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Suggestions HP 365 + Graphtec or Summa

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by nico, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. nico

    nico Member

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    chl
    Hey guys, I'm new here, I'm just starting out in the business and I'm trying to go independent.

    I'll be focusing, at least in the beginning, in high quality stickers, as a reference I look up to Sticker Mule's work.

    I'm decided for Latex, I'll be going for a HP 365 or 335 or 115 depending on how everything goes with the bank.

    I'm trying to decide what's best between a Graphtec FC8600 and Summa cutters, I would like to focus on die cut stickers and looking for the best solution having in mind that in a perfect world the machine works with the least intervention possible and I just "pop" out the stickers from the roll.

    Just a reference: Instagram post by Sticker Mule • Oct 31, 2017 at 1:15pm UTC

    Have no experience yet with machines, been looking for the best solutions the last couple weeks and I've had several demos with distributors, as usual eco-solvent and solv distributors are telling me going for latex is the wrong decision.

    Laminator recommendations are also welcomed! Even though I don't think I'll be able to afford it right now I'm hoping to buy one as soon as possible after I'm all set with the first two machines, printer and cutter

    All suggestions, feedback and help are very appreciated!

    By the way awesome community and invaluable knowledge base here! Thanks all
     
  2. TomK

    TomK Member

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    We do stickers and started with a latex 300 series. After two years of dealing with grainy prints for our stickers, we are looking to move to the Epson S 80600 machine. Our sample prints off of the Epson compared to the HP put the HP to shame when it comes to near photo quality prints.

    Our HP works perfect for anything you don't need to view close up, so we use it for our signs and promotional stuff.

    We use summa s2t and started with a graphtec 8600. The 8600 sits idle since the summa is so good, including not having to change blades to run perf cuts, summa does it all in one pass.

    Epson is running deals as good or better then HP has right now, you can get the first model Epson for 9k or under.

    Search the forms here, lots of people doing higher end prints outside of signs have reported the same quality problems. One of the issues is the fixed picoliter/droplet size of the hp machines which is 12 pl. The Epson uses variable droplet sizes and starts at 3.5 pl.

    Also with the Epson you can laminate the same day and you don't need to run expensive 220v x 2 power circuits nor deal with the 200+ degree heat that the HP puts off during printing to cure the latex ink.

    My national supplier just brought on the Epson line for higher quality output, and they sell mimaki and Roland today. I spent a half day with them testing all 3 vendors, and Epson won hands down.

    Stickermule stickers are high quality, if you want to compete you better be as good as they are. All of their stickers come laminated too so you'll need to laminate if you want to have a comparable offering.
     
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  3. nico

    nico Member

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    chl
    Appreciate the input Tom.

    Yeah grainy prints it's something I am concerned about, so far the demos I've had with distributors haven't been able to achieve the print quality I would like...as a reference:

    Quality I would like to achieve:
    Instagram post by Sticker Mule • Nov 1, 2017 at 12:01am UTC

    Quality I've seen from demos:
    Instagram post by Sticker Karma • Jul 31, 2017 at 3:59am UTC

    Yeah I've read wonders from the Summa and the consensus here (from reading tons of threads) seems to be Summa > Graphtec always, one doubt though, I thought Summa didn't have that "perf cut thru channel" that the FC8600 has and that it cuts into the strip? meaning replacing it more often?

    Just a thought since I would be focusing on die cuts.

    By the way not trying to compete against Stickermule just "look up to" their products and quality, it's what I would like to achieve or at least get as close as possible with the small budget I'm currently trying to put together ($15-25k)
     
  4. TomK

    TomK Member

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    Typical, I was working with HP for a long time on this issue, the senior tech @ HP finally told me (and told a couple of other customers that I've communicated with) that the quality I am getting is the best it will ever be and the printer wasn't designed for high quality images with close up viewing. An HP rep from these forums even reached out to me and offered to work on my images and send me some print samples from the lab. Awesome service, however that was 7 or 8 months ago, I keep asking, last response I got was "oh, we mailed them, they must have gotten lost" and then he went silent.

    I'm not upset with HP at all, I love my latex machine, however I'm trying to do something it wasn't designed for and had I known that before I got it, I would have purchased a different machine. I will continue to print with my latex 3 or 4 times a week for our signage type work.

    I have my eye on the Epson S80600 which is on special now for just under $18K with discounts and such, and your vendor should throw in a bunch of free vinyl. Not sure where you are located, but you absolutely should go to your Epson dealer, bring your samples and have them print them on the material you will be using. Also, if your budget is smaller, the Epson S40600 has the same features, same print quality, same print heads, and it is also nicely priced right now for like $8 or $9K, it is only CMYK though, which isn't a huge negative in my opinion.

    The Summa uses the same channel for contour and perf cutting, and yes, if you do a ton of perf cutting you'll have to change the cutting strip more often. For example, 99% of what we print is perf cut and I chang my cutting strip once per year on average. It is a whopping $35 bucks and about 10 minutes of your time.

    Trust me, had I known the Graphtec was a 2 step process to do perf cuts, I would have never purchased it. You basically send your job to do contour cuts, when it is done it stops, you get up and go to the cutter and unscrew the blade holder, drop a new blade holder in the other position, hit enter, and it will go and perf cut. When it is done, you have to change the blade holder back again for your next contour job cut. Not a huge deal but a huge pain the in *** imo.

    With the summa? I hit send to cutter and move on to other stuff, it will contour cut, go back to the start of the job and do the perf cuts without you having to get involved.
     
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  5. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    The offgass time for the Epson is 6 hours... So you could offgass in one day.. if your working 16 hour days.
    Can you post a closeup picture of the epson on a solid color? Our Seiko h274s is more grainy than latex is. It's the only solvent/ecosolvent I have experience with, so it may just be the Seiko, but I've always hated how pure colors looked on it!

    Also how many perf cuts do you do on the summa? We do roughly 20-30,000 perf cut decals a month. We're thinking of getting a second cutter, and I like the roll to roll option of the summa... But I've always worried about chewing through so many cutting strips. I know it doesn't take too long to change them out... But if the strip isn't perfectly level, it has different cutting pressures throughout.. Our graphtec we had to sand down the plastic last time we changed our strip since the plastic below it was cut through / rough by an ex employee. So now I dread changing the strip, and havent had to in the past 2 years. Before sanding it down it was cutting too deep in some spots, and not enough in others... which meant it didn't cut enough and we had to throw the vinyl away, or it cut too deep in some spots resulting in the cutting strip being worn so bad it needed replacing very quickly. That could be because of the ex employee messing up the plastic bar below the strip though.
     
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  6. Russell J. Bean

    Russell J. Bean Member

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    Get a Gerber. No grainy decals, no laminating. True spot colors, and can back cut them so there’s no weeding
     
  7. nico

    nico Member

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    chl
    I'll definitely look into these, thanks for the tip!

    Right, I agree, I can definitely see how the Summa is way more convenient in this aspect, if I was only doing die cut though, I wouldn't have to switch the blade position at all right?
    i.e if I am only doing stuff like this: die cut stickers

    Never heard of Gerber before, I guess I'll look into it.

    keep the suggestions/opinions coming, helps a lot!
     
  8. TomK

    TomK Member

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    For us, this isn't a problem, we are an ecomm store only, so we don't have to deliver same day stuff. I haven't purchased the Epson yet, will most likely after Christmas.

    I will dig out my Epson print samples tonight and post them in this thread, not sure if I did a solid dark color, but I'll post what I have.

    We are a smallish shop, and on a good week we go through 3 or maybe 4 rolls of vinyl, I've never counted how many decals/stickers that is. But like I said earlier, the majority of our stuff is perf cut, and I had to change the strip once per 12 months on average and I'd be ok if I had to do that every 3 or 4 months to be honest, it is such a cheap cost and the time to do it is 10 minutes max.

    You are correct, if you let the strip wear down and don't change it, you'll see some weird cuts, stuff not cutting properly and your perf cuts not going all the way through. You'll notice this right away too, not something that will waste a ton of media to find out.
     
  9. TomK

    TomK Member

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    This is a horrible suggestion! I have a gerber, and I could never do stickers with it unless I was doing 1 color stickers. With the gerber you have to change out the foil for EACH color, and then run the vinyl material through it again.

    Forget about doing gradients and blended type colors, let alone the dpi on the gerbers is horrible. I was considering the Summa DC5 thermal before I purchased the HP, thank god I didn't purchase that.
     
  10. TomK

    TomK Member

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    That example you posted looks like a die/perf/half cut only, which would be a one-pass with the blade holder in the die cut position on the Graphtec, that is correct.

    If you are set on a Graphtec, I'll sell you my FC8600, it is hardly used and collecting dust, then I can use those funds to get another Summa. :)
     
  11. CDM Design

    CDM Design New Member

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    If you are planning to buy an HP printer and like what you are hearing about the Summa cutters why not by a print cut combo from HP. I spoke to a HP rep at a sign show in Toronto this past weekend and he mentioned the cutters that HP is offering with their print cut combos are in fact rebranded summa cutters. I am in a similar position- I have worked at a sign shop for years operating a Roland printer and Summa cut plotter - both fantastic machines. I own a Roalnd plotter and have no complaints what so ever. I am looking to purchase a printer/cutter/laminator combo and am leaning towards the HP Latex 115 Print + Cut combo with a Royal Sovereign laminator. The price point of the HP products are too good to be true. Im sure people could chime in all day with the pros and cons of solvent vs latex but I'm a big believer of using whatever works best for your operation. To each their own!
     
  12. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Gerber's are great if youre doing small runs, and don't need custom colors. Ours sits in a corner un-used... It's perfect for black only decals, lasts a lot longer than solvent / latex. It's good for short runs like helmet decals, not so good for custom sticker orders. I think the quality is better than solvent / latex... It's more smooth / solid colors. But again, your limited to specific colors, and Its not meant for running thousands of decals with cmyk colors.
     
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  13. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

    :welcome: to :signs101smilie: from OK :wavingflag:
     
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  14. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    Take a look at this thread. Question - HP 360 Profiling w/Caldera

    A lot of the grain problems with the latex printers are from improper setting in the media presets and from poor black generation setting when making profiles. The media is also a determing factor in this as to how it handles the ink and what effects different optimizer settings have on the how the ink spreads or pools on the media. Latex ink is a different ballgame than other inks. There is a very narrow sweet spot when it comes to ink density. Too much or too little is the cause of many problems.
     
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  15. Manevitch

    Manevitch HP Latex Solutions Architect

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    This is a misconception that pops up often. We worked with Summa very closely to create a new product line that is unlike the rest of their plotters - specifically, the addition of the barcode reader to automatically pull cut files from Flexi RIP directly into the plotter. Load the entire printed roll of film, read the barcode on the first job, and the plotter will cut that job and then advance to the next barcode and do it again. Even if it's a totally different print job. All the way to the end of the roll.

    That's unique to the HP plotters and it's not a simple rebadge.
     
  16. TomK

    TomK Member

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    I'm not so sure the barcode option is unique to the HP Summa cutters, I can do barcodes on my Summa with Flexi today, and a couple of others on here have posted tutorial's on how to do full roll barcode cuts.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  17. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

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    We do that easily with Onyx and Summa barcode server.
    Scan the first job then it will look for and cut anything else on the roll afterwards.
     
  18. xkellyx

    xkellyx Member

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    THIS! We have struggled since buying our HP a few years ago. Our vendor sold us on the latex and said it would do everything we wanted. Which was only to print stickers. Initially, we had a lot of issues with print heads and I thought the grain was a symptom of that. Nope. The vendor ghosted us as soon as we expressed our dissatisfaction. If you complain to HP about the grain in the prints they tell you to stand 3 meters 9.84 feet) away! None of my clients would accept standing ten feet from their product to view it. If it looks good from 3 meters it's within spec. This is not the perfect machine for printing anything which will be viewed from the distance of an arm's length. We've made the best out of the situation by working with HP on profiles and really pushing it to produce the least amount of grain possible.

    As for the 8600- I kiss cut and perf cut using the same blade position just different profiles. Works like a charm for me.
     
  19. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

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    If you want to be in that market, you should offer something that sets you aside from a lot of your competition. I am the biggest advocate for HP Latex and think they are really all around great machines with more pros than cons. BUT, if I was going to get into a highly saturated market, I would want something to make me stand out, and for that I would look at the new UV Printers from Mimaki, UV is instant dry and this machine does white ink so you can now print onto crazy substrates like fluorescents and solid colored vinyls that you can't print on with other inks. Its more expensive upfront to purchase but the uniqueness it offers is worth the extra cash I think. For about $32k I can get you a 54" printer with a matching laminator plus 4 rolls of vinyl and 4 rolls of laminate and it will come with your first set of inks.
     
  20. FrankW

    FrankW Very Active Member

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    HP uses a different Barcode type, but the barcode functionality is available on Summa Cutters since the introduction of OPOS X in 2005. I don‘t know why HP have re-developed this functionality, specially on coloured vinyl the original postnet barcode is better. Have tried to calibrate media on a yellow vinyl, this stupid background colour have driven me crazy.

    Polling the plot file from the RIP-Software directly is integrated into Flexi shortly for summa plotters too, before that it works with the barcode server integrated into Summa Cutter Control. Onyx too have integrated the direct poll in Version 18, when I tested it with a beta for network connection only ... havent tested it since release.
     
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