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Applying printed vinyl to presubstrate, a few questions

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by Boyblue, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Boyblue

    Boyblue Member

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    I know this is not a DIY site but we will be purchasing hundreds of printed vinyl sheets from one of your members so I thought that maybe you guys wouldn't mind helping me out :)

    The plan is to use a laminator to mount the vinyl to pre-cut polystyrene sheets. All signs will be wall mounted and we're considering 040 for outdoors and 030 for inside. The vinyl for the outside signs will be prelaminated with UV protection. The sign sizes are 24x36, 24x24 & 24x16.

    Here are the questions:
    The sign background color is white, should we order the vinyl the same size as the substrate or should we order the vinyl slightly smaller (we're trying to avoid having to trim excess vinyl)?
    Is bubble free vinyl worth the added cost or will the regular stuff work just fine?
    If we go with regular vinyl is it necessary to use application fluid?
     
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  2. GVP

    GVP Active Member

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    If it were me, I'd be outsourcing this to someone who can direct print (flatbed) to styrene.
     
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  3. Boyblue

    Boyblue Member

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    This is not my first option, we're working on that, but in the main time I'd like some help here.
     
  4. SignosaurusRex

    SignosaurusRex Major Contributor

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    Uhgh... :banghead:
     
  5. SignosaurusRex

    SignosaurusRex Major Contributor

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    If you are trying to avoid the need for trimming excess vinyl, doesn't it make sense to order your prints a tad bit under-sized? Apparently you've not even figured out how you will adequately and cost effectively apply these to the substrate. It seems to me that you are grossly in way over your head. My advice to you is to pull the plug and leave the lifting to a pro. Biting off more than you can chew before growing teeth is a sure-fire way to choke to death.
     
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  6. ikarasu

    ikarasu Member

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    Do you have a laminator?

    Mounting these will be very time consuming. Even if you had a table applicator... a laminator will be even longer. As Signosaur/GVP said... I'd look into a direct to substrate printing. They're not trying to be dicks, just prevent you from taking on too much and wasting your time.

    That said...

    It depends on what its for. Youre styrene isn't going to be a perfect match for whatever vinyl your printing on. If you don't want to trim, you're going to notice the vinyl isn't edge to edge. If thats acceptable to you... order smaller. either 1/16, or 1/8th, depending on how good you are at mounting / how much time you want to waste perfectly aligning. If it were me... I'd trim it all off. Trimming will take you 1/10 as much time as mounting each one on a laminator.

    Bubble free vinyl... again, it depends. Are you applying by hand, or using a laminator? If using a laminator, you don't need bubble free vinyl. If you're doing it by hand, or some other way... Yes, it's worth it for bubble free, depending on your experience.

    And never use application fluid...if you're doing the job properly, you shouldn't need it on something so simple. But again... without knowing your experience / what tools you will be using, it's hard to say.

    And by looking at your history, I see you posted today you're looking to buy a laminator for this job, then throw it away....:eek:

    I answered all your questions... but let me end it off by saying mounting vinyl to signs isn't as easy as it looks. Especially to really thin styrene. If you've never done it before, have none of the equipment... Pay someone to do it. I see your on an island and shipping is a problem, which is probably why you're only getting vinyl and not styrene.

    You have to do what you have to do... but order some extra prints, and realize it's going to take you a long, long time to apply all these. You're looking at a couple minutes per sign, you need to decide if it's worth it or not. I find it a pain in the *** to flatbed 300 signs, hand applying vinyl to 300 signs would make me dread coming into work.
     
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  7. ikarasu

    ikarasu Member

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    Skip to 3 minutes... This is what you want to do to hundreds of signs. If you have no choice...go for it, but I think if you're printing these signs for a customer and want them to look good, you need to go oversize and trim them.
     
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  8. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    If you have to do it in house mounting hundreds of prints one by one will drive you insane in a short amount of time.
    The sizes you have listed will gang up onto 4'x8' sheets with little to no waste. Mounting 8 to 10 or more prints in one shot will be fast.
    Check the size of your polystyrene - 4x8 material sheets are usually oversized enough to give you a little wiggle room running through the laminator.
    Forget about lining something up perfectly to 4 pre-cut edges - its not going to happen.
    Trimming both the print and the backer at the same time will keep things lined up and looking good.
    Get a manual roll laminator 54" or 55" and something like a Keencut Javelin to do the trimming.

    Your printer can set the prints and crop marks so you only have to cut once to separate each row or column.

    I'd go with the air release vinyl - bubbles never look good and if you have not done this before they will be all over the place - even with using a laminator to mount them.

    Its doable but not going to be fun.

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  9. Boyblue

    Boyblue Member

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    Guys I appreciate all of your responses, it is all valuable. I know I need more information and skill but I do have time. My printer has already agreed to give the necessary support but I figured the more information I can get from this forum means less time taking him away from his business. Heck I could have emailed the questions to him but I thought it'd be more fun getting kicked around Signs 101.

    But seriously, I feel it is my obligation to be as knowledgeable as possible so that I don't to take advantage of my supplier (not that he would be taken advantage of). I could have found a DIY site but you guys know so much that I felt that I would get good information along with the naysayers.

    The throw away laminator thing was a bit of hyperbole, I am incapable of throwing anything away. It would either go in my storage container or we'd sell it to one of the many under capitalized sign shops around town at a deep discount.

    You may wonder why I'd post here but check out what I've learned already...

    I've confirmed that the person hired to do this work has to be either experienced in graphic work or an individual of higher than average aptitude.

    I've confirmed that we will need to pay a piece rate; and I've learned that we'd better increase the damage allowance a bit, and pay a bonus if targets are met. This should minimize the effect of the task being such drudgery.

    I learned that I have to decrease the size of the substrates by 1/8" on the length & 1/4" on the width to allow for trimming as only the head will be flush with the edge.

    I came to this forum thinking that because I am not a sign guy, I don't belong, but we have been in the embroidery business since 2004 so I am in a related profession, which means guys, cut me some slack :)
     
  10. ikarasu

    ikarasu Member

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    Everyone starts somewhere... It's not the funnest task, but if you can make some cash on doing it, nothing wrong with that.

    I'd print your signs a little bigger - Apply the vinyl to the substrate, then flip it over and use a box cutter to cut the excess off. Don't need a straight edge or nothing... But styrene is thin, so be careful when cutting the edges. We do it all the time, it's not hard... just a pain.

    You don't really need to hire someone who is experienced... This is probably the simplest job of them all. Watch a few youtube videos... practice a bit with your laminator, and you can train anyone in minutes.

    You might want to hire 2 guys - 1 to apply the vinyl, 1 to trim... It'll speed things up quite a bit, not having one guy having to go back and fourth, and they can switch between who does what so it doesn't bore them to death... That or give them a hand and mix it up!

    Good luck.
     
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  11. Boyblue

    Boyblue Member

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    2 guys makes a lot of sense. You've just cut production time tremendously.
     
  12. SignMeUpGraphics

    SignMeUpGraphics Active Member

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    Grab yourself a Big Squeegee... way cheaper than a laminator, and you will fly through the install.
    These signs are tiny, and perfect for what it can do.
     
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    So, you think you've learned some things. The most important thing you should've learned is you are approaching this bass-ackwards.

    Monkey time is the worst money spent, when they are so many better ways to do the task. However, your stubbornness is gonna get in your own way. That being said, at least do a professional job and make it oversized and trim accordingly. Leaving an 1/8" all around the whole thing will look stupid, not to mention, non-professional. You wouldn't embroider a hat or breast pocket and leave margins around the edges making everything smaller, would you ??

    Welcome to the sign world of things, but don't ask to be cut slack, just because you can do hats and jackets. Everything is relative, but not the way you're going about it. You're learning to be a hack, right off the bat. Perhaps, your supplier doesn't have a flatbed, so why didn't you look for that kind, instead ?? The job would be completed in a fraction of the time and for a whole lot less money.
    :banghead:
     
  14. fresh

    fresh Active Member

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    I'm not sure if you got your answer, but I would absolutely cut it short so you don't need to trim. I would probably make it 1/2" shorter than substrate size. Tape the top edge with 2" premask, peel the liner back about 2", then apply to substrate with a felt tipped squeegee. Then use a BigSqueegee to finish installing. We've made hundreds (maybe thousands!) of small signs like this.

    And yes, get the air release vinyl, it will go down easier and you'll be able to squeegee out any small bubbles. Totally worth the extra cost.
     
  15. shoresigns

    shoresigns Active Member

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    If flatbed isn't an option, the sane way to do this is print the signs in 4'x8' batches with bleeds and trim marks, apply to 4'x8' styrene sheets with a laminator or table roller, then hand-cut the signs to finished size. That's far less work than pre-cutting the blanks, pre-cutting the prints, then applying one sign at a time and post-trimming the bleeds.
     
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  16. Boyblue

    Boyblue Member

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    Awww man I thought we had a consensus on trimming. I'm looking at a sign we had done locally by a "professional" and it's done just as you suggest. That's why I asked. I 'm going to go with the majority on this on and trim. I believe it will look more professional and the time spent centering is the same time that could be spent trimming. BTW any one use the AGL imedger? Will it work on a thin substrate like 030 polystyrene.

    The killer expense with full sheets is ocean freight. With our shipper, we pay a premium for anything that does not fit on a pallet. In addition the sheet supplier that I have received a quote from has reasonable fees for cutting.
     
  17. shoresigns

    shoresigns Active Member

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    Ah, I see—I didn't realize you were in the Bahamas. However, styrene can be rolled for shipping if it needs to fit on a pallet. Takes up more space, though.

    In any case, I think it's a bit crazy for you to be doing any production work on this job when you could just get someone with a flatbed and CNC to ship you the finished signs, eliminating the majority of the labour costs.
     
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  18. Boyblue

    Boyblue Member

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    I wasn't trying to work around my guy but with all of the talk about direct print, he's agreed that I should at least get a price. I guess I'll head over to classifieds and post the job.
     
  19. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Do you even realize that by flatbed printing, you eliminate the vinyl, transfer tape, applying, trimming, getting them straight and no bad appliques and any other monkey time involved getting these finished ??

    We've shipped things all around the world and it really doesn't cost that much to do. Not if you're talking literally 100's of these things. Your savings would be phenomenal, but...... you know better, cause you're just starting out.
     
  20. shoresigns

    shoresigns Active Member

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    These guys have a flatbed:
    http://www.dpsbahamas.com/
     
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