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Laminator is my new best friend!

Discussion in 'Vinyl' started by splizaat, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. splizaat

    splizaat Very Active Member

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    Sep 19, 2007
    Pac NW
    Why have I been hand applying signs for the last 5 years?!?!

    We had an order of 18"X24" die-cut vinyl signs to apply (mostly full coverage) this week and we allotted two days to complete the order...

    4.5 hours later, I'm boxing up the order. I saved $30/gallon fluid, my hands, and HOURS....why have I not been using a laminator for mounting signs all along?! I feel like a goodwill employee right now for not trying to use it sooner, I was just too afraid to mess up!

    Self-taught was working good enough for us for a long time. I need to start listening and asking more questions from now on.
     
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  2. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    Vaughan, Ontario
    Nothing beats the laminator for putting graphics down bubbleless...for the most part
     
  3. kanini

    kanini Member

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    Jul 13, 2012
    Finland
    My production skyrocketed when I got a real good quality laminator, use it to apply vinyl and apply transfer tape a lot. Couldn't believe how much time it saves!!
     
  4. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    Vaughan, Ontario

    this too!!! large jobs with pre mask are done effortlessly with a laminator.
     
  5. Baz

    Baz Very Active Member

    Yup! I know that feeling ... I used to do allright without one was my thinking ... After using my laminator a couple of times i would tell myself ... What the hell was i thinking???

    Love running 48" of weeded vinyl with 48" premask to :thumb:
     
  6. tattoo.dan

    tattoo.dan Active Member

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    Aug 3, 2009
    Southern Il
    okay, okay....you guys are really tempting me to try this!
     
  7. splizaat

    splizaat Very Active Member

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    Pac NW
    eeek....Now I'm looking at some corex signs with full coverage we applied yesterday with the big squeegee....wishing I hadn't decided to try the laminator halfway through this order. fookin bubbles on corex!!!
     
  8. tattoo.dan

    tattoo.dan Active Member

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    Aug 3, 2009
    Southern Il

    using the laminator?
     
  9. splizaat

    splizaat Very Active Member

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    Sep 19, 2007
    Pac NW
    Nooo..i mean the bubbled from using the big squeegee, before we tried the laminator. I wished we would have just started out with the laminator all along hahaha
     
  10. tattoo.dan

    tattoo.dan Active Member

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    Aug 3, 2009
    Southern Il
    I am going to have to break down and try it man. Have a decent laminator just sitting there. I just always hated the idea of taking the laminate out to try it, and I am always in such a rush I never want to "waste the time".....sounds like I have been wasting time all along not trying it tho!
     
  11. splizaat

    splizaat Very Active Member

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    Sep 19, 2007
    Pac NW
    I left my laminate loaded and just let the masked vinyl hang over the top of the top roller...as long as the vinyl is smooth coming off that top roller before it hits the substrate, it's going on the substrate STRAIGHT and bubble-less.

    We used to do these full coverage signs wet and hand to the customer with limited number of bubbles with the line "the bubbles WILL disappear over the course of the next couple days" but now they're solid and no bubbles upon delivery.
     
  12. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

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    Apr 3, 2009
    Montrose BC
    So what laminator did you get?
     
  13. splizaat

    splizaat Very Active Member

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    Sep 19, 2007
    Pac NW
    We've always had a laminator but never used it to mount...only to laminate print stickers :) our laminator and I always understood each other - i use it for laminating prints only, and it won't mess with me hahahaha

    Until I manned up yesterday and had a heart to heart with it...
     
  14. 401Graphics

    401Graphics Very Active Member

    Sounds about right.
     
  15. BrianKE

    BrianKE Member

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    Nov 26, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    I am always amazed when I see sign shops hand applying pre-mask or vinyl to substrate that fits into the laminator. I started out in a Sign-A-Rama shop and they taught us how to pre-mask with the laminator on day two of training. Now I only hand mask very small pieces.

    I run a 24" Daige laminator. I know they are not the greatest but after a little trial and error, I can pre-mask 10'+ with no problem. I also apply all my vinyl using the laminator, to every substrate from aluminum to coro to 1/2 MDO.

    I have been in shops where they still hand apply pre-mask or hand apply vinyl and it takes at least 5 times as long to did by hand as it does with a laminator. I can honestly say that a laminator is the best thousand dollars you will ever spend! The time you save using it is invaluable!
     
  16. dukebrown

    dukebrown If they let me make it, they will come

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    Sep 19, 2011
    rosenberg,tx
    I am sort of not catching on here. I am new to signs, 9 months shop ownership now. My mentor is an old schools sign painter who is 72 years old and I have only been taught apply masking by hand.

    I do not see where using a laminator to apply a 1x2 or 2x4 weeded vinyl decal would be 5 times faster.

    We also use air release vinyl with the big squeege for our digital prints. As soon as it is aligned and taped down the print is on in seconds.

    Much appreciated the replies.
     
  17. 4R Graphics

    4R Graphics Active Member

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    Duke,
    You are correct if you are doing something small it wont help much especially if you keep your laminator loaded like many of us do but if you have 10 4' X 8' coro signs to do that are full coverage well I can do it as fast or faster than you with your big squegee and have them perfect with or without air release (the big thing is without air release) if you are doing alot of larger projects and use the laminator you have 2 things working for you first is that your graphics will be perfect (once you figure out how to do it) and second you dont have to use air release vinyl which saves on cost especially big jobs.

    I still apply graphics and transfer tape by hand on small stuff but we keep our laminator webbed up at all times we dont take the laminate out or lift the rollers except when we are changing out rolls.

    Getting ready to pick up 1 or 2 more laminators just to keep different types of laminate ready to go matte, gloss, optically clear but we are also moving into a more high production wholesale ring.
     
  18. Suz

    Suz Very Active Member

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    Apr 9, 2010
    The Great Northwest
    Matt, good for you! I have a new laminator on the way, can't wait to use it. I'm sure my arms and shoulders will be feeling better very soon! LOL! The old joints don't do as well as they did when I was in my 30's!!!!!
     
  19. mopar691

    mopar691 Member

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    Sep 15, 2010
    If you use your laminator for everything you can also get really good at webbing it.

    I wish I had another one so I would not have to swap it out so often or re-web it every time I want to throw a sheet thru it.
     
  20. ironchef

    ironchef Very Active Member

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    May 1, 2012
    Miami, FL
    Quick question please...how do you clean glue residue off the red lamination rollers. I have a ustech pro la-650 cold
     
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