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Lamination knowledge needed

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by gabagoo, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    I now have a laminator and so far so good. I have to admit I have been using it more as a mounter for laminating because we dont do huge runs of digital for the most part.

    I had to put down 4' x 4' laminated prints to alumapanel on Friday and I cut the prints down to size and then stood there trying to figure out how to apply them to the aluminum using the laminator.
    First i thought how can I fasten the graphic lined up to the panel before it goes into the laminator as it goes edge to edge?
    I finally decided to try it this way. tell me how wrong this is, but it worked. i would like to find an easier way to do it.

    I put the graphic on the aluminum and put it about halfway into the laminator. I then lined it up with the edges all around as best as possible and then tightened down the laminator roll to hold it. I then rolled it forward until there was about 6 inches left and then tried to pull the vinyl off the backing paper and then due to static it sort of held onto the top roller by itself. I then used a slitting knife and cut away the backing paper and proceed to run the aluminum the rest of the way through.
    I then took the piece out turned it around so that the applied end was under the roller and then lowered the roller and proceeded to peel the backing paper off and then run the panel through while pulling the backing paper off manually as it went through. At one point I almost let the backing paper get a little to close to the rollers and it almost got sucked in.
    I did all 3 boards this way and although it worked I feel there has to be a faster way to do it.
    any ideas?
     
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  2. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    make a 'sled' table that you run the substrate on into the laminator
     
  3. Kwiksigns

    Kwiksigns wookie

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    Sometimes, instead of using the laminator to get it started like you did, I put about 4-6" down by hand. Just faster for me to do.
     
  4. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    +1
     
  5. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    i've done 50% pinch, as well, but I always hated how long it took... i enjoy just running the panel through once and be done with it.

    ...therefore, if i'm going edge to edge, i like the graphic up on the table and use a tape-hinge by wrappping the tape around the backside of the panel and then just peel the backing far enough back so that you can hold it, have your laminator preset to your thickness/pressure beforehand, and just shove it through.

    i'll even oversize my graphic so that i can hang 1/32" of the graphic off the hinge side (which wraps around the edge with the hinge-tape), just to make sure that i don't leave any "bare" material after all is said and done.
     
  6. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    That might be the best way for me in the future to do that.

    It seems so risky to take so much time to get to that point of application and that one slip and it's all ruined.

    Maybe I need to see it on youtube to understand all the other proceedures mentioned. lol
     
  7. Sticky Signs

    Sticky Signs Very Active Member

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    Here's how I do it. I usually make my prints slightly bigger than the substrate. So a 4x4 would be printed at 4.25x4.25. Place the print on the substrate and centre it. Use 2 spring loaded clamps to hold the print in place (make sure the clamps have padding so they don't ruin/scratch the print). I put 1 clamp in the centre and the other towards the back. Now take the print and fold it back over itself. Peel back the release liner about 2" and fold it over or cut it off. Place the print back into position and stick it to the substrate. Now remove the clamps and but the substrate up to the rollers and feed it in about 1 - 1.5". Fold the print back over the laminator. Grab and hold the release liner and remove it as the substrate goes through the rollers. Trim off access vinyl and voila, you've mounted your print with ease. Man, I hope this makes sense.

    This video shows the later part of the process. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa8HfDIky0E&feature=related
     
  8. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    makes perfect sense... so the first 2 " is done manually with a regular squeegee I assume or a BS
     
  9. Sticky Signs

    Sticky Signs Very Active Member

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    I usually just use my thumb. Note that using this process can sometimes cause bubbles right where the laminator takes over. you can avoid this by pulling back on the vinyl just a bit. I like to squeeze both hands around the vinyl and the roller and pull back just enough to release any air that might be trapped.
     
  10. bayshorecreations

    bayshorecreations Very Active Member

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    Never used a laminator for that, seems to me that if you go through the trouble of laying down 6 inches of it why not just push the BS across the rest of it and its done?
     
  11. txsurfer

    txsurfer Member

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    put it on wet by hand.
     
  12. Rodan68

    Rodan68 Member

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    I think your initial way is the best way to do it. The time it takes to lay down the first couple of inches by hand is a lot greater than the time it takes to flip the print and run through twice. On larger prints it aligns better than starting on one edge and watching it travel 1/2" by the time it gets to the other edge of an 8' panel. Just don't do it on foam core or you'll leave a dent.
     
  13. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    p.s. congrats for figuring out your initial method on your own... i never thought to do it this way until i saw it done at the ISA show last year. Someone actually sells an applicator that operates like a laminator (guess it can laminate too!), but with a hand-crank and a foot pedal that controls the pressure.

    the hand-crank (and an additional roller) also allowed him to operate it backwards just as quickly, so instead of flipping the panel he just lifted the backing off the otherside of the graphic and shot it back through the other direction.
     
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