A self-healing cutting mat (or rhino cutting mat as they are also called) is an extremely useful tool for any sign industry professional, as well as for printers, designers, costume makers and many other craftspeople. They provide a large cutting surface that is safe for a rotary cutter and can be used repeatedly without leaving score marks. They can be purchased in standard sizes from medium to high size and are often available in custom sizes to fit a specific production table or counter.
However, there are times when you need to trim your rhino mat to size. Maybe you’ve moved it from a larger table to a smaller one, maybe custom sizes weren’t available or were they more expensive? So what is the best way to trim a self-healing cutting mat to size?
If you want to keep mess to a minimum, scoring is the answer. Score it a long straight edge, apply bending weight and then score again. It will break through quickly and cleanly in this way.
Quick and messy
A circular saw will get the job done in no time if you don’t mind clearing the mess! Have your industrial vacuum cleaner on hand.
Curved edges, irregular shapes
If your production space has curved or irregular edges, try cutting the mat in place to fit the shape with a router. Clamp the mat in place and use a flush trim piece, running it all the way around the table. This is also quick and easy, if a little messy.
Once your rhino cutting mat is trimmed to the right size, your entire production board will be set up for cutting, trimming and all those other tasks. If you have some reasonably sized cuts, don’t throw them. They can be used to make small cutting mats for smaller jobs, or portable cutting mats for when you’re out and about and you need to make some last minute trimming adjustments. Even a small size A4 is useful, so trim the cuttings into usable pieces and keep them for future use.
Of course many places that supply self-healing cutting mats will cut them to normal sizes at no extra charge, so check first when buying a new one. You could easily save the hassle of cutting yours to size and make sure it’s already the perfect fit for your table.