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need advice on subimation printers / printing

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by gieseguy, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. gieseguy

    gieseguy Member

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    need to get a printer that uses sublimation inks. am mainly going to be using it for metal. it needs to be at least 24" wide and use bulk inks. also would need to have bulk ink tanks. noticed some are like 8 or 9 color and others 5 wondering how necessary the 8 or 9 color is? we won't be doing a lot of photographic type prints. Also wondering about the inks I know they are expensive and am aware of sawgrass wondering if the machines warranty is only for certain inks. also would like to ask if anyone is sublimating anything like a 2'x6' size metal and what you are using to heat/press that?

    Ken
    wrap edge
    Minnesota
     
    Tags:
  2. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Not really necessary. I've never had a call for 8 or 9.


    I use sawgrass. I have palettes for Draw that very close match what sawgrass inks can produce, so I've never really tried any other ink. There is a german produced sublimation ink that looked promising, but I've just never tried it.


    Well, if you are looking at Geo Knight presses, you are looking at something along the Maxi Presses or the 931 Triton.
     
  3. gieseguy

    gieseguy Member

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    hey thanks for the info WWD,

    what brand and size printer do you guys use? Yeah have looked at those heat presses when they get that big the cost is way up there.
     
  4. gieseguy

    gieseguy Member

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    looking at these presses brings up another question. could you panel a print if you had a solid color background or white? I'm sure you would get a seam with background other than the blank, where the ink overlaps just trying to figure out if we could use that 30 x 40 press.
     
  5. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Ricoh and Epson (for the bigger ones). Although it's relabeled as a Dye Trans.


    If you overlap them, in my experience, you'll get a darker color at the seam. At that big of a size, not too sure if I would like to see a seam like that.
     
  6. amw

    amw Member

    We like the epson printers.

    Marsha
     
  7. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    I'd take a step back and try to understand why you are trying to use dye sublimation on this. What is it? What's the use? Indoor/Outdoor?

    You do know you can't sublimate directly on metal, right? The metal has to be coated.

    You might have the perfect application for it, but just sitting here thinking, I can't think of an application that size that dye sublimation would be perfect for, so I'm curious on the use.

    Also, it's not great with UV light, so if it's outdoors or gets exposed to sun, I'd say that would be a bad choice (I know the Artanium inks from Sawgrass are supposed to be good for UV, but you don't hear much about them).
     
  8. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Other then synthetic fabrics that's true with just about anything. With metal, it can either be a clear coat that it looks like bare metal or it's a plastic coated sticker that you sublimate.

    Atrium murals would be a good use. May or may not get direct sunlight, depends on how the atrium is set up. I haven't had issues with outdoor flags done via sublimation that get full sun exposure, but that's fabric not metal. With SS metals used for sublimation, the colors do turn out very vibrant if the application is done correctly.

    Back to the Epson printers, you do want to make sure that they are running fairly often as they do have a reputation for clogging with sublimation inks if left unused for any length of time.
     
  9. gieseguy

    gieseguy Member

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    thanks for the replies guys. was just getting some samples made yesterday from a guy who has a sublimation printer shop and he gave me 3 samples while I was there sublimated on aluminum with a white background. he is sending more samples with the metal background so wondering why you are saying it can't be done on metal?

    at this point rather not say what it is going to be used for. It won't be an exterior product. I asked this guy if he had problems with the head clogging and apparently it was a none issue he is using a 40 or 44 inch epson.
     
  10. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I haven't had head clogging either on my Epson, but unlike the Ricoh printer, you don't want the Epson sitting, that's the issue. If it's sits, you run the potential for issues.

    As to not doing it on metal. The metal has to be coated to accept sublimation inks. You aren't going to be able to just go down the street and pick up a piece of metal, it has to be prepped for sublimation.

    There are products to do prepping yourself, however, those products are spotty at best. Mainly due to the consistency of your application to the substrate.
     
  11. gieseguy

    gieseguy Member

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    yeah I asked the guy doing the samples he is using a polyester based coating on the metal to prep before printing.

    so I know about the epson doesn't mutoh and mimaki make printers for this does anyone use those with sublimation inks?
     
  12. gieseguy

    gieseguy Member

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    WWD,

    how many colors are you using? is your epson a 4 color?, 5 color?
     
  13. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    4 colors here with the Sawgrass inks. Mainly because of how close my color palette is in Draw with the output of the Sawgrass inks.
     
  14. rubo

    rubo Member

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    Hi Ken, why not print directly on metal? Don't know what size you're thinking about, but I print .025 aluminum sheets ( 2'x4') on Epson 7800 all the time w pigment inks. I run the printer in CMYK only, there are couple of ink receptive coatings that work pretty good w metals (InkAid for one), so you coat the sheet, let it dry, print, overcoat (automotive clear - that's what I use) and you're done - no need for a heat press or anything else dye-sub, and it's a lot cheaper - the .025 aluminum sheet
    (2'x4') is about $12 - dye-sub coated material of that size is about $90.
    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Rubo
     
  15. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    I understand all of that. I've dye subbed metal many times. I'm simply asking because I'm not sure the OP fully understands the process and materials.

    Why would you make an atrium mural with that as opposed to the other options available? I just don't see it offering a "superior" solution to something like that. Sure, it can be done, but just because it can be done doesn't make it the right solution. Not knowing the use, it's hard to give someone advice on it.

    Sawgrass standard inks are not UV stable. You can do it, but you'll do it at your own risk. WW, you also live in TN, if I recall correctly. There's a big difference in exposure in TN and AZ or FL. Just because it lasts in your area doesn't mean it's a good fit all around.

    With flatbed printers these days, you can have stunning things printed which will last a long long time indoors and it'll be a LOT less expensive for what's being described here.
     
  16. rubo

    rubo Member

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    no need for flatbed - guess you missed the post right above yours :peace!:
     
  17. amw

    amw Member

    Not sure where your getting your prices from. 2'x4' dye sub aluminum is not $90..much less. (More like $30 ish depending on how many and where you get it from)

    Marsha
     
  18. premiercolour

    premiercolour Very Active Member

    We are trying to get distributorship for a Flat bed up to 3 meter using Ricoh Gen4 print head, 7 colors of your choice includes white.

    We want to exhibit this printer in ISA 2013.
     
  19. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I didn't say it was a superior solution. You are right it depends on the nit gritty of what you are able to do, what the client wants and the job itself. I, however, would not eliminate it as a viable option. Again it depends on the specifics, you are right there.

    I didn't say it did in all areas. However, considering that the OP is in MN, I would say that I would deal with a harsher environment then him. I also was not advocating outdoor usage, but I did mention that outdoor banners as that is what I do have experience with outdoors, but I stipulated that it was fabric compared to metal. The fabric as a whole is more then likely going to break down quicker from exposure to the sun and/or wind elements before they would complain about the breakdown of inks.
     
  20. rubo

    rubo Member

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    I stand corrected :Oops: - then all the power to you. I thought I've seen that price somewhere - then again, it doesn't negate my idea of printing direct on aluminum. After all, the guy wants to have an image on aluminum, it's just another (cheaper / better?) way to put it there from a computer.

    Rubo
     
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