How to cut PDF pages into tiles

This post is about a command line tool called pdftilecut which I wrote a while ago that allows you to cut PDF pages into tiles in order to print a large page on small form printers for instance.

A little background: for my wedding, we decided to make an art piece we called “the portal”. It was basically a steam punk spaceship door with an iris window.

Art piece in shape of steam-punk spaceship door

This thing took many weekends to get done and it was so much fun. Too bad we didn’t have the space to keep it so we threw it away. It sat on the background and every now and then would slowly open and show a planet pass-by.

I was in charge of making a functional iris window with a computer screen on the back which displayed pre-recorded videos created by SpaceEngine space simulation program.

Art piece in shape of steam-punk spaceship door

And this is the open state of the iris window. You can barely see a tiny planet we are supposedly passing by :)

The entire door was made of paper backed foam and had to be cut by hand. The intricate design of the iris window meant drawing the outline by hand was out of question. Looking around, the cheapest option seemed to be printing sections of the entire design and stitch them together. To my surprise, I could not find any program to do this to my satisfaction. And so I set out to make my own and thus pdftilecut was born.

The pre-compiled binaries are available for linux only at the moment but nothing should stop you from compiling for other platforms.