How to unjam your button maker - button making machine repair. November 18 2011 2 Comments

 I get lots of people in the store with a jammed button maker.  Andrew sent me some good pictures of his button maker.  He thought his button maker was broken and needed repair.  But it was only jammed.

Andrews jammed button machine

jammed button maker

This is Andrew's button maker.  It is a side to side action button maker, made in Wisconsin, USA.  These are good heavy duty button machines that you can add air power and go industrial if you need it.

This is the view from below up into the upper die of the jammed button maker.  It is smooth, no screw hole so there is a shell stuck up in there or maybe two.

Upper Die on a Tecre Button Maker

This is the view up inside an upper die of a Tecre Button Maker that does not have a shell stuck inside.  This is how it should look.  You don't have to turn it upside down to look.  Just get in the habit of putting your finger up inside to see if you can feel that screw hole.  If it's smooth (see top right) it's jammed.

This is what Andrew's button maker will look like  looking up inside the upper die once the shell has been removed. There can be even 4 or 5 jammed up there.


Hi there, I have a 3" button maker that needs a part. I can send pictures of the part needed. It basically does not wrap the paper around the a student pushed down so hard, he flattened the plate that has a ridge.  Sort of hard to explain. Hope you can help. 

Pictures sent are top left and right.


Hi Andrew

 Looking at the photo it looks like you do not need a part or have a serious problem.  There is merely a shell stuck in the upper die.  Maybe 2 shells or even 3.


 This happens when you do the first press and then maybe get distracted.  The first shell is up inside the upper die and instead of then loading the pin-back you go back and load another shell and press the first press AGAIN.  Now you've got 2 shells pressed up inside your upper die and the button maker is jammed.

 If you walk away from the button maker or get the button maker out of the cupboard the first thing to do is put your finger up inside the UPPER DIE.  You should be able to feel a screw hole.  If it is smooth AS PER YOUR PICTURE then you've got a shell stuck up inside.

 TO REMOVE A SHELL (Or as is often the case multiple shells).  You need an awl or a bradawl.

 An awl is a long pointed spike. It may be a:
* Bradawl, a tool for making holes in wood    * Scratch awl, a tool used for marking wood.  * Stitching awl, a tool for piercing holes in leather

 Turn the button machine upside down and move the die mechanism in such a way to gain access to the upper die.  Using the awl pick at the edge of the shell that is stuck inside the upper die and try to pick up an edge WITHOUT DAMAGING THE DIE.  Once you have picked up an edge you can often pierce the tin with the awl and pull it out.

Now put your finger up inside again.  Can you feel the screw hole or is it smooth.   If it's smooth ... repeat.  I have pulled 5 shells out of an abused button maker.  Repeat until you can feel or see that screw hole.

Here's a photo for people with a Tecre Button Maker.

Image showing upper die in Tecre Button Maker 





 If you have the classic red n' black Tecre Button Machine the same thing applies if you need to fix a jam in your button maker.

The offending shell (or probably shells) will be up inside the upper die.  Turn upside down. Swivel pickup die out of the way and try to catch the edge of the shell thats stuck using an awl.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO DAMAGE YOUR DIES.  Feel free to send your machine in to the Button Guy to fix.  If you're a customer he may just fix it for free!




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