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Laminating with a Big Squeegee vs. laminating machine

Discussion in 'Laminators' started by VicoDrive, May 31, 2013.

  1. VicoDrive

    VicoDrive Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    We have been using a laminating machine which does a good job, its just a pain to change out and reload. So since I discovered the big squeegee, I have been using it for applying vinyl to foamcore and other materials. I have seen where people are also laminating with the big squeegee also. I have been doing it with smaller things and things seemed to be ok but I just did my first larger item today and there was a big difference in the quality, the machine does a much better job. So am I doing something wrong or do I need special laminate (UV Auto in this case) that works best with a squeegee and not with a machine? When I do it with the squeegee, it seems to be very spotty, almost like you have to rub things down real good after to get it to look more flat, which doesnt work. Its not air bubbles, hard to explain.

    So how are people laminating with a squeegee and doing a good job, or as good as a machine?
  2. Jack Knight1979

    Jack Knight1979 Very Active Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    I laminate everything with a BS. I don't have a laminator, but I need one.

    After I laminate something I hit it with a felt squeegee to really put the pressure to it. After a day the silvering goes away and the print is perfect. Love the BS.
  3. Speedsterbeast

    Speedsterbeast Active Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Thunder Bay
    Love BS for laminating. Although I have not found a successful way to laminate prints longer than my 8' table yet.
  4. jokingscroll

    jokingscroll Member

    Jan 14, 2013
    You are not getting even pressure and you will never get even pressure laminating by hand. Use your machine turn the heat up to 120f-130f that will kill the silvering try only to go 5-6feet a minute apply about 40psi on your nip rollers and the less tension on your Film the better.
  5. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

    Sep 10, 2010
    You only get a BS because you can't afford, or justify a Lam. It does not in any means replace it..
  6. 401Graphics

    401Graphics Very Active Member

    the bs is BS.
  7. mopar691

    mopar691 Member

    Sep 15, 2010
    I just bought another 50" BS last week, Eagerly awaiting its arrival. I have a few smaller ones and really looking forward to this for applying to full sheets. I use my 32" all the time to laminate when I do not want to un-web the larger stuff. Never had a issue and its way faster going this route than changing everything over for 12' or so. Also for masking and applying nothing beats it.
  8. TheSnowman

    TheSnowman Major Contributor

    Aug 28, 2007
    I just laminated 11 police cars using the BS this week, and I've done 100's and 100's of jobs with it. It gets at least 3 hours of use a day in my shop between laying down prints, and laminate. Best tool I own. You do however have to have a totally flat surface to laminate on, and having a heavy backing paper helps a ton. It's not as crucial when laying down a print, but still always helps. LOVE the Big Squeegee.
  9. DizzyMarkus

    DizzyMarkus Active Member

    Jan 23, 2012
    Started using a BS instead of buying a machine (because I'm cheap and don't listen lol) It wasnt a week and I ordered a machine. The difference is off the chart. The BS is a great tool and used daily -- just not for laminating.

  10. Jackpine

    Jackpine Major Contributor

    I laminate everything with a Big Squeegee. I have not ruined any prints because of it. I have ruined prints because of my fault. have laminated 36'x14' prints with help from my wife.....she pulls the backing as I laminate.
  11. VicoDrive

    VicoDrive Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    I have found that having someone pull the backing as you squeegee across is helpful. For some reason it doesnt want to slide off like it does for applying a print, little frustrating
  12. VicoDrive

    VicoDrive Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    I think my surface could be a little more flat, that might be the problem. I do have some 3mil PVC that maybe would provide a more flat surface to try it on next time. I also saw a tip about using a glass surface if possible.
  13. Jackpine

    Jackpine Major Contributor

    R-Tape has intermediate laminate that has a very thick backing. Oracle is very thin. Kapco laminate is good and has a heavy backing and free ground shipping for online orders, no minimum. They have a very large selection of products, very nice to do business with and an easy web site.
    Glass tops are good. I use a sheet of enamel board double face tape over 3/4 plywood top.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  14. Banners Signs Etc.

    Banners Signs Etc. Active Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    BS is no substitute for a real laminator. We use ours to lay down prints on 1-2 yard signs or magnets, but that is about it. Easier to grab for quick laying down of prints than unfeeding the lam or more likely moving the pile of jobs leaning on it.

    The backing paper has to be thick.

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