What can cause a button maker to jam? This is a daily question posed to the Customer Solutions Department here at ABM and of course, we have the solutions to help!
Button parts are made from thin metal and they can easily nest together in a tight little stack. Sometimes it is very obvious that there are multiples stuck together but once in a while, they can be super sneaky and that 1 extra shell that is almost undetectable will be just enough to cause the dreaded jam. The easiest way to avoid this one is to take a handful of your shells (or flatbacks, magnet backs, coaster backs, key chain backs, etc.) and gently drop them on your work surface. Like magic you will see them separate, ready for use! You also want to watch for multiple pieces of mylar. Those clear, super lightweight little protectors of all great designs can most certainly be picked up in pairs if you are not vigilant in watching for them. The extra thickness can be just enough to keep you from total button bliss.
Speaking of thickness, using paper or fabric that is too thick is another common culprit of jammed machines. You may see a great button out there on the world wide web that is made from some super cool glittery cardstock but don't be tempted. In all likelihood, as great of an idea as it seems, you will jam your machine trying to replicate it. Button makers are designed to accommodate a certain thickness of materials and if there is too much, you will find yourself with a locked up machine. Take a look at our article "Do I Need Special Paper To Make Buttons" for everything you ever wanted to know about the perfect paper for your machine.
Of course, no matter how experienced you are in your button journey it is inevitable that jams will sometimes occur. The most important things to remember when they do are first, don't panic! If you need to, utter a calm "uh-oh" and remember, we can fix it. The second most important thing to remember is do NOT use any type of metal tools to pry the dies apart or get the parts out of the machine. You can damage the dies, which is no fun at all. Third, go to the ABM website and watch our easy to follow video "How to Unjam a Button Maker." Follow the steps in the video and you will be back to making perfect buttons in no time! If not, give us a call and we will be happy to restore you to complete button making glory.
Need inspiration? Want to share ideas? Maybe you just want some button minded friends to hang with. Join us in The Pinback Button Making Community! We hope to see you there but until then, happy button making!
- by Brighid Brown, Director of Blogging and All Things Cool at ABM
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