Many tasks need to be taken care of to give a jigsaw puzzle its final shape so you can enjoy the fun of putting it together. During their production, for example, graphic design, selection of appropriate materials, preparation of packaging, and also planning and carrying out the process of cutting are all important.
We will devote the rest of this post to this last area. Read the whole post to find out what cutting dies are and how they work. Feel free to read!
Puzzle of a non-standard shape.
There are many factors to consider when designing cutting dies. First of all, we need to decide on the shape we want to achieve. A cutting die can either fit into an already existing graphic design or be created completely from scratch.
In both cases, the quality and durability of the device also matters. A badly designed cutting die can significantly reduce its life (i.e. the number of punches that can be made on it). In this way, it can limit the efficiency of production, and in extreme cases, lead to damage to the jigsaw puzzle itself (including causing delamination of the paperboard or tearing of pieces at knife joints).
An example of dies for a puzzle.
During the die cutting process, there may be minimal deviation in the position of the sheet in relation to the cutting die. This means that the prepared design and graphics must have a certain tolerance. In printing, this slight margin is called bleed.
Its value is usually assumed to be at least 1 mm – calculated from the outside line of the cutting die. In addition to bleeds, it is worthwhile to mark safety lines during the design process. The safety line, just like bleeds, is the offset of strategic elements from the edge of the cutting line. It allows, for example, to avoid texts coming close to the edge of the puzzle and to protect them from being cut.
Removal of bleeds after the die-cutting process.
When designing, it is also important to optimise the external dimensions of the cutting die in relation to the raw material. The ordered raw materials have standardised dimensions (e.g. B1=1000x700mm), so it is best to aim for such dimensions where the raw material is used to the maximum extent and thus generates the lowest possible level of production waste.
When evaluating the costs, for example, how many times the given raw material can be used is calculated. One of the most popular printing formats is therefore the B1 standard dimension, as well as derivatives of this dimension, i.e. B2, B3 and so on.
An example of the arrangement of dies on the 330x480mm format
Due to the printing technology and the bleeds necessary for die-cutting – the dimensions of a given format must be offset accordingly. For example, we can assume an offset from the edge of the raw material of 10mm, which gives the following results:
B1 format approx 1000x700mm -- > outer dimension of the jigsaw puzzle 980x680mm
B2 format approx 500x700mm -- > outer dimension of the jigsaw puzzle 480x680mm
B3 format approx 500x350mm -- > outer dimension of the jigsaw puzzle 480x330mm
B4 format approx 250x350mm -- > outer dimension of the jigsaw puzzle 230x330mm
Puzzle size optimization example.
When ordering non-standard external puzzle dimensions (e.g. 750x600mm), the price will be the same as for a significantly larger puzzle (e.g. 980x680mm). That’s why it’s a good idea to aim for maximum use of the material – while also keeping other product requirements in mind.
With standard jigsaw puzzles, a rectangular shape is definitely not desirable. If you want to maintain a square shape, it is important to keep the appropriate ranges of number of pieces for the given outer dimensions.
Changes in the proportions of the sides of a single puzzle depending on the number of pieces of our puzzle. While maintaining the external dimensions of the puzzle 400x300mm.
For a jigsaw puzzle with outer dimensions of 480x320mm, the number of possible pieces for maintaining the ideal shape is: 6, 24, 54, 96, 150, 216, etc.
A table with example calculations of the number of possible elements to maintain the perfect shape of the puzzle. Calculations for the dimension of complex puzzles 480x320mm.
When putting the jigsaw puzzle together, we want each piece to be unique. Uniqueness understood not only through the prism of the graphic itself, but also the shape of the jigsaw puzzle – one that will not be repeated in relation to other elements. This kind of approach to the creation of jigsaw puzzles is even necessary when producing a large number of pieces where each piece is of small size.
With the small size of the graphic area, differentiating the jigsaw puzzle is no longer so easy – especially when using similar colour tones. The variety of shapes is largely achieved by modifying the tabs (interjams) of the jigsaw puzzle: the size, the direction of connection, the tilt, and even the offset from the axis of symmetry.
Basic parameters of the puzzle head die: 1 - Radii of rounding, 2 - Angle in relation to the axis of symmetry, 3 - Size of the puzzle head, 4 - Perpendicular shift in relation to the axis of symmetry, 5 - Longitudinal shift in relation to the axis of symmetry, 6 - Direction of the head.
When creating jigsaw puzzle cutting dies, we are basically only limited by our imagination. The shape of the jigsaw puzzle can be made 100% according to your own design.
It is worth pointing out that the possibility of full shape matching applies not only to jigsaw puzzles but also to other products (including dominoes, memory games, paperboard tokens, etc.). They differ only in the shape of the cutting die, while the materials as well as the process steps remain the same.
With every non-standard project, it is necessary to analyse potential problems that may occur during production. It is then worth selecting the appropriate machines and technology that will allow you to achieve the best possible product quality while maintaining the life of the cutting die. Due to the range of topics and issues that arise with dedicated cutting die shapes, individual solutions are discussed individually, in relation to the specific project.
Figurines made of bookbinding cardboard, laminated on both sides, die-cut with puzzles.
Contact us and we will be happy to take care of the production process of your jigsaw puzzle. Call or write us to find out more and get a free quote on your order. Feel free to read!