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Best protection for ACM outdoor signs?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Ldireprophil, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. Ldireprophil

    Ldireprophil Member

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    I'd like to know how others prefer to protect the ACM signs they make for long term outdoor use. We all know how easily UV ink printed directly onto an ACM sheet can scratch. Carefully moving a 4x8 sheet off your flatbed output table to another area where you are going to liquid laminate can cause scratches as well as moving it to, and through, a roll laminator. So the question is, do you prefer to print the sign graphics on vinyl then laminate and apply to the raw ACM sheet, or do you prefer to direct UV print and then film or liquid laminate?
     
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  2. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Print onto 3m ij35c, laminate with arlon 3420, cut print 1-2" over sized, cut squares out of corners, wrap material all the way around to the back. I would love to direct print, but only have a hp 560.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Ldireprophil

    Ldireprophil Member

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    I run my vinyl on a 365 and laminate on a 63" GFP363TH. I really think printing the vinyl/laminating/applying to the raw ACM is the way to go. I have a Summa F1612 so I can cut the ACM to the exact size I need. First, the quality of the latex printed vinyl looks much better than the direct UV print, and laminating vinyl is easier than running a flat board through or liquid laminating I think. Just looking for other opinions, thanks!
     
  4. Ldireprophil

    Ldireprophil Member

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    Check this out, the direct printed ACM on my HP Scitex FB550 is the GOLD colored print (BOTTOM -incorrect colors - Indoor signage setting), and the one printed on my HP L365 is the COPPER colored print (TOP - the correct colors)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    We print and overlay on ACM all the time. We don't wrap the edges though. We don't have any issues with lifting on them.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Ldireprophil

    Ldireprophil Member

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    And if it's a double-sided sign, not sure how wrapping the edges would work great on 3mm ACM
     
  7. flyplainsdrifta

    flyplainsdrifta Active Member

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    for 2 sided, we would either us a sheet of .030 styrene under neath it while laminating or we use a thick silicone cling mat to carry it thru the laminator.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

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    We do a lot of direct print, laminate with Ritrama anti graffiti lam.
    No issues. These things go on railway overpass bridges all over and last well enough.
     
  9. Boudica

    Boudica Member

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    We simply direct print HP FB560 - no lam. Let it cure for a good 24hrs before doing anything that might scratch it or sending it out the door. No complaints.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Running something as cheap as ij35, I'd rather have wasted the extra 2-5 minutes wrapping the edges to prevent someone coming back and trying to get me to warranty the print.

    Right, obviously some limitations, but for multipanel and/or murals, it keeps the black edge from showing if any of the panels is not perfectly flat with the next.

    I agree, much richer and less banding.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Reveal1

    Reveal1 Member

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    We edge tape calendared print instead of wrap edges; same principle though.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Have you profiled either of these printers?
     
    • I Appreciate You I Appreciate You x 1
  13. Ldireprophil

    Ldireprophil Member

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    Both were profiled by my dealer, Athens Paper at setup/install. I’ve had the latex for about 2 years, never an issue and always consistent colors. I’ve had the FB550 for about 6 months, but it’s not as reliable in regards to color consistency/matching.
     
  14. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    They are not profiled well if you are getting that far off of color. You should be able to reasonably match outputs between both machines (we had a FB750 and 570s and could match almost all of our prints).
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Ldireprophil

    Ldireprophil Member

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    Sounds like you are familiar with the process. Are you able to give a brief overview of the process of profiling so others not familiar with the these steps get steering in the right direction on how that’s done? Thanks in advance!
     
  16. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    What Rip do you use? Do you have an i1 Spectro or equivalent?
     
  17. Ldireprophil

    Ldireprophil Member

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    I currently use SAI Flexi 19. Onyx would be my next upgrade but if I remember it’s around $5k +? No I don’t have a spectrophotometer, maybe it’s time to get one and learn how to use it.
     
  18. Ldireprophil

    Ldireprophil Member

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    Actually, my HP Latex 365 has a built in I1 spectrophotometer and I can create and adjust ICC profiles. My HP Scitex FB550 does not.
     
  19. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    I dont know the specific process in Flexi, but there should be a walkthrough method using an external spectro that you can simply set ink limits, thresholds, and densities all with simple clicks... Or you can get more in depth with your own mapping. But, using the standard simple method for both machines will allow your software to define the media white point and set a gamut limit so your colors match alot closer than you have.

    I am not an expert to be able to do a full write up like some on here but, you should get in to color management so you can accurately output color across multiple machines and technologies.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. greysquirrel

    greysquirrel Member

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    Can't say that I am a fan of Flexi for color. They were a rip to cut vinyl, then design, now printing....I understand why people like it, just not a fanboy after installing a servicing equipment in the past...you need to buy an iOne to relinearize the FB500...every passcode you intend to use. Out of the box the reds are washed out. I think Athens Paper needs more training, a new device to read color or at least a clue...they don't match. You should be able to get in the same ballpark between these two platforms.
     
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