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51" LAMINATION ON 54" VINYL?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Andy D, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    I inherited a cr@ppy "US Tech" ( I think China made) laminator which I hate & trying
    anything to make it less cr@ppy.
    I'm wondering, generally speaking, is using a lamination that's not as wide as the vinyl you're laminating helpful?
    51" wide lamination would be fine for the majority of my jobs.
     
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  2. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    We had a US Tech AK-600 for years. They really aren't bad machines, but can be a little finicky at times. Yes, using 50-51" lamination film does make life a little easier when printing on 54" but you have to keep in mind not to print beyond those boundaries and better yet, keep it at 48" of under to make sure you have a little wiggle room in case the laminate decides to walk on long jobs.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    Thanks!
    It could be just the model I have, the top roller has a tension dial on both ends, meaning it doesn't crank up and down
    evenly. You have to set both sides every time. A little too much pressure on either side and it bunches in the middle, not enough
    pressure and I get stripes of bubbels.
     
    • OMG / Wow! OMG / Wow! x 1
  4. Boudica

    Boudica Member

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    Well, THAT sounds fun. :rolleyes:
     
  5. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    Yup, same model we had. Basically, once you get the roller down to about 1/4" off the material, just give 1/2 turns back and forth (left knob/right knob) till the roller lays flat without tension and the knobs should be loose/slack. The weight of the roller is plenty - don't try to tighten to gain pressure, that's where it will cause problems.
     
  6. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    I use that method for mounting vinyl to the substrate & it works well on flat material (not coro), but if I don't apply pressure when laminating, I get a 4" stripe of bubbels :(

    FatCat did you have a youtube video with you running your laminator?
    After searching forever, I found one and only one "how to" video, and it helped me a lot.
     
  7. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    I used to love having 60.5" material and 60" laminate, but that was BT. (Before tariffs, according to my salesman...)
    But I have a gfp, so your mileage may suck.
     
  8. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    Unfortunately no, but I found the key to those machines is getting the roller to lay down evenly - as in don't let the right side touch and then have 1/4" to go on the left side. Because the roller is crowned it will cause weird pressure on the film and your prints to skew or track incorrectly and can cause other issues.

    When you mention you get a 4" strip of bubbles, are they always in the same place? If so, I would look at the rollers and make sure there isn't damage, cuts, bumps, etc. in that location.

    Honestly, they aren't bad machines for the money - it took us a while, but once we had it figured out we had very few problems.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    Yes they are, any tips on getting rid of low spots?
     
  10. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    If these low spots are in the rolls and not edge to edge you need to get new roller(s)
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    Not sure it will work perfectly, but it would be worth a shot;

    Back in my offset printing days the press operators had this stuff called rubber rejuvenator that they would apply to the rubber blankets on the press when they had a smash or crush, don't know but worth a shot?

    https://www.amazon.com/Max-Professi...ords=rubber+rejuvenator&qid=1581693818&sr=8-4
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. Snydo

    Snydo Active Member

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    We have an old pneumatic cold laminator, probably from the early '80s, and for about the last 10 years I've ordered 53" lam from our supplier(He cuts an inch off for a nominal fee). It works great and a HUGE time saver because if you have any lam overhanging the edge it has to be trimmed off before hitting the cutters or you will most definitely have accuracy issues. I feed it over the rear table of the laminator and if I start seeing any skew as it's feeding through, I can gently work it back in the direction I need it to go by hand and it will slowly correct. With 2 guys we can do 6 full rolls an hour with a sprinkle of hustle.
     
  13. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    I have wondered; if I were to crank up the pressure, without anything in between the rollers, & let
    it slowly run all night or weekend... maybe... it might even out?!?!?!
     
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 1
  14. iPrintStuff

    iPrintStuff Prints stuff

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    We buy our rolls mostly 54” (1370mm) and get them cut to 1340mm, no lam overhang so we just take the laminated roll off and throw it on the summa. Saves so much time.

    that or someone needs to stand with a knife cutting the extra lam before it hits the take up, not as fun!
     
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