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More Flatbed info, please!

Discussion in 'Flatbed Printers' started by MikeyG, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. MikeyG

    MikeyG Member

    Jan 23, 2014
    Hi again!
    Thanks to everyone who replied to my earlier thread about which flatbed printer my company should be looking into buying!

    I've another question, regarding flatbed printers and the way my company builds exhibitions...

    We build large, complicated exhibition stands, which involve complex curves and shaped panels.
    What we do currently, if a panel is required to be, say, a specific Panton colour, is print and then laminate large areas of colour onto self-adhesive vinyl or photo paper, which is then applied to (usually) gloss-fronted foamex sheets using a laminator/mounter. These sheets are then cut to the required shape.

    Sometimes the shapes are cut first (using a CNC router machine), then the colour is applied afterwards.

    What I'd like to know, is how a flatbed printer's printing would stand up to this procedure?

    I've read in this forum about people experiencing the print 'shattering', or scratching easily...

    There are, of course, also many occasions where an exhibition stand just needs a logo or large art-print, which stretches across several panels.
    Logos would currently be cut-vinyl, art-prints would be gloss-laminated photo prints, mounted onto the panels.

    Are flatbeds OK for this sort of thing? I'm concerned what would happen when printing a large, multi-panel art-print, if the print includes bleed and the panel is trimmed to size after being flatbed printed. (Damage to the print?)

    Apologies if any of this seems too simplistic for words, but I'm very, very new to the concept of flatbeds, and would greatly appreciate any advice or help!

    Many thanks!
  2. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Houston TX
    i prefer to cut first and print second for many projects. you don't get quite the speed of or yield out of the process but there's usually less risk involved if you are concerned about the edge of the ink chipping out due to the cnc bit. if it is acrylic, this may cause issues in that you wanted to do some white backing or metallic/opalescent effects before white backing. there for the edges may need to be projected. also there's polishing the edges of printed material. if the acrylic is translucent and needs polishing, that can be challenging.

    (in my experience, printing a flood white will never get you true stark opaque white background. yes, if you put enough. but post painting with a white paint is much faster, more opaque, and more durable and allows the printer to print twice as fast)

    it's good that you are asking these questions.

    when first introduced to uv flatbed, the concern was flat vs hybrid, what dpi, what speed, etc.

    after owning one, ink adhesion dominated the conversation and caused more throughput adjustments compared to print speed, color, etc.

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