You have a new laminator or intend to buy one soon. Unfortunately, you do not know how to use a laminator machine at all! If you’re in this situation do not worry. This chapter will focus on showing you how to use a laminator step by step. Continue reading for more. The tutorial will focus on using the two major types of the machine; the pouch and roll laminator.
How to Use a Laminator Machine
A laminator only uses a few parts, moreso the cold laminator types that are manually operated. As such, you can expect roll laminators to be a bit challenging to use and the pouch much easier. Here’s is how to use a laminator, depending on the type.
How to Use a Roll Laminator
As the name says, a roll laminator uses roll film instead of pouches. These types of laminating machines are usually the hot or thermal types. But that also means you can use them as cold laminators as well. Below is a guide on how to use a roll laminator in simplified steps.
Step 1 Select Laminating Roll
A roll laminating film comes in different sizes. Depending on the item size, select a roll that best suits your project. You may also want to select your preferred type of laminate roll finish. Typical finishes include glossy, soft, anti-scratch, UV-resistant, matte, metallic, and embossed. Choose what fits your lamination purpose: glossy for photos, matte for digital prints, UV-resistant for outdoor posters and so on.
Step 2 inspect Laminator Rollers
Laminator rollers heat the laminating film to release the adhesive while also pressing on it to remove creases and ensure your items go through the machine smoothly. As such, they’re among the most important laminator parts. Start by examining them to makes sure they’re clean and in pristine condition. You may also need to adjust the gap between the rollers to match your lamination requirements.
Step 3 Install Laminating Rolls
Roll laminators use continuous plastic films rolled into reels or plastic sheets. One roll is placed above the item to be laminated and another below it. Ensure you install these following the correct procedures. Next, thread both films between the rollers. Avoid using sharp objects to do that or risk damaging the rubber rollers. Here’s a short video showing how to load a laminator.
Step 4 Turn on Laminator
This is the most important step when learning how to use a laminator machine. Most laminators, especially the hot roll laminator machines, are difficult to set up. That said, your laminator user manual should guide you on the different settings depending on your type of the machine.
If using an automatic hot roll laminator, you may need to wait for some time as the machine heats up: from 10 seconds to 10 minutes or more depending on machine type. If you’re using manual roll laminator, you may need to turn a handle to start the process.
Just like when using any other laminating machine, trim the sealed item as necessary when done. Some automatic lamination machines make everything easy for you, and all you need to do is wait for the laminated material to come out on the other side.
How to Use a Pouch Laminator
As already stated, the pouch laminator should present not much challenge to operate. It doesn’t have many parts and neither does it use many controls or settings. Nevertheless, below are steps on how to use a pouch laminator.
Step 1 Select Laminator Pouch
The first step when using a pouch laminator machine is finding the correct pouches. That, in turn, depends on the type of item you intend to laminate as well as the preferred type of lamination in terms of finish and other specifications. The laminator slot also determines the pouch size to use.
Laminator pouches are sold in an array of paper-based sizes, thickness, and finishes. Common laminator pouch sizes include A3 and A4, although pouches for A2 all through to A5 and A6 are also available. Only use a pouch that’s closes to your item size to avoid wastage.
Pouch thickness ranges from 2mm to 7mm. Again, choose a thickness that is compatible with your project or laminator machine. Most laminators are built to use 3 to 5mm pouches. Just like with rolls, pouch surface finish can be glossy, matte, slotted, colored, and more.
Step 2 Insert Item into Laminator Pouch
You already have your preferred or correct laminating pouch. The next step is to place the paper or item that you want to laminate inside it. Make sure the pouch covers the item completely. It helps trim your paper or item before placing it in the pouch so you do not end up laminating unnecessary parts. Remember to keep everything clean.
Step 3 Prepare Laminator Machine
Set your laminator. The things to do will usually be indicated in the laminator users guide and may vary from one machine to another. They include adjusting the laminator to the pouch thickness, usually using a button or knob. If using a hot laminator and intending to cold-laminate a photograph, for example, ensure the machine is in the “cold” mode.
Step 4 Slide Pouch into Laminator
As soon as the laminator is ready to start working, go ahead and insert the pouch. Do so starting with the closed end. If using an automated machine, this step will require waiting for the “ready” indicator to turn on first. Next, wait for the laminator to run the pouch through the mechanism of rollers. If using a manual laminator, turn the crank to advance the pouch into and through the laminator. Check out this video.
Finally, wait for the laminated document, card, or any other article to exit the laminator. Trim it as appropriate.
How to Use a Laminator Safely
Wrong usage is one of the most common reasons for imperfect laminations, user injuries, and broken laminators. As such, it helps to not only know how to use a laminator machine, but also how to use it properly. These tips will help you ensure proper laminator use.
1. Always ensure clean laminator rollers: Keep dirt off the laminator rollers by cleaning them regularly. Clean laminator rollers prevent many issues such as jamming, wrinkling or spots on laminated documents
2. Always ensure correct laminator settings: before laminating items, set the laminator to ensure correct film tension, proper roller gap or pressure, and the right temperature levels. This will ensure the safety of the machine and high-quality lamination results.
3. Use a laminator pouch carrier if necessary: with some types of laminator machine mechanisms, it’s necessary to use pouch carrier. Laminator pouch carriers help prevent adhesive from accidentally coming into contact with the rollers and causing damage.
4. Do not laminate metallic items: The lamination machines used for sealing photos, cards, documents, and posters or banners are meant for regular paper items. Avoid using then to seal metallic papers, for example, or risk damaging the rollers and other parts.
5. Keep sharp objects away: Sharp objects will likely gouge or cut the rubber material on the laminator rollers. These include knives, scissors, and specialized cutters. Damaged rollers cannot laminate your items, or the end product will not be of good quality.
6. Best sure to shut down the laminator: Do not forget to turn off your laminator, especially if the device doesn’t feature auto sleep or auto turn-off features. A running laminator may overheat the motor and require repairs or parts to be replaced, causing unforeseen costs.
Lastly, only use your laminator for what it’s built for. A home, office, or commercial laminator is meant to laminate documents or, in other words, thin pieces of paper or stiff cards. Do not use it with items that the manufacturer has not recommended.
Knowing how to use a laminator machine can make a difference, especially when it comes to proper lamination and user safety. That’s because mistakes when using the machine can cause all sorts of issues, from jamming to overheating or wrinkled laminations. Avoid all those by using the tips in this article. Next is a look at what could possibly go wrong with your laminator when using it and how to go about rectifying the most common lamination problems.