Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.

 


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Epson GS6000 & Mimaki JV33 comparison

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by insignia, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    I thought I'd post up a quick thread about this, it seems like a lot of people are considering moving from a JV3 or JV33 to the GS6000. We just installed the Epson yesterday next to our JV3 and JV33 so I thought some may be interested in our initial thoughts and a side-by-side comparison...

    OVERALL BUILD QUALITY

    The GS6000 seems to be fairly well built. I noticed a couple things that seemed a little flimsy, and I wish more metal was used on the case instead of so much plastic, but overall not too bad. I think Mimaki wins out here though, the JV33 seems a bit heftier and more "industrial" feeling. Barely though.

    MEDIA HANDLING

    Mimaki wins easily. The Epson has me worried. Media loading is clunky and difficult. There is no pinch roller lever in the back like the Mimaki has, so you have to feed a bunch of media through the front so it doesn't slide back as you're running around the printer to drop the pinch rollers. Also, Mimaki has that wonderful little device on the feed rollers that helps you take out the slack in a roll as you're loading it, ensuring it's perfectly straight. This is missing on the Epson, and we're finding it fairly tricky to get a roll perfectly straight.

    The Epson's roll holders on the back look like they'll fall off any minute. And the take-up reel is, well, interesting. You absolutely cannot beat Mimaki's beautifully simple takeup reel. Epson's is overengineered and hard to operate in comparison. It's also hard to get adjusted perfectly in line with the printer platen, and if you've read about these printers you know they don't handle full rolls well if they're not dead level.

    MAINTENANCE

    Hard to say this early in the game, but from the looks of it, the Epson will be very similar in maintenance to the JV33. I do LOVE the fact that they put a mirror down below the print heads over at the cleaning station, that's pretty ingenius. Epson also included a handly little oiling tool to help oil the slider bars, which will make that job a little less messy.

    OPERATION

    It's nice to have a manual that's not in "Japanenglish", so I give Epson kudos there. The manual is simple and easy to understand, but I actually wish it had a bit more in depth information.

    It's probably too early to say for sure, but so far, I'm finding the Mimakis a little easier to use, but that's probably because we're thoroughly familiar with them. One thing I haven't seen on the Epson is a way to adjust the media compensation on the fly, it seems it has to be done from the RIP before the print is started. I can't believe there's not a way to do this, but if there's not, that's a major flaw with the Epson, being able to adjust media comp. while printing long rolls is critical. We're already experiencing headaches with this. If anyone knows how to do this please let me know!

    PRINT QUALITY

    This one's pretty easy. Epson wins here. Don't get me wrong, our JV33 prints pretty damn good, but the Epson is definitely a bit better. It's not "in a different league" as some would say, actually, resolution-wise, the prints are pretty identical. The Epson uses the wave pattern so that helps disguise any banding which helps tremendously. Of course, the color gamut is a lot nicer on the Epson too, we did some side-by-side prints and some of the rich reds, greens, and especially oranges definitely look better on it. For us, the increased speeds with less banding are the real improvement over the Mimakis.

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    Overall the Epson is definitely a nice printer. I'm more than a little concerned about it's ability to perform as a production machine. The media handling from feed to takeup leaves a lot to be desired. But it produces top-notch prints about twice as fast as our JV33, and about 4 times faster than our JV3, so that may make up for it.

    Ultimately, had I not been offered this machine for slightly less than a JV33, I would have gone with the JV33. Looking back, right now, I'm on the fence about the decision, part of me wishes this was another Mimaki. Time will tell if this is a good machine for production, or if it's media handling will be too big a hurdle to overcome.

    On a side note, we also upgraded from Onyx Postershop 7.3 to Onyx Production House X10 and so far we're all highly impressed with the changes. It seems rock solid stable and noticeably faster all around, from just switching screens to actual RIP times. Thumbs up for this one.
     
    Tags:
  2. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

    2,136
    2
    0
    Oct 29, 2009
    Nice write up. :toasting: Interested in hearing your thoughts over time on this.
     
  3. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Honestly I'm hoping my opinions of the Epson improve. Prints amazing, otherwise it leaves a lot to be desired, so far. But again, maybe because I'm just so new to it. So many of the RIP settings are vastly different from Mimaki too that it's very confusing. We're working through it. The good/bad thing is we're learning by trial by fire, we have 8k s.f. of wallpaper due in a week and a half so we really don't have a choice but to figure it out quick.
     
  4. Jaime Bergstrom

    Jaime Bergstrom New Member

    17
    0
    1
    Jul 21, 2010
    Plymouth MN
    We have both printers. I agree with everything you wrote.

    Mimaki's uninterrupted ink supply is very handy for high output shops.
     
  5. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

    2,136
    2
    0
    Oct 29, 2009
    I'm a huge fan of Epson but I share your concerns for high-volume production--if you keep the forum posted on which parts break down and how easy it was to fix that'd be spectacular. I don't think anyone doubts the print quality (or shouldn't...it's Epson).

    As for x10 I had a ton of issues, and while most of them went away with a clean reinstall there's a few bugs that have been in their bugtracker for months waiting for an update to release. I'm kind of unhappy about that. The pace of fix updates should be a lot faster.
     
  6. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Jesse, we had that issue with 7.3, so I think any upgrade for us would be positive. Obviously we've only been on it for 2 days but the install was absolutely smooth which is the first time I've ever had that happen with Onyx, usually it's taken 2 or 3 installs before it gets it right. 7.3 hated Windows 7 64 bit it seemed, and x10 seems a lot smoother on it so I think that's the major difference for us. But over time that may change as it often does.
     
  7. Freese

    Freese Member

    410
    1
    0
    Jan 12, 2011
    Good call on Onyx 10....the way to go with multiple printers
     
  8. Rooster

    Rooster Very Active Member

    1,209
    2
    38
    Feb 22, 2008
    Edmonton
    I spoke with my Epson dealer, who also sold me my Mimaki. If you have a difficult location to access. Like say a basement. There's a very good chance you could tweak the chassis of the Epson when it's being moved and throw everything permanently out of alignment. As you state the Mimaki is definitely beefier.

    I was impressed by the color off the Epson, but here in Canada they're still priced ridiculously high in comparison to the JV33. At least the prices I've been quoted.
     
  9. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Yeah, I think that's the problem a lot of people are having with the machine. The stand isn't insanely rigid so it seems like it wouldn't take too much to twist it just a tiny bit and throw it out of wack. The good thing there is quite a bit of adjustment built into the takeup reel position so with enough trial and error it seems like you should be able to get it aligned right in most cases.

    Today was day three with this thing and while I'm still extremely impressed with the print quality, color and speed, I'm increasingly unimpressed with it's media handling abilities. We have about 30 rolls of Korographics wall paper to print on it by the end of next week. This stuff is finicky to print on anyway, but our JV33 handles it really well; the Epson not so much. The more time I spend with it the more apparent it becomes that it was designed to print paper and canvas and vinyl and not heavy materials. I haven't had time to try banner material and I'm a little nervous to try it.

    Oh well, maybe I'm just really spoiled by the "heavy-dutiness" Mimaki's printers and just need to give myself some time to get used to the Epson before I ***** about it too much. I do like it for sure, I'm just concerned about it's production capabilities and how it will fit into our shop long term.
     
  10. jmcnicoll

    jmcnicoll Member

    300
    0
    16
    Nov 18, 2007
    Green Bay, WI
    We had two Mimaki JV3s and now have had our GS6000 for almost a year.
    I agree with the media handling, mimaki was better and I miss the tension on the media that help get the media straight. That said, I would take the epson over the mimaki any day. We are not just a sign shop, we do a lot of higher end work and the Epson kills it in quality. Our reprint rate due to print errors (banding, head strikes, environmental conditions and so on) has just as close to nothing as your going to get. Cleaning is much easier and way less time with the epson.

    If I ran a high production shop and cared less about quality I may go with something else, but we put put print quality ahead of everything and I haven't seen a solvent printer that does better than the Epson GS6000.

    Did have the belt replaced once and the heads twice due to the green ink issues epson was having.

    jim
     
  11. I have not used the Epson but I am pretty good with the Valuejet. I know the body is the same. I am not sure about the firmware. On the Mutoh, while it is printing, hit the menu button. This will allow you to adjust temp,feed adjust, and save the settings.

    I know it is very important to make sure the take up is adjusted on the left side. This will help keep everything straight on the take up and going through the machine. There is a simple method of checking this. I beleive it is in the forums or pm me.
     
  12. WinGraphics

    WinGraphics Member

    64
    0
    6
    Dec 18, 2007
    riverside ca
    Gs6000

    Yep, media feed and take-up is sketchy....but we bought this machine for the print quality. With today's printing prices plunging to record lows we wanted to be able to compete on something besides price.
     
  13. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

    2,136
    2
    0
    Oct 29, 2009
    :thumb: Same reason I like the machine, if only I can get my boss to bite...

    Quality is more important than ever, it'd be nice if the machine was more "tank like", which is the main selling point of Mimaki's, but some jobs you just really need that extended gamut and fidelity.
     
  14. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Quick update...

    I complained to my dealer about the crap job the Epson does handling thick/heavy media and the next day a package from Epson arrived containing their new/modified media feed. The day after that, a tech showed up to install it. Props to Epson's support, that's impressive.

    The new media feed system drops the roll holder down a few inches and puts a tension bar/roller above it that drops down onto the media, basically pushing it down. This roller is counterweighted so it's always putting downward tension on the media as it feeds into the printer. I guess this arrangement keeps more media in contact with the pre-heat platen to help keep is smooth and avoid ripples/head strikes. See the attachment for a diagram of the new media feed path. I tried to get a photo of it but you really can't tell from it what goes where.

    Anyway, it works. It's a pain in the *** to load media now because the roller that swings out of the way is always in the way. Once you get the hand of it it's not bad, but it's still cumbersome, especially when you're trying to handle a heavy roll.

    To give you an idea how well it works, while printing this huge wall paper job, about 1 in every 2-3 10' long panels would get head strikes. This is with the heat down as low as I am comfortable going, and with the head set to high. We couldn't get through a 90' roll of material without at least a few head strikes. It ate up A LOT of media. With the new feeder, we've been able to raise the heat considerably (from 32/32/50 to 36/38/50) and run with the head on low. We've printed about 12-13 rolls of wall paper so far and haven't had a single head strike. I could only dream of doing this with our Mimaki.

    While I think it's a funky loading system that is harder to load than it should be, I will honestly say the Epson now handles heavy media BETTER than the JV33. At least on the feed side. The takeup reel still really sucks. I mean REALLY sucks. I hate it.

    About my feelings towards the takeup... It won't grip 99% of cardboard cores. We've been resorting to duct taping cores in place, otherwise they spin. It can't be put in reverse to reverse-wind material on a core, which is something we really like about the Mimaki (it's a lot easier and faster to unroll a roll of printed material on a table when it's reverse wound). It likes to walk side to side whenever it feels like, regardless of how lever or in-adjustment it is. It's hard to load and unload. The plastic core holders are toy-like and will probably break within the month. I do think I've figured out how to wire in a DPDT toggle switch to be able to reverse the motor so at least it will reverse-wind media. I guess that'll make me feel better.
     
  15. Rooster

    Rooster Very Active Member

    1,209
    2
    38
    Feb 22, 2008
    Edmonton
    I'm not sure what your problem could be with getting head strikes on the JV33. I run complete rolls of LG bannux through mine all the time and I've never once had a head strike.

    The secret was to turn the platen heater down really low, but leave the pre and post heaters up pretty high. I guess if the media is contracting as it hits the platen it's less likely to buckle and cause a head strike. In some cases I'll turn the platen heater right off. As soon as it kicks in to heat up it causes ripples on some medias (usually cheaper LG products).
     
  16. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Rooster, it's the material, not the printer. I've had exactly zero head strikes on any media on our JV33 except for Korographics wall paper, which is what we're printing right now on the Epson too. We run Ultraflexx banner on the JV33 with the heat at 45/45/50 with no issues at all and the head on low.

    The korographics media just cannot much heat or else it buckles like crazy. On our JV33 we run it at 34/34/50 and we'd still get the occasional head strike, even with the head up. We were running it on the Epson at 32/32/50 but with the new media feed attachment we've been able to go to 36/38/50 and drop the head to low and have had zero strikes. My point was, at least with the Korographics media, this gizmo works so well at keeping the media flat that you can bump up the heat significantly without worrying about head strikes.
     
  17. Rooster

    Rooster Very Active Member

    1,209
    2
    38
    Feb 22, 2008
    Edmonton
    Try setting the heater on the JV33 to 45/30/50 or 45/off/50. That's always worked for me with medias that are heat sensitive.
     
  18. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Too low for wallpaper IMO, with no print platen heat at all the ink sits on top of the media too much and is prone to abrasion. Actually another plus for the new Epson media feed device, flatter media means higher heat, higher heat means more durable prints.
     
  19. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Dunno if anybody is interested, but I thought I'd update this post a little bit since we've had the machine for about 6 months now.

    More or less disregard anything positive I said above about this printer. If it weren't so big I'd tie a rope to it and use it as an anchor for my boat.

    The new media feeder was much better at first, but heavy material handling has slowly gone back down hill, and I don't understand why. We still can't print a full roll without it walking. We've had a technician in twice to adjust and level and tweak and it doesn't help one bit. Epson tells us the machine requires two people to load a roll, one in the front and one in the back. We've been doing that, and it's pointless. And it's highly inefficient, how it makes sense to pull a production or design employee off a task to help load a printer is beyond me.

    The printer's lack of ability to adjust media compensation on the fly like Mimaki allows is increasingly frustrating. It's not uncommon at all to ruin jobs because the media comp goes off halfway through a print. It can start fine, and halfway through we'll get significant banding. Nobody can explain it.

    Head strikes are a daily occurance. The only way to prefent them is to print with the head high and the heat useslessly low or off, which is not helpful if you actually want solvent ink to stay stuck. Too much heat causes media to buckle. I firmly believe it's because the media feed system is so poorly designed, that or something is seriously wrong with ours. We can get head strikes in any media.

    Epson tells us most of our problems are because we're attempting to print on non-approved media. However, according to them, the only medias that are approved to run through this printer are canvas and cast vinyl. Anything aside from that they throw their hands up and say "it's not an approved media, we can't really tell you how to fix it".

    Oh, and as I type this, there is a technician here replacing BOTH heads because, of course, the green channels clogged. 6 months of use and it needs 2 heads. I really can't wait until this thing is 2 or 3 years old, I'm scared to think of the problems we'll be facing with it, and out of warranty at that.

    Meanwhile, our JV33 is humming away 12 hours a day, every day, never missing a beat. 3 years of owning it and the only maintenance it's needed were new dampers.

    If any wants to trade me their JV33 for my GS6000, you know where to find me...
     
  20. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

    8,159
    141
    63
    Sep 10, 2010
    Denver.
    yikes. a few months ago i was thinking about the epson, but i mean.. the whole color fading issue changed that real fast. thanks for the update.
     
Loading...

Share This Page

 


Loading...