(as of Aug 2013)
The Badge-A-Matic II button press
The Badge-A-Matic II is an electrically operated 2-1/4" button machine that has built-in assembly rings (also known as dies), just like their Badge-A-Matic 1.
Problems with the Badge-A-Matic II
The biggest problem I have with the Badge-A-Matic II isn't so much with the machine itself, but with what don't disclose about it in their sales literature (catalog and web site) which is certainly something any potential customer would want to know before they spend nearly $1000 on a button machine.
Reading any of the sales literature for the Badge-A-Matic II and Badge-A-Minit's Lifetime Guarantee might lead you to believe that they will cover any problems you might have with the Badge-A-Matic II, since it is sold with a LIFETIME GUARANTEE!
Sorry, but according to a bulletin sent out by Badge-A-Minit, the motor of the Badge-A-Matic II probably will NOT be covered if there is a problem!
Here's what that bulletin (shown below in red) said:
To operate the Badge-A-Matic II, you only have to load the parts into the built-in assembly rings in the proper order, close the lid, then push the "activate" button. However, the instructions direct you to WAIT FIVE FULL SECONDS before lifting the lid to eject your finished button. This time allows the motor to slow down, come to a stop on its own, and allows for the best operational results. It may seem like a long time, but opening the lid too soon will wear the motor out, which will lead to repairs and time without your machine.
We repair hundreds of Badge-A-Matic II machines each year with this problem, and because it is primarily due to improper operation, we cannot cover the repairs under our lifetime guarantee.
Since the cost of repairing or replacing the motor in a Badge-A-Matic II would likely be a very expensive proposition, I feel it is absolutely unconscionable for Badge-A-Minit to not disclose this to customers until AFTER they purchase the machine.
Especially since their literature says "LIFETIME GUARANTEE".
Operating the Badge-A-Matic II
Badge-A-Minit's catalog says the Badge-A-Matic II is their fastest machine.
But due to the number of the additional steps you must take to operate the Badge-A-Matic II, their Badge-A-Matic 1 and our Model 225 are both faster.
Following are the steps you must take to operate the Badge-A-Matic II:
First, lift the clear safety cover and insert the button parts into the the built-in assembly rings / dies and do so in the proper sequence.
Second, close the safety cover and push the "activate" button. The dies will go through two up/down motions, during which time the button parts and artwork will be pressed together.
Third.... and this is important, you are instructed to wait a full 5 seconds after the button has completed its cycle before lifting the machine's safety cover.
According to a Badge-A-Minit bulletin, "...this time (5 seconds) allows the motor to slow down, come to a stop on its own, and allows for the best operational results".
And finally, after the 5 second wait, you lift the safety cover, remove the finished button, and insert more button parts into the machine so the next button can be made.
With the additional steps of raising and lowering the safety cover and the mandated five second wait, the Badge-A-Matic II just isn't a faster machine.
Cleaning the dies of the Badge-A-Matic II
I started making buttons in 1990, using the Badge A Minit Handpress. Later on, I purchased two Badge-A-Matic II's and used them extensively. My biggest complaint about those mahcines was simply the number of bad buttons they created. There were times they would create five bad buttons in a row!
What can happen, over time, is that small flecks of dust, paper and other types of goo can get lodged in and around the dies of the Badge-A-Matic II and that goo will cause the dies to not slide up and down smoothly, and that leads to a higher reject rate.
Since Badge A Minit's warranty can be voided by disassembling the machine, in reality, you must return the machine to Badge A Minit whenever cleaning is necessary or risk voiding the warranty.
The Badge-A-Matic II weighs 30 lbs, so the shipping and insurance costs required to return the machine for cleaning or for any other reason, gets really expensive, especially since you have to pay the shipping both to and from Badge-A-Minit.
Users who might still benefit by using the Badge-A-Matic II
Even with the limitations that I have noted above, a person who has a physical impairment of their upper/lower body or doesn't have the physical strength to operate a manually operated button press might still find the Badge-A-Matic II to be their best / only feasible option for making 2-1/4" buttons.
Badge-A-Minit's Cut-A-Circle circle cutter
Cutting artwork for your buttons is an integral part of making buttons, so a discussion of the cutter you will use is important for an understanding of the complete button-making process.
Badge-A-Minit's Cut-A-Circle is all plastic and has a straight-edge cutting blade. When this blade is sharp, the cutter works quite well.
However, because you use the same part of the blade for each cut, the blade dulls quickly and will need to be replaced on a regular basis.
The cutting blade in Badge-A-Minit's Cut-A-Circle is not re-sharpenable.
Replacement blades for the Cut-A-Circle are sold in packs of two for $3.95.
If you plan on making lots of buttons and will use a Cut-A-Circle circle cutter, be sure to keep extra blades on hand at all times.
Making photo buttons with the Badge-A-Matic II
For a button machine that costs as much as does the Badge-A-Matic II, its inability to make professional-quality photo buttons, using photographic prints, should certainly be taken into consideration.
Users of the Badge-A-Matic II must follow the same work around that all other BAM machines require, which is to first change the setting on the BAM circle cutter to its second setting, and cut the photograph to the size of the "face" of the button.
By taking this step, the Badge-A-Matic II doesn't have wrap the photograph over the edge and up under the button, as it would with buttons made using lighter paper.
Again, the drawback to this procedure is that the photographic image will stop on top of the button and the metal edge of the button will show through.
As with all the machines Badge-A-Minit offers, the Badge-A-Matic II comes with a 30-day return policy.
However, if you were unhappy and decide to return the machine, you will be required to pay the return postage. And do keep in mind, the Badge-A-Matic II weighs 30 pounds.
BAM will also charge you 10% of the purchase price as a re-stocking fee if you return the machine.
With the cost of return postage, insurance, and that 10% restocking fee, it would likely cost about $100.00 for you to return the Badge-A-Matic II if it doesn't meet your needs.
Pro's and Con's with the Badge-A-Matic II button press system
Pros of the Badge-A-Matic II button press system
Does produce better quality buttons than the BAM hand press or BAM bench press system.
Is faster and easier to operate than either the BAM hand press or BAM bench press system.
For people who have any upper/lower body problems, this machine may still be your best option for making 2-1/4" buttons.
Cons of the Badge-A-Matic II button press system
Is the most expensive button-making machine compared.
Is not as fast as the Badge-A-Matic 1 or the Model 225.
The motor likely is not covered under Badge-A-Minit's Lifetime Warranty.
The Cut-A-Circle circle cutter is not fully adjustable, and it's blades must be replaced on a regular basis.