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A silly question about laminating

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IngredientX
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Joined: 07/26/2008

Back in December, my wife got me a laminator. It can handle hot and cold lamination.

Being the lazy slob I am, I haven't gotten lamination pouches yet, so I haven't used it for my games.

She used it the other day for a tag on a teddy bear she made, and it worked very well! So my silly question is...

My laminator can do hot and cold lamination. What is the difference?

Other than, of course, one method laminates with heat and the other doesn't. I mean, let's not be ridiculous... :)

I've read that cold lamination allows one to laminate an entire sheet, and then cut the sheet into cards. Does hot lamination have any benefits for us? Does cold lamination have any drawbacks?

Thanks!

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
A silly question about laminating

Generally speaking, and I don't know if this applies to your particular laminator or not, the following is true:

Cold lamination is really just smashing two clear stickers together with something in-between. That means that you can cut the thing apart at will, since the clear layers are glued to the inner object.

Hot lamination is usually a system that heat activates a glue that only forms where the top and bottom layer of lamination are touching: if there's something between the layers then the glue won't be activated in that area. As such the lamination isn't actually stuck to the inner object but it rather stuck "around" the object. If you cut the thing apart the lamination will slip off the object. NOTE: There are some hot laminators that activate the glue everywhere (no chemical reaction between surfaces required0 and so work like cold lamination. These, however, are much less common in consumer models.

The primary advantage of cold lamination is the ability to cut it apart at will. The primary advantage of hot lamination is the laminate tends to be much thicker (which means it often has to come in "pouches" rather than "rolls" like cold laminate), providing a nice, stiff protection.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
A silly question about laminating

I have been enjoying this site for a while and have meant to register for a while... Sorry my first post is so authoritative, but I have been doing a lot of prototyping with different lamination materials. In fact, hot laminates (the ones that I have been using) have an adhesive coating on one side that melts at a specific temperature and adheres to anything it touches. I have done several sets of prototype cards using a heat activated laminate and they cut and play just like cold laminated cards.

The main difference to me is the thickness. Hot laminating pouches are typically 3 mil (thousandths of an inch) thick and, I feel, are too thick for a typical card game (about the thickness of a laminated menu). They come out a little too stiff to shuffle and are VERY thick. I managed to find some thinner laminate (1.5 mil) -- that also comes in matte as well as glossy finishes -- that works perfectly for me. I have used it with both 110 lb card stock and a home made cardstock (2 - 24 lb bond sheets with an opaque middle) and it comes out perfect.

Beware, though, not all heat activated laminates are created equal. Be sure to check the specs for using the laminates. Most home laminators available now typically use adhesives that melt at around 245 degrees (f). The thinner laminates I have used (Seal-Lamin is the manufacturer) have a polyethylene adhesive that melts at 275 degrees (f). That means that I can't use my preferred laminate in a typical hot laminator (though I have found that it can be applied by hand using a household iron).

I have used cold laminates mainly for prototyping tuck-boxes (hot laminating only one side tends to overly warp cardstock). It works VERY well (just don't get the laminates that are repositionable).

Others have posted that they use a Xyron type cold laminator. I am interested to know if the laminate comes out thinner than the typical hot-laminate (3 mil) pouches.

Anonymous
A silly question about laminating

SiskNY wrote:
I have been enjoying this site for a while and have meant to register for a while... Sorry my first post is so authoritative, but I have been doing a lot of prototyping with different lamination materials. In fact, hot laminates (the ones that I have been using) have an adhesive coating on one side that melts at a specific temperature and adheres to anything it touches. I have done several sets of prototype cards using a heat activated laminate and they cut and play just like cold laminated cards.
.

I've never used the cold laminate but I've got to agree with you on you with the hot laminate... I've made about 18 decks of prototypes so far and laminated each one (for about 3500 cards so far) and even thought I agree that the hot laminate isn't exactly the best for card prototypes it is cheap... For about 3 cents each you can get business card laminates that fit just right over a card... The only draw back I've seen (and you allready hit it on the head) was the heat temperature... I have to run my cards thru my machine twice... I probably don't need to since the card's I've only run thru once haven't had a problem yet, but I like to be on the safe side.... Now using 8 1/2 X 11 inch sheets of laminate and cutting them down works also, except that you have to cut thru the laminate (which will eventually cause the cards to wear or split, alot quicker than an indivigual pouch), and not to mention that one and BIGGEST advantage I've seen to hot laminate pouches (one pouch per card)... Is rounded edges... it's soooo much easier to have cards with rounded edges with these... and it's the cheapest way to do it.. (thought I'm not familar with cold laminate I'd assume that they aren't going to 3 cents each... however maybe I'm wrong, since if I bought my laminates in double the amount I now buy I'd get them for 1.5 cents each... (as it is I only buy 1000 at a time, about 1/2 a case... ) ..
Satori

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