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Laminator question

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Joined: 12/31/1969

So I'm thinking of making a "nice" prototype for a card game and have been reading everyone's wonderful tips. I had a few questions on lamination and card stock that I haven't seen the answer to, so hopefully you can help me out.

Can you print on both sides of the card stock (i.e. front and back of the card) or do you have to print them (and cut them) separately?

When you laminate, do you laminate a single card or a whole sheet and then cut them out? I'm trying to figure out what type of laminator to get here. I'd like to avoid the pouch laminators as the sheet laminators (Xyron for example) I can pitch to the wife as something she will use for scrapbooking, crafts, etc. I have seen 5" versions, 9" versions and larger. But if you do a card at a time I would stick with the smaller one to keep initial cost down. Anyone have a suggestion on a specific machine to look at?

Finally, any suggestions for a rotary cutter? If I'm cutting the cards out myself I definitely want to make sure they are all the same size.

Thanks in advance!

Joined: 12/31/1969
Laminator question

Print both sides of the cardstock, yes.

Laminate the whole sheet (I do 9-up) at once.

I use the Xyron 900 and am extremely happy with it. I rarely have to reprint just one card, but if I did, I'd cut it partially down and laminate it, and then trim it all the way down. The edges, when cut with the rotary trimmer, come out very nice.

I use Fiskars big-ish rotary trimmer and quite like it. I also use a "fence" method to get my cards all the same size:

1. Trim off two perpendicular edges using the trimmer, like the top and left sides. Use the built-in rulers on the trimmer to determine how much to trim off.

2. Set a "fence" of cardboard and tape for the width of your card, like 2.5". place your laminated piece in with the pre-cut edge againt the fence, trim, repeat, repeat.

3. Set the fence to the other direction, like 3.5". Place the trimmed short edge against the fence, trim, repeat, repeat.

Poof, all cards are exactly the same size, for easy shuffling. Later as I subsitute some here and there, the sizes change a slight bit, but they're always very close. If it gets bad enough, I print a new deck.

Oh, and the newer Fiskars rotary trimmers have a little snap-tight lock thing that holds the rail down. But when you're making lots of cuts, it totally sucks, so I just used pliers and busted off the locking tabs -- they came off perfectly cleanly, and now it works well.

When you cut the laminate, your trimming blade and the rail will start to get gummy after about a standard deck or so. Rubbing alcohol works but takes a while to scrub off. Adhesive removers like De-Solv-It and such work much more quickly. Neither seems to damage the trimmer at all.

-- Matthew

Laminator question

Exactly my method, laminate 8-9 cards to a sheet all at once, precut two edges of the sheet, then use a fence and a rotary cutter to trim the cards out.

The only difference is that I cut the long edge first, then the short edge (set the fence for 3.5", cut cut cut, reset the fence for 2.5", cut the rows that you just cut out). That gives you more card against the fence for the second cut (better stability). Works very nice either way!

Here I am making the first cut (cutting the rows from the sheet). After that I reset the fence for 2.25" (bridge sized deck) and cut the cards from the rows.

I use a piece of maple 1x2 (very straight edge) for the fence, note that it's held in place by a pair of quick clamps (gotta love them).

My only advice is to hold the cards firmly in place and cut slowly enough that your rotary trimmer doesn't pull the cards away from the fence.

Lor's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
Laminator question

I'm very pleased with Brother's Coolaminator-- automated feed and cutting, licensed from Xyron. Bought it four years ago at Staples and it's still cranking along. Supports 9" and 4" wide cartridges. Cost: 150.00. 9" refills: under 30.00. each refill generates about 4 dozen 8.5 X 14" sheets.

Highly rceommended prototyping tool.

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