CAD Cutters vs Die-cutting Machines

CAD Cutters vs Die-cutting Machines

CAD Cutters

CAD (Computer-Aided Design) cutters are digital cutting machines that use a computer-controlled cutting tool to cut out shapes in the packaging material. CAD cutters are best for creating prototypes and samples, and a small blade or laser cuts out shapes based on the digital file provided.

Our Structural Samples and Simplified Samples are all made with CAD cutters. However, these samples might be harder to fold and may come with small cracks in the paper.

Structural Sample Folding Carton Box with Hang Tab

Die-cutting Machines

Die-cutting machines are used in production - specifically for high-volume, repetitive cutting of packaging materials. These machines use a die, a custom metal cutting tool that acts like a large stamp to cut out the specified shapes. This die-cutting process means the material will be compressed when it is die-cut, as seen in the example here.

Our Pre-production Samples are made with die-cutting machines, which provide cleaner cuts, better scores (that lead to better folds), and also reduce the likelihood of the paper cracking or tearing compared to samples made with CAD cutters.

Pre-production Sample Mailer Box Protein Puck

Important note about corrugated samples

When comparing corrugated samples, such as mailer boxes or custom box inserts, please note that there will be a difference between samples made with CAD cutters and the final produced product.

Using die-cutting machines in production compresses the corrugated material down, whereas a CAD cutter uses a single blade (like a box cutter), which just cuts out the shape without any compression. Having the corrugation compressed does not mean that it's less sturdy - it has the same thickness, but just compressed.

If you're looking to target a specific thickness or height with a corrugated material, then a structural sample will not give you the same preview. We'd therefore suggest getting a Pre-production Sample to see the outcome of the material after it's been die-cut.

CAD Cutters and Die-cutting Machines Corrugation Compression