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Substrate Cutter needed - Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Product and Supplier Referrals' started by MarkH42, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. MarkH42

    MarkH42 Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Birmingham, AL
    We are in the market for a substrate cutter and I am looking for recommendations. Ideally, this machine would cut ACM, coroplast, foamcore, PVC and maybe a few other materials. I have a done a little research and found the FSC Multi-Material Cutter and the Foster SteelTrak (aka Keencut?). Both seem to be in the $3,500-$4,000 range new, depending on the size.

    Any other models we should consider? Anyone have one of these and want to share your experience? As always, a good used one is a bonus, but I'm willing to invest in a new one. Any suggestions are appreciated!
  2. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

    Aug 6, 2007
    I just have a panel saw, table saw and a 3ft shear. Works great for most projects. If I'm not comfortable with cutting the material here, I just have a supplier cut it for me.
  3. MarkH42

    MarkH42 Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Birmingham, AL
    We currently also have a 3 ft. shear and we have our vendor cut pieces larger than that, but doing the longer cuts in-house would speed things up considerably. Also, we spend $40-50 or so per week on average getting material cut, so that pays for the cutter in 2 years. I'm hoping it saves time with coro and foamcore cuts, which are a significant percentage of what we do.
  4. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

    Sep 8, 2016
    We use the SawTrax machines. Have a 5ft and a 4ft. The 5ft has an ACM sheer and a substrate clamp, but the clamp only works with 4ft materials so we typically leave it off. We went with it because we can use the saw and rip long cuts of ACM or polycarb. Our first one was a 4ft one we bought many, many years ago and have never needed to adjust it. The new one seems to be built just as well.
  5. Z SIGNS

    Z SIGNS Very Active Member

    Feb 14, 2009
    Trenton NJ
  6. FireSprint.com

    FireSprint.com Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing

    We have enjoyed our Foster Keencut for years. Good machine. They are all challenging to square up though. Be ready to work through the challenge no matter which one you buy.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    We've also had a Fletcher substrate cutter, but as Firesprint mentioned we found ours terribly difficult to square perfectly and sold it years ago.

    Other than a CNC table, the best "cutter" at our shop is our DeWalt track saw. (Fletcher and Makita also make a version too.) For the money, this thing will fly through just about any material (except foam board) used in day-to-day sign making and do it accurately with a clean edge. We cut PVC, polycarb, MDO, coro, polymetals and many others with ease. Wouldn't be without it!

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