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Mutoh 1204 Printing on Engineer Grade Prismatic

Discussion in 'Mutoh' started by RidgewoodSignal_JO, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. RidgewoodSignal_JO

    RidgewoodSignal_JO New Member

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    Hi i was wondering if anyone had any experience printing on 3m engineer grade prismatic sheeting. I'm trying to print street signs (stop, yield etc...) but when i print on the material the ink seems to be blotchy and uneven in spots. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Pete
     
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  2. HaroldDesign

    HaroldDesign Very Active Member

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    Your best bet is going to be printing on a pressure sensitive vinyl and mounting to the substrate. If a substrate isn't specifically meant to be printed direct with the particular ink set (solvent, aqueous, etc...) you'll have a hard time (if ever any luck) printing directly on it.
     
  3. Compilla

    Compilla Active Member

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    I did try one time,
    did not produce any sellable quality images tough
     
  4. RidgewoodSignal_JO

    RidgewoodSignal_JO New Member

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    I've had some success printing on it but the quality is just not where i want it. I was just wondering if anyone knew because the premade signs we order such as pedestrian crossing are printed on the prismatic material and seem fine.
     
  5. randya

    randya Very Active Member

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    My guess is that they are screened.
     
  6. OttoC

    OttoC New Member

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    Crank your heaters up to 45 45 and 50
     
  7. RidgewoodSignal_JO

    RidgewoodSignal_JO New Member

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    I assumed that some of them were screened but then again if your mass producing all these signs do you really have time to screen all of them. As for the heaters mine are set at 40 42 and 49.
     
  8. randya

    randya Very Active Member

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    There can be very different properties between screen media and inkjet media.
    Screen inks are very viscous and very, very thick compared to ink jet inks which much be squeezed through a very tiny nozzle.

    Solvent systems can be very different between the two types of media as well.

    3M does make inkjet reflective media as well as their 'industrial grades'.

    Cleaning with alcohol and higher temps may help with the printing, but may not provide adequate adhesion and my require overlam for durability.

    Please let us know what you find out.
     
  9. Compilla

    Compilla Active Member

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    Double pass it...
     
  10. gnemmas

    gnemmas Active Member

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    Print on clear vinyl then laminate on the prismatic.
     
  11. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    Yes, screen printing is faster if the message is the same...
    And as slow a process as it may seem, even street signs are screenprinted (or transparent vinyl)

    In order to make MUTCD compliant signs the whole sign must be reflective, so even if you could print directly you have to make sure the whole face reflects.

    I have seen some signs printed on clear, applied to retro reflective vinyl then graffiti film on top of that.
     
  12. QCman

    QCman New Member

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    One way you could try is Print it on EC transparent overlay film. There customers are very happy with this. Check American Traffic safety Materials. Even with this system you will have to lamate ovet the printing to get any life over 3 years. The EC film will last 10 years. www.atsminc.com
     
  13. amgraph

    amgraph New Member

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    One offs and short runs are typically printed on a specific UV printer. The new DOT standard reflective made by 3M is a screen or UV printable material only. We just print on clear/contour cut and mount. Not technically correct but it works....
    Andy
     
  14. RidgewoodSignal_JO

    RidgewoodSignal_JO New Member

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    I have been printing directly onto the prismatic recently and letting it dry longer with the heaters turned up and the results have been pretty decent. I do have transparent vinyl so im going to give that a try and let you guys know.
     
  15. RidgewoodSignal_JO

    RidgewoodSignal_JO New Member

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    Here's an example of a sign we just printed out. Everything was printed on white 3m prismatic.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    this is what I would do!!!
     
  17. RidgewoodSignal_JO

    RidgewoodSignal_JO New Member

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    Here's two examples of signs printed where the ink comes out blotchy. Could the head height have something to do with this?
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Allied Digital

    Allied Digital Member

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    I had a blothy issue once and figured out that my damp shirt (from an earlier water application) had run up against the media while loading it. Clammy hands will do this too.
     
  19. steiny

    steiny New Member

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    As Randy pointed out above, some media is designed for screening or cutting, some is designed for actual printing. In the case of the Mutoh, my understanding is the heaters actually open up "pores" on the media (yes, vinyl does have these pores) which allow the inks to be impregnated into the material, thus giving the image longer life and UV resistance. The solvent components act as carriers for the pigment and then the post-heater bonds the ink to the material.

    It could just be the 3M prrismatic is not manufactured to a digital printing spec, thus the varying degrees of success with the product. Being that you have had some success, have you tried playing with your saturation levels a little bit or perhaps a different profile to see if it makes a difference?
     
  20. rfulford

    rfulford Active Member

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    I have ran about 6 rolls of this on my XLJet. Static was a huge issue. Every so often, the white, non print area of the film would build up so much static that it would actually pull a bit of magenta out of the head and leave a thin magenta line.

    Calibration and profiling looks like it would be a huge issue. I never bothered on the last job since I was running the same 4 colors all the time. As was mentioned above, printing on clear would be the simplest method. I would worry about the reflectivity with a clear PSA and overlam. Even a simple overlam kills the reflectivity quite a bit.

    I am supposed to receive a sample roll today and run a test on my GS6000 for someone who is thinking of purchasing an Epson. I will post my results later on today.
     
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