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Cut Vinyl vs Printed Vinyl...

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by KeithMan, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. KeithMan

    KeithMan Member

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    We regularly print adhesive vinyl on our Epson and mount it on various substrates, but the other day I decided to try cutting out vinyl and applying that for some yard signs, primarily just to see how it worked. Everything worked fine, but I was left thinking it made more sense to just print a sheet of vinyl, apply to coroplast and trim out. It is faster and time is money. Also, the sheet vinyl protects the coroplast from the sun for longer life. We usually laminate the vinyl with UV laminate.

    So what are the advantages of using cut out vinyl vs printing sheet vinyl?
     
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  2. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    None on coroplast... It is a low cost material with limited effective life.

    The only benefit I see is no weeding, but it's negated with laminating.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Don't laminate corrugated plastic signs...its a waste. Printing is the way to go on those because of the time saved.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  4. KeithMan

    KeithMan Member

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    Ok. Just thought I was missing something. We usually gang up our signs and use our laminator to mount them on 5x10 foot sheets of coroplast and then trim them out. They look great and it goes fast.
     
  5. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    I think saying that printing takes less time than doing cut vinyl means you're not in practice for weeding and applying vinyl. Or maybe you're making your coroplast signs too complicated with too many words and the wrong fonts.

    Using the fonts supplied by Sign Wizard, which have their vectors and start points optimized for weeding, making a simple for sale sign in calendared vinyl takes virtually no time. We chose Graphtec cutters long ago for their speed, and a good weeder can rip through a pile of signs in no time.

    That said, I would not make more than 25 signs with cut vinyl. At that point switching to screenprinted makes better economic sense.

    I reserve printing for realtor signs that have to have the narcissist's photo on them or artwork that is intricate, multicolored, or the unfortunate sign that has to have a book written on it. Those we do ourselves up to quantity 10, at which point it's cheaper to have them done by a provider who directly prints them.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. McDonald Signs

    McDonald Signs McDonald Signs & Graphics

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    For small Coroplast Yard signs we use 6mil thick Brightline from Grimco NO laminate.
    If it's over 10 18x24
    signs I sub them out digitally printed or screenprinted.
     
  7. Ian Stewart-Koster

    Ian Stewart-Koster Active Member

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    The advantages in using cut vinyl on OTHER substrates is longevity, especially if using cast vinyl.
    I did some local Landcare signs in 1999 here, using 3M 7725 cast vinyl.
    21 years later in full sun all day they still look good, and not appreciably faded.
    The local council did some in goodness-knows-what digital print, in full sun, and after 3 years they've faded to an illegible brown.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    i rarely laminate coroplast signs. 4x8 sheets get printed as a whole, applied as a whole, and cut apart & stacked. customers want cheap, so why add $20 per sheet to laminate when they gotta last just long enough for the city to collect them & throw in the dumpster after election season?

    if I had a flatbed printer, i'd be doing the same thing but except saving another $20 per sheet in vinyl.

    i'm all for longevity in quality products, as I use cast vinyl/laminate on nearly everything around here, but cheap crap coroplast signage is the exception.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    I would never cut vinyl for coroplast.. too much time weeding and taping, plus like MikePro, I try and do full 4'x8' at a time.

    Edited to say; I never laminate coroplast.
     
  10. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    Wow. If I only sold a minimum of 10 18x24 signs, that would cut out a lot of customers who just need one or two signs.
     
  11. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    It's kind of like going to McDonalds and ordering one chicken McNugget, they can buy one, but it's the same as buying four.
    They can definitely buy one or two signs, but it will cost the same as getting ten signs...
    That being said, I will make exceptions if they can wait until I can nest it in with other coroplast signs.
     
  12. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    This reminds me of Tenacious D at the drive thru. "Take 3 of the chicken nuggets, and shove them up your..."
     
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 1
  13. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    We do A LOT of printing (2 latex printers and a flatbed running constantly). But, with that being said, cut vinyl has multiple advantages.

    2 mil high performance vinyls and premium translucent vinyls can last years longer than any digital print. That's both in terms of durability and resistance to fading. The colors are consistent. Some major businesses mandate specific vinyls be used in their sign programs. Some companies will even have their own custom vinyls you have to order. I remember one job for Baskin Robbins a long time ago that required custom pink and blue vinyls.

    Many vinyl colors have levels of color saturation that go beyond the gamut limits of digital printers. Not just fluorescent colors either. Many Pantone spot colors are well beyond CMYK gamut limits. The only way a printer can match that color intensity is if the printer is set up to be able to print specifically mixed spot color inks.

    We get plenty of jobs that call for metallic colors like Gold and Silver to be worked into the design. We almost always handle that with cut vinyl, even if it has to be applied over a print. There's all sorts of specialty vinyl (chrome mirror finish, etched, various patterns, etc). It's too bad I don't get to use that stuff more often; a bunch of it is pretty cool, but kind of over the top too.

    If a back-lit sign face has fairly simple graphics and few colors (or just a single color) we'll consider using cut translucent vinyl. When the vinyl is back-lit the colors are going to be deeper and more saturated than a mere print of the same graphics. Digital printers have come a long way, but many back-lit prints can still end up looking a bit washed out. Our flatbed printer does about as good I've seen with back-lit faces; it can print layers of white ink and color on top of each other to get deep colors and no washed out look. Still, it's subject to those pesky gamut limits.

    Reflective vinyl is another issue. You can print on reflective vinyl, but the color brilliance is going to be only so good. It's rare, but sometimes we'll get jobs that require the use of type 3 prismatic reflective vinyls.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
  14. Yeahgor

    Yeahgor Born to be The Designer.

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    Man that was awesome advice for me!
     
  15. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Member

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    Cut Vinyl . Making coro signs takes " the touch" to get them to look good. But bottom line much cheaper than printed, if you consider price of a good printer
     
  16. Yeahgor

    Yeahgor Born to be The Designer.

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    So guys what do you mean when talking about "Good Printers"?
    Mimaki JV150 Eco-Solvent or HP Latex 335 is good?
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  17. BluetailGFX

    BluetailGFX Journeyman

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    Do the math on making a yard sign yourself, then compare that to subbing to a flatbed wholesaler. My cost, without including labor time, works out being about $4.XX per sign. I can have somebody else spend their time on labor making them for me for less than $6 per. So I only make 1-10 coros in house now. Unlaminated cheap calendared film, printed as a sheet, applied as a sheet, and cut into finish size seems fastest method.
     
  18. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    There are more issues than merely just cost difference when choosing between printing something versus using specific colors and types of cut vinyl.
     
  19. Solventinkjet

    Solventinkjet DIY Printer Fixing Guide

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    Give me a half coke, half diet coke. I'm trying to watch my figure.
     
    • Pure Genius! Pure Genius! x 1
  20. Stacey K

    Stacey K Getting Back in the Game

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    I do plenty of small orders on coro with cut vinyl. Over 10 is printed. Sometimes if I'm not that busy, I don't mind doing 25 one sided, one color signs with just a few words out of cut vinyl. I sub my printing out so if I have the time, it's cheaper for me to do cut vinyl.
     
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