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Where do I get the BEST?

Discussion in 'Vehicle Wraps' started by JoeRees, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    I have a need for a vendor to make my vehicle graphics and I want the best - the best colors, sharpness, and contour-cut accuracy on the longest-lasting, easiest to apply material available. My ideal vendor must be capable of producing small stickers of 3" up to medium-sized wraps of 30" or so with the finest detail possible and precision contour cuts. Additionally, I would love my supplier to be close to me so I could pick up jobs in person instead of having to ship everything (I am located in coastal New Hampshire between Boston and Portsmouth). My source files will be clean and sharp with sane contour paths and I want to see them reproduced in their best light. What gear or specs should I be asking for and would anyone like to throw their hat in the ring or recommend someone?
    Thanks,
    -Joe-

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  2. 2B

    2B Moderator

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  3. greysquirrel

    greysquirrel Member

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    go to someone using epson sure color s80....max dpi is 1440x1440...best iq in its class....
     
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  4. FireSprint

    FireSprint Merchant Member

    We stock 3M IJ 180 CV3. In terms of the "Best" possible print, we are mostly calibrated for fleet graphics or retail displays, but our customers seem to be pretty pleased with what we output. We Zund cut everything, and I know there isn't anything better than that.

    Whatever supplier you choose to work with, you should order samples and make your own decision.

    Thanks!
     
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  5. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

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    lol have fun with this one guys.
     
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  6. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    Why do you say that, is this a topic of frequent heated debate here? I've been buying printing from others for a long time but the equipment is always evolving so I don't know what's relevant anymore, nor do I trust my vendors to clue me in when something better is available. You know, everybody sells what they can output, even if it's not ideal for my project because they're locked into that one technology. This unavoidable obsolescence is the primary reason I do not want to own my own printer - plus I'm not volume-oriented so a printer would never earn its own weight. So you might say 'have fun' but I say 'help a brother out', this is very serious to me - people outside the print-biz have a sincere need to know. I am your potential customer and I'm telling you something valuable - that I need more info to be fully comfortable giving someone my business. I don't think I'm unique in that either - as print-buyers we are largely at your mercy.
     
  7. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    I've already learned something new from graysquirrel about the Epson sure color s80 having a max dpi of 1440x1440 (I bet that looks nice!) and from FireSprint about something called Zund cutting of which there isn't anything better. I'm not sure how to parlay that into finding my ideal vendor but it is the kind of input I was hoping to receive THANK YOU. Maybe a trip to a sign expo is in order, it's been like 20 years since I've been to one so it'd probably blow my mind to see what's new out there. Is it fair to ask whether any particular technology is favored for small-to-medium-sized, very-high-rez, vehicle prints - I mean like UV vs Solvent vs Latex, etc? It's a big strange world out there for the uninformed.
     
  8. Baz

    Baz Very Active Member

    Your printing on heated vinyl.
    New printers won't print any nicer than printers that are a couple of years old.
    The resolution is limited by the media.

    I am willing to bet you won't see a difference between a 1440x1440 file and a 720x720 printed on wrap vinyl.
     
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  9. ams

    ams Premium Subscriber

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    I wouldn't touch this one.
     
  10. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    Would someone like to fill me in on where this attitude is coming from? Is this subject so controversial that discussion is not allowed? I realize I'm new here so please inform me if I've committed some taboo.
     
  11. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Don't worry about the attitude here, otherwise, you'll go nuts. I just want to know if those are mockups or actual decals applied on the bikes above.
     
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  12. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    Thanks Gino - I'm here to participate in a forum of professionals trying to support and help each other. If this is somehow an inappropriate topic then those offended should just give it to me straight so I can avoid stepping on the same landmine in the future.

    To answer your question about the photos I posted, the top one is a digital mockup, the middle pic (blue flames) is a real print on a real bike, and the skull image is an original design from a whole line of stickers I distribute to the Victory motorcycle community. The smaller stickers I keep in stock for immediate shipment and the whole-bike jobs are printed to order. The business is very small now (Victory only) but I'm currently expanding my line to all the major bagger, cruiser, and touring bike brands. I am serious when I say I want to learn more about the current tech out there and what's best for this kind of application...what's most desirable for longevity, color, detail, repositionable adhesives, and conformability.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Jburns

    Jburns Active Member

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    Those are nice graphics, and I can tell time has been spent on making them. I think a high resolution solvent printer, and proper vinyls and laminate would work and look the best. Since your volume can be low, and changing, I would find a sign printer in your area you can drive to, that you can pay to print and cut a few of your art files for samples.
     
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  14. Baz

    Baz Very Active Member

    I'm pretty sure you got some attitude from members because your original request came off as pretentious.
    "I want the best - the best colors, sharpness, and contour-cut accuracy on the longest-lasting, easiest to apply material available."
    Then you come and say: "nor do I trust my vendors to clue me in when something better is available."

    That probably irritated a few. And to your credit i don't think you intentionally meant it that way.

    Like i said in my earlier post. To do those types of decals you won't need the latest and greatest in technology.

    Just make sure your supplier is using proper cast vinyl and laminate for vehicle graphics. 3M, Avery, Oracal, Arlon and others all have their line of high performance vehicle media.
    With a new supplier i would have some samples made up so you can see the resolution of the print and how it looks in real life.
    Keep in mind print quality is affected by many things. Not just media, ink type and printer.
    Ex.: Even having your job go to production first thing in the morning with a cold machine won't look the same as if it is run at the end of the day with a hot one.

    Best of luck with finding a supplier.
     
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  15. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    Jburns I appreciate your insight. Can you tell me more about why solvent may be better and what's considered high resolution? My experience with solvent printers is dated and not particularly favorable. Of all the testing I've done so far, I saw noticeably 'blacker' blacks from a latex printer (HP360) but better reproduction of small type from a UV printer (unknown brand or model). The pic below is from the identical file printed in the same material on both platforms. While I love the denser color saturation of the latex it sure did bleed the tiny reverse text to oblivion. The file was created using a built-up black of up to 100% of C, M, Y, and K which probably contributed to the over-inking of the latex, yet somehow the UV still produced a weak black. It's all very mysterious to me. I beg my vendors for feedback on how to make the ideal file for them and try to create specific PDF profiles based on their wishes only to get back inconsistent results, both in resolution and accuracy of contour cuts. I feel like my vendors only want to do big runs and my dinky jobs go on the back burner till I squawk, then they're jammed onto whatever's running next with little care for settings or quality-control.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. jfiscus

    jfiscus Adobe Shinobi

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    Both of those are "OK" looking. I would also recommend a solvent printer, running a quality mode (not high speed). UV is not what you want for wraps at all and Latex isn't that great on small details.

    I would also recommend using 3M IJ480mc for the vinyl paired with the matching 3M laminate. As far as plotters go I am not sure. good luck finding someone local, it might be easier to do some looking on Google Maps and then stop in and visit a few shops. Most "Merchant Members" here and other vendors are not really set up for "high quality", more like decent quality, high speed/volume.
     
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  17. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Perhaps Signs365 should offer a Signs52 service, slower service, highest quality.
    Or FireSprint could do FireJog. Or FirePowerwalk.
    But in all seriousness, I've noticed an upcharge for rushed jobs, but nobody wants to offer superior craftsmanship for a price. I guess the implication is that everything they do is superior... Do you not want to bring your production in house to control it fully?
     
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  18. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    I can understand the defensiveness if you guys assumed that I'm from outside the trade and implying that you're a bunch of slippery con artists. Sorry if it came out that way. I'm really trying to get a feel of the state of the industry today, what's current and hot. We are going to see things from a different perspective but we're also linked. We are both suppliers but in this case I am re-selling your goods. We're all kinda in this together.
     
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  19. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    Nobody has ever said anything remotely like that to me before. Thanks so much for your candor. Ironically this tips everything I thought I knew on its head, I thought it would be all about UV and Latex. Would you mind expanding on why Solvent might be better for wraps? Your info about the films is also news to me...I thought 180c was the hot thing...I've been around long enough that I no longer know a damn thing.
     
  20. Signed Out

    Signed Out Very Active Member

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    This is exactly what's happening IMO.

    What you need is a vendor running a Solvent printer, with a minimum inkset of CMYK lc lm lk, run in a high pass mode (slowed down) at it's highest resolution. lk ink really does wonders for grays/shadows. There are solvent machines out there with additional inks as well, red, orange, green, etc. The larger the inkset, the larger and better you color gamut will be, but some of these additional colors are not rated for as long outdoors. The epson s80 is CMYK lc lm lk R O, but you can run prints without R O if desired, it is touted as the go to for print quality lately. Roland just came out with a new truvis that claims to have all the inks with long outdoor life but I don't have any experience with that. I believe mimaki and some others also have expanded inksets.

    Latex=Graintex. They have their place but not for you.

    Finding the right vendor might prove difficult.
     
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