If you have a pouch laminator in your home or office, you have one of the most convenient machines for protecting a range of documents from spills and general wear and tear. Many things around the home and office can be protectedwith the use of a laminator, including business cards, photos, certificates, recipes, craft patterns and much more.

But if you useyourlaminator frequently, you might eventually come across a laminator jam. This article will cover why laminator jams happen in the first place – so you can try to avoid them – as well as how to fix your jammed laminator and what you should never do in the case of a jam.

Why Does a Laminator Decide to Jam?

A laminator will most commonly jam when there is a “misfeed”. This means that the laminating pouch has been fed into the laminator at an odd angle. As the pouch feeds further into the laminator, the angle becomes more extreme until the pouch starts hitting the internal side of the laminator. If this continues for too long, it can cause damage to the laminator gears or motor.

Another reason for a laminator jamming is neglectof an important device known as a carrier. This adds structure to the laminating pouch. Pouches are naturally floppy, and if a carrier isn’t used, they can get caught around rollers in the laminator as they move about in the machine. Even if your laminator is advertised as carrier-less, it’s always better to use a carrier anyway to avoid jams that could damage your machine.

How Do I Fix a Jammed Laminator?

If you notice that your laminating pouch is misfeeding into your laminator, flip the reverse feed switch to get it to reverse its motion and back itself out of the machine. Then you can re-feed the pouch into the machine, this time ensuring that it’s perfectly straight. A lot of laminator models now include a release lever that controls the laminator’s roller pressure so you can easily retrieve jammed pieces of laminate film.

If your laminator doesn’t have a reverse switch or a release lever, don’t panic − just turn the motor off and gently tug the pouch. If it begins to move, tug it a little more until it moves free of the laminator. If the pouch doesn’t tug free, you may need to get in touch with the manufacturer for repairs. Start by referring to your manual for the laminator to see what they recommend for dealing with jams.

In cases where the film has become wrapped around the laminator rollers,you’ll need to remove the cover of your laminator using a screwdriver. Make sure the laminator is unplugged and completely cooled down before you attempt this. After removing the cover, you’ll have full access to the laminator insides, allowing you to remove the film from the rollers. 

What Should You Never Do When You Laminator Jams?

Do not ever try to use force to remove a stuck pouch from a laminator. Doing so can strip gears and break other components of the machine. Also never use a knife or a pair of scissors to extract a jammed pouch from a laminator. These pointy objects can cause damage to the silicon rollers of the laminator.