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Help with new printer purchase

Discussion in 'User Product Reviews' started by Frankp, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. Frankp

    Frankp New Member

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    Hey everyone, just looking for some experienced guys out there to chime in on a new printer purchase before the end of they year. I own a large landscaping company, we are consistently expanding and needing new trucks wrapped and trailers, as well as full color yard signs, and some other promo products, and the yearly expenditure on these items is starting to justify purchasing a large format printer and in housing these items. This is more just for my business use and I am sure I will print a few little side projects so to speak and try some things out but this is not a full scale production shop by any means, just looking to have complete control of our branding. I have experience with programs such as flexi sign and have used countless adobe programs so I am not a novice in those areas but printer selection has been tough for me to nail down. Knowing that this machine will only run 1 to 2 times a week, print mostly vehicle wraps, banners, stickers for equipment, all along those lines, I need help with printer selection. Right now I am between a Roland Soljet Pro 4 640 XR and a HP Latex 335 cutter bundle. If anyone else has any suggestions that is fine but those are my 2 closest dealers when looking from a support side which from reading on here and in my other lines of equipment purchases is important. I like the idea of latex not having to worry about off gassing but then some guys on here have had issues with lamination. Just trying to get some opinions based on how I will be using the printer, I also thought with the down time this machine will have, the latex might be the better options as heads and consumables are much cheaper to replace. All input is appreciated. Thanks!
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  2. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    I can tell you that when I worked for a large HVAC company, we had over 1200 vehicles and brought it in house. While I was there they got everything done, when I left they struggled for a few years then finally gave up and started sending all of their work out.

    It's not as simple as it sounds, but I'm not trying to discourage you... I can only say there is a reason why all the largest companies in your field work with companies like mine to get their work done. Our team travels the country managing branding for a few of them now.

    With your questions in mind, I would recommend using Latex as it's more stable and easier to maintain and operate. Do you have installers lined up? Have you looked at laminators? What about grommet machines or punches for your banners?
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Frankp

    Frankp New Member

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  4. Frankp

    Frankp New Member

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    Hey thanks for the reply, believe me I understand what your saying, there’s certain things we sub out as well, but with the quality of wraps we have dealt with for what we have paid in the past as well as the fact there is controllable down time with our trucks, trailers, etc when performing these services, it just makes sense to bring it in house. We will be installing our own wraps hence the want to purchase the printing equipment. As far as a laminator and grommet machines, yes I have those narrowed down as well. Can you elaborate a little more on why Latex, again I appreciate the “it’s not as simple as it sounds” however the decision to purchase and go that route is one we have looked at hard from a cost and benefit scenario and it just makes sense at this point. I appreciate any more insight you can give me and if and what latex machine you run?
     
  5. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Latex is pretty much one of the only choices I'd consider for a machine that's not run every single day.

    Solvents don't like to be idle... They go through tons of cleanings and the heads like to dry/clognif not used for an extended Time. We let our solvent sit for a week or two over.xmas break... It took 4-5 deep cleanings to get I back and running. Latex... You can let it sit for weeks on end and itll work just fine when you boot it back up.

    UV...well, we only have a flatbed UV, so it may be different. But the wasted ink when it's.not printing is no joke. I'm not sure how the roll to roll ones are... But either way, UV gets a thumbs down for me for low production shops also.


    Latex has its issues. But it's probably the only one I'd recommend for low volume shops. That and it's forgivable... If you're just learning and you.get a head crash on a solvent... You could be looking at 20k in repairs to replace the heads. Where as on a latex they're $100 each...


    I'd say start with a small latex. Maybe a 315.

    You.do 130sqft an hour. So it's not the fastest... But that's a full roll in 4-5 hours... Should be more than capable for your needs.


    Latex are user friendly and dummy proof also. They have one button profile creation so you can get nostly-accurate color... Most other machines don't have a built.in spectroscopy, and while the latex one isn't perfect... It's way better than not profiling.

    Just understand there's a reason most places don't do it themselves. You're looking at training someone how to operate a printer, laminator, cutter... A graphics designer if you don't have one.

    You need to reach someone.how to wrap,. How to make yard signs. Need to learn about the different materials to use for different jobs....


    If you do a high volume of Coro signs... You're looking at a full time employee just printing and applying the graphics to Coro. Where as the print shop next door can split out hundreds of signs a day with their flatbed, or via screenprinting.



    Sometimes spreading yourself too thin to save a few bucks isn't worth it. You could throw 5 guys at learning how to wrap and print and produce a mediocre job.. Or those same 5 guys could go out On a landscaping job and probably earn you way more than you're saving. And if you think you can cross train some landscaping guys on how to Run a printer or do some wraps... Well, in our area wrappers make $30-50 an hour.

    So hopefully you didn't just research the printer, but also how to get the personnel to run the machines.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. player

    player Major Contributor

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    That sort of reminds me of neon back a number of years ago before LEDs. The neon guys were grouchy and a bit arrogant so it was attractive to set up our own neon manufacturing. I read and met sign guys who did set it up, and it sat idle while they still bought their neon from neon makers. Everytime they got an employee up to standards he would leave and start his own neon shop, or go work for a neon shop for more money.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    People do what they wanna do, and generally don't take advice, unless it backs up their thoughts already. Saying this, I can't understand how you think a buncha people who place flat rocks on a driveway or mow grass sitting on their butt all day are gonna wanna or even get good at wrapping, applying, and doing all the labor end of the things quite necessary to do a good job ?? You will hafta hire a crew, just to do your sign work, cause after weed whacking and lifting heavy stuff all day, you won't have the dexterity to do sign work. You'll also need a nice clean area for printing and especially laminating. For your wintertime projects, you'll need an area above 60° for doing wraps.

    So, do what ya want, but it might pay ya to hire some more people to cut grass and throw mulch around properly and hire a better sign shop, next time.

    Your idea of bringing it in-house sounds more like a folly, than a solid business solution. Initial set up costs, training and than getting all the supplies.......... your game. Good luck.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    I think Frankp came across some dolt sign person who held his trucks up to long. the sign guy was trying to implement 4 day work weeks, argued about his logo and not matching colors and not following instructions on what the customer wanted. So Frankp figures if this moron can just have a printer and equipment to make all this money well he could bring it in house. How hard can it be if that dumb-*** can do it.
    Just like me, I mow my own lawn, weedwack it, rake, trim trees when needed. It reminds me when I was a signpainter and some dolt bought a Gerber and all of a sudden he was a "designer".
    Pretty soon Frankp will be on here asking about his printer breaking down and problems with layout and installation of wrap material and he likes using calendered vinyl and why it won't fit right over the rivets on his trailer. Looking for installers, designer, and which plotter is best and how come his coro signs don't last that long.
     
  9. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    The question is, do you know how to INSTALL wraps?
     
  10. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Basically Ikasaru explained what I would have said very well. Latex simply works, you don't have to worry about them sitting.

    As for your situation, I guess it all depends on what you went through. But we have done over 400 vehicles since July for the #5 Landscaping Company in the country based on revenue in 4 states... In New Mexico we did 225 trucks in 2 weeks. That's not a brag, it's me telling you that there are companies that do great work at fair prices, quickly!

    Unless you have people who really love to do graphic/signage work it will be a struggle, and then you will deal with people like me who leave and start their own company.
     
  11. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    This is why this field is falling so fast, anyone can buy equipment, supplies, etc. Without proper training most don't get it correct without wasting time and money. Good Luck Frankp.
     
  12. Reveal1

    Reveal1 Active Member

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    Maybe I should find a landscaping site to post on what equipment and materials to use to cut out my landscaping service. After all, anyone can buy the equipment and do the work, probably better than the guys making a living doing it. And since I have so much free time now that my landscaper (who we use so that we can focus on our business) is doing his own signage and wraps, my employees will have downtime to learn a new skill so they can eventually open their own landscaping business.
     
  13. Frankp

    Frankp New Member

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    Thank you for adding value to this post unlike some other reply’s, I appreciate your opinion on the Latex 315.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Rick Tennyson

    Rick Tennyson Member

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    Just wait till the the guys you hired to cut grass and teach them to “wrap” and make signs, open up their own shop next door and start wrapping your competitions vehicles.
    I have been doing signs 30 years. My best friend saw me making money, buying a boat, airplane and $500k new home. Guess what, “my best friend” opened is own sign shop and now is my biggest competitor on most signage. His family has deep pockets, so yes it can happen.
    After 10 years of learning that my best friend can buy his way into the sign business, his signs are now failing for various reasons.
    My town is growing with a great university so my business never missed a beat but, it does happen. Good luck!
     
  15. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Ya know, now this is the kinda attitude that burns my a$$. That and 4' flames. :flamey: You come here with not even an ounce of knowledge, but yet, you..... who knows absolutely NOTHING can determine which posts add value or not. The only value here is what most are saying good and/or doubtful and you with your p!ss poor spelling and knowledge go off on us. Yep, you're gonna go far in this business.

    I'm waiting for your next posting of infinite wisdom about this trade. :sleepin:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Frankp

    Frankp New Member

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    I appreciate the time you have taken to bash me for coming to a site and asking for specific opinions on printers and how upset you have become. Also when typing on a mobile phone, auto correct can be a pain as most reasonable people know. I guess I am in the minority when someone asks me for advice I give advice and don’t judge, not life lessons or bash someone’s attempt at something. Also, you and the others who have been bashing the post are not providing value, it’s just a sad fact. I could see if you even asked for more information but not knowing the facts and saying I have no knowledge is just amateur at best. Again, I appreciate the few helpful responses I have seen so far!
     
  17. MikePatterson

    MikePatterson Head bathroom cleaner.

    Did we not just have this same type of a post the other day???

    I will never understand why people do this ****. Stay in your lane and landscape.

    I own a lawn mower. I guess I need to open a landscaping business. Just like I have a calculator and must open an accounting business.

    We sign professionals need to quit even commenting on these posts. Why help someone that isn’t actually in the business. Just like the cricut owners that come into our shop. I’m not helping granny or a soccer mom take jobs away from us.
     
  18. Micheal

    Micheal Member

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    wow you guys are rude.

    If your so sure its a mistake and hes going to mess up then let him and worry about your own business lol. Buddy says stay in your lane but hes commenting on a post to bash someone else haha yeah thats really staying in your lane lol clowns.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Frankp

    Frankp New Member

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    Wow. I guess if your that threatened by granny and her cricut, your business might need some help. I seriously can not believe some of these responses. I’m not even here to steal work, just looking for real world users of the 2 printers I mentioned.
     
  20. Frankp

    Frankp New Member

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    Thank you Michael, I appreciate you seeing the big picture here. In my field I help and advise anyone who reaches out for help, even competitors I will talk shop with because I am not threatened but I guess it is different in this industry. The whole point of forums is to help others, not bash them in my opinion. Everyone grows from useful information and tips and advice. Any chance you have operated the 2 machines in the post, any advice?
     
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