Self-Healing Cutting Mat: Alternative to a Print Trimmer?
Old 01-21-2017   #1
Rob-F
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Self-Healing Cutting Mat: Alternative to a Print Trimmer?

I was just about to buy a Rotatrim when I saw I guy on YouTube trimming a print with a box knife and a self-healing mat. I see the Self-Healing mat on B & H for about 20 bucks. That's a lot cheaper than a Rotatrim! And I think it will fit my small darkroom counter better.

Users? Comments? Yea or Nay?
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Old 01-21-2017   #2
Godfrey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
I was just about to buy a Rotatrim when I saw I guy on YouTube trimming a print with a box knife and a self-healing mat. I see the Self-Healing mat on B & H for about 20 bucks. That's a lot cheaper than a Rotatrim! And I think it will fit my small darkroom counter better.

Users? Comments? Yea or Nay?
Cutting printing paper with a knife and mat is nowhere near as clean, consistent, and repeatable as using a Rototrim. I use knife and self healing mat to cut mat board, occasionally, because I don't normally cut mats. Getting precise cuts that way is a bit of an art form.

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Old 01-21-2017   #3
Steve M.
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This intrigued me, so I had to look up self healing mats,. All I saw were mats that were "rubber" like, and were designed to go under whatever you were cutting so as to not dull your blade. Is that what you mean?

I have been just using cardboard for 40 years. Place the cardboard under the mat board, hold a piece of 1x2 on the pencil line on the mat board, and I cut my mats by hand. It helps to warm up w/ some scraps first to get into the swing of it, but it is much easier than you would think, assuming that you have a keen eye and steady hands. If you're talking about cutting paper, I have a guillotine cutter for that.
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Old 01-21-2017   #4
tonal1
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Here's the truth about Rotatrim: you can absolutely make as clean a cut with a skilled hand, a fresh blade, and a firmly held straight-edge. But not every time, and not forever. More importantly, it is much more difficult to keep the sheet your cutting truly square than it is when using the perfectly aligned Rotatrim. I hate that they cost $300, but there is a reason they stay in business. Rotatrim are AWESOME. If you can't justify the expense, I honestly suggest you find a community space where you can do your trimming in bulk. I don't know what your intended purpose is, but if your prints are going into a portfolio, having all of them all trimmed 1mm off is something you will notice.

That said, there are amazing deals out there on old industrial quality guillotine trimmers, the kind that used to live in every art classroom. Those can be had for $20 and can be resharpened within reason. A really sharp guillotine is good enough for me. But a $300 Rotatrim is a lifelong investment. I could be happy with either, but the Rotatrim is the best.
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Old 01-21-2017   #5
Rob-F
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Oh, I have a guillotine trimmer and was looking to upgrade. This professor on YouTube made the self-healing mat look easy to use for trimming the print. The cost of the Rotatrim is affordable. But the one I want will be big for my workspace, when not in use. Guess I'll just hang it up someplace, or make do with a smaller one.

Thanks for the consult!
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Old 01-21-2017   #6
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If you regularly trim prints, you wont regret getting a Rotatrim trimmer. You'll use it for the rest of your life. Saves so much time over cutting with blade and straight edge and requires less skill if you need to, for instance, shave a 1/16 of an inch off a print...
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Old 01-21-2017   #7
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Really? You can shave off a 1/16th? I'm getting one!
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Old 01-21-2017   #8
bob338
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I trim prints every day I go to work. I use a Pacific Arc straight edge and an Olfa rotary mat. I also limit cuts to around 15-20 per blade, blades are cheap, prints are not. The Pacific Arc is not cheap, but it's the best and I've used them all.
https://smile.amazon.com/Pacific-Arc...+straight+edge
https://smile.amazon.com/OLFA-9881-1...lf+healing+mat
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Old 01-21-2017   #9
Ronald M
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Strait edge may do a straight line, but does nothing to keep item square. That is important if you want to matt a print for display.

My Besslar is a Rototrim clone and had a lined clear plastic so I can see where i cut.
Easy to make 1/2 to .010" border on a print perfect every time.
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Old 01-22-2017   #10
mdarnton
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For just chopping things--sheet film to size, rough margins, etc.- I use a Fiskars rotary cutter and it does the job. When it matters I square with a large plastic triangle, mark the line with two knife pricks and then cut with an Olfa retractable knife against a straight edge. Every few cuts I break off the end section of the knife for a new tip. Those cuts are always perfect, if a bit slower.
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Old 01-22-2017   #11
tonal1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
Really? You can shave off a 1/16th? I'm getting one!

You can easily cut 1/16 off. You could turn a sheet of light-weight paper into pile of angle hair ribbon if you wanted to.
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