19 Jul What is the best pinback button machine or button maker to buy?
I’ve had my two professional grade Tecre-brand button presses for nearly ten years now—a 1 inch round button maker and a 2.25 inch round button maker. They’re solid, sturdy, heavy, and have served me well. The few times I’ve managed to jam one of them (pressing two collets at a time by mistake, for example), they’ve rebounded beautifully. Plus they look pretty sharp with their red handles and black bodies.
What about those inexpensive button makers?
Since the time that I made my first investment in a button machine, less expensive pinback button maker models have come on the scene – I mostly see them offered on eBay. They appear to all have been made in and shipped from China, some of them are brightly colored, and they usually state that they’re made of aluminum. The price of these button machines is extremely appealing – though it appears that often the low price is just a teaser that doesn’t cover the entire machine. You have to pay extra for the dies that allow it to press the size you need. Suddenly the price isn’t as fantastic after all.
Everything I’ve read about these less expensive models notes that they don’t last, they break easily, and also that standard button parts don’t work in them. The giveaway to this is that the button sizes are listed in millimeters rather than inches. It reminds me of when I first was hunting for a button machine and saw the toy plastic button makers that were out there. These toy button machine kits are aimed at kids and they really are adorable. I wanted to get one until I saw how difficult it would be to buy refills! (I still think these are great gifts for kids who want to make a few pinback buttons for fun. But they don’t take the place of a professional machine!)
You might think, well, I only want to make a few buttons – these machines come with enough parts! My answer to that would be why buy the machine at all then? Simply order from someone like me!
I have also seen yet another new version of a button press that appears to be brightly colored and lightweight and inexpensive but that does make the standard size buttons. I would be very careful buying something like this until you research it thoroughly and read some reviews. None of the professional button makers I know own machines like this.
And of course there’s always the Badge A Minit option – less expensive outlay, but proprietary parts that are harder to track down. If you really want an inexpensive way to make buttons, I’d go with Badge A Minit (made in the USA) over any of the cheap Chinese machines. The least expensive button maker kit is a hand press that won’t be as easy or as fast as any of the pricier machines, but at least you know you’re getting a quality product.
Are Tecre button machines the best?
I will always recommend investing in a Tecre machine if you want to get into making buttons. The initial outlay can be a bit high, particularly if you also want a good hole punch (standard craft punches won’t cut the circles in the proper size for a button machine – for example, a 1″ button press uses 1.313″ circles). However, you’ll own a machine that will last you for years, backed by a warranty, that takes standard parts available from sellers all over the Internet – on eBay, on Etsy, and on individual business sites.
My two favorite sellers of button machines, accessories, and button parts are: