Laminator Woes

jammed laminator

Laminator Woes: a reader asks…

I run a small non-profit and we use a laminator for all kinds of things, cards, papers, flyers, etc. I’ve had this workhorse laminator for several years with no trouble. We recently hired a new person and they didn’t know that you have to put the plastic sheets inside a carrier that protects the laminator from the plastic pouches. Needless to say, melted plastic got onto the rollers and now the laminator jams all the time with full-size sheets, we really can’t use it except for small items. smaller cards go through ok, but larger stuff sticks. Is there anything I can do?

For the next time, post a sign over the laminating station with instructions so everybody knows to use a carrier. Whether you can fix the laminator or not depends on what type you have. Smaller laminators where the rollers are completely covered would have be at least partially dis-assembled in order get to the rollers, and in most cases you can’t do this and still operate the laminator – so replacement is your best option. You can get a new 8×10 laminator for $20, and an 18″ wide laminator for less than $150. If you need a larger size, then probably the rollers aren’t covered so you can clean them.

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laminator-cleaner-blockIf you can get to the rollers while the laminator is operating (meaning the rollers are heated and turning), then what you want to use is a cleaner block that’s specially made for laminator rollers. Here’s one you can get for under $15 at USI Inc. There’s a handy Youtube video you can watch to see exactly how it’s done at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9udZAssFViA.

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You don’t want to try using any old eraser to remove the melted plastic from the roller bars, you might end up with a worse mess than before. Same with trying those green or blue kitchen scrubbing pads. The laminator’s roller bars can be easily scratched and the melted plastic can be smeared and contaminated with bits from your cleaning pad.

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