The stack cutter of today has become a highly refined and accurate tool. Whether for use by artists, schools, printers, or other businesses, the options currently available create a truly professional finished product. Long gone are the days when you would expect crooked cuts and burrs from your stack cutter.
One of the first questions asked about a stack cutter is how many sheets it can cut in one pass. Technology is continually increasing that number as equipment gets more precise and more can be done with fewer manual parts. It's not unreasonable for a stack cutter to be able to cut a few hundred sheets at once.
The precision of the cuts is another area in which the field has grown. One simple yet incredibly effective tool for getting this precision is the inclusion of a clamp that holds the paper in place. In addition to simply securing the paper, this clamp can also help ensure that even pressure is applied by the blade. These two features together keep the paper from slipping or skewing during the cut.
Just as tools for the woodshop and auto shop have improved, so too have tools for the print shop. Today's stack cutter might employ the use of a laser guide to ensure a straight, even cut. For these high tech cutters, there are even electronic consoles in place that allow the user to accurately control the machine.
The modern stack cutter also benefits from advances in safety. While the laser guide and computerized system is useful in tracking and controlling the cut, there are other safety features that are often included. For example, blades can be safely tucked away and include special guards that keep the operator out of harm's way.
For the smaller budget or the organization that doesn't rely as heavily on its stack cutter, a manual version might be more than adequate. These machines have also benefited from major advancements, and safety is just one area that has improved. Most stack cutters will now include lock mechanisms that hold the blade in an open position. There are also safety covers available.
Because you can't just program cuts into a manual stack cutter, you will find that most of these come with some sort of measuring gauge. There are several methods for this type of option, including a marked cutting surface, guides, and even calibrated cranks.
When purchasing a stack cutter, you may want to consider buying a stand, as well. If you can not sacrifice the surface area necessary to safely use the stack cutter, then this purchase is going to prove necessary. If you don't mind losing counter space or having a cutter residing on your table top, then you might be able to save a little money by not purchasing one. Keep in mind, though, that many of these stands are on wheels, which can be very helpful for storage, portability, and use of the stack cutter.
In addition, cutters are generally quite heavy and awkward to move. If you have a permanent home for it, then you may not need a stand. If not, however, you are likely to save yourself a fair amount of difficulty. Some stands can even double as a storage area.
Whether you're running a classroom or a business, you might find that you have a regular need for a stack cutter. Take the time to look over all of your options to get the tool that is going to give you the best results. Fortunately, modern products are of such high quality that you can nearly be assured of a professional-looking finish, no matter how large or small the project is.