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    All That You Need to Know About Shim Tape

    Shim Tape

    Are you a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) enthusiast? Are art and craft more than just a hobby that you nurture?

    If the answer to the above questions is a resounding yes, then making new things using the die-cutting process is something that you are bound to enjoy! Die-cutting tools and accessories enable woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts to turn their designs into reality.

    While many discuss dies and the die-cutting machine, few talks about the role of shim tape in the process and its importance. So, this article will discuss in detail all the relevant facts about steel shim tapes.

    What is Shim Tape?

    One of the most important die-cutting accessories is the shim tape, which is essentially used to add space, fill up, or align the design. Apart from these functions, the shim tape also keeps the die in one place and provides additional pressure when you are attempting to cut the perfect shape from a material. To describe it physically, the shim tape is a range of self-adhesive hardened stainless steel tapes that are available in various sizes.

    How to Use Shim Tape and Die-Cutting Machine Together to Create Perfectly Designed Products?

    Here are some great tips and tricks you can use to produce perfect shapes while using dies and shim tapes together.

    1. The first step is to ensure that you have created the perfect sandwich by selecting the right combination of embossing plates and mats. This not only helps in producing an accurate and perfect shape but also ensures the longevity of the die-cutting machine. 
    2. The Shim tape, as stated earlier, applies additional pressure on the die and the material to get a perfectly neat and clean cut from the die-cutting machine.
    3. The steel shim tape is also sometimes used to bring an interesting look to the whole structure. All you need to do to add shine and texture is to stack the patterns one on top of the other and apply the tapes over it.
    4. Do not apply external pressure on the mat and embossing plate sandwich when it passes under the die cutting machine, as this can damage the machine as well as the equipment. 
    5. Once you have finished producing a design, quickly clean the station with the help of sticky tools. This will help you create accurate and innovative shapes without having to deal with sticky stations.
    6. Shim tapes help in producing highly accurate designs and shapes. All you have to do is to attach the shim tape to the board and let it run through the die-cutting machine a couple of times. This produces clean neat cuts of accurate shapes.
    7. Always remember to use new and clean shims as it is much less costly to get new stock when compared to the additional downtime cost incurred for using old shim tapes, resulting in an inefficient precision-alignment process.

    Tips and Tricks Regarding Shim Tapes:

    Here are some tips and tricks that will make it easier for you to work with shim tapes.

    1. Reusing shim tapes that were not properly stored can lead to soft foot. Furthermore, using bent shim tapes or tapes made out of cheap carbon-steel of inconsistent thickness can increase the cost due to inaccurately cut shapes.
    2. Shim tapes of a specific alignment must be of the same size and shape and must be made out of stainless steel, as this material has the tensile strength to resist the double load of the hold-down bolts as well as the machine's mass. Therefore, you should not mix up shim tapes of different sizes in the same stack.
    3. Select a shim tape size that provides the maximum contact between the base and the foot. Ensure that it also has the right slot size to accommodate the hold-down bolts of the machine.
    4. Keep in mind the position of the shim tapes when fixed down with the hold-down bolts. Also, be sure to keep some space between the bolt and the shim so as to prevent the stack from getting damaged.

    In Conclusion:

    Designing and creating new things from scratch is a great and productive hobby to pursue. Using the die-cutting process not only helps you produce beautiful and accurate shapes but also gives a professional touch to the final product. The tips detailed in this article will hopefully help you utilize, maintain, and store shim tapes in the proper way and use them to their maximum potential.

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    *Readers are advised to proceed further at their own risk, while/if buying a product/service.

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