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Clicker Dies on a Budget!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
(Attn Mods: please erase if this post is considered spam. I just thought it might be helpful for others)

If you make anything where you cut out the same shape over and over this may be of interest to you (otherwise it will just bore you ... LOL

I was inquiring to have custom dies made to cut out my fleece liners for my pads more efficiently and accurately.

Dies like these are in fact used in the garment industry but they run around $350 per die and $5000 for the clicker press.

I found a die maker in Texas that works mainly with leather workers (saddles, holsters, etc.) that makes dies less expensively and also was willing to share an idea for modifying a shop press into a clicker press. (My biggest die cost $80, the shop press was $150 and the steel plates were $60, Poly board was $10 at Walmart)

Initially I was hoping I could skip the press all together but an engineer told me that for dies my size it would take about 6 tons of pressure to cut anything.

So it didn't work with just a mallet.

I got the shop press (12 ton) at Norterntools and had 2 steel plates (1/2" thick) made locally to measure just slightly bigger than my biggest die.

I bought a poly board (to not dull the dies) at Walmart and cut it to size with a skill saw.

The Poly board of course goes on top of the bottom steel plate.

fold the material and center the die

metal plate on top of the die and crank it down

remove top plate and see if all is cut. (on the bigger dies I have to move them and press a 2nd or 3rd time to get a clean cut all around)

excess material removed

That's a stack of 7 13"liners - all cut at once.

The best part is how symmetrical and clean they cut out (versus hand cut). It also takes only about 1/4 of the time it would take me to do them by hand and I am guessing I am going to get faster.

It isn't as fast as I envisioned. I am sure a real clicker press could crank them out faster but I think for my budget this version is an acceptable compromise.
post #2 of 10
Really impressive! Thank you for sharing that.
post #3 of 10

I have no use for that whatsoever and am tempted to do something like that just because it is so cool. I think I'll be okay with the 6 layers that can be reasonably cut with a pair of scissors though.
post #4 of 10

Clicker dies

Do you have a contact for the clicker dies maker?

On another note, there may be a way to extend the life of your dies with this type of press. While the cutting board will reduce the damage to the die, you can also put small steel blocks on the corners of steel plates that stop the press before the die is dug into the cutting board.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
the hydraulic press is actually manual. it's pretty easy to feel the resistance once the die meets the cutting board and after a few times doing it I bet you would be very proficient and getting a feel for when it's far enough to cut through the stack without cranking it down too much.
There is such a very small difference between enough and not enough to cut through that it would be tough to adjust steel stoppers exactly right.

The dies for my Domino Pads were made by Texas Custom Dies.
post #6 of 10
nice post...... thanks for the post
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Glad you found it helpful
post #8 of 10
This is very cool! I've been telling various people forever that clicker dies are the way to go and this is a low cost option. Fwiw, I'm a leather die pattern maker (and no, this isn't a pitch). If you don't have a clicker, you can have a harness or boot maker do it for you but they usually charge at least 25 cents every time the head comes down.

What are the dimensions of the cutting area? The best way to take advantage of the working area is to create a gang die. Iow, several of those pads could be nested together in one die, to cut several out with each punch. Instead of relying on layering plies of fabric (seven by your count), with a gang die, with layering, you could at least twice that depending on the maximum cutting area.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
gang die would be awesome and probably less waste but the forms would be too large to work with the shop press (cutting surface accommodates one of the large liner dies)
Could be an option for the smaller shapes though!
I'll think about what might be possible. Thanks!
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
I think it's 16" across (between shop press bars) and 8" wide.
Keep in mind the pressure requirement increases as die size increases.
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