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What is a Summa DC4 worth?

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by Schoensignsgraphics, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Schoensignsgraphics

    Schoensignsgraphics New Member

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    I see a Summa DC4 for sale locally. What’s this machine worth?
     
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  2. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    Knowing nothing Id say 4-5k if it works properly
     
  3. Schoensignsgraphics

    Schoensignsgraphics New Member

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    All I know is Summa DC4 with dongle and all manuals. Brand new cassette and cyan ribbon.
     
  4. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    Usually you can get these with a bunch of ribbons which arent cheap. Ebay is a good place to get a general idea.
     
  5. Schoensignsgraphics

    Schoensignsgraphics New Member

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    Guy locally still has this one for $1000. Said he got it used from a shop he bought out. Claims nothing wrong with it. Comes with Dongle and all manuals. Brand new cassette and cyan ribbon. I'm interested in this machine but not sure if it's a good deal or not. What do you look for on these used machines?
     
  6. XtremeXccessories

    XtremeXccessories Member

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    $1k would be a good deal if it's working properly, they're $20k new (for the DC5, which I don't think has any huge improvements over the DC4) and $3k for a replacement ColorControl dongle, I believe. Does it just come with 1 cassette or a complete set? Keep in mind you'll need a cassette for each color you're printing with, so if you're printing CMYK (I don't really recommend this) you'll need 4, if you're printing using 3 spot colors you'll need 3, etc.

    I say I don't really recommend printing CMYK because it's very hard to get it to look good. It has a low DPI and prints in 3.93" passes, so you almost always have a pass line every 4 inches. It really shines if you print a lot decals using spot colors and preferably under 3.93 inches. The spot color pass lines aren't as noticeable, but they're there if you look for them since it overlaps a slight amount every pass.

    As to what to look for, ask for total printer usage (see image) and ask for a solid color test print; it doesn't matter what color the print is since it only has 1 printhead (see image). If I remember correctly the printhead has 1024 individual heating elements that heat up the resin and transfer it to the substrate, so if you look closely and you see a blank spot that goes the entire width of the print then it has a bad spot. If I remember correctly a new printhead is about $2,500 but fairly easy to replace.

    I ran one of these for several years, so if you have any questions I'll try my best to answer.


    IMG_20160817_154340.jpg IMG_20160817_160255.jpg
     
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  7. XtremeXccessories

    XtremeXccessories Member

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    Also keep in mind that they're pretty expensive to run. You need quality, smooth material or the resin won't transfer properly. Also, the ribbons are expensive. They run $159 to $242 and print 369 square feet at 100% coverage, so you're somewhere around 50 cents per square foot PER COLOR. So to print a CMYK image you're $2.00 per square foot for ribbons alone, and if there's literally one single dot of a color it will run the ribbon the entire width of the image on that pass. Printing a 4'x4' black and white image, but somehow a single yellow pixel got in there? It will pick up and replace the yellow cassette for every 3.93 inch pass and will lay it down for the entire 4' across when it comes to the pass with the one pixel of yellow. Granted, the ribbons are something like 1,100 feet long so it's not wasting a ton of ribbon, but it takes a good 20+ seconds to pick up the ribbon, go to start position, realize it doesn't need it that pass, then put it back in it's bay and pick up the proper color. Do that 13 times on a 4' print and that adds 4.5 minutes to the total print time. Can get very frustrating if you don't catch it until the print is 1/4 way done and you don't want to throw away ink and materials it's already printed...
     
  8. Schoensignsgraphics

    Schoensignsgraphics New Member

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    Thank you XtremeXccessories for the reply and information! What is a lot as far as total usage goes? I see you are over 10,000 sq feet. What life can be expected out of the print head, etc.?
     
  9. XtremeXccessories

    XtremeXccessories Member

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    Honestly I'm not sure what the life expectancy is on the printheads. We had to replace ours because it was damage from material contamination. Which reminds me, make sure it also has the OptiPrint cleaning system (or you get a new one if you purchase). It's a sticky roller that is mounted to the side of the printhead carriage and cleans contaminates ahead of the printhead. If it doesn't have it or it needs to be replaced that will add another $300 - 400 to the price for everything.

    The printhead cleaning pad is $94+shipping and that'll last 6-12 months depending on your output (can be rotated 4 times I believe). The OptiPrint adhesive roll is $99+ shipping and is basically a lint roller that cleans off the OptiPrint sticky roller that cleans the material, it has something like 100 tear-offs so it lasts quite a while. Then there's also the cut strip and blades for contour cutting and they'll need to be replace with use just like any plotter. That's pretty much it for consumables, it doesn't require constant maintenance like an inkjet or latex, it can sit for a year in a corner and print the same as the last time you used it after a little dusting off.

    Also, I was off on the cost of the printhead. They're only $1,500, not $2,500.
     
  10. Schoensignsgraphics

    Schoensignsgraphics New Member

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    Thanks again Xtreme. What material did you print on the most? Can it print right onto 651 or 751? What was your experience in actual outdoor life with and without laminating?
     
  11. XtremeXccessories

    XtremeXccessories Member

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    We used a lot of their material (not cheap) they say is specifically manufactured for use in the Summa DC series. You can get good results with 751, but it has to be unpunched edges. If there was some sort of contaminate that left a slight indentation in the film (even just a little spec of cardboard from the core that worked it's way in the roll) it will leave a blank spot in that area even if it's picked up by the cleaning roller; frustrating when it's a dark image and there's a 1mm x 1mm bright white spot in the middle of it. It needs a very flat surface to properly transfer the resin from the ribbon, so even mottling can cause it to be a splotchy print. Oracal 3951/3751 and 3M IJ180 usually worked well if you're doing vehicle graphics on it, but every once in a while you run into some mottling in the middle of the roll (especially 3M) and can completely ruin the print. I would definitely recommend getting sample rolls of any material you plan to print on and run it through before committing to a full roll.
     
  12. Schoensignsgraphics

    Schoensignsgraphics New Member

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    Thanks Xtreme. I've asked the guy a few more questions and waiting for a callback. I'm pretty sure now that it is actually a DC4sx and not a DC4......
     
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