It can be used as a companion to roll laminators. It is far easier to laminate small graphics on a table rather than changing out laminate. You could be done in less time than it would take to re-web a roll laminator. It also makes a good backup for when the roll laminator is down for repairs or the person that normally does the laminating is not around. Also, a laminator cannot do many of the jobs on vertical and horizontal surfaces, which can be performed with the big Squeegee tools.
Most users will watch the video and make their first install without any problems. I find that the ones that have the most problems are those that have been using four-inch squeegees for such a long time that they have difficulty dealing with the idea that you don't need to apply a lot of pressure. The Big Squeegee will make it possible for new personnel to mount vinyl with very little instruction and achieve professional results.
We recommend that the tools fit your needs. Get one tool that spans the widest material you will be applying. Also, take into consideration the number of a size that you typically need to work with. A good choice for someone doing many 4X8 installs would be a 56" tool. While someone doing an occasional 4x8 could do okay with a 50" tool. However, if you also do many 36" wide prints, then it would be best to have a 38" tool as well. Yard signs are much easier to do with a Yard Sign Tool.
None. With the hinge method, just push it across to apply. Putting pressure downward by twisting the squeegee will create uneven pressure on the squeegee, which could distort it enough to give undesirable results. The backside of the squeegee has to be raised up so that the squeegee is about 40 degrees to the substrate in most cases. You will develop your own techniques as you work with the Big Squeegee.
The main difference is that the laminator tools have a roll holder that can be used to hold a roll on the table without the fear of it rolling off the table. The Rivet/Dent tool does not have a roll holder. The Rivet/Dent series has a padded edge, so it will install over small objects without slowing down. The roll holder on the Laminator tool helps to handle long pieces of vinyl. The Rivet/Dent tool is best used on small signs that do not need to be rolled up.
One edge on the Yard Sign series is for laminating, whereas the same edge on the Rivet/Dent series is for working with rivets, grommets, and other such obstacles. The other edge on both tools is for applying transfer tape and applying vinyl.
No! The principals behind the Big Squeegee is to span the whole width all at once. Anything not covered by the squeegee will have bubbles and/or wrinkles.
There are some tools that are still in use after 10 years of daily use. The felt is replaceable. Some are held on with Velcro, but the newer felt is a replaceable tape. Cotton cloth is changeable. When it does get dirty, it can be cleaned with a damp cloth. If it gets cut or torn, it can easily be replaced.
Some distributors have chosen not to carry the full line of the Big Squeegee Tools. If they don't list it, they don't stock it. I don't get any feedback from the distributors as to what they have on hand, so I don't know who has it in stock. You can order what you want from this website.
The Big Squeegee needs a flat surface in one direction to work on. It has been used to apply vinyl to box trucks and windows. It won't work on complex curves. We have found that the length limit is about 70" for one person, so we only make them to 56". We did make them up to 66" but there was not enough demand for it.
I don't recommend that any fluid be used. The Big Squeegee was not designed to apply enough pressure to get the fluid back out.
Silvering is a term used in laminating with clear vinyl products. You can see through the vinyl to see the underlying layer of glue. If the glue has not fully attached to the substrate, the result is what appears as tiny little bubbles. This is not caused by air trapped but rather by the glue boundaries. The silvering will go away either overnight or with the application of more heat. If you plan to install the vinyl, the installation will provide enough heat and pressure to get rid of the silvering. If you do get bubbles from applying more pressure right after the installation, then don't do it on future laminations. The tiny bubbles will outgas more easily if left spread out. Use heat only to get rid of the silvering.
The Big Squeegee concept is so simple that we feel that the price is adequate for our production needs. The lower-priced roll laminators are much slower on small jobs and less successful. They are not as flexible either. I don't know of any roll laminator that will apply the vinyl to the side of a truck or on a store window. The big squeegee is a tool in a class of its own. You get way more than you pay for with the Big Squeegee.
Most types of vinyl work well with the Big Squeegee. The vinyl with thin or plastic backings, such as Origuard 290F, requires a different method for getting the backing off. This video shows a method that works. It works so well that some people use it on everything.
The backside needs to be elevated. Pushing the squeegee flat across the graphic may result in air bubbles being trapped under the graphic. Keep the back about 10-45 degrees off the graphic for most applications.
Match the length of the Big Squeegee with the vinyl width being applied. Long tools can be a bit awkward on small signs. Do not use a tool that is narrower than the width of the vinyl being applied.
Downward pressure is not necessary. Applying downward pressure may distort the squeegee resulting in air bubbles being trapped and possible distortion of the tool. Direct even pressure toward the application point.
Keep the main pushing pressure applied to the middle third of the squeegee. Putting pressure toward the ends may result in the graphic gathering toward the center and causing wrinkles in the middle farther down the graphic.
Avoid pulling on the backing as much as possible. Let it peel itself as you push. If vinyl needs extra help, pull lightly in the direction the squeegee is moving. Pulling upward may lift the squeegee and allow air to get under the vinyl. Check out the video on working with thin-backed vinyl.
Silvering is normal. Silvering is caused by the incomplete adhesion to the underlying graphic. The silvering will go away after the graphic has been set for a while. Do not hard squeegee to get rid of the silvering. Any small bubbles may gather into larger bubbles and be harder to outgas.
Roll the graphic up so that it will feed off the bottom of the roll. This requires that once fitted into place, the graphic be pulled back over the squeegee and then rolled up. Never just roll it up as it sits on the table. The vinyl should be on the outside of the roll. If the vinyl turns under on a regular basis, it may be necessary to peel the backing off with a free hand. Pieces that are small enough to handle in the flat do not need to be rolled up. Just hinge back and apply.
It is normal to allow the roll to come off the roll holder and rest on the front of the squeegee during application. This does not cause any problems with air bubbles. The roll holder serves as a stiffener and helps to contain the roll during preparation.
If cut vinyl does not release from the liner easily, it will take considerably more time to apply the graphic. Problems with release can result from cutter depth/sharpness, or the transfer paper glue is not strong enough to pull it free of the backing. Try different transfer tapes to see which works the best. The vinyl specifications may suggest which transfer tape to use. Allowing the graphic to set a while will help it release better. Try going over the masked graphic with a small hard squeegee to set the adhesive. Turn the graphic over and "hard squeegee" the back of the graphic, works well too.
The cradle on the laminator tool can be used to hold a roll of vinyl or application tape at any time to keep it from rolling around on a table. Use it for holding a roll while changing rolls in a printer, or hold the printed vinyl as it comes off the printer.
The Big Squeegee is warranted against manufactured defects for 60 days. Premature wear of parts that wear out is not covered. The amount of wear on these items is dependent on the type of usage. Masking will wear out the fabric faster than laminating and mounting. The fabric is replaceable. Just pull it off and apply new.
Avoid static. It may be necessary to install a humidifier in an area that has a lot of static. Grounding the work table to bleed off static may also be helpful. If you have to push harder or get bubbles halfway through the installation, you may have a static problem.
Make sure the hinge has been applied correctly before continuing to lay it down. Make a dry run after rolling it up to make sure it is going where you want it to go.