Good will does prevail - so do rotary cutters

January 29th, 2005

As the years have passed by, every step, process and element of my Window Flakes business has been scrutinized, examined, looked at funny, and put under a microscope - all in an effort to make things move more efficiently.

Today, thanks to an extremely kind and generous lady at Plaza Art in Rockville, we have taken a large step forward.

The most labor intensive part of the entire manufacturing process is getting the snowflakes clings cut to size to fit in the packaging - once printed, the rolls of clings are 50 meters long and 15 inches wide (I know, I'm blowing your mind with the mixing of units, that's what happens when you bring Euro-trash like me in), anyway, having to cut literally thousands of snowflakes is a very time consuming job. This past season I had help, thank goodness, but even with help, it takes a boat load of time.

So, to solve this time sucking activity, I have been looking for the past 6 weeks for a cutting machine/implement/device to at least make a dent in the time it takes. My first thought was to use the plotter that cuts and removes the waste vinyl material. After talking and reading to many in the know, that would just require me to buy very expensive blades for the machine on an almost daily basis. Time saving, Yes. Cost effective, No.

Then I started looking at constructing a machine with adjustable blades, almost like a printers die cutting machine, 14th Century in look and manufacture, lots of iron, sharp edges, infected open wounds, but that, after only a small amount of reading and research, was, well, a stupid idea!

So I was back to the manual cutting process, moving off volume cutting, and onto speed cutting. This is when I started looking at Guillotine and Rotary cutters. After a ton, and I mean weeks, of reading reviews (and just so you know, every cutter has at least one review that says it doesn't cut straight), I could not make up my mind and realized to satisfy my own doubt I would have to see one of these devices in the flesh - this is where Plaza comes in - I visited the store in Silver Spring yesterday and they only had the one (way to big and pricey), today I went to the Rockville store, this is where everything starts to become clear. 

The sales associate asks me what I needed and takes me to the cutters/trimmers, there are three - a 12 inch guillotine, too small, and 18 inch guillotine, not very solid at all, and what we think is a 20 inch rotary cutter (it's measurements are all in millimeters and directions French, neither of which I speak) - we take it to the register and I ask, "Does it cut straight"?

Her response was, "Let me show you ours", and she proceeds to walk me over to the rotary cutter they have in the store, industrial strength, rock solid, smooth straight cut, self sharpening blade - cue lights, angels coming swooping down, the sound of light clapping in the background, aaaahhhhhhh, you get the picture... "I WANT THAT ONE!", I proclaim to the angels (and other shoppers) - no one was listening and I said it quietly anyway.

Unfortunately, they don't sell THAT ONE, just the expensive, less industrial one - so she looks up the make and model number of, THAT ONE, and we both go to our phones and look on Amazon and there it is, more lights, more music, etc. She said, "I can't sell you the other one, clearly you need something for business use, we love "THAT ONE", you should just order it online..."

Suddenly we embrace, we look deep into one another's eyes - OK, that didn't happened.

But, I did leave the store and sit in the car outside and order, what I hope will be, a time saving, super heavy duty Window Flakes snowflake cling cutting, time machine, ok, not time machine, cutter/trimmer.

A million thanks to my "Robin Hood" Plaza Art sales lady - you rock!