04-13-2008, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
The Original Poker Chip Customizer® Review
The Original Poker Chip Customizer® Review
Manufacturer: FunStick Products
Retail Price: $29 for Standard Edition and $59 for Deluxe Edition
Material: Software is on CD
For a poker chip enthusiast with the right kind of "label ready" chips, this software may be one of the best ways to get your own customized poker chips. Pros
- Ease of use
- Design Wizard
- Great label-by-label print properties screen
- Difficult print calibration
- No recessed center on supplied chips (Deluxe kit only)
- Paper labels (vinyl would be better)
The price for the Standard kit is $29.99. This comes with 700 photo quality labels, software, and guide tool. This seems fair to us since this is highly specialized software. Install
For $59.99 you get the Deluxe kit: 300 Dice Chips along with the all the above items. We can't recommend the Deluxe kit simply because we feel the Dice chips are not at all the chips you'd want to apply labels on. (more on that below)
The computer used for this review is a Pentium4 1.8 GHz, 2GB RAM, running Windows Vista Home Premium. Installation was painless, basically clicking “next, next, next.” It took about two minutes to install. Edit: After the install was done, it wanted us to reboot the computer. This blew the “painless install” we were expecting.Design
The first welcome surprise was that the program went right into the "Design Wizard" which allowed for no downtime learning menus and reading the manual. The first choice we had to make was the style of chip label. We chose “Casino Chips” as the style.The Whole Package
Choosing the style
The next step in this “wizard” style creation was to choose a background image. The software came with about 150 backgrounds, but less than 20 were casino related. Of those, half were standard textures with an embossed “suit” symbol. Pickings were slim, but we chose a stock image with a couple of cards on it.
Choosing your background image
Next we were asked to choose the “template,” or the overlay on the background. There were 14 choices. Most templates were simply the word “Casino Name” and the “$100” denomination in different styles. We understood that we’d be offered to change the text in a later step. Five templates then offered a clipart image, usually dice or cards. We chose a template that appeared to “fit” the style of background we chose earlier.
Choosing your template
The wizard was completed and the program sent us into Design Mode. At this point the interface closely resembled CD labeling products we’ve used many times in the past. It’s apparent that the software is based on SureThing’s labeling software (not at all a bad thing). The elements that we had chosen in the wizard are now customizable. Double clicking on the “Casino Name” text offered us a properties window where we could easily change the name to what we wanted.
Customizing the text from the template text
Although we had the choices to add images, change text styles and colors, and add more text, we chose the leave all the templates as default. We also had the chance at this time to change any of the options chosen during the wizard, such as background, template and font.
We decided to save our work at this point and check the manual. We wanted to see how we were doing compared to the instructions, and to see if there were any tips prior to printing. We appear to have done everything so far without missing any steps. We’re glad we checked the manual, because the next step suggested was to calibrate our printer. We wouldn’t want to waste any labels by misprinting our first page.
Calibration was easy, or so we thought at first. The calibration sheet had printed instruction that took the guesswork out of it. However, when we printed our first test label, it was still off center both vertically and horizontally. We manually used the offsets to tweak the calibration and took 6 reprints (single labels) until we had it centered. Four of those six were still inside the lines so they were still usable and not wasted.
Luckily the calibration process did not waste many labels because of the superb print properties screen. We were impressed that we were allowed to choose the exact number and even the exact labels on every sheet. Even though we had tested with the first seven labels on the first row we found that none of the other labels were wasted. We simply highlighted all the rest of the labels and hit print.
Superb Print Properties Screen
Applying the labels was not difficult. The first 10 labels we applied using the included guide tool. It took us 1.75 minutes for five chips (ten labels). The next 10 labels we applied without the guide tool. Working without the guide tool was actually faster, because we didn’t have to load and unload the tool with each chip. Without the tool we could lay out a whole row of chips, apply labels, and only flip them all over once. We felt that we were able to keep the labels well centered even without the guide tool. A benefit of the guide tool though is that it is easy to ensure that both sides of each chip have the label applied right side up.
The included label applicator, or "guide tool"
We were happy to see that the labels, after printing, had very sharp graphics and font edges. On screen the edges were jagged and the graphics pixelated. This on screen view was the result of being zoomed in 300%.
Our ChipTalk Cardroom custom labeled poker chips
Once we were done labeling all the blacks in the set (50 chips) with the $100 labels we printed, we decided to try a custom design. When we chose the option to use our own background, we found that there were about 50-60 more poker-related clipart images available. We were disappointed not to have known this fact at the beginning stages of using the wizard. Nonetheless, we were looking to use our own art anyway for this next design.
A fully custom design was easy. The key benefit is that the user does not need skills in high end graphic art software like Photoshop. The image we chose as a background was easy to shift and resize to fit the chip.
All items that are included with the Deluxe Edition of the Original Poker Chip Customizer®
Overall we were happy with the results of the software and printouts. For the intended purpose, it's exactly what would be needed for the average poker chip enthusiast that wants custom chips.
I recommend the Standard Edition, the package that does not include chips. There are many other poker chips on the market that are better suited to receive labels. The chips included in the Deluxe Edition (11.5g Dice Chips) are a poor choice because the center is not recessed. This means that the after printing, your chips get stacked label-to-label. This results in inkjet print rubbing against other print: we immediately noticed our labels getting smudged just shuffling the chips. You also change the stack height, which may affect the chips fitting into certain racks. And your chip stacks are less stable when they are resting on each other's labels instead of the actual chip edges.
So get the software, but buy other chips for the labels. They are available at many online retailers.
There are many chips available that are "label ready"
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