Cutting thick paper, tiny end mill or drag knife?

I need to prototype a cutout using a thick paper, about the thickness of a paper coaster or 2 paper coasters stacked on top of each other. For now I just need to make 1, but there is potential for larger production later on. Before I start wasting a bunch of material do you if it can be cut with a small end mill? Is it worthwhile to invest in a drag knife?

Folks have cut cardboard, but it’s abrasive and wears endmills.

The community has some notes on drag knives:

and I worked up a design which could probably be milled out pretty easily:

Thanks. Would a tiny end mill work or would it tear the paper?

I think a tiny endmill would work, but you’d have to work out workholding — my suggestion would be to sandwich the paper in-between sheets of hardboard — a vacuum would probably be ideal though:

It’s slightly different to what you’re trying to do, but I recently drilled a load of holes in some thick paper. It turned out quite well, although the edges of the holes were slightly rough. Bear in mind with these photos that the holes are 0.7mm diameter.

It’s a butterfly…

For context, it was going to be an earring holder for my girlfriend, which determined the size of the holes. Time constraints meant that I bodged it and just stuck it in a picture frame. I will revisit it another day.

As Will said, you need to think about work holding. I just sellotaped about 10 pages down, and used the best one in the end. The idea of a hardboard sandwich effect would have been much better, but also massively increased the cut time.


Thanks for the info. Much appreciated.