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Looking for a new printer....need your opinions

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by gabagoo, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    My 12 year old Mimaki jv3 is just too troublesome these days and I think it is time. I am not excited about having to switch out a printer the way I would have been 10 or 15 years ago. I want to know that I won't have to re-educate myself too much switching printers as I don't have the time to sit and play very much these days.

    I have no idea what to buy... I will go for a demo in a couple of weeks....
    I am basically a busy one man show... ( used to have 2 employees, but enjoy working alone much better). I don't do wraps and for the most part print a lot of decals and retractable banner stand graphics and do plenty of vehicles.(no wraps, maybe a tiny partial)
    For the most part my printer sits idle more hours of the day than printing as I still do a lot of vinyl cutting. I have days where the printer runs pretty well non stop, but they are rare.

    I have read many threads about latex printers on this forum and have also been told the new latex printers are much better than they used to be...not sure that is true.

    I will probably buy another solvent Mimaki or possibly a latex printer....Not sure of the pros and cons and would like to hear from you guys in a similar position as me as to what you like about what you have and what you dislike....

  2. SignMeUpGraphics

    SignMeUpGraphics Very Active Member

    Apr 11, 2012
    If you're interested in sticking to the solvents, a few of us on here will recommend the current Epson S40600/60600/80600 models, each of which fills its own niche (entry level/high speed/huge gamut).
    All are virtually grain free in comparison to many other printer models. Haven't experienced the 40600, but the 60600 is ridiculously quick (dual CMYK) and the 80600 (CcMmYKkOR) has a virtually unmatched colour range.
    Dry times are 6 hours according to Epson, but will come off the printer close to fully dry at 8 pass or above. We've laminated several "emergency" jobs straight off the machine in the past two years and still no failures yet, however we usually wait the 6 hours or accelerate drying with a fan forced drying box we've made up.
    We make our own profiles for our S80600, so can exclude Orange/Red inks if extra longevity is required, but a bulk of our work is labels which have an expected life of <6 months so we usually use the full gamut.
    Maintenance is pretty close to zero. I think the printer asks us for a manual clean once a month which takes ~5 minutes and the waste bottle just got emptied for the 3rd time in 2 years.

    Best to send out some of your files to resellers in your area and see which machines are of acceptable quality to you and your clients. Of course try to buy from someone that can service the machine quickly should you ever run into any issues. No use buying something that no-one in your area can work on as it will guarantee a breakdown at the worst possible time.
  3. jfiscus

    jfiscus Map Wraster

    Apr 2, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    We ran JV3 printers here for over 10 years, and when we decided to make the switch we researched everything out there and went with Epson. Same onyx RIP, a couple good profiles and you're off. No issues, pretty much cleans itself, and prints beautifully. You'll be amazed once you switch at how much faster things are. Smells 10x better also.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

    Jun 22, 2009
    All Over
    LATEX ALL DAY!! Unless you need white ink.
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  5. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    Said it before I'll say it again. Find the dealer in your town or as close as possible to your shop. No matter the brand you want parts and a competent tech close by.

    To be honest if you're comfortable with Mimaki get another one. We have one in the lab at school at it runs day in day out and it runs a lot. All marketing collateral for our campus and satellite learning centers is done at our site. Wraps too.
    • Agree Agree x 3
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  6. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

    Jun 15, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    What is your target usage? Want a jack of all trades or something more specific?
  7. Mike Brice

    Mike Brice New Member

    Sep 18, 2019
    Annapolis, MD
    We recently purchased an Epson S80600 and I can't be happier. Great color and speed. We also have a 4 yr old HP 360. While it has some great advantages being a latex printer, it's been a money pit.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. TomNJ

    TomNJ Member

    Apr 11, 2017

    The best advice I can give is to go to the Printing United show in Dallas, TX later this month. It will cost you between $500 & $1,000 for airfare and 3 nights. Most everyone you talk to here will reccomend what they use or sell. Your situation and proximity to a servicing dealer will dictate what YOU need and can afford. Make the trip, it will be well worth it.
  9. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Hattiesburg, MS
    Another 2 cents... I have use Mimaki and about another half dozen different brands of printers.
    The one thing Mimaki is consistently better/easier at is loading/unloading material & the take-up reel.
    I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but some of these printers take 15-20 minutes to switch out material and
    then to heat up and/or the take up reels suck.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    I mostly print and lam using General Formulations calandered vinyl with a 3ml laminate, and have a summa d-140 cutter ( worse opus reader ever).
    I will generaly go through maybe 2 or 3 rolls of wrap film per year and not really for wraps, just want a good vinyl for vehicles. I guess I want a jack of all trades.

    The Mimaki has been good to me although I have to admit until I switched to third party inks, dealing with colour and scuffing issues was a problem, that I don't want to experience again. Will look into the epson and the Mimaki...Still afraid of latex...Don't like hearing the words...replace the print head!!!


    Jul 12, 2019
    Panama city, Panama
    Maybe you can think in having a Roland model, which prints AND cuts vinil. They ussualy have a good service also
  12. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

    Jun 15, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    In that case have you looked at the Mimaki UCJV300 series? We have been playing with samples and getting ready to pull the trigger. With the LUS170 and 200 series inks you can produce vehicle graphics and even wraps. Plus do special effects printing and also do unlaminated prints with similar durability to latex.

    We as a shop are not sold on solvents "improvements" but the newer flexible UV Printers are very intriguing.

    WE are an all latex shop right now. Some of your fears are true and others are unfounded. The print heads are minimal cost, easy to do, and not as prevalent as people make it out to be. The flexibility of latex is second to no technology on the market, but close view PQ and ultravibrant color is not it's strong suit. Production and a Wide range of printable substrates is its benefits.
    • Like Like x 3
  13. ddarlak

    ddarlak Trump Hater

    pick up a HP Latex 315, if you get enough salesmen involved (Grimco, LexJet and a few others) one will cave in and throw in the take up reel for no charge. $9999USD and you won't be sorry.

    I had a few of the first model's - HP l25500, they did me well, but the 315 is alot better.

    i bought it 25 months ago, I have printed 76,258.46 ft² of material, roughly 52 ink carts and have never had an issue, still original heads.
  14. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    We switched from the JV3 to Epson S70670 when aftermarket cyan ink killed 3 printheads in 6 weeks. Because I'd been so long without being able to produce prints, and because we bought at the new model introduction, when the printer arrived I didn't have time to wait for my appointment to have it set up. I uncrated it and set it up myself. I was printing by the end of that day. Everything is so superior to what the JV3 could do. And instead of having the printer in a sealed room next door to my desk with outside venting, as I did with the JV3, I can have it in the same room. Operationally, I don't think you'll have any trouble.

    It took some getting used to the Epson ecosystem. Other than routine cleaning, there isn't much in the way of maintenance or repairs to do yourself. All service is done by one nationwide service network, and is coordinated not from the selling dealer, but by calling Epson directly. Typically I had service within 1-2 days of the call.
  15. yes take your time go to a show i have a roland vg540 had it 8 months nothing but problems just beware if you
    buy a roland and have problems they do a pec report before they do any thing then the finger pointing starts you did
    this you did that if they dont like the report you get denied !!!!!! that fast folks it seems like you have to fight with them to repair
    there printer do your home work !!!!!!!
    • OMG / Wow! OMG / Wow! x 1
  16. zspace

    zspace Merchant Member

    Jul 9, 2013
    Houston, TX
    I completely agree - no local support - no sale. (Unless you have the skills to make your own repairs)
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Signed Out

    Signed Out Very Active Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    Upstate NY
    I wouldn't suggest a latex for your situation at all. The pros to latex are the ability to print on more specialty materials such as fabrics. And that they don't have any drying time before lamination. Neither of which seem important to your setup. The poor print quality, inconsistent colors from degrading heads, and high heat related problems, just not worth it. Add to that latex works different then solvent, you will end up with a lot more learning to do with the latex route.
    We have a new epson and it is quite impressive. If you've had good luck with you Mimaki and don't want to spend much time learning again, why not stick with them? Doesn't seem like you are trying to expand your capabilities really? I don't know much about the mimakis though. When we added an epson S80, we had to migrate away from versaworks to onyx. Bit of a learning curve but not all that bad really.
  18. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

    Nov 28, 2007
    Middleburg, Florida
    I have three friends with latex printers. None of them will buy another or ever deal with hp again.
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  19. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    Guys, I really appreciate the input here.... I have a lot to think about.... Definitely need to check out the Epsons
  20. ddarlak

    ddarlak Trump Hater

    I am the opposite of that, I will only ever own an HP moving forward. I can't say enough how great they work for me.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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