Introduction: How to Make a Better Cardboard Cutter

Picture of How to Make a Better Cardboard Cutter

Out of necessity a few years ago, I decided to make a better paper and cardboard cutter. I had mat knives and they worked well, but blades are expensive, and I always seemed to have many dull ones and then didn't want to make a store run.  Solution: make a holder for the standard box cutter. Goal was to make a tool that would hold the cutter so as to avoid any angled cuts on the cardboard, one that would cut a precise, straight cut line, and, perhaps most importantly, use the regular cheap one edge razor blades that can be purchased in bulk. I have found them at swap meets very cheaply, but even retail is about 5 cents a blade.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials


I use plain pine lumber, cut to shape as shown. Follow the pictures and cut the pieces as indicated. I wanted the final piece to fit my hand, so I angled the blocks and sanded everything down to round of any sharp edges.  I used the table saw, bandsaw, sander, and drill press in the production of these pieces.

Step 2: Cut Pieces on the Correct Angle

Picture of Cut Pieces on the Correct Angle

In a standard boxcutter, the angle of the blade is set at about 62 degrees. It doesn't have to be perfect, but layout an angle close to that on your blocks of wood. Cut this on the band saw and then sand it to shape.

Step 3: Cut Angled Slot to Hold Box Cutter

Picture of Cut Angled Slot to Hold Box Cutter

Follow pictures and image notes to see how to cut the angled slot for the box cutter. A universal jig is used to hold the wood pieces in place. Never try to cut something like this freehand!

Step 4: Drill Cutter and Wood Holder As Shown

Picture of Drill Cutter and Wood Holder As Shown

See image notes for full explanations.

Step 5: Mount Box Cutter by Inserting Bolt

Picture of Mount Box Cutter by Inserting Bolt

Self explanatory.  Position box cutter in the groove and bolt in place. If groove is a little large, add paper shim(s) around body of box cutter.  You want the cutter to be very snug, even tight in the groove.

Step 6: Make a Compensating Guide for the Tool

Picture of Make a Compensating Guide for the Tool

For lack of a better term, I called this a compensating guide.  To make fairly precise cuts you want to be able to place the straight edge in position and have it cut along your line. To do this, a piece of wood is cut for each cutter, and I color coded them.

Step 7: Cutter Is Now Ready to Use

Picture of Cutter Is Now Ready to Use

I have been using these cutters for several years now. They are very useful tools if you are going to work with cardboard to any extent.

Comments

Hey Jude (author)2014-01-18

This is really clever! I should try and do something like an 'auto filleter' for the cardboard-joining technique I use a lot here: http://www.judepullen.com/designmodelling/90-degre...

Or perhaps you want to have a go too?? (Compare notes)

Best wishes and thanks for an awesome post!

Jude

Creativeman (author)Hey Jude2014-01-18

Thanks for commenting. Like your idea of a filleter. Auto, I don't know. There is the issue of the various thickness's of cardboard, the adhesive, other manufacturer differences, etc. Not saying it can't be done, but would it be worth the effort and cost? Maybe a computer, CNC, or like machine. I thought of the same thing, and did make the black cutter to fit this task. Simply re_aligning the blade holder, and therfore, the blade, gives me a cut that doesn't penetrate the entire thickness, and the filet can then be removed. Not 100% foolproof, but with care, does a pretty good job. What do you think? I've been to your site, by the way, very impressive, young man!

Hey Jude (author)Creativeman2014-01-19

Nice pics - thanks.
We should keep thinking about how to do this.
I just had someone take Solder Buddy and build on the idea for a PCB: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH_cmJFe1ds#t=908
You never know, you might want to do something like this - please feel free, as it's exciting to see how someone builds off one idea to another.

kathyh239 (author)2010-08-25

Creativeman, You have hit another one out of the ballpark here. If I weren't already married, I would certainly propose to you AGAIN. My husband and I aren't remotely as handy as you (and we don't have the tools to make these). Have you ever considered selling them? I think you have a winner here.

Creativeman (author)kathyh2392010-08-25

Thanks Kathy: where have you been? I like to make tools to make things easier, so came up with this...would sell, but don't like the business end of it. did you want to buy one?

Sell them on etsy.com!

cornboy3 (author)2010-09-16

I use a bandsaw :P

RedneckEngineer (author)2010-08-24

This is one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" ibles! Great use of making a tool to improve something so simple! Useing the stick guide for each one is also a slick idea. Have you thought about makeing one that has adjustable cut depth? Could be usefull for just scoreing one side or for thicker board. Great insperation for my next tool! THANKS!

Thanks for the comment. I didn't want to make an adjustable cut as most usable cardboard is just as thick or thinner than the depth of cut of the box cutter knife. Not a bad idea, though. Cman

Ninzerbean (author)2010-08-24

Pretty dang cool!

Creativeman (author)Ninzerbean2010-08-24

Hey, thanks Ninzer! Cman

Beagles (author)2010-08-24

Excellent info, I thank you. I was curious as to how that box cutter was retained in the holder, but your "Instructable" explains that nicely.............a hole drilled through the cutter's handle. As they say, "why re-invent the wheel when it is already done". Beagles

keydogstony (author)2010-08-24

I like it! Sure could have used this in the past. Got to make one.

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Bio: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.
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