Top critical review
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Please take GREAT PAINS to educate yourself on how to PROPERLY load the tape roll before you attempt setting this up.
on March 21, 2016
After having observed the seemingly effortless and foolproof ATG time and again on several YouTube craft and art tutorials, I finally decided to abandon manually applied Zots and invest in the ATG. In spite of being pretty patient when broaching new, unfamiliar things, setting up the ATG was a NIGHTMARE.
1. IGNORE THE ABRIDGED MINI INSTRUCTIONS AND JUST STICK WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS BOOKLET
Although the ATG comes with directions, they can be improved upon. Scotch attempts to helpfully label the different moving parts in the ATG by letter and then references those letters in each step of the instructions. Scotch inserts an additional, mini-sized set of condensed instructions inside the machine, which inexplicable labels the machine parts by DIFFERNT letters. For first-time users, this inconsistency adds confusion to the set-up process.
2. INSTRUCTION DIAGRAMS NEED IMPROVEMENT
The diagram depicting how to attach/load the tape into the reel that stores the paper backing of the tape that's been used looked a bit different from the reel that came with my unit. While it's not terribly difficult to figure out, for a first-timer user who is desperately relying on every word and ever diagram, it would be helpful if those things were clearly and accurately stated/labeled/depicted.
3. INSTRUCTIONS FAIL TO SUFFICIENTLY ALERT YOU TO THE CORRECT DIRECTION THAT THE TAPE ROLL NEEDS TO BE LOADED
Part of what makes the set-up process not-so-breezy is that you're trying to do three things at once: holding release button with one hand, holding loose end of the tape with the other, all the while trying to make sense of the directions/get acquainted with the equipment. Just reading the instructions before handling the ATG is not enough because Scotch fails to stress one very important detail: what direction to PROPERLY place the new role of tape into dispenser. You know the age old debate about how one should properly load a toilet paper roll (with the paper hanging over v. under the roll)? Well, with this product, you MUST do it so that the tape hangs under the roll. The directions in no way highlight this very important point, and unfortunately I had to learn the hard way. I got a little flustered trying to do the aforementioned three things at once, and figured "hey, I know - let me just free up my left hand and pop this roll of tape in"...and of course per Murphy's Law I popped it in so that the tape was (incorrectly) hanging over. When I discovered my mistake and removed the roll to flip it around, unbeknownst to me, there was a little adhesive strip on the inside of the roll, that affixes to and anchors the tape roll to the reel. When I removed the roll, that adhesive came off and couldn't be reused.
4. INEXPLICABLY COULDN'T GET ATG TO WORK & WASTED 1/3 OF ROLL TRYING TO DO SO
After I got the tape properly threaded...for the life of me I could not get the adhesive to properly dispenser. I tried over, and over, and over, and over again. I (literally) wasted 1/3 of the tape roll just trying to get it to work. And the darnedest thing is that I couldn't even tell you why it wasn't working properly. A couple of problems I was experiencing at this stage: (1) The tape kept creeping over the edge of the two rubber rollers that the tape passes over/under (application point) to the point that it looked like they were going to fall out/fall loose. (2) When I would attempt to stop applying adhesive, it wouldn't tear off. I was ultimately able to get things working...but I have no idea why or how since I wasn't doing anything differently than I had before. Again, 1/3 of the roll went to waste because of this inexplicable malfunctioning.
It took an hour (!!!) to get things to work properly. (I had another problem not worth getting into detail: when attempting to nudge/re-position the tape back onto the rubber rollers, the tape backing tore. I was able to MacGyver a fix for this and move forward.) Here’s one of the better YouTube tutorials I found – it talks you through each step and even highlights what direction you need to load your tape in: [Amazon won't allow me to paste the web address to that clip here, but it's on YouTube under the title "How to Refill an ATG (Advanced Tape Glider) Glue Gun," by user Tracy Mae Design.]
I'll update my review after I've had a chance to use it on more projects. Had I used this within the 30-day purchase return window, I would not have wasted and hour of my life and a 1/3 of the roll trying to make this thing work. Instead, I absolutely would have returned this and gone for something like the small-sized, ready to use, disposable Tombow adhesive applicators. I figured the ATG generated less waste than the Tombow...but know that it comes at a different cost for first-time uses (i.e. the temporary insanity you'll experience setting it up).