Hot Foil Stamping Machine any good on Amazon / ebay ?

Has anyone bought and/or used one of the cheaper hot foil stamping machines being offered new off of amazon and ebay? They generally cost between $100-$200 which seems very cheap. Would love to hear how well they work as they seem like quite a steal.

Also looking for anyone with any other experiences with a new/used tabletop foil stamping machine that they’ve had good results. I am looking to do custom plates, so a larger size would be preferable.

Amazon examples:

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large plates and cheap don’t do well together. ev press has a “Tonnage” or total amount of pressure that they can apply. the more area you want to stamp, the less pressure can be applied to that image without over pressuring the press. IE bending or breaking it. Many letterpress stocks need a lot of pressure for full foil coverage. fine type will be better than large areas. I use a stopwatch with mine,or metronome. time on impression is up to the user, but is a very important aspect of foil stamping.

As Eric mentioned above something very important that timing is key when it comes to table tops, especially since the pressure isn’t as high as it would be on a sheetfed machine for example. Getting a perfect stamp is a combination of right foil to surface type (some foils just don’t stick on certain surfaces), temperature, pressure and lastly time of keeping the pressure on. If you do not align all of these together you will risk having either a choppy impression or bleeding around the letters and finer visuals making it sloppy looking. That’s why you will need some time to experiment on your own machine that you end up buying because different machines react differently to all those parameters.

As for this specific machine, I personally would agree with Eric as well and not expect great stuff on large surfaces. Foiling large surfaces requires a very steady source of heat equally distributed and same goes for pressure. Given that this is a not so heavy duty machine even if the heat is great the pressure will be limited and increasing it too much might cause damage to the machine. That is why with these things older more robust models are more expensive than these newer ones.

That being said if you need it for small run booklets, leather pockets, bespoke low quantity items that do not utilize large areas of foil this might be a good alternative to buying a more industrial and expensive one.

200$ is a very acceptable number for an experiment given that you at least find 2-3 jobs for it and then you’ll at least have returned the investment and gained an extra machine for future small foiling jobs. Good luck!

Shadi Ayoub