A Basic Guide to Tape Application Tools

Shown here is the WeberMade Tape Tool in a single shaft configuration.

WeberMade 16″  Tape Tool Single Shaft

We offer a variety of tape application tools from simple to complex, manual to mechanical. Let’s take a look at the options for speeding up production, and reducing costly redos.

Using application tape for vinyl is an essential part of vinyl sign making. For some, transfer tape is a breeze, for others a challenge. But because it’s a necessary step in transferring your design to a substrate or sign blank, and because it can cause disaster if you botch it –there are lots of tools designed to make it easier.

Any or all of them can boost your business. Which one is best for you?

Big Squeegee Tape Application Tool

Big Squeegee comes in 28 to 58" widths.

Big Squeegee comes in 24″ to 56″ widths. Larger widths over 40″ are reccommended for two people.

If you’re looking for a device to make pre-masking easier, you might not think something called the “Big Squeegee” would be ideal, but don’t let the name fool you. The Big Squeegee is actually a full line of simple but cleverly designed vinyl application tools. Most are based on a curved roll holder mounted on a wide flat board that’s used to apply film. There are Big Squeegee tools for yard signs, pre-masking and laminating digital prints.  The one recommended for tape application is the Laminator Tool, which comes in 24″, 38″, 50″, and 56″ widths. It’s a breeze to use, and is very popular with our customers. Here’s a typical review from a Big Squeegee user. “… used my Big Squeegee for the first time tonight, WOW. Baby butt smooth and speeds things up. Well worth the small investment!”

Big Squeegee Laminator tools start at just $76.47.  If you’re looking for something simple and economical, a Laminator tool is just what you need.

Pro Roll Tape Application Tool

Fig Pro Roll Tape Tool is easy to use and comes in three sizes.

The  Pro Roll Tape Tool is easy to use and comes in three sizes.

Whereas the Big  Squeegee is a simple tool that does many things, the Pro Roll  is a more advanced tool specifically designed for flat and smooth tape application. It uses a metal housing and dual rollers designed to accommodate standard widths of transfer tape. We offer the Pro Roll in three sizes, one for 3 – 12″ rolls of tape, one for 12″ – 24″ rolls, and one for 24 – 36″ rolls. They all work the same way. You simple insert the lower rod through the tape core, invert it, advance some tape over the lower roller and push the roller across your vinyl letters. The Pro Roll lays down a wrinkle free layer of transfer tape in seconds. Pro Roll prices are $146.85 for the 3 – 12″ model, $181.60 for the mid-level 12 – 24″ tape applicator, and about $220.00 for the full size 36″ Pro Roll

WeberMade Tape Application Tool

WeberMade Tape Tool Double Shaft

WeberMade 16″ Tape Tool Double Shaft. Available to handle up to a 48″ rolls.

The WeberMade tape tool  is a machine shop approach to the old manual method of using the table to anchor one end of the tape on a long job. The Webermade lets you upgrade the table by mounting a single or double shaft roller to one end of your work table with C Clamps and mounting brackets.  Having the tape mounted at the end of the table allows you to pre-mask large graphics with consistency and ease. The WeberMade tool’s clutch mechanism is unique in that it allows you to control the resistance as the tape unwinds. It also handles full width rolls of application tape. So if you do lots of large vinyl graphics, this is the one for you.

The WeberMade Premasker has been around for many years and also has garnered rave reviews from our customers.  An Iowa sign maker calls it “the best thing I’ve purchased” and adds,  “…I would rate it Number 1 for sign and decal vinyl application tape.”  It comes in 16″, 24″, 36″ and 48″ widths with prices starting at $229.95.  You’ll find them all here.

EnduraLAM Cold Laminator

Finally, there’s the enduraLAM laminator. That’s right.  The king of tape application tools is a cold laminator. The motorized feed and consistent pressure are ideal for masking vinyl graphics in high production environments. This is the method preferred by our largest customer, a company that operates well over fifty vinyl cutters simultaneously.

The use of a motorized cold laminator allows you to pre-mask very large graphics as easily as vehicle wrap installers laminate printed panels. It takes a few minutes to load the rolls of media, but once that’s done,  the process of actually applying the tape to the vinyl is done mechanically instead of manually. And the ability to set the roller pressure means your graphics will be just as wrinkle and bubble free as if you’d done them by hand. You get the same quality with much more quantity.

Although most laminators are designed as companions to large format printers, you don’t have to buy a behemoth to get the benefits of mechanized speed. The EnduraLam comes in 25″, 54″ and 65″ widths. Prices start at only $995.00. You’ll find more EnduraLAM info here.

Summary of Tape Application Tools

Whether you’re doing small graphics or long banners, investing in a tape application tool can speed production, reduce costly “re-dos” caused by wrinkled letters. The more vinyl you sell, the more your business can benefit from investing in a tape tool. Whether you choose a Big Squeegee, EZ Roller, WeberMade or a high volume laminator, the quality and potential quantity of your output is sure to improve.  What’s your favorite tape tool or method? Let us know in the comments.