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Etching and photocopiers

    The question to ask them is whether their machines will
accept acetate sheets for overhead projectors. 

G’day - sorry if I seem over-academic but “acetate” sheets mess
up most photocopiers a fair treat. The reason is that once the
toner is on the film it is then heated to fix it properly as part
of the process, and acetate softens and melts at quite a low
temperature. I’m sure you can imagine what happens, and the
owner(s) of the photocopier won’t show you much in the way of
kindness, mercy and Christian charity,

The overhead transparency film that must be used with
photocopiers is MYLAR. The photocopier shops usually carry a
stock of it to use at customer’s behest. However, if you happen
to use someone else’s copier, (what; use the company’s gear? Of
course you wouldn’t. Would you?) You can test easily. Clip off
a tiny bit of the film and put a light to it. If it doesn’t
burn easily, and the smoke smells a bit like burning hair or
feathers, it will be Mylar. If it holds a flame fairly well, and
smells a bit aromatic and sort of spiritous, then it will be
cellulose acetate ethyl cellulose, or a similar low-melting

How do I know about this? Well, I was daft enough to photocopy
using acetate film many years ago, soon after photocopiers came
on to the market. But I was very lucky in that I used to be one
of the first people in to work and managed to get the copier
dismantled, cleaned up, put back together and tested (with
paper!) before anyone else wanted to use it. Phew!!

   / \
 /  /

/ /
/ /| \ @John_Burgess2
____ )
At sunny Nelson NZ now spring is officially sprung.


G’day John,

Well, technically you’re right about overhead projector film not
being “acetate”. (It’s actually polyester.) However, in my
experience with clerks in copy machine centers, they often refer
to this stuff as “acetate film”. Common usage often dictates what
you call something, even though that name might not be
"technically" correct. In terms of making oneself understood to a
copy machine operator over the phone, they know what "acetates"
are. And if their machines will accept this film, then chances
are the PnP will feed with no problem.

   "acetate" sheets mess up most photocopiers a fair treat.

John, In the US, one can copy onto acetate at any local
"Kinko’s"just by asking. This is a ubiquitous copy-making
establishment found in even the smallest towns. I’ve been doing
it for years in my graphic design work for overlays. They can
even copy on acetate in color should one find the need. I’m not
disputing your experience, but are the photocopiers perhaps
different in some way over there? Or maybe the technology has
changed? I don’t actually know what variety of,“acetate” they
use. Lisa,(lunatic weather central) Topanga, CA, USA


Just to add to what John has said already. There are two
different types of film. One is not appropriate for copiers. You
must ask for OHP film for copiers which is not affected by the
high temperatures inside the copier.

Richard Whitehouse
Silversmith & Jeweller
Email: @Richard_Whitehouse1


Even more specifically, ask for the type of film for your
specific copier. The copier I use requires the film with the
little removeable white stripe down the side. If you are going
to a place like Kinkos for copies, they will have their own film
and make copies for you.