Shim Tape: Buying and Using Guide

A shim tape is a valuable addition to any die-cutting process that demands high accuracy and finesse for a long lineup of innovative product designs.

For any DIY enthusiast out there, shim tapes need no introduction.

It’s one of the most sought-after tools that budding hobbyists and designers alike use to their advantage to help produce better designs.

As a piece of effective die-cutting equipment, shim tapes can contribute towards making things thoroughly enjoyable. If you are a visualizer, designer, artist, or architect, shim tapes can be your go-to tool to transform your ideas into reality.

While a lot has been said about dies and their significance in the die-cutting process, shim tapes have continued to assume a rather underrated status.

In this post, we take a close dig at shim tapes and their wide gamut of features for one and all.

Read on to find out more.

Know The Basics Right

For starters who haven’t used shim tape before, it’s a stainless steel tape with a self-adhesion feature, available in different sizes.

Shim tapes are inarguably one of the most significant among all die-cutting equipment. It is primarily used to fill in spaces and align designs. Besides, the shim tapes keep the dies in one place and render additional support when cutting out the desired design from stock material.

If you are looking to combine a shim tape with another die-cutting machine to cut out designs, here are a few tips that might come in handy:

  • Ensure you have created the perfect sandwich-like structure by picking the correct combination for mats and embossing plates. Doing so will not only help shape an accurate design but also keep the die-cutting machinery running for long.
  • A shim tape when used to garner additional pressure along with the die, can also reinforce an interesting look to the design, like texture and shine. To do so, you will have to stack an intended pattern atop another and run along with the tapes all over it.
  • Remember not to apply additional pressure on the mat and the embossing plate when they pass right under the die-cutting machinery. If you are not adhering to the same, you may damage both the design as well as the machine.
  • After your design is cut to your desired shape, you will have to clean your station quickly using sticky tools. Make this a practice to do each time so that you don’t have to deal with sticky stations every time you look to create new innovative designs.

When one is aiming for a highly accurate design, you will have to be careful when attaching the shim tape to the die board. Also, you might have to run the entire thing under the die-cutting machine more than once, if required, to gain smooth cuts and creases across the design. Lastly, you must remember to use clean and new shim tapes every time you start working. By all means it’s more beneficial that way to order new stock when compared to using old shim tapes that add to the downtime cost.

Also, using old shim tapes might lead to several unwanted issues, like inefficient precision and alignment.

A Cue To Work Faster, Better, And More Accuracy

A shim tape, when used in the right way, cannot only speed up your production but also significantly boost the quality of products, especially when working with precious materials that demand fine edges and clean cuts all around.

However, make sure you are not using too many old shim tapes, especially the ones that have not been stored well.

Choosing the product wisely is also an important step, and some manufacturers use low-grade carbon steel with varying thicknesses to reduce the cost of production. Often, such tapes bend with the slightest pressure applied, and using the same can lead to inaccurately cut designs, adding to your downtime and increasing production costs.

Furthermore, always ensure working with stainless steel shim tapes of similar shape and size as they carry the right amount of tensile strength to offer resistance when using hold-down bolts and heavy machinery. The idea is to keep your stack clean and refrain from mixing shim tapes of different sizes and shapes.

When selecting a particular shim tape, choose the one that promises maximum contact between foot and base and determine whether the right slot size is being used to hold the machine bolts in place. This is necessary to fix down the shim tapes along with the hold-down bolts and calls for one to leave some space between the two to keep the stack from being damaged.

Wrap up

Creating an innovative line of design professionally is a tad bit challenging. That is why die-cutting equipment came into existence to help a multitude of industries meet rising market demand.

A shim tape is one such handy tool that can not only help create designs out of stock material easily but also bring in the much-needed finesse and accuracy to the entire structure.

If you have never used a shim tape before it’s time you consider exploring the potential of this multifaceted tool, and usher a welcome change to your mainstream product design.

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Natalia Smith

Natalia Smith

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