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GBC Laminator... I need to learn the finer points of adjustments

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Hardware' started by iSign, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    My recent Big Squeegee video was largely a result of some difficulty I'm having with my GBC Arctic Titan. I bought the Big Squeegee to assist with application of large prints etc. I think it will be a valuable asset around here for that, but I still prefer my laminator for applying lamination. It has served me well for a year and a half, but I've used it mostly on 38" material.

    I sent an email to the local service provider on another island & since learned that the guy who came over to set up my machine, is away at a trade show this week, so I decided to see if I could learn anything here. I'll paste in my email to save some typing:

    Dean,
    I spoke to someone at your office today about some difficulty I am having with my laminator.
    I usually have no trouble with the 38" material that serves the majority of my needs, but I also
    stock 51" material & this represents at least 25% of my needs.
    This is also expected to increase as my large format printing capability becomes better known.

    I would be very interested in an additional training session if you have any other Maui business in the near future, & can offer me an affordable rate by combining a visit to me with other business on Maui. In the meantime, if you would be willing to discuss my concerns on the phone, maybe you could
    identify some areas I have been failing to properly adjust the machine & could train me somewhat by phone. I would be most appreciative of your time on this matter.

    In case it may help, I am forwarding a few photos from my attempt to get the 51" material loaded the other day. I reloaded both the laminate & the kraft paper at least 3 times to get the smoothest result I could. Once I got it as smooth as I could, I ran 6 to 8 feet of 30" wide material through as a
    test, in hopes of confirming acceptable results before risking one of the 48" wide prints needing to be laminated. The wrinkling shown here began during the operation of laminating the 30" test piece.

    [​IMG]

    After this unsuccessful attempt to get the 51" material working, I switched back to 38" material to get some smaller jobs going.
    When I usually use 38" kraft paper with the 38" laminate, I have consistently been able to get better results,
    but for the small amount of 30" lamination I needed to do, & the urgent need to get some 48" stuff done soon, I left the 51" kraft paper in.

    I was able to get 8 to 10 yards of 30" material laminated without any real problems, but even though the 51" kraft paper was nice & flat after
    I first loaded the 38" laminate... as I ran the jobs it began krinkling up. In the end, I removed the table to take some more pics.
    You can see that the laminate is nice and smooth, but the paper is not.

    [​IMG]

    I talked to one experienced guy I know who sell laminators, and he said the only factor he knows of that has a more significant effect on the longer rolls then the shorter ones has to do with a possibility of a slight crowning of a roller, or both rollers. He said if a short roll is lined up mostly on one side of that crown, it may not be effected, but the longer roll, may get uneven tension based on that center crown. He said that as a result the longer roll should be EXACTLY centered.

    When I change laminate & kraft paper, I usually only loosen & remove one of the stops on the roll. The stop on the left of both rolls are set to match each other with about 1/8" offset, to keep the laminate on the kraft paper & never missing it, hitting the rollers. These are set where the guy who first trained us on the machine set them. On my 51" material, this setting puts the roll off center by only about 1/2 an inch.

    I haven't had time to shift both rolls to correct that half inch discrepancy, but I plan to.

    The other thing that friend said to check was loosen the gap between the two rollers to check the possibility of a difference in that gap. That made sense, & I checked. At a certain setting, on the left, I can fit 9 sheets of regular desktop printer paper in between the rolls before it turns the roller to squeeze in. On the right side, I can fit 16 sheets in. This does seem like a possible explanation, as the reduced tension from one side to the other would tend to steer anything passing through out of alignment, but the rolls feeding the material fight against that. This gap is not an adjustable part in the normal adjustment of the machine. I plan to remove the housing to look for ways to correct this, but haven't done so yet.

    Before I get too crazy screwing around with the machine, I also feel like I don't fully understand this machine, basic as it may be. There are tension adjustments on the end of the supply roll for both laminate & kraft paper, as well as the take-up roll for the laminate backing paper. I really don't know the purpose of adjusting the tension of these, so I tend to keep them all just backed off full tension a little bit.

    I know this was a lot of crap to read, but if anyone knows their laminator a lot better then I know mine, hopefully I've given enough information that someone may be able to recognize a source of this problem. I will have 15 sheets of 4x10 sintra arriving in 2 weeks & I hope to have the prints that go on them laminated by then. I have some time, but this is one of the bigger sources of concern in my shop at the moment.

    Thanks in advance if anyone has some more suggestions for me.
     
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  2. chopper

    chopper Very Active Member

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    I have a seal 62 machine allthough it is a diffrent make I have had some of the same problems you are having , I went through and set up my rollers,
    I adjusted the gap from side to side and checked it at every height setting
    what I did is went to a metal fab shop (brother) and cut peices of aluminum sheet to go with the setting for the gap adjustment 1/16" 1/8" 1/4"etc..
    then ran the roller gap to 1/16" and placed the 1/16" aluminum peices at each end of the rollers to see if they contacted them at the same time, once this was done it worked a lot better, I think you need to run more tension on the larger rolls also and I would put more tension on the craft paper to help take out the wrinkles, and as your friend said you need to run in the center of the roll mine has an 8 thousands crown and if you are off center it will cause wrinkles, I also found a pdf manual online for my machine, it had all the set up procedures in it, it was very helpful check the gbc web site for this,
    these laminators can be a real headache hope this info will help you,
    //chopper
     
  3. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I can only speak for my Ledco 44" but I think the same principles will hold true.

    There are two primary things to get right:

    1. Straightness of all materials moving through the machine and, preferably centered, and

    2. Adequate, even backtension on your supply roll of both laminate and kraft paper.

    Adjustment of backtension is something that will vary with different films and different film widths. Incorrect or uneven backtension would be far more likely than a roller being out of round, uneven or out of adjustment.
     
  4. chopper

    chopper Very Active Member

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    I just checked at gbc.com and they have the manual there and it shows you how to set the machine up..good luck//chopper
     
  5. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    thanks guys.
    I appreciate every little bit of clarification, validation of some theories, prioritization of other theories,
    ...or even de-bunking of other theories, or whatever the case may be...

    it's good to have a resource for talking shop with like minded professionals experienced with similar equipment nuances.
    (I just found and printed the 21 page manual ...off to go do some reading)
     
  6. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    I ran across something in the manual that looks to be evidence of a mistake in my set-up.

    It's not 100% clear, but where the written description is a little unclear, this image seems to show what's called the idler bar being used to flip back the liner while the laminate seems to feed under that bar, straight to the top roller where it wraps down to it's application to the print. My set-up shows the laminate using the idler bar to thread itself up, over & then down to the mounting rollers, while the release liner just gets pulled off without going around any bars.

    [​IMG]

    one odd thing is the pic in the manual show the release goin up around the front side of the take-up spool. I've wrapped it that way by mistake, & the take-up roll rotates the wrong way for that to work on my machine, so that's why I have my liner going under to tape up around the back side. If the manual is wrong in that regard, It makes me wonder about other threading that it seems to do different then I.

    Anybody have an opinion of this possible threading error?
     
  7. chopper

    chopper Very Active Member

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    from your pictures I see a problem, on my machine the laminate goes under the bar not over and the relese liner separtes at that point it should not be going over the bar, you will also find that ther are several ways to web a laminator, and it dosent really matter which side of the take up reel you attach the release liner to just so long as it works, see attached, I hope this will help you, the manuals seem to be a little vague some times, maybe some one with an artic titan will step up here and help, good luck chopper
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2008
  8. chopper

    chopper Very Active Member

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    just wanted to add that this is how it states to web my seal laminator in the manual, this not something I just made up!!!//chopper
     
  9. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    Thanks Chopper, that's what I saw in the manual too. We've always done it the "wrong" way since the "tech" came and set it up the first time. I can't wait ti re-web it & see if this helps. (it's gotta help to do it right, I would think)
     
  10. chopper

    chopper Very Active Member

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    I hope it takes care of all your problems, some times I wonder if half of those so called techs know what the hell they are doing, seems some times you just need to do a little trial and error to get things right, let us know how it works out I am interested to see if this doze the trick//chopper
     
  11. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    it is my experience (from both sides of this relationship) that the majority of the techs have very little experience (of course there is exceptions) but most in my experience go to a 3 day training session and then are out "training" end users on new equipment in a very short time just by the hours in the day you work with your equipment versus the sporatic training most techs do you will have far more experience than them....if you question something look into it further and do not take their word as gospel.
     
  12. Sign Works

    Sign Works Very Active Member

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    iSign, I too believe you might have the laminate improperly threaded, I personally use Oracal laminate film which is reverse wound so I might be wrong. I bought a used GBC Titan 110 42" laminator and did not recieve any training on how to properly thread/web or operate the machine. I also went to GBC's wesite and downloaded the manual which seemed to have confusing and improper instructions on how to web the lam film. What I found helpful was to draw myself a little diagram (like choppers) in order to get a clear understanding in my mind of the proper webing of the lam film, release liner & the kraft paper, then it was just a matter of finding the proper tension setting on the release liner take-up reel. I know this is very elementry but also make sure the gripper feet that hold the rolls are in the proper direction, otherwise you will not be able to apply tension to the rolls, this in itself could be your problem.

    Bye the way I could take a pic of mine tomorrow and post it if you think that might help.
     
  13. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    I'd be happy to see a pic. I'll probably head down tomorrow, or even tonight to mess with it.

    I don't know what "gripper feet' are, but all my supply & take-up rollers have a hex shaped end that only fits on the left side, & this is how it engages with the tensioning mechanism.

    It's surprising to have gotten acceptable results with the wrong webbing for over a year... but I am pretty hopeful for dramatically improved results as soon as i correct that issue.
     
  14. Sign Works

    Sign Works Very Active Member

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    Gripper feet was my wording, the manual refers to them as grippers. These are the 3" collars that go on the hex shaped shaft that the lam film core slides over, what I refered to as feet are called teeth in the manual and these need to be in the proper direction to grip the core to apply tension otherwise the roll will just spin. Once again these are the 3" grippers and not the 2 1/4" apaptors which I have not had a need to use so I'm not really familiar with those yet. I'm assuming that the Artic Titan series would have the same grippers as the Titan series but they could be different, I'll post some pics tomorrow, good luck.
     
  15. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    ok, I do have similar sounding 3" objects that fit in the core. On my 63" Titan, the supply rollers are round & only the very end is a hex shape. The collars are fastened to the roller with 2 allen-head set screws. For the minimal amount of tension it has to endure, it seems to be a good enough method.
     
  16. JR Digital

    JR Digital Member

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    I have a video tutorial about the titan 165 with david goetter that i found on the web a long time ago. I'm definite it will help you, but it shows how to mount and make a decal only. It goes through the process of webbing and etc. Let me look for it, and i'll post it up.
     
  17. Replicator

    Replicator Major Contributor

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    Just curious Doug,
    You said it setup wrong from the beginning,
    was it the tech who initially set up the loading of the materials incorrectly ?
     
  18. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    irionic to see this post again today...

    ...yesterday was spent organizing the third floor in my shop, (which is the hellhole attic/storage warzone, as well as the most likely place I usually have room to throw a panel on some horses & coat it out with some 1-shot) and then assembling a 10' x 10' framework on some horses which was covered with 2-1/2 sheets of 1/2" MDO (4x10's) to make a table for my biggest print job ever, which is 5 signs @ 10' x10', laminated & mounted to 2-1/2 sheets of 1/8" sintra (4x10's)

    Today, after getting all my 4x10's up to the third floor... I just finished laminating about eight 4x10 print's My 2x10 panels are paired up, so I have about 5 left. So far all is well!

    The top of my webbing approach is wrong acording to the manual, but a local distributor (on Oahu) told me they taught me to do it the way it's shown because those chrome "idler" arms are there to straighten out whatever is pulled over them. If I changed the feeding of the laminate to go straight through the rollers & only use the idler arm for the release liner... it will only serve to help the release liner... so they suggested I keep it webbed like it is on top. On my kraft paper though, I must have been sleep deprived the day I webbed it that way, & it is wrong. The kraft paper threads up under the lower chrome idler arm, & then through the rollers.

    My testing had produced difficulty that seemed to stem from the kraft paper... even after correcting my webbing... but on the job I'm doing today, my vinyl is wider then my laminate so I'm not using Kraft paper. I think that is a lucky break for me.

    JR... I really hop you find that video, or a link to it, & signworks... please do post some pics some day... I am getting through this job with luck... but of all the computers, software, network devices, digital equipment, power tools, construction tools, paint gear... this #@!*^% laminator represents the weakest link in my understanding of how to properly use, adjust & maintain my tools in this business.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  19. threeputt

    threeputt Very Active Member

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    Doug, you definetly have it webbed wrong. We have the GBC Titan also. If you'd like, I can ask Jeff to photograph how it goes and either post the pic or pm it to you.

    Also, be sure you don't run Kraft heavier than 30lb. (but that's not your problem, I don't think)

    Finally, you'd think there would be a nice webbing diagram in the operations manual. But noooooo, only washed out black and white photos that you can't see clearly. So much for the $8,000 bucks, huh? I mean, what would it have taken?
     
  20. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    sure, let's see how jeff does it. I did change the routing of the kraft paper.. but I am still routing the lam as shown. Always open to learn the better way... especially when something is not working as well as it should.
     
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