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Starting out...with an inkjet?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by stonytoo, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. stonytoo

    stonytoo New Member

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    Hey guys, I currently do graphic design, but have had interest to get into the printing part of the business for a while, but have been taking my time before jumping in. Ive read up on alot here and had a few questions about using an inkjet for outdoor vinyl.

    I have a few prospects for temporary vinyl signs to be mounted on vans/ landscaper trailers. Nothing big, just a few 18x60 banner type signs advertising sales for . The designs are a bit color intensive with gradients and such, and ideally id have a roland with a laminator but I dont. I only have access to a canon 24" wide format, which is an dye based inkjet. But the inks are marketed as chromatic, and UV resistant. Now I know that using a wide format inkjet with vinyl for outdoor use gets iffy and should be considered only for temp purposes, but I figured this might be a way for me to ease into the business to see if I would even want to continue. Since these are seasonal specials with expiration dates, the customer is willing to try me out. Problem is, even procuring adhesive backed vinyl in 24" for an inkjet has been pretty hard. I know that any artwork type prints for outdoor use should be laminated.

    A few Q's...

    Anyone ever used vinyl on an inkjet? what type of laminate should I go with? Another thing, the landscaping trailer has rivets, can i even heat up an inkjet vinyl for installation around them? The guy prefers direct mount, but was open to using a substrate centered on the trailer for a picture frame look.

    Like I said, Im starting out extremely small b/c I really dont want to shell out the big $ and then end up selling it all off in 6 months.

    Appreciate your thoughts!
     
    Tags:
  2. Grafix USA

    Grafix USA Member

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    You'll always get more replies if you start your time on S101 with an introduction. Welcome.
     
  3. StopSignGraphics

    StopSignGraphics Active Member

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    Welcome.

    You and your customer will probably be happier if you sub the printing out. It will probably cost more to buy your own roll of material and ink than getting someone to print it for you.
     
  4. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    Not the best way to start out but if it is all you have and you want to give it a test run look into something like this:
    https://www.sihlusa.com/products/pdf/Sihl3175SpecSheet.pdf
    It is calendered so it is not going to lay down around those rivets too well but you can work around it.
    I would laminate it with Oracal's 210 gloss calendered laminate.
    Seal the edges with a one-shot sealer pen to keep the coating from splitting away from the vinyl base.
    You may not find 24" rolls of either one but you can get rolls split down to fit your machine.

    Interesting part is that if you can get it to work and do a little volume of work with an aqueous printer you will be amazed at how dead simple it is to set up and run good quality production work with a solvent machine, once you step up to a printer better suited for sign work.

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  5. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    The vinyl you buy for your Canon is going to be more expensive than the vinyl a solvent printer can print on. Plus, you didn't mention if you had a laminator, or at the least a big squeegee to laminate your print with.

    If I were in your shoes I would sub this out to someone with a solvent printer. Price-wise vs. doing it yourself will likely be a wash. You'll have zero investment in equipment and/or materials and you'll know the job will arrive printed, laminated, at your door, done right and ready to apply.

    Not saying you can't do what you propose, but I think in the end you'll be ahead to sub out.
     
  6. stonytoo

    stonytoo New Member

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    Thanks for the helpful responses guys. As far as subbing it out...if it were a sign or large job or anything that was meant to be permanent, I would definately go that way, or just refer him to someone. But since they are temporary promotional banners, I figured it might be a great way to get my feet wet and do it without too much risk of investment. Im not looking to do these initial jobs for the $, more for the experience and hand on learning value.

    I dont have a laminator, but when I have the media and laminate picked out, Im planning on buyin a big squeegee.

    Ive come across these for vinyl made specifically for the canon ipf,

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/388522-REG/Canon_0546V845_Adhesive_Matte_Vinyl_.html

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/431815-REG/Inkpress_AV24100_Adhesive_Vinyl_for_Inkjet.html

    anyone have experience with either?

    Please keep the responses coming, theyre appreciated.
     
  7. sjm

    sjm Member

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    Dude go for it. Tell us how the Canon 11mil vinyl worked out for you?
     
  8. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Very Active Member

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    11mil Wow!
     
  9. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Very Active Member

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    You could sub this stuff out for less than you can produce it. Contact some of the wholesale vendors here on 101. It's what every one of us would probably do if we were suddenly without a printer, even if we had that Canon sitting in our office.
     
  10. StopSignGraphics

    StopSignGraphics Active Member

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    I looked at the specs. According to Canon's website, "It is ideal for advertising signage in stadiums, construction signage and point-of-purchase (POP) for retail graphics, gift shops and positional or removable applications for up to three (3) months."

    It doesn't mention vehicles... not saying you can't but if your customer pays you for it and a month later it starts peeling off you probably should have a plan B.

    Seriously if want to get into this business go talk to some sign shops in your area. I would recommend working for someone else before you make an investment in equipment. At the very least you might find someone willing to give you a discounted rate.

    ~Chris
     
  11. Malkin

    Malkin Very Active Member

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    +1 on Wayne's tips above, that was much of our experience.

    Subbing IS the best option.

    That said, when we had an aqueous printer, we found that the laminate would occasionally separate from the vinyl, probably due to the somewhat chalky surface of the special coating it needed. To combat this, we would trim the print to size, then laminate and trim the laminate about 1/4" beyond the print to seal it in. Never had a problem after that.
     
  12. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

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    Subbing out printing is a good way to go. It gives you the best advantage for having a choice of printing and materials. Go to a trade show and check out the many different things that are being done with different types of printers. Welcome to signs101!
     
  13. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    If you are doing this for a friend it's one thing...

    However, keep in mind if you are producing work and charging for it you are representing yourself as a professional. If I were in your shoes (which I was 3 years ago) and thinking about starting out, one thing I would be concerned about would be my reputation. Sh#t happens - usually at the worst times. The last thing I would want is starting out with a strike against me. I'm not saying you can't do this on an aqueous machine, the question is should you?
     
  14. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    few of us here have ENCAD/kodak inkjets.........and with GO+ inks and lam can get a couple years outdoor life.
     
  15. stonytoo

    stonytoo New Member

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    The guy is a buddy of mine. Ive been doing his graphics for years, and was just doing his spring promo banners, which are up for maybe 3 months at a time, so I told him that since these are Temp signs, I want to test out signs on his vehicles. Told him to pay for materials only after the signs were to come off anyway, and if we had a problem with peeling, we can have them redone, no harm, no foul. Like I said, its more about me wanting to do it, than anything else.

    I tried subbing out a while ago, but the couple of places I called, I was quoted prices that were just about the same as if the customers went in themselves. Who knows, maybe since I can probably get better deals here, I might give subs another try on important jobs.


    Now, any other recommendations as far as materials? Judging by Salmoneyes reaction there, is 11mil too thick for vehicle signage? What type of lam do you think would give the best UV protection and adhesion to vinyl? (Itll be applied with a big squeegee)


    Thanks
     
  16. stonytoo

    stonytoo New Member

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    Jan 31, 2010
    CT
    which vinyl/lam do you think would be best?

    Thanks
     
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