Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Larger Than 4"

After selling and supporting hundreds of TM-C3500 customers, one question I get all the time is, “Can I use larger than a 4” Outer Diameter roll”?

4" Label Roll, 2" Core

This question results from wanting to change the label roll less often or needing to print and then apply the labels with an applicator.

With the C3500, however, you can’t use just any unwinder and rewinder.  You may remember my post, Death By Inkjet:  or my much earlier post on connecting a typical unwinder:

Traditional unwanders built for a thermal transfer printer may work; but may also not work so well.  The C3500 printer uses a vacuum to hold the paper to the printhead; and not pressure like a thermal transfer printer.  Therefore, you can't have any pull or tension on the labels going into or out of the printer.

Given the basic workings of the C3500, I’m selling the C3500-RTR Feed Station to those customers who want to use large diameter rolls.

C3500-RTR Feed Station
C3500-RTR Feed Station
 This unit has tensioners on the labels going into and coming out of the printer; insuring no tension is occurring on the labels in the printer as well as yielding a tight rewound roll.

With my first encounter with the C3500-RTR, I found the setup a bit confusing.  So here are my additional instructions on setting up this unit.

To start, you should receive two boxes:

Open the larger box first as it has all the parts, instructions and unwinder. In the smaller box, you’ll find the rewind unit, providing all you need to assemble the feed station.

First, take off the nuts from the alignment bracket used to connect the unwind and rewind:

Then attach the alignment bracket to the studs:

Then clip the wrap from the rewind cable to connect to the unwind. Insert cable from rewind into the unwind connector. Don’t force the connector.  Rotate connector to the correct position.  The connector should drop into the correct position.  Then tighten the connector.

Then lower the feet to have a flat surface.  Use wrench to set the feet.

Now load the printer onto the pegs on the alignment plate between the unwind and rewind.

Wiggle the printer to get the printer to set into the pegs.  Or possibly better, get help to set the printer onto the pegs.

Once set, you’ll have the printer in alignment ready to use.

Then plug in the power and USB/Ethernet connections to the printer as well as plug the power into the unwinder. Once connected, you’ll see red laser light onto the back of the printer.  You’ll then place the optical sensor reflector onto the back of the printer.

This optical sensor is what feeds the labels into the printer.  It insures the printer does not have to pull the labels into the rear feed slot. 

After placing the rear reflector, place the reflector tape on the front door where you see the red laser.

Before moving forward, be sure to configure the printer for rear feed.  Navigate to the C3500 Driver to select “Printer Setting” option on the “Maintenance/Utilities” tab, then selection “Option” on the left menu and check Large Roll:

And then in the “General” menu on the left, chose “Media Settings” and then select “Large Diameter Roll, Use Rear Feed Slot”.

After selecting the rear feed option, be sure to choose the correct media detection settings as well as “Apply Settings”. Once applied, you’ll need to turn the printer off/on as well as insert the clear plastic rear feed bracket (found inside the rear feed cover) inside the printer.  I reviewed in detail setting up the printer for rear feed here in this earlier post:

Now you are ready to load a roll on a 3” core onto the unwind.  To insure proper alignment, follow these steps.

1. Tighten up the roll of labels first.  Place roll on the side on a table and pull the leading edge of the label tight.  This step will minimize “telescoping” of the roll.
2. Loosen up the chug by turning the knob.  Make sure springs along the chug are loose.
3. After placing the core on the chug, first feed the paper into the printer directly.  This steps insures the paper/roll is straight into the printer.  Once straight, tighten chug.
4. Loosen the media guides at the end of the rollers using the supplied hex wrench.
5. Feed label through the feed rollers (the two center feed rollers are glued to the shaft) by placing the leading edge of the label between the feed rollers and use your fingers to spin the rollers/feed the label through the feed rollers.  This step helps insure the labels are fed straight.
6. Feed sufficient material through the feed rollers and pull back toward the unwound roll.  Then you can again measure to insure the roll/leading edge is straight.
7. Set end media guides on the sides of label using the hex wrench provided.
8. Feed material to reach the printer. 
9. Once confirmed core/labels are straight, mark chug with a pencil to show where to place the next roll.

Once the printer is loaded, I would recommend printing a few labels; then feeding the printed labels through the tension rollers for the rewind.

Corrected Feed Path

The C3500-RTR Feed Station makes it easy to print and rewind large rolls using the C3500 printer.  If you want the convenience of changing rolls less frequently or need to rewind printed labels to use on an applicator, I recommend you contact us to get this device.  You’ll save time and trouble printing large label runs.

Guy Mikel

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