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I need input on an HP printer

Discussion in 'Hewlett Packard' started by competition graphics, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. competition graphics

    competition graphics New Member

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    Apr 10, 2008
    I've been putting this off for some time but I may be taking the leap. In the 15 yrs of being in the biz I have always farmed out my print stuff and just do the designs and send the files to another friend's shop close by to get whatever I need handled. I do the easy cut vinyl side and it has worked well but I have a friend that has a 60 inch HP machine that I can jump into very right and I am wondering how many of you guys have had some time with HP machines and what your expiriences have been....good or bad......I'm torn and I could use some of your vast insight. Thanks, David
     
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  2. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Member

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    May 6, 2010
    I've had 5 HP printers over the past 10 years. What would you like to know, and which model are you looking at?
     
  3. CropMarks

    CropMarks Member

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    Dec 16, 2009
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I've used the following... 2500, 3500, 5000ps, 5500ps & Z6100ps. For Aqueous printers they're pretty nice and the print heads are fairly cheap on the 5000, 5500 & Z6100. Out of all of them that I've used, the z6100 had really nice color. It was even able to hit pantone colors better than the other models I've used. Maybe some of the other Z models are really nice too??? The media feed system is annoying on all of them compared to the roland FJ-540 I own now. Just be careful with the media spindles... they love to crack/break.

    Do you do mostly indoor or outdoor stuff? We are actually switching over to solvent at my shop... 9 out of 10 jobs we get would work better with solvent and they are WAY cheaper to run and the prints are WAY more durable than aqueous ink machines/prints. So, if all you do is indoor stuff, you could probably find a used 5500 or a Z series machine that might be affordable.

    On the other hand... some of the new solvent machines have really nice looking prints too.
     
  4. competition graphics

    competition graphics New Member

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    Apr 10, 2008
    It's a 6100 and I have seen some of the prints the machine has done on a racecar trailer that was done 2 or 3 yrs ago and with 210 lam on the prints the stuff still looks good. The only reason ( and maybe I am scared for the wrong reasons ) that I would not do a solvent machine is I know I won't keep it as busy as I should be and keep the heads clean and running without issue. The horror stories of shutting down a machine and not using it for awhile and then fire it up and all hell comes calling is not something I need to be dealing with. I am hoping the HP machine is not the same maintainence as with the solvent inks. Again, maybe I am wrong, thats why I have left the printing to someone else this long. Also i'm about 50/50for indoor and outdoor work.
     
  5. CropMarks

    CropMarks Member

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    Dec 16, 2009
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I've done a lot of outdoor bumper stickers on HP's adhesive vinyl media and they did hold up better than I expected. One big problem that we had at the old shop that I worked at was they tried to switch to non-HP brand media that was cheaper and we had a huge problem with print head strikes (where the media gets oversaturated with ink causing it to get wavy... then the print heads hit the high points in the media). We did have good luck with some media by Professional Image and Advantage Sign Supply.

    Does anyone out there know how often or how much you have to print to a solvent based machine to keep the print heads happy? (we are still aqueous at this point)
     
  6. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Member

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    May 6, 2010
    As you know, the 6100 is an aqueous printer. With a laminate, the prints can last a long time outdoors. You will pay more for vinyl media, but if you don't print on this material often, the savings in the machine may offset the cost.

    I've also had a Mimaki JV3, and because that part of my business was very cyclical, I had many problems during down periods. I finally shut it down and purchased an HPL25500 latex ink machine in April. It's been a great machine so far. Prints well on the usual mix of solvent vinyl materials, has no daily maintenance, and can sit for a week and start printing with no clogged nozzles. While the color gamut is not as large as my 12 color aqueous machines, it's more than enough for the banners and vehicle graphics and POP work. It also prints really well on offset gloss paper, which cost about $0.10 per square foot. You might want to look at it.

    As far as my aqueous ink HP's went, I had 2 HP5000's for 9 years, and ran at least $1,000,000 of output between the two. My total maintenance on each was to replace the belts on each machine twice (3 year intervals). They ran perfectly for years. The only problem was HP support from time to time, so get one from a good local dealer who can work with you.
     
  7. NZDR-Payne

    NZDR-Payne Member

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    Jan 22, 2010
    Ideally you want to use a solvent machine everyday for best performance. You can get by with using it a couple times a week but you must be religious about performing the routine manual maintenance. You always need to keep the machine plugged in as well so it can perform the automatic cleanings/ink cycles. If you are ever going to leave the machine unplugged for a while you need to flush out the ink.
     
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