(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.