may get away with two or three sheets, but more than that may prove difficult to cut. If you need to cut stacks of paper, invest in a good guillotine cutter.
The Final Cut
Rotary blade paper cutters have gained popularity in the scrapbooking community. You can find small, inexpensive, tabletop units that are perfect for that purpose. Print shops like having a larger one handy for trimming posters and laminated pieces. Sign makers can cut full-width vinyl banners with them.
There is no doubt the rotary paper cutter is a smart investment if you need to trim items quickly and neatly. They can be essential tools in art departments, print shops, offices, or your own craft room. There is a rotary paper trimmer that can fit your needs.