I recently got a chance to try out a device that’s usually something you’d find in offices or schools, but I’ve found it also has some pretty great uses for tabletop gamers like me. The GBC Foton30 Laminator is fully automated, allowing you to stack up to 30 documents, hit a button, and have everything laminated and trimmed.
Okay, the bad news first: the Foton30 doesn’t come cheap. It’s priced at $799.99, which includes a 50′ starter cartridge of the 3 mil film. Additional cartridges range from $49.99 to $74.49, depending on whether you use the 3 mil or 5 mil plastic, and the length of the roll (between 70′ and 185′). I was provided with a 185′ cartridge of the 3mil plastic as a backup, a $69.99 value.
With that out of the way, here are some of the features. First, the Foton30 uses a film cartridge that consists of two rolls of film. It’s easy to drop in the cartridge (which only fits into the machine in one direction), and you don’t have to fiddle with individual pouches for each document that you’re laminating. Instead, you just feed the documents in, and they get sandwiched between the two layers.
The feed tray allows you to stack up to 30 letter-sized documents, up to 11″ wide, so you can laminate some fairly large documents. The speed (according to the website) is 29.1″ per minute. One particularly nice feature, if you’re laminating many documents at once, is that it automatically trims between documents, leaving about a quarter-inch margin on the edges. (The margins on the sides will vary, since the film is 11.5″ wide.)
The Foton30 has an “auto-deskew” feature that is supposed to automatically align pages if they’re fed in crooked, though with the adjustable guides on the feeder, my papers were all fairly well aligned going into the machine anyway.