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How do I choose between a Rotary Trimmer or a Guillotine Cutter?

Jeff McRitchie posted this on Jul 22, 2015

Once your business has made the decision to begin producing its own documents, books,and presentations in-house, you’ll need to start educating yourself on the various tools and supplies you will be needing purchase and to have on hand. One item that is crucial for project speed and flexibility is a paper cutter or trimmer. You indeed may have already found that there are a surprising number of options out there when you are considering buying a cutting or trimming machine for your office.

Cutting and trimming are major parts of the document-production process, and choosing the right cutter or trimmer for your business can mean the difference between meeting your deadlines with professional-looking presentations, reports, and proposals, or falling behind schedule. For this reason, it definitely pays to put a little time into researching your future cutting machine.

The right cutting machine enables you to accurately trim or cut large amounts of paper in a single pass, and can be used to make precise cuts in custom sizes and shapes for your projects. Cutting systems can be used for photographs, laminated Swingline ClassicCut Pro 12" Guillotine Trimmerdocuments, foam board, leaflets and for large volumes of paper.

The first thing you will need to know, is of course, the difference between and cutter and a trimmer. Depending on the type of work you typically need done, it is important to choose the right cutting solution.

  • Trimmers (or rotary trimmers) generally have a round cutting blade that is enclosed for safety reasons inside a plastic head. The blade slides up and down a metal guide bar. Rotary trimmers are great for making perfectly straight cuts on low volumes of most any paper stock, or some of the other thinner paper products. You will find trimmers widely in use by photograpers, designers, advertising agencies, schools, and even in homes for such purposes as scrapbooking and putting together specialized photo albums.
  • Paper Cutters (sometimes called guillotine cutters) are generally used for higher-volume projects, and are designed to cut much thicker stacks of paper than trimmers. To use a cutter, the stacks of paper are clamped into place and the handle is brought down in one smooth motion to create a straight, clean cut. With a cutter, you can cut thick stacks into just about any size. Cutters very efficient for high volume projects.

The cutting or trimming machine you choose to buy should depend on how and where you intend for your cutting system to be used. If it is just for personal use, (i.e. scrapbooking, photo projects and the like), or for a home office or small business, where the projects will generally be low-volume, a small rotary trimmer would be a great solution, and there are many products out there which will likely suit your needs just fine.

If, however, you are a larger business, your machine will be experiencing heavy use, and you will need to produce long presentation documents with heavy paper thickness such as foam board and cardboard, a guillotine style cutter will almost certainly be the necessary solution.