I had a very similar idea as you to start a puzzle business focused on local attractions. Luckily, I found your book and it seems more doable than ever. I'm still in the early stages of considering this venture, but I wanted to reach out and say hello. Also, THANK YOU for writing this book! I will leave a review on Amazon.
I do have a question...it seems that laser cutting puzzles is another viable option and the equipment may have a higher resale value. I know that you explicitly do not discuss these types of puzzles in your book. I am curious if/why you ruled it out for your business. Would you advise me to steer away from considering that method?
I’m glad you found my book helpful. Back in 2013 when I started assessing puzzle making, lasers weren’t as far along as they are now. They also cost a whole lot more than they do today. Most of the research I found at the time indicated lasers were a possible option for cutting puzzles with wood used as the backing material.
My concern with lasers is the intense heat and smoke. I’m not sure chipboard (cardboard) would tolerate the heat lasers generate without setting the cardboard on fire. I haven’t search the web lately for using lasers to cut chipboard to make puzzles. Also, from my review of laser cutting, it would take a few minutes to cuts a puzzle using a laser. It only takes about five seconds to cut a puzzle using a die press/roller cutter. Time is money.
I would encourage you to research lasers for cutting puzzles. In fact, you might want to call one of the laser manufacturers to see if they know of anyone using their laser(s) to cut jigsaw puzzles.
I no longer use spray adhesives to mount prints. I’ve found a way to use regular water-based glue. It’s fast, easy, cheap and safe. The spray adhesives, even with good ventilation, concern me; the fumes are toxic.
My name is JR out of the Bronx, NY and I want to thank you for your book “Start Your Own Small Jigsaw Puzzle Business”. I bought the book off of Amazon and it was clear, direct, informative and motivating. I had done some research this entire year on creating jigsaws but I was always confused on the equipment, process and materials needed. But your book made it more realistic to go through with my small business. I have a few questions:
1) Is there a direct link to the machine you bought? I went to the website to look for it but wasn’t certain the roller pressers on their website were the ones that you use.
2) is it possible to create a thousand piece puzzle using a 500 piece die twice?
Thank you once again.
Hello JR out of Bronx,
Thanks for buying my book and thanks for the comments. Die Cutters Inc. has dropped their 15 inch roller press. I don't think they had sufficient demand; it was the smallest press in their inventory at the time I bought it (~2014). At the time, they also offered puzzle dies (I bought two--100 pieces and 252 pieces) but I see they no longer offer dies either.
However, based on your second question, the 15 inch roller press wouldn't work for you anyway. A 500 pieces or 1000 pieces puzzle would be too wide for a 15 inch press. I only cut 100 pieces and 252 pieces puzzles. The dies are only about 12 inches wide and the 15 inch press works well.
No, you won't be able to cut a 1000 pieces puzzle with a 500 pieces dies; there really isn't a way (to my knowledge) to run the 500 pieces die twice through the press. A 1000 pieces puzzle will require a 1000 pieces die. Be prepared for sticker shock--a 500 pieces or 1000 pieces die will cost a lot, likely over $5K++.
My recommendation is to decide what size puzzles and piece counts you want to make. This will isolate the die and press size. Dies can be ordered via Alibaba (China) or from India. The dies I got from Die Cutters Inc. came from China and they're OK dies; I have cut over 4000 puzzles using the 252 pieces die and it's still working. There is also a guy in Indiana (website is in the book) that makes custom dies but I'm sure his dies are much more expensive than those made in China or India.
Here is what I recommend. I found this website for a company in Valley Cottage, NY -- right up the road. There are several presses on their website that will no-doubt work with a puzzle die. https://plastimach.com/product-category/trim-press-diecut/roller-die-cutter/
You might want to research puzzle dies that will cut 500 and 1000 pieces and see how wide they are. Then visit the company and tell them what you want to do and tell them the die width. They'll be able to tell you which presses will work; which one will have enough clearance on each side to accommodate the die.
The nice thing about a wider press is you also might be able to get your own box die. This would allow you to cut your boxes for packaging in addition to cutting your puzzles.
I hope this helps. Yes, there is a lot of information to digest.
This blog post page has been added to help readers exchange information about puzzle making. For example, one recurring topic is puzzle die presses. Apparently, Die Cutters Inc. no longer makes the 15 inch die press cited in my book. Readers are finding other press makers and I encourage readers to share information here about presses they've found; die presses that work for them.
Here are some websites that readers have researched related to die presses. I'm not endorsing these machines as I haven't used them; I don't know how well or poorly they perform in making puzzles. I'd recommend you talk to the company and solicit references; ask for contact information for customers who have bought their machines.