Label Hacks

Useful tips, tricks and hacks to get the most out of your label printer, software and consumables.

How To: Brother HSe Heat Shrink Tubing Calculator

Brother’s heat shrink tubing has been around for over a year now, but has caused a little confusion about the sizes that are available, and for what size cable they’ll fit.
Here I shall briefly go over the sizes and how to work out which one you will need for what size cable. This guide isn’t limited to just Brother’s heat shrink tubing; it can be used to help decide on the correct size for Dymo, Brady, and LabelStation tubing too.

If you’re confused on cable sizing or are using the US measurements, it might be worth having a look at our cable sizing chart.

What you see is what you get

Let’s have a look at the HSe-221. It has a shrink ratio of 2:1 which means it will half in size. It’s rated at a size of 8.8mm, but what does that actually mean?

When flat, the tubing is 8.8mm in width. To work out the diameter of the tube when round, you need to times it by two and that will give you the circumference. Then divide that number by pi.

Width of tubing while flat: 8.8mm
Circumference of tubing while round: 8.8 x 2 = 17.6mm
Diameter of tubing while round: 17.6 ÷ pi = 5.6mm
Diameter at a 2:1 shrink ratio after shrinking: 5.6 ÷ 2 = 2.8mm

So if you have a HSe-221 cassette, this tubing will be suitable for a cables with a cross-section of 2.8mm to 5.6mm.
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Label Rolls to Ribbon Calculator

If you’re lucky enough to be using direct thermal labels, you won’t need this, but if you’re using more robust thermal transfer labels, you might find this page useful.

It can be struggle to work out how many rolls of ribbons you’re going to need for a batch of label rolls. Even we struggle to work it out, and we end up doubting ourselves with the answer we get.

Struggle no more

I’ve made a useful calculator to help you find out how many rolls of ribbon you’re going to need for your rolls of labels/tags.

As you can see from the form below, you can enter the details to get an answer quickly and easily. Follow these steps:

  1. If you’re using a continuous roll, check the “Continuous roll” checkbox.
  2. Enter the size of the labels (or the length of the continuous roll).
  3. Adjust the size of the gaps between the labels (if applicable).
  4. Enter the number of labels per roll, and the number of rolls (if applicable).
  5. Most of our ribbons are 300m long, but some Zebra, Brady and other ribbons can be longer or shorter, so change that where required.
  6. You’ll get a number that is rounded up to ensure you have enough ribbon to print on all your labels.*

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Updated: Can Clear Tape Protect DT Print From Outdoor Elements?

IMG_20160523_164930It’s a question that’s only been asked maybe once or twice, but it’s a good question. Can a clear tape stuck on top of a direct thermal label protect it from UV, rain and other outdoor elements?

In theory I would have said yes it would protect it from rain, dirt and abrasion but not from the hot ultraviolet and infrared exposure of the sun.

Of course this meant some testing was to be done.

The Test

On the 2nd of May I printed a label on a Brother QL-560 I happen to have on my desk (any brand direct thermal label will most likely have the same effect). I also have a roll of clear polyester that in my drawer which was perfect for this test. I stuck the DT label on a smooth corner of our building that gets the morning and midday sun, then the clear polyester over the bottom half of the label. What happened over three weeks was rather interesting.

The Results

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Fluorescent Brother TZe Tape

I was looking through the selection of TZe tapes available and thought to myself, “I wonder what the fluorescent tapes look like under an ultra violet light”, so I searched the web. Much to my disappointment I couldn’t find a single image of what any of the TZe tapes looked like under a UV light. A few days later the UV torch we ordered turned up in the post.

Below I have setup five tapes with their respective part numbers printed on them. The first one is the flexible version of the ever-so-popular 12mm black on white. I was curious to see what the white tape looks like under UV as some whites react to the light, but most do not. The second tape is the matte lime green which I thought looked like it might react well. The third label is the matte pink that once again, I thought this might glow beautifully. Label number four is the first of the two fluorescent tapes; orange. And lastly we have the fluorescent yellow.

The labels are setup under a white light and then the UV light. Click anywhere on the image to see the comparison of the white and UV light.

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Labelling Alternative

Using labels keeps you looking professional and organised. Labelling documents, drawers, doors, products, envelopes and parcels are all part of the day-to-day. But can labels be used to give a retro and original theme?

It seem the idea for using the old school Dymo embossing tapes on items such as cards and invitations has been tossed around for a little while already. It gives a look and feel of a more hand-crafted, personalised item.

The embossers themselves are still available but are becoming more and more rare which is rather vintage in itself.

Don’t feel limited to using only embossing tape. There are plenty of tapes to use such as Brother’s black on silver metallic, the gold on black, and the fluorescent range of tapes. With a few of the Brother printers being computer-connected, you can use a huge variety of font styles to suit the purpose of the label. If your computer doesn’t have the font you’re looking for, there are plenty of fonts available for download online for free.
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