Q&A Series: How is a Rubber Stamp Made?
At Stamps Direct, the manufacturing process is a huge part of the job (and one of the most fun elements, too!) We wanted to show you just how a rubber stamp is made!
You will learn how we process your order, how your stamp is made and how we ensure the highest quality products.
So, here is the production process of our most popular stamp; the Plastic Cased Self-Inking Stamp S-844…
The Manufacturing Process
So, first things first! Our lovely customers place their order on our website, like so:
At this point, you can also upload a high-resolution image of your chosen image or logo. PDF and JPEG files work best; any other file type can cause difficulties.
Once you submit your order, along with any special instructions, this is picked up and sorted by our Customer Service Team in the office.
We then take the information you have provided as a customer and typeset your stamp using Adobe Illustrator. We then import the text you have chosen directly from your order to ensure no typos are made by our team. That said though, we proofread the text you have supplied and will correct any typos we find if necessary to ensure you get exactly what you are after as a customer.
Typesetting allows us to arrange the design and order of your text, whilst enlarging the size of the font and logo to ensure the final design will properly fit the size of the stamp you have chosen.
We then print the design in batches and give them a final proofread and visual check.
At this point, your type-set order is uploaded to our server, ready for the next step.
The next step is printing! This is where your rubber stamp face is primped and then printed.
Previously, we used to use a UV light machine and a Vulcanising machine to create your stamp – for more than 40 years, in fact! This involved creating and then applying a negative version of your design onto a light-sensitive semi-flexible sheet of plastic. With the help of light and pressure, it creates a replica of your stamp with raised outlines.
This sheet is then transferred into the vulcanising machine, where the design is moulded onto a sheet of rubber, using extreme temperatures (130°c!) and a lot of hydraulic pressure (12.5 tonnes!). This process is rather time-consuming though and times have changed quite considerably.
Now, we use the power of high tech laser technology!
So, how does it work?
When we upload your typeset order to our server, it means that we now access it from our specialist piece of software which is directly connected to our high-quality laser printer engravers. The software directly replicates the bed of the laser printer. This allows us to ensure the stamp design is lined up correctly.
At this point, we transform your design into a piece of artwork which means that it can no longer be changed or edited in any way. We then send the job to the laser engraver.
We often print multiple stamp designs from one sheet of rubber. The machine takes around 30 minutes to print an A5 sheet of rubber or around 60 minutes for a full A4 sheet of rubber. By taking longer to cut away the design of your stamp, the rubber is more deeply engraved and you end up with a higher quality stamp which ensures a crisp, clean impression. Printing multiple stamp designs from one piece of rubber is not only cost-effective, but it enables us to process and dispatch your orders faster (This is what allows us to offer our same day dispatch service if you order by 11 am).
Using a 100-watt laser, the laser arms move back and forth across a sheet of rubber at high speed. In doing so, it gradually cuts away the excess rubber leaving behind an engraved version of your stamp design in the rubber. The technology is also clever enough to cut around the edge of your stamp so it is ready for the next step, assembly!
Much of the assembly process is a manual task. Once your stamp has been engraved, the sheet of rubber is taken through to the assembly department. Our staff members manually cut your stamp out from the sheet of rubber.
We trim as closely as we can to the design to prevent excess rubber. Why: If excess rubber remains, it can pick up background ink which can then ruin the impression of your stamp when you use it. This is another step that ensures a quality finish.
Once your design has been trimmed, it is time to assemble the entire stamp!
We don’t make the plastic case – this comes pre-supplied. So, from our stock, we select the correct size and style of stamp you have ordered. Then, we insert the ink pad in your requested colour. The rubber design is then applied to the base of the stamp and the stamp is clicked into place to ensure everything is secure.
Next, we check everything is in working order and that a nice, quality impression is being delivered. Then, we stamp an index card which is then inserted into the window at the top of the stamp, so you can quickly tell at a glance which stamp you are about to use!
Your stamp is now finished and ready to be sent out!
At this point, all of the orders we have printed and assembled are matched up with order forms.
This is when the final check is carried out to ensure that the logo and design, size of stamp and correct ink colour have been correctly selected.
We then pack up your order and off it goes in the post!
There you have it – that’s how a rubber stamp is made! Leave a comment below with any questions you have.