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Tips for keeping crud off prints when laminating?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Reaction GFX, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. Reaction GFX

    Reaction GFX Member

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    Just wondering if anyone has any tips or tricks for keeping unwanted items (hair, dust, etc.) off prints while laminating. Every now and then I lose a print because as I'm trimming it out after laminating, sure enough, a big old hair or giant speck of dust is right there in the worst possible spot. I always gently wipe my prints with a soft, lint-free cloth as they are feeding into the laminator, but it STILL happens. I don't know if it's more likely things are falling onto the prints as they're feeding in and I'm just missing it, or if things are falling on the few inches of exposed adhesive on the laminate right before it goes into the machine. I even went so far as to make a contraption out of 1" PVC pipe with holes drilled in it that connects to a clean shop vac and blows air over the prints as they feed in, but it didn't seem to help all that much and it needed some tweaking so I just stopped using it.

    If it makes any difference, I'm generally running Arlon media on an Epson S40600, laminating with matching Arlon laminates on a GBC Arctic Titan 640C laminator. I usually set the heat assist to 110f, just to help the laminate lay smoother and minimize silvering.

    Any input, tips or tricks are appreciated!! Thanks!
     
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  2. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    are you using the take up on your printer than moving directly to the laminator? if so you shouldn't be getting dust in your prints, how clean is your shop? we have a room dedicated to printing/laminating which is kept cleaner than the rest of the shop (normally) and it has helped tremendously with dust in prints.
     
  3. Reaction GFX

    Reaction GFX Member

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    Depends how big the prints are. If they're more than 2-3 linear feet, then yes, it goes on the take-up and then right to the laminator. I still get crud on a laminated print occasionally, which leads me to believe it's happening at some point during the laminating process. My main graphics room where I do all my printing, vinyl cutting, laminating and applying to smaller rigid substrates is certainly no clean-room, but it's pretty clean. Any cutting of substrates that might create dust is done out in the vehicle/large sign area of the shop.
     
  4. Cross Signs

    Cross Signs Active Member

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    (I always gently wipe my prints with a soft, lint-free cloth as they are feeding into the laminator, but it STILL happens.)
    Use a tack cloth, for picking up sawdust before finishing. A soft lint free cloth just pushes the crap around.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    Climate control does most of the work, as higher humidity reduces static. Clean work clothes, and a tidy dust-free work environment does the rest...

    however, i buy packs of the white gloves from Blain's Farm&Fleet, as they're super cheap and always in stock, to wax-on-wax-off as I feed rolls of print through the laminator. I get perfect laminations without them, but I LOVE having a gloved hand ready to flick-off a piece of debris that happened to jump-onto the roll somewhere between the printer-takeupreel-laminatorloading. As careful as I am, and as clean a room I operate in, it ALWAYS happens. Besides, wiping from center-out, left hand, right hand, repeat, also aids in keeping the web perfectly square as you run the laminator.
     
  6. Saturn

    Saturn Member

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    Another vote for gently wiping with a tack cloth right as it enters the rollers.
    Watch humidity and try to laminate when it is highest.
    Keep the machine covered religiously when not in use.
     
  7. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    The blue roller. Available from your suppliers.
     

    Attached Files:

    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. White Haus

    White Haus Formally known as RJPW..........

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    I think we need one of these. Do you have a manufacturer for these by any chance? Thanks.
     
  9. Asuma01

    Asuma01 Member

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    A swiffer duster works really well and they are cheap.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  10. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    These are made by third parties who mainly provide supplies to those with clean rooms such as laboratories, etc. However...

    Drytac - DRS Roller is at least one recognizable name to google.
     
  11. Kali539

    Kali539 New Member

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    I know what you mean, we keep everything super clean, and then when you look there is STILL a hair or something; and never in the cut border or lead, ALWAYS in the print, :rolleyes: its just a random annoyance that happens. I don't think we can do anything more than we are currently... maybe full surgical gear or hazmat suits could help eliminate those fly away strays... :D Are you having a problem with static?
     
  12. White Haus

    White Haus Formally known as RJPW..........

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    Thank you very much sir! Will get one ordered.
     
  13. White Haus

    White Haus Formally known as RJPW..........

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    As I'm looking at pricing for these $200-$300 "sticky" rollers..........has anyone ever tried lint rollers before?

    I definitely feel the OP's pain. We've been mostly printing on clear vinyl and mounting to acrylic for the last couple of weeks.......no matter how clean things look they really aren't.

    We would use flashlights pointed across the laminator and tack cloths to wipe everything down, but yet there are still some specs/fibers that make it under the laminate or media. Very frustrating to say the least.
     
  14. Taryn

    Taryn Member

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    I've found that lint rollers are super useful, especially since our shop dog sheds a lot. No idea how she gets any of her hair on the table I work on!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    The $200 "sticky" roller is the efficient and best tool to use. Take care of it and it could outlast your business to where you can sell it at a premium. Really. Some shops have this tool going on 20+ years and was in use by photo labs long before.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Taryn

    Taryn Member

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    I've just got a standard clothes lint roller... o_O
     
  17. FireSprint.com

    FireSprint.com Merchant Member

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  18. Krissy Louderback

    Krissy Louderback Member

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    We use Swiffers and they do a good job.
     
  19. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    We use the small Swiffers. Vacuum and wipe down the laminator. Keep laminator covered when not in use.
    Exposed laminate is a magnet for crud. I always have a 6"-8" lead on prints to take up the first bit of laminate.
    Make sure the floor is clean.

    If there's windows vacuum the sills and trim. Clean the top of all flat surfaces, even picture frames.
    Don't wear anything fleece.(took a couple ruined prints to figure that one out)
    No loose fitting clothing as folds/creases can trap all kinds of stuff.

    No one else near the laminator when running prints.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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