A slot punch is a device used to create an oblong hole in a laminated document or other rigid material. The standard slot size is 1/8″ x 5/8″, and is designed to accommodate assorted straps, clips, plastic loops, hooks, or other attachment types. They are commonly used when creating ID cards, badges, and luggage tags, since the slot allows them to be hung from standard lanyard attachments or badge clips with ease.
Slot punches are offered in both hand-held and tabletop varieties, and the single-punch capacity varies based upon the thickness of the material that is being punched. Some laminating supply stores offer select pouch sizes pre-slotted (usually sizes that are designed for Military Cards and Luggage Tags), but punching your own pouches is quite easy. Hand-held slot punches function similarly to traditional hole punches, with the pouch placed into the mouth of the punch and gentle pressure applied by hand until the die pushes through the material. The operation of tabletop units varies model by model, but they generally have a larger capacity than hand-held punches and use a larger handle for leverage, creating more punching strength.
Laminating pouches can either be punched before or after laminating, but it is important that the slot has a 1/8″ border on all sides to achieve a proper seal. If the slot is punched through the document that you are laminating, moisture slotbonus will be able to seep into the pouch and will eventually result in the layers of film separating. Since the slot requires a border for sealing, the maximum insert size will be reduced (compared to the maximum size of the unslotted pouch). For instance, a 3″ x 4″ laminating pouch has a 2-3/4″ x 3-3/4″ maximum insert size, allowing for a 1/8″ border on all sides. If the slot is placed on the 3″ side, then the maximum insert size will be reduced to 2-1/2″ x 3-3/4″ to allow for the 1/8″ border above and below the slot as well as the 1/8″ height of the slot itself.