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Digital Printed Aluminum

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by knucklehead, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. knucklehead

    knucklehead Active Member

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    Lady at the Art/Antique/Junk store, ask me if I do aluminum prints. Told her, I haven't really gave it any thought, but please explain. She said they were printed on a thin sheet of aluminum, and mounted to a foam board, or something. The prints are supposed to have a metallic look to them.

    So, I Googled it, found a couple of companies, one is AlumiRoll. They have sheets, and rolls, of 5 mil coated printable aluminum. Looks like it's only for aqueous printers, which I have.

    Anyone have any experience printing to the aluminum? I guess it's more for photo, and art prints?
     
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  2. rubo

    rubo Member

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    I print on aluminum all day long. What is it you want to know?
     
  3. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

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    I've seen prints done with flatbed printers on brushed aluminum dibond and it's a pretty cool effect. Colors look almost anodized, black and white photos looked great.
     
  4. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    print on clear, and laminate it onto aluminum or a polyester/foil metallic vinyl.
    BOOM goes the dynamite.

    I make these all the time for clients that want bronze plaques from Gemini, but never seem to realize that it takes 2-3weeks to be cast. bronze metallic vinyl, black print on clear, laminated and applied to a chunk of scrap dibond. ...instant dedication ceremony saver!

    otherwise, it could be as simple as a UV flatbed printer. or a waterfall printer with metallic inks. or a screen printer.
     
  5. rubo

    rubo Member

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    you don't need a flatbed to print on aluminum - we had the same discussion - word for word - couple of months ago. Here is the printing on aluminum - on my Epson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VH_CvN8ZMs
     
  6. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    for a small piece of aluminum you can generally just stick the aluminum right through any straight feed printer. some printers need some minor modifications on the clamp springs, or clamp guards. just coat it with CAB lacquer and print solvent ink right onto it. don't forget to turn the heat off. it will buckle the metal and isn't necessary for printing on acrylic lacquer. if you get really into it you can build straight feed tables on both sides of the printer. i had 10' of air tables on the front and back with guides and everything. i still miss my flatbed jv3 somedays. not a lot. but it got me down the road pretty far for five years.
     
  7. knucklehead

    knucklehead Active Member

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    It's what rubo shows printing in the Epson pigment printer. Coated 0.20 panels, and I looking at the 5 mil sheets. Some have adhesive backed, some are not. These are art prits, not signage. Just wandering how they do in real life? Any special settings, or anything I should be aware of?

    I can't do anything until I get rid of this 'command error' on this epson 9600 anyway.

    Thanks
     
  8. rubo

    rubo Member

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    Get some inkaid pre-coat from inkaid.com, rub it on the aluminum with a sponge - don't bother with pre-coated sheets (too much $$ for nothing) - I buy aluminum for $13 per 24x48, print, let it dry, have a body shop clear coat it and you're done. I'm testing couple of images now - same image, one is sitting outside ( Los Angeles sun) the other indoors - had the thing out for 4 months, still no difference between the two - ie, no fading at all. Pigment ink. Nothing special about settings - just play with ink limits to prevent overinking. Keep the printer close to a wall - you want to lean the sheet against the wall to take the weight off the rollers. And WTH is "These are art prits, not signage."? Why can't you make a signage out of it?
     
  9. knucklehead

    knucklehead Active Member

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    Thanks rubo, gonna check into the inkkaid. I can clear them. No reason not to do signage. Just trying to check on the thin stuff right now for this lady that wants some photo prints, mounted on foam board or something. Signage can always come later, after I get a handle on this aluminum printing.
     
  10. petepaz

    petepaz Major Contributor

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    we print on alum .003, .005, .020 and up on our roland lej uv printer no issues but it doesn't work on our solvent printers. I wouldn't say it looks metallic. if you print it on clear and mount to alum, like mentioned that would have a metallic look. the uv inks are more opaque then the solvent so you don't get the metal showing through
     
  11. rubo

    rubo Member

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    Make sure the sheet is not too thick - as to have a head strike - stick the sheet into the printer, slowly move the printhead over the whole width of material - on 9600 you should be able safely print up to .032 aluminum. Largest gap. Let us know how it worked out for you.
     
  12. knucklehead

    knucklehead Active Member

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    Thanks guys. Still having this 'command error', kinda got epson stuck too. They're supposed to get back with me.
     
  13. Atomic DNA

    Atomic DNA Member

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    More than likely the customer is referring to chromalux panels via sublimation. When processed, they look 3 feet deep and especially on the aluminum based ones, the refraction of your light source has an amazing effect. We do these quite a bit for customers and they love them.
     
  14. knucklehead

    knucklehead Active Member

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    More than likely the customer is referring to chromalux panels via sublimation
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Nope, it's not sublimation. It's printing directly to coated aluminum.

    Got rid of the 'command error', WooHoo. It was black inks setting. I'll have to give kudos to Epson tech support, two guys spent better part of an hour helping me.
     
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