Buttonmaking Equipment

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What have we learned so far about buttonmaking?

Button Presses

Badge-A-Minit Hand Press

This is a break-prone nightmare, and despite its low initial price is a bad investment. Button quality is poor and it's a not small RSI risk. Additionally, it takes several minutes to make a single button after way too much fumbling with easily misplaced rings that simulate a proper die.

Its one advantage is that it does both 2.375 inch and Badge-A-Minit's "1¼", but you really shouldn't bother. Its only real use is as a cheap gateway drug to getting a real press. Please do yourself a favor and skip this step and just get a real button press directly. AVOID.

Badge-A-Minit Bench Press

Despite covering the full range of Badge-A-Minit's supported diameters, this is arguably the worst of everything: all the fragility and inconvenience of the hand press and its ring assembly issues and limitations combined with all the expense of buying of a real button press. AVOID.

Badge-A-Matic I

When purchased used, this can be a reasonably cost-effective and highly reliable button press. Variants are available in multiple sizes, albeit only in the non-standard sizes introduced by Badge-A-Minit. They can also be improved by using dry lubricant (Liquid Wrench, et al -- note that these tend to be fluorine or even lead based and should not be sprayed or applied indoors). Caveat: does not work reliably with Tecre/American supplies. RECOMMENDED.

Badge-A-Matic II

This is probably the most cost-effective electric button press on the market, especially if purchased used. It is only available for 2⅜ inch button supplies. Caveat: does not work reliably with Tecre/American supplies. RECOMMENDED.

Badge-A-Matic Combo

This appears to be a Dawei-designed press, but uses Badge-A-Minit sizes. It has not been evaluated, but some reviewers note that the Badge-A-Matic I is more reliable (and by extension more reliable than other DAWEI presses).

It is not yet known if there are less expensive Dawei equivalent dies that can be used with Badge-A-Minit supplies (60mm?). The Badge-A-Minit one is insanely overpriced and is not recommended at anything more than maybe a tenth of its full retail price.

See Also

DAWEI/Chicom

Machinery to manufacture Dawei style equipment appears to be sold to a number of manufacturers that then produce identical to nearly identical button presses that are essentially interchangeable. Only metric diameters are supported, but it's a very wide range. They have a cut line that is further out from the bleed line than is typical of other equipment sources.

See Also

Dr Don's Buttons

Dr Don's makes some standard sized presses. Their Model 225 looks identical to Tecre's Model 225. Tiffany has or had one.

Tecre

In addition to some amazingly expensive electrical presses, Tecre makes some manual presses in a wide selection of US sizes, including 2⅜ inch for use with Badge-A-Minit compatible supplies. Dr Don's Model 225 looks identical to Tecre's Model 225. Tiffany has or had one.


Circle Cutters and Punches

Badge-A-Minit

Cut-A-Circle I is only about $30 and has inexpensive replacement blades. Unfortunately, it gets painful to use after awhile and the blades wear out. Correct diameter for bot 2.375 and 58mm buttons.

Cut-A-Circle Plus -- this is untested, but a similar design by a third party (manufacturer never identified) was harder to consistently use successfully than expected. Correct diameter for bot 2.375 and 58mm buttons.

Cut-A-Circle II is electric. They can be inexpensive to buy used, but do not have open-ended lifespans. If you want to go this route it may be best to buy a new one directly from Badge-A-Minit to ensure that you can avail of the lifetime warranty. You will probably need it. Also, be sure to unplug when not in use as it continues to draw power and reduce its life expectancy when plugged in. Correct diameter for bot 2.375 and 58mm buttons.

The 2 in 1 Cut-a-Circle is just like the Cut-A-Circle II except that it also cuts for their "3 inch" equipment and may also use an incompatible blade design.

Dawei

This is possibly the best way to cut circles: it's fast, easy, and can be quite accurate. Note that the sizes on these punches correspond to Dawei-style diameters. has recently been found on EBay for half the traditional price.

For 2⅜ inch ("2¼ inch") on Badge-A-Minit equipment, use the circle punch for 58mm.

See Also

Button Supplies

Manufacturers

This list is known to be incomplete.

Badge-A-Minit

Only available in Badge-A-Minit sizes and seriously overpriced. Not recommended. You can get 2.375 inch at a minimum from several other sources to use with Badge-A-Minit equipment.

Badge Parts, Incorporated

Good news: possibly the least expensive supplies on the market.

Other news: The quality is very unreliable and the pin design is disappointing. Not really recommended.

DAWEI

The only known set of Dawei-branded supplies to have been used by us (25mm) have a serious design flaw with the pin that results in a high scrap rate unless you can figure out a way to align it correctly in a meaningfully short span of time. Avoid.

Dr Don's Buttons

Currently the main source used by the Texas caucus for 2.375 inch supplies.

Tecre and American Button Machines

This is possibly the best quality source available. Unfortunately, it doesn't work reliably at all with Badge-A-Matic presses despite being the correct diameter, giving a disturbingly high scrap rate. While it was hypothesized that its problems could be compensated for with the Badge-A-Matic I, this has proven to not be the case.

Note that combining Tecre fronts and backs with either Dr Don's or Badge Parts Inc works wonderfully with both the Badge-A-Matic I and II.

American Button machines buys their supplies from Tecre; they're completely identical.

Sizes

Sizes Used So Far by the Radical Caucus

  • 2⅜ inch

Button Template 2.375in R608 01.svg
Commonly referred to as 2¼ inch despite being deliberately larger and incompatible with that size. It may be identical or very slighhly larger than 60mm if 60mm dies or supplies could be found.

Several manufacturers make supplies that are this size given the ubiquity of Badge-A-Minit equipment, but some manufacturers also produce equipment for this size, including Tecre and Badge Parts Incorporated.

The most reliable circle cutter for making buttons this size using Badge-A-Minit presses is the punch designed by Dawei for 58mm buttons.

  • 2¼ inch

As of mid-2021, all remaining 2⅜ inch only button designs should now be compatible with 2¼ and 58mm. 2¼ inch is just enough smaller than 58mm to possibly prevent interoperability with supplies. This is still being tested as of bid 2021. This sizes uses the smaller of the two cut lines on our button circles. This is the size available from most US button equipment manufacturers.

  • 58mm

Multiple caucus members how have 58mm presses. While it has the same cut line as 2⅜ inch, it's almost the same button diameter as 2¼ inch. Most supplies have plastic backs.


  • 25mm

Button Template 25mm R425 03.svg
Dawei style equipment may have a larger cut diameter than other styles, so different circle cutting equipment may be necessary if you have a 25mm press that isn't quite one of these.

Dawei branded supplies with metal backs and flat metal pins are NOT recommended, as it can be difficult to get the in to align correctly when pressing. There is at least one other supplier of metal-backed 25mm supplies, and at least one source of plastic-backed supplies is known to be reliable.

    • DAWEI 25mm -- Get supplies that aren't these.
    • Yescom 25mm -- these have plastic backs but actually work.
    • This electric press should be adaptable for 25mm; how hard it would be to change between sizes isn't presently known. It's probably not as safe to operate as the Badge-A-Matic II, though.

Other Sizes

This list is incomplete.

  • 1 inch

May be interchangeable with 25mm supplies; most will probably have a smaller cut line diameter than the Dawei compatible templates we're presently using, but should otherwise work.

  • Badge-A-Minit "1¼"

The exact diameter of this is not yet known, hampering finding supplies to fit Badge-A-Minit equipment for it.


  • 75mm

Slightly smaller than 3 inches, this is a candidate for a larger button size given how inexpensive Dawei compatible presses can be.

    • An electric option for this size has been found here.


  • Badge-A-Minit "3 inch"

This is Badge-A-Minit's 3 inch. It is difficult to find this size from vendors other than Badge-A-Minit. There is also conflicting information about its actual diameter (or even whether it's larger or smaller than three inches). If an actual diameter can be confirmed and compatible supplies other than Badge-A-Minit's overpriced offerings found, this may become a practical size to use with the Badge-A-Matic I.

  • 3 inch

This size isn't cheap either, and neither is the equipment. We probably need something that's this or larger, however, even if we're only using it for special cases, such as candidates were supporting for LNC.