Cutting out a deck by hand takes patience, precision, and a passion to spend that much time just to get one deck.

Whatever method, one slip up and you need to order replacement cards!

This is definitely a trial and error process. Last weekend I cut my first deck with a laser cutter. Pretty cool right?! You get the cool bright blue light and you wear these stylish protective eyewear.

The process, so far, is prohibitive to regular production. It takes about 4-5 minutes to cut one card which took the greater part of one day intermixed with whatever else I had going on, I would stop what I was doing and run to set up the next card and punch the “go” button.

This week I’ve taken the time to inspect the result. The first thing I was already aware of is the cutter burns the edges. Simple solution is you need to take the stack and sand the edges even with a fine grit sanding block. That makes the whole deck uniform. That leaves a brown edge unless you ware willing to grind the edge quite a bit.

The next challenge I hoped wouldn’t be a problem was scorching. There is a slight scorching especially noticeable on white cards. Also when the laser cut to the edge of a card it would leave the card and come back scorching the middle corners. Maybe you can live with that. But it certainly isn’t ideal.

The last challenge…I didn’t notice until I shuffled the cards the first time. It appears that there were sparks that burned the fronts of the cards. Essentially that makes those cards marked and spoils the deck. I thought maybe it was an issue with the printer, but my remaining two uncut decks I have are perfectly fine. So my conclusion is that it must be sparks.

So now off to find the next method of cutting cards…I’m going to try the Cricut Maker. Hopefully that will be much better.

The next method would be to get a die cutter which would cost over $3k. That won’t be considered unless I end up with mass production and can actually make a good profit off of the cards. Of course the printer could always invest in a die cutter. That would be the most convenient. They could own the whole manufacturing process. But that would take a huge up front investment on my part…and a huge inventory for me to unload.

Really, what is comes down to is that I just want to offer custom cards for people. Mass producing custom cards isn’t practical in the least. So in the long run I’m hoping to offer a service that will make some Star Wars Sabacc fan happy. VARIETY is the word. Making fandom new and fun for everyone with something personal. Otherwise it’s much more simple to spend some cash and go get an official deck from Galaxy’s Edge.

On the plus side…I now have a laser engraver that works great for other projects I am currently doing. And I know how to use it!

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