AG98: The Virutex - Hot Air Edgebanding Machine
We purchased this machine to cover both small job edge banding needs (less than 20 pieces), and occasional radius work on odd custom edges.
Here are the things we found about using it:
Firstly, it's a good purchase for it's intended task, but with a few caveats.
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What it does well is fast and intuitive setup. You look at it and it is simple to understand. Reading the manual proved to be an assistant for one or two minor things (pressure plate adjustment), but not absolutely necessary. We are always grateful when a manufacturer bothers to design a tool that offers simple operation and understandability to the end user.
You can assemble and begin use very quickly (within 5 minutes or so).
Depending on the edge banding you are going to use, we have found the lower heat setting is adequate for most things. However, if you get confident, you can step up the pace and use the hotter setting (around 1000 degrees F). The first setting requires a gentle and consistent pull across your workpiece. Not too difficult to master within a few passes if you have tuned the machine correctly. The higher temperature needs a little more speed on the pull, and greater attention to the lead in being adhered properly.
POSITIONING / ADJUSTMENTS:
Positioning takes a little time and while not particularly hard to get right, does need some work to correctly adjust for best use. The two major parts here are: 1. The large plate. This is secured by two thumb screws/knobs toward the front and back edges of the "fixed" plate. To make your adjustment to the plate position (for the banding size being used (between 9/16 and 2), undo the two knobs until they release their pressure. Then take the knob positioned between them (perpendicular to the firs two knobs) and begin adjusting. You will see the opposing pressure plate move in and out in relation to the side you are adjusting from. Position that plate so that your edge banding will easily slip between the upper portion of those plates. Not too tight, not too loose. Now tighten the two knobs to "lock" your setting.
Next, position the machine over the workpiece that you intend to edge. With each plate on opposite sides of the workpiece, you can now undo the thumb screws/knobs that are below each pressure plate. This allows the pressure plates to be moved to the workpiece until snug. Tighten those knobs for now, then remove the machine from the workpiece. Now make a pencil mark for their positioning. Next undo one of these knobs, and move the plate into the workpiece space by about 1/32 (approx). Lock that knob and then test your pressure on the workpiece. It should be fairly snug and cause you to "pull" it onto the workpiece with some pressure. If you have it done properly, it will have some resistance to you moving the machine across the edge. If it slides easily, remove the machine and make a similar adjustment to the opposite side, using the method described above (now you have both sides moved into the workpiece space by around 1/32 each). Test again and adjust until you have a pressure that allows you to pull the machine across the workpiece, while not being in any way "loose". Now you are adjusted and ready to begin taping the edges.
WORK PIECE SIZES:
You will need to have about 3.5 of accessible surface on both sides of your workpiece, to allow the machine enough room for the pressure plates to slide across without interruption. We found that you cannot successfully use the machine one any material that is sub 4.5 wide (which allows you at least 1 to place in a vice). On things such as drawer fronts, you may only have 4 on the end of a piece. These are more challenging and you should know that you will be cutting off (see the note below about cutting in the correct position) your edge banding, almost as soon as you begin your pull. Any shorter lengths of workpiece will need to be done in another way (iron on).
ADHESION / BANDING THE PIECE:
Adhesion is partially the work of the glue quality and can vary based on that by a margin. Don't look for THE cheapest edge banding - do a little research and get better rated brands. The other aspect of adhesion of the edge banding, is your ability to control the machines pressure and speed. Too fast and it will simply lift from the edges of the banding, too much and you can end up pulling the edge band with the machine. You may find the leading edge of tape curls away from the starting point of your piece, but once you are into the piece, you will find you can simply press the edge banding back down with the hand that normally holds the pressure handle on top. It works well if you let the machine run for 3-4 seconds before beginning your pull across the workpiece. Don't be tempted to keep it running for more than just a few seconds as the glue will get too liquid and allow your edge banding to simply drag along with the machine.
As in all things that require some skill, practice makes (nearly) perfect. Spend a little time to get the feel before committing to putting it on your finished workpiece.
STARTING / ENDING THE PULL:
As you begin the pull across your workpiece, you will need to have the right amount of edge banding fed into the machine. We found that you can simply feed the band between the guide rod/plate, through the cutter, and on through, between the pressure plates below. If you try this, you will find that you can close your eyes once the banding is beyond the cutter, and feel it touch the pressure plates below. You will know when you have achieved that position after doing it a few times. That is your starting point. Now pull the machine across your workpiece until the leading edge of the pressure plates reach about 1/4 from the end of your workpiece. Stop your pull momentarily and pull on the cutter handle that is just in front of the pressure handle you we're holding. After that cut, continue with the pull until your machine "drops" off the end of your work piece. Be prepared for that "drop" and try not to have so much pressure on the machine that it damages the end of your edge banding.
Hope this is helpful if you are using or, planning to use the AG98 Virutex Edge Banding Machine.
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Posted in Moving and Relocating Post Date 02/02/2020