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Small printer help...

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by 777signs, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. 777signs

    777signs Member

    May 5, 2009
    I am looking for a small 30-36 inch printer, something around $3-4K(or less of course) that would work with vinyl and photgraphic paper. I do not need a larger printer, and I don't need a cutter in it. I have been looking at new canon, hp, and epson printers, but don't know how they would work on vinyl. Any suggestions???
  2. solock

    solock Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    Easton PA
    Printers in that class are either 24" or 44" if you want to print on photographic paper. If what you mean by printing on photographic paper you want to make true photographic quality prints, then aqueous is the only choice for true photo paper and true photo quality.

    Choices in a 44" printer are either Epson 9800 or 9900, HP Z3200, or Canon IPF8100.

    New they arein the $4500-5200 range.

    All are multiple black printers, all do full bleed on most standard photo sizes, and all are pretty close in quality.

    The canon is faster, the epson has more rip options can print on thicker stock than the others (and is the cheapest) and the HP is the cheapest to run on factory inks.

    I run 6 printers, an epson 4000 and 9600 (same ink, 17" and 44") 3 HP Z3100 or 3200 printers (2 24" and 1 44") and an epson GS6000 solvent.

    If you want to print on vinyl then you need to choose aqueous vinyls which will be 3-5 times more expensive than the solvent equivilant. And you will need to laminate to get any real outdoor life (1 year?) and even then it wont compete with the life of an unlaminated solvent print(2 years) or a laminated solvent print (3+ years)

    I think that the HP Z class machines are the best of the current breed of aqueous pigment printers, they are the cheapest to run in the real world, the Z3000 class adds a clear overcoat that makes glossy photos look like true photos, and make a stunning canvas print. But new is close to $5000

    I run the GS6000 for mostly canvas now, and its pretty damn good, but my most discerning canvas prints still go on the Z3100s.

    In your price range, you may be best served by picking up a used/refurbed Z3100 or epson 9600. Both last generation machines, but ones that are well regarded and half the price of a new printer. The epson 9600 has myriad 3rd party inks available and the z3100 has nothing big to repair as you replace the heads yourself, so no real huge impact of a $2000 head repair...

    Hope that helps...
  3. noregrets

    noregrets Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    In my experience you will struggle to get a printer that will do both photographic paper and vinyl well - within your budget anyway. I have a Roland SP300 and a few Canon and Epson wide formats. The aqueous Canons and Epsons are great for the photographic stuff and the Roland is great for vinyl. Horses for Courses really.

    What are you going to be printing the most of - If you cannot afford both types of printers go for one that will be most suited to what you will be performing the majority of your printing on

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