Edward Mathias
& Company

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Blade Angles

Some examples of how a blade can be made using just three of the infinite number of angle compounds that could be used to create a particular approach angle.

In this example 30 degrees but applies to all angles.

1  Is far too fragile for practical use and the point will break easily.

2   Is a more realistic configuration

     For some materials on some ancient  tangential plotters.

3   Would probably cut butter but be useless for almost everything else.



Would you expect all cars to use the same tyres?

Or the same wheels as a roman chariot?

Of course you wouldn’t - and they don’t - because they are different.

So why would entirely different plotters which work in entirely different ways use the same blade angle/configuration? [They don’t]

FACTS - Yes - boring facts.
Different plotter types can have entirely different cutting characteristics.

And need entirely different blade configurations.

For each plotter type we configure blades for particular media ranges.

And there is much more to that than just one angle!!!


Just tell us the make and model and the materials you cut.

What do the outdated descriptions 30 45 and 60 degrees really mean?

Most modern plotters now used in UK are drag cutters but thirty years ago when those descriptions became common almost all plotters in UK were tangential cutters which worked rather differently.

There were very few machine types in UK and very few blade types needed or available so simplistic and inaccurate descriptions became common.


30 degrees described a blade type usually used for “normal” vinyls.

45 degrees described a blade type usually used for some thicker materials.

60 degrees described a blade type usually used for some sandblast materials.

These blades were for one particular machine which was common in the UK 30 years ago.

Those old descriptions still persist but the blades supplied [although they may be described as such] are rarely made to those old patterns because the materials have changed, modern plotters work in different ways and blade design has progressed to become more suited to modern machines and materials.

Sooner or later those outdated descriptions will die out and people who don’t know which angle they are talking about and are very unlikely to have, or be able to use, instruments to measure it anyway will stop using descriptions that no longer apply and ask for the correct blade for the machine they have and the materials they cut.

Next time somebody describes a blade as 30 or 45 or 60 Degrees ask them “which angle?”

The answer will probably be “THE angle” - Ask again “which angle?” - The answer will be the same.

So why do people still use these descriptions?

Because they are a persistent legacy of an era when plotters and materials were different the design of plotter blades was largely guesswork.

When plotters first became popular the range of materials they were used to cut was limited.

Somebody somewhere made a blade for a particular machine.

The configuration of that blade [which had many angles] became known as a 30 Degree blade

because one of the angles was 30 degrees.

It could have been many other angles but 30 degrees was convenient for manufacturing.

As plotters became more popular a wider range of materials developed and some of those were thicker and tougher than the machines had the power to cut so somebody somewhere made a finer blade which would penetrate with the limited power of the machine in question and once again a nice convenient angle was chosen for manufacturing and the 45 degree blade was born.

Further material developments put more demands of the limited power of machines and gave rise

to the production of a 60 degree blade [another convenient angle for manufacturing].

Do these angles still apply 30 years later?

Sometimes, but only when the correct compound of angles have been used to create them.

The other angles in that compound are equally important as can be seen in the illustrations above so unless you can calculate and specify ALL the angles in the compound needed to create the cutting edge of a blade at a particular approach angle it is much better to tell us what plotter you have and what materials you cut rather than to provide a meaningless and inadequate description.

But don’t worry too much - we know what you think you want.

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