'Dymo', actually the name of a company, has become synonymous with their most famous product. They just call it a 'mini manual labelmaker'.

It's a tool for printing labels. It's hand held, and consists essentially of a large wheel for selecting a letter, and a trigger to squeeze. The Dymo tape feeds into the tool from a reel, and is 9mm wide, and self-adhesive with a peel-off backing.

The procedure for printing a label is thus:

  1. Invent a reason for using the Dymo machine so that your Dad will let you have it
  2. Perform a couple of 'half-clicks' - that is, squeeze the trigger until it goes 'click' and reels the tape along, but not so far that you print a letter.
  3. Turn the dial so that the indicator is pointing at the letter you want.
  4. Squeeze the trigger fully. This causes the appropriate letter 'stamp' to squash into the tape. The tape is sensitive to stress, and the squashed parts (i.e., the outline of the letter) turn white, thus printing the letter.
  5. Repeat the previous stage until you've embossed the whole label. Try not to make any spelling mistakes since you'll have to go back to the start (and hide the wasted tape from your Dad, of course).
  6. Perform another couple of half-clicks.
  7. Turn the dial around to the 'scissors' icon.
  8. Squeeze the trigger hard and yank on the tape - the cutting mechanism should cut the tape for you and enable you to retrieve your new label.
  9. Very carefully peel off the backing tape. This tends to be really tricky since it doesn't want to come off, and is slippery and hard to get hold of. Also, you have to be extra careful not to bend the tape at this point, since any creases will leave nasty white marks.
  10. Stick it to something! Something you don't ever want to take it off, mind, since the adhesive is damned strong.

Dymo labels are great, because they look very professional. The nature of the printing mechanism is such that the letters are actually embossed, making them wonderfully tactile. They're even fun to make! The company now makes all sorts of hi-tech computerised labelling gizmos, but none have the charm of the mechanical punchy-clicky original.

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