An artificial jewel, rhinestones are often incorporated into apparel, accessories and paper craft designs to help them sparkle. The fake stones have been around since the mid-1770s and are often fabricated out of glass or acrylic, though there are high-end stones cut out of crystal. Different rhinestones require different tools for application. Some machinery adhere rhinestones to materials with molten glue, while others use hand-operated levers or hydraulics to staple them into place.
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The hot-fix machine is one of the simplest rhinestone application machines, as it is available for industrial and personal use. Smaller, hand-held devices resemble a soldering gun and can heat up a special adhesive up to 177 degrees Celsius before extruding it out of a narrow tip. The glue is applied to the back of the rhinestone before it is positioned onto the material. Industrial hot-fix machines use a mechanical arm to quickly apply multiple rhinestones in a pattern.
The fly press is a mechanical tool that applies the rhinestones to cloth with the use of riveting. The machine is usually affixed to a sturdy table and has an upper and lower die which holds the rhinestone and rivet. Then the machine can be clamped down to staple the rhinestone into the fabric. Industrial versions of the fly press often use hydraulics, but there are rudimentary versions available that can be cranked by hand.
A machine that combines both heat and pressure, the pneumatic press can attach one or many rhinestones at one time. The machine uses a special molten adhesive, which is heated to 399 degrees Celsius. The rhinestones are backed with the glue and then stapled through the material with rivets. The pressure is generated with a hydraulic press, and the different dies or heads can be changed to determine the number of rhinestones that will be pressed at a given time.
Automatic Attaching Machines
Resembling the classic sewing machine, automatic attaching machines are fed multiple rhinestones from a compartment, located on the machine. The machine uses hydraulics to continually staple the rhinestones to their rivets in successive order. Smaller versions of this machine are limited to only one rhinestone. However, larger machines can have up to eight compartments, housing rhinestones that can vary in colour and size.
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