In binding and finishing, a finishing operation involving the use of sharp steel rules or knives to cut a specific pattern into a substrate or to cut the substrate itself into a specific pattern. Diecutting is used to create pop-up books and games, and to cut flat printed sheets into packages or boxes for later assembly. Some diecutting devices also crease and score the substrate as part of the same process, a system used especially in the creation of folding boxes and cartons.
A steel-rule die includes a plywood base, onto which is drawn the layout pattern. A jigsaw is used to cut the layout into the wood, and the cutting or scoring rules or blades are inserted into these tracks. A release material (such as rubber) is placed between the blades and the substrate. The whole cutting die assembly is then pressed down on the substrate, where the blades cut or crease the substrate in the proper position. Diecutting presses can either use platens or cylinders, the platen presses being the more popular. On a reciprocating platen diecutter, one moving platen (containing the rules) contacts a stationary one. On a jaw platen diecutter, two moving platens contact each other. Diecutting is also spelled as two words, die cutting, or is hyphenated, die-cutting.
(See also Binding and Finishing.)