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recommendation on very cheap old flatbed

Discussion in 'Flatbed Printers' started by artbot, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    i have a question for the flatbed gurus out there.

    i've been printing on .060 aluminum (as large as 60 x 110") with a jv3 using two air tables (like air hockey).

    with the printer i mainly use clear, black, and white ink for my product. so i don't need process/cmyk color. i also only need about 360 dpi. more dpi is better but makes little difference. i also don't require UV. it would be nice to have it for some operations. but i'd also like to be able to turn off the lamps for other processes.

    i'm wanting to upgrade to a true flatbed printer in order to make my product more simple and repeatable (i reload and print several times on the same part so i really would like to get the perfect registration that a flatbed provides).

    what inexpensive machines are out there that can be cheaply purchased (less than $30,000). hell, i'd go for a trusty $8000 piece of crap as long as it did what i tell it to do which isn't much. i'm of course concerned about spare parts, finicky firmware, dependability in general. one printer i've been looking at is a gerber ion v or x. but i really don't feel qualified to be choosing a printer in the category at all.

    are there some obsolete dinosaurs that i should be looking at? thanks in advance for any advice this thread might generate!
     
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  2. ChicagoGraphics

    ChicagoGraphics Major Contributor

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    Go to this place www.globalgarage.net they have a few good used flatbed Vutek's for under 30k, might be worth looking into amoung other machines.
     
  3. tcorn1965

    tcorn1965 Very Active Member

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    Artbot,
    We have the gerber ION. When it prints, the prints look fantastic. It is slow and in the year we have had it, it has broke down more times than I can count. Additionally, Gerber is getting out of the flat bed printing and will only support it for about another five years. My 2cents

    Terry
     
  4. tcorn1965

    tcorn1965 Very Active Member

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  5. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    @ tcorn is the vutek a "pinch roller" flatbed? this issue is that i already have that going. i'm wanting to over print my sheets to the point that i almost have a low profile 3d printer. and the pinch rollers will get caught in the crevices of texture.

    also @ tcorn are the gerber break downs ink or head related? because i'm not going to be printing much ink. ...mostly varnish. or are they "printer hiccups"? ...like the printer just brain farts and locks up and makes the day miserable?

    i also was looking at the zund 215c (they seem to be unsellable used) they have an odd giant belt/bed not sure how to index the bed over and over again unless it's eyeballing it which in don't like. also there is the early arizona 250gt's. but they all seem so beastly for such a light weight process as mine. i'm almost considering putting an encad 880 on gear track and making my own flatbed. there are so many diy dtg sights out there, there may be enough pre-engineering to glean from?
     
  6. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    I don't think you'll find what you're looking for at that price point. Everything decent that cheap is pinch roller.


    Maybe this? Has issues, hence price: http://www.theequipmentguy.ca/?p=1189
     
  7. tcorn1965

    tcorn1965 Very Active Member

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    tcorn is the vutek a "pinch roller" flatbed? this issue is that i already have that going. i'm wanting to over print my sheets to the point that i almost have a low profile 3d printer. and the pinch rollers will get caught in the crevices of texture.

    No it is not a pinch roller it uses the belt system. We use this to print our ceramic tiles, alumiplexi signs, di-bond, coroplast, banners

    also @ tcorn are the gerber break downs ink or head related? because i'm not going to be printing much ink. ...mostly varnish. or are they "printer hiccups"? ...like the printer just brain farts and locks up and makes the day miserable?

    Here is what we have had done approximately from they guy that runs can remember.
    In the last year
    6 encoder strips
    Replaced lamps 5x
    2 pumps
    Y axis belt
    Yellow when we first got due to bad ink, no problems since the new inks

    What we do like about this printer is that the substrate never moves. The heads move over the substrate.
    And with the inks you almost get a screen print look-nice and glossy wheras other flatbed printers it is more matte


    i also was looking at the zund 215c (they seem to be unsellable used) they have an odd giant belt/bed not sure how to index the bed over and over again unless it's eyeballing it which in don't like.

    With our vutek a (for lack of a better word) fence comes down and the substrate lines up against or it is an odd shaped substrate we have created a jig

    also there is the early arizona 250gt's. but they all seem so beastly for such a light weight process as mine. i'm almost considering putting an encad 880 on gear track and making my own flatbed. there are so many diy dtg sights out there, there may be enough pre-engineering to glean from?[
     
  8. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    thanks for all the info. i use stops on my jv3 for indexing/overprinting. but the issue is over 10' the pinch rollers will usually miss a millimeter here and there. not even noticeable until you want to over print several times and way at the back end of the print the register may be off by a few millimeters. or a buckle in a sheet of aluminum will cause the pinch rollers (btw, i've replaced the springs in my jv3 pinch rollers so they really press down with a lot of force) can to lessen their contact force. the air table basically makes the sheet weightless on both ends, but i still have to deal with friction across the platen. and the thicker and wider the material the less spring force and more square footage of friction i get. if i was only wanting to print on 4x8 .040 aluminum i'd have it made. those sheets run dead straight and the feed roller never slips. a 5x10 .060 sheet of aluminum weighs around 40-50lbs and sometimes has a mild crown.

    the ability for the sheet to stay put and to index several times to within a hundredth of and ink over large sheets would be great. with the vutek fence/indexing, is there any variation or slippage that would translate over several separate passes? and does the belt have any vacuum assist?

    the gerber sounds like it would lay down some really nice varnish and black. but all those mechanical problems! that is crazy! six encoder strips! i've done some cussing at my printer but never had to deal with that much repeated lemon like behavior.
     
  9. SebastienL

    SebastienL Active Member

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    Artbot,

    We have one of these in the shop. I have no clue as to how much this might be worth, but there is a lot of option you can probably do without and maybe you can find a used one.

    http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/graphic_arts_printing/large-format-printing/printers/acuity/advance/index.html

    We do a lot of "registry" work with it : overprinting several layers on the same substrate, printing on "3D" surfaces, printing on odd shape substrates...

    It can print white, and the ink lays on pretty thick. Print twice and it looks like it has been screen printed.

    We've had it for 2 years now, I think, and it has never let us down.
     
  10. Coloradosigns

    Coloradosigns Major Contributor

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    The acuity and the Oce are the same machine. Both great machines.
     
  11. tcorn1965

    tcorn1965 Very Active Member

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    is there any variation or slippage that would translate over several separate passes? and does the belt have any vacuum assist? Not if your using the same piece of substrate. you should be able to numerous passes without any variations. This does have vacuum assist
     
  12. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    thanks for all the info guys! sounds like all i need to do is bump my budget up a few grand and i'm in with an older machine. that acuity does look good in that i've seen youtube vids of it and it seems to have good visibility. i like to hang over my sheets and see what's going on. also, it seemed to run "quiet". not really quiet but not as loud as others. when my machine is running it sounds like a tornado is outside (two blowers, an air scrubber, and the vacuum vent on the printer, plus y motors).

    i like the sound of thick ink that can stand up. my ink can go on really thick, i sell it as a product i call digi-boss. if i really glop it on, it's thick but reduces detail. putting it on twice at medium thickness would be crisp and even deeper texture.
     

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  13. SebastienL

    SebastienL Active Member

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    this was printed on our Accuity.

    1/4 in from highest to lowest point.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    that is really really impressive! very nice work! the ink looks really thick and opaque! i may go back to cmyk if i could get some color like that.

    with such thick ink is the issue of fading still a problem? my projects go in hospitals and such (indoors sometimes with bright sunlight coming through glass ceilings). the commercial projects want their temporary art to last 15 years, but larger pieces (mine) over 50 years. so i like to stick with solid long term pigments.
     
  15. SebastienL

    SebastienL Active Member

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    Thanks!

    As for longevity, we've had the machine for 2 years only, so kinda hard to say. This particular project has a waterbased clear on top.
    We do, however, print bus panels when our Inca Columbia Turbo is down. And so far, ink seems to hold up very well. At least way better then the Inca.
     
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