Sample Preparation: A critical aspect to successful testing.

Sample Preparation: A critical aspect to successful testing.

The capability to prepare test specimens accurately, efficiently and safely is critical to insuring reliable and repeatable test results. Inadequate sample preparation can lead to additional retesting and higher costs while improper tools can endanger operator safety. The selection of the optimal sample cutter depends on a few key factors:

  • The type of material being cut
  • The required dimensions of the specimen
  • Ease of use
  • Repeatability and accuracy of the cut specimen

Some sample cutters are designed for a specific use such as cutting dedicated width for tensile, seal and adhesion tests.  There are also sample cutters that provide a higher level of flexibility utilizing interchangeable cutting dies that can be configured to cut complex shapes and multiple specimens at a time.  

  Browse Sample Preparation Tools Here  

Die Cutters:  Ideal for high volume sample needs and unique shapes for sheeted materials. 

Die cutters offer the most versatility as they allow the user to interchange cutting dies based on their testing needs. These cutters are ideal for a wide range of sheet type materials including tissue paper, plastic film, fabrics, heavy paper, cardboard and foils. Dies can be configured to prepare one specimen of a given shape or be supplied to cut multiple specimens of the same geometry or multiple geometries. These types of cutters are a good choice for high volume sample preparation as multiple sheets can be cut at once increasing throughput. Very little maintenance is required, and dies are easily replaced once they become dull.

Operator safety is enhanced as these cutters require two hands to operate and provide guarding to ensure that the operator cannot interfere with the cutting area.

We offer three distinct die cutters based to meet a variety of budgets and applications.


Strip Cutters:  Ideal for tensile strips and testing that requires a specific width sample.

Strip cutters are ideal to prepare specimens that require a specific width for testing such as tensile, adhesion and seal strength testing. We offer two cutters depending on the accuracy and edge quality required. These cutters are appropriate for thin materials such as paper, paperboard, nonwovens, textiles, plastic film and foils.  Learn more about differences between the JDC vs. the MTT cutter click here.

  • JDC Precision Sample Cutter offers exceptional cutting accuracy of +/- 0.001” and defect free edges to insure accurate tensile test data especially for thin plastic film. The cutters are available in widths ranging from 0.125” to 3” and lengths of either 10, 12 or 16 inches. The twin guillotine design ensures that the width is parallel throughout the entire length.
  • The MTT Strip Cutter is a cost-effective cutter designed prepare 1” wide samples for seal and peel adhesion testing.  Simple to use with common utility knife blades that can be changed quickly for everyday testing needs.


Circular Sample Cutter:  Ideal for basis weight and corrugated crush tests. 

The Circular Sample Cutter is designed to easily prepare samples for basis weight/grammage determination, corrugated crush tests or any specimen preparation that requires a specific diameter or area.


Templates:  Ideal for low volume testing of unique shapes. 

A variety of templates are available to meet specific specimen dimensions. The template is placed on top of the samples and a razor knife is used to cut along the edge. These are excellent options to prepare various shapes (such as Constant Radius specimens for ASTM D1922) or rectangular specimens for COF testing.


Specialty Cutters:  Ideal for applications using specific sample shapes or materials that need special care to cut.

Sometimes an industry standard will require a specific size or shape of a sample.  A variety of cutters are available for specific specimen preparation including those for materials that may need a careful method to cut them without impacting testing results.  Some examples:


The team at Thwing-Albert is able to help with any materials testing needs including selecting sample preparation tools.  It is important to have accurate results for consistent quality analysis and there are a variety of time saving options available.  If you have any questions you can contact our team at to discuss your application.