Perforating Paper
November 27, 2009 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Is there a machine that will allow me to cut a hole in a stack of paper?

I need to cut either circles or rectangles in stacks of paper of around 200 sheets.

In case it matters, the size of the paper is a letter. I started doing this with an exacto knife but it will take me ages to finish this. Plus, the result is not very precise.

Is there a machine that will allow me to do this?
posted by edmz to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In the past, I've used a power drill as a hole punch for large stacks of paper. Clamp it tightly and drill. Keep an eye on it so things don't get too hot.

What size are your circles and rectangles?
posted by WowLookStars at 12:07 PM on November 27, 2009

Drill. Clamp your paper between two boards and use a drill press if you need a large hole.
posted by Mitheral at 12:09 PM on November 27, 2009

I haven't used one, but there are small die-cutting machines marketed to scrapbookers.
posted by jon1270 at 12:38 PM on November 27, 2009

There are also far cheaper punches for scrapbooking, available in different sizes of circles, up to a few inches across.

You can also use a jigsaw, band saw, or a hole saw bit for a power drill.

If these are not useful answers you might want to mention the size of holes you want and whether you want the middle of the circle/rectangle or the outside to be the usable part.
posted by yohko at 12:55 PM on November 27, 2009


well, the shapes are about 6 by 6 inches, give or take. I forgot to mention this.
posted by edmz at 12:56 PM on November 27, 2009

Yohko, the outside of the shape will be the usable part.
posted by edmz at 1:08 PM on November 27, 2009

How about a circle mat cutter? You should be able to do an 1/8" stack of paper at a time. However, it might only cut bevels (a 45 degree angle).

There are also compass cutters. This one is 1/8" shy of 6".
posted by hydrophonic at 1:14 PM on November 27, 2009

Some scrapbooking stores will let you bring your own paper and use their (larger) die cut machines to do things like this.
posted by ersatzkat at 1:15 PM on November 27, 2009

Most schools have a die cutter for teachers to use when making bulletin boards. If you know a teacher, ask if they'll do it for you. Or see if the local teacher supply has one.
posted by tamitang at 2:29 PM on November 27, 2009

a die cut, drill, or hole punch are all viable solutions depending on the size. above all i think the drill would be the fastest way because the die cut I use always takes forever. also, maybe check out a nearby scrap booking/art store. they might have some more ideas.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 2:52 PM on November 27, 2009

Any professional printers would have a drill press to do exactly this. Perhaps you call a local printer or copy shop and ask if they can do this for cheap.
posted by arcolz at 4:14 PM on November 27, 2009

If you use a drill, don't forget to wax the bit.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:00 PM on November 27, 2009

A drill is not a hack, it's the right way: it's how print shops do it. You just need to clamp the paper very tightly together so you don't get a mess. As long as it's pressed together, you will get a nice clean hole this way.

(The difference between a tightly pressed stack of paper and a piece of wood is pretty slight, which is why so many of the cutting/drilling/sanding methods used on pads of paper also apply to carpentry.)

For a bigger hole, use a hole saw bit, and as OC says: wax it, and let it cool between attempts.
posted by rokusan at 3:41 AM on November 28, 2009

(Oh, and a piece of wood on each side makes it easier to clamp without denting the paper. Drill right through the wood.)
posted by rokusan at 3:50 AM on November 28, 2009

I don't think print shops are going to have a six by six drill bit.
The largest size I have at work is a five eighths.
Finding a printer with die cutting capabilities would be the easiest thing to do, but for the quantity you have, it will certainly not be the most cost effective.
If you do go that route, be sure to tell them that the rectangle/circle is the part to be thrown away.
posted by defragmeout at 12:20 PM on November 28, 2009

Ha, I didn't notice the 6-inch circle clarification. Yes, my biggest hole saw is 3.5 inches.

That leaves die-cutting in a shop (expensive, slow, one by one) or hand cutting yourself (cheap, even slower, error-prone).
posted by rokusan at 8:55 PM on November 28, 2009

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