Need ideas on how to make an automatic photo slicer/cutter... Answered
I'm playing with a digital photobooth which prints out 2 vertical strips per piece of 4x6 photo paper. It works great, and I just cut the paper in half (the long way to separate the two strips.
I'm looking for a way to automate this. I've tried pre-perforating the paper, which works but is not ideal. I've also just manually used a paper cutter (both rotary and guillotine style).
My goal: an automatic paper cutter that will cut a 4x6 photo in half the long way.
I've actually started building a device that is basically a slot to guide the paper, and a turning rotary blade. The paper gets dropped in the top, is drawn through the turning rotary blade in the middle, and is spit out the bottom. It works on small scraps of paper, but lacks the power to really cut through an entire piece of photo paper. Also, it's built out of MDF wood and I lack the tools to make it precise enough to cut accurately.
The cutting mechanism seems to be the big holdup. I tried with my hand - a rotary blade (even a big sharp one) requires quite a lot of pressure to cut the photo, and it's not something the photo paper can just drop through via gravity. I'd have to get a much stronger motor.
But I'm starting to brainstorm - is there a better way? I think ideally I'd have a mechanism like an electric paper shredder - two rolling bars with disc-shaped metal blades. The blades are not thin & sharp like a razer... just sharply-square on their edges so that paper get gets caught between them gets cut. I'd have a paper shredder with just two of those roller/blades, so it would just cut right down the middle.
However, all paper shredders I've found are cross cut (which would pulverize the photo), or have grippy teeth that mangle the paper leaving very rough edges.
So let's brainstorm... what kind of cutting mechanisms might work? What are make-able in a garage with limited tools? How could I create my own custom paper-shredder type roller-blades?
Any ideas, thoughts, questions are welcome. It seems simple on the surface, but I've built two prototypes and still don't have a workable solution.
(And yes, I'll turn it into an instructable when it gets done)
(I'll try to summarize the current ideas here)
-Use a mini saw blade and work it like a mini table saw.
-Create some kind of rotary die cutter.
-Automate a normal guillotine paper cutter (lots of electronics and sensors).