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Where do I get the BEST?

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

  1. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

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    Those 2 images you linked earlier, are why i said "have fun with this one"

    those 2 prints do the exact same thing and accomplish the job, no one is going to take a microscope to see the minor dot size difference in those 2 prints. Like i mean this in the nicest way, but you're the type of client that finds issues with every little thing, and no one truly has the time for that

    i DO wish you luck with getting what you want though
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  2. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    I'm going to go against the group here and advise against getting your own printer.

    Your main issue here seems to be colors / saturation. This is the hardest thing to do properly in our business, and likely why most of your cheap vendors keep sending you stuff you're not happy with. You need a properly profiled, maintained printer in order to accomplish what you want.

    Sure, you can hire someone to come out and calibrate your printer for a few grand... But even then it's not going to be 100%. We always get the random odd color that looks off... and we usually have to spend an hour printing swatches and dialing it in to get a perfect match. This is why most people dont want to touch your stuff - If a production sign/graphic is a shade off, no one will notice or care. If you want absolute perfect, 100% matches that are really vibrant... It takes time. and the time it takes to do your one job, most shops can do 10+ other jobs that pay more, for less work.

    But if you purchase your own printer... You need to learn how to print, you need a decent understanding of profiling/colors/saturation/linerization to achieve the results you want... you need to know materials, how to overlam, how to cut. It's not like buying a desktop printer, hitting print and your done. Printing is a fulltime job in and of itself, so many people think they can buy a $10-15,000 printer and make a ton of money, only to go bankrupt in a few months.

    take your images and print them on your desktop printer, see how they look different from what you have setup. That's whats going to happen but 10 fold on a regular printer. You're going to have purple greys, orange reds, purple blues, etc.

    https://signs101.com/threads/flexi-rip-software-not-printing-colors-correctly.156082/

    doing a search on S101 for "color doesn't match" and there will be thousands of threads. There's usually 2-3 per day from someone new asking why their images are so dark... If you buy a printer, I'm sure your name will pop up here within a week!

    I'm glad you want to produce high quality stuff, but unless you're willing to put the time and effort into it, buying your own printer is a bad idea.
     
  3. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    Thanks for the explanation Ikarasu - I've been through all the issues you mention and spent considerable time figuring out how to create export profiles that give pretty consistent, predictable results. In fairness, I should say that the vendors I've dealt with the longest have been pretty agreeable to helping me dial-in files that reproduce well on their machines - after which we manage to go along well for a while till they change software or ink or something, or just forget what settings we agreed to use, and I end up holding the bag. Since starting this thread I understand a lot more about how that keeps happening and I truly do think a specialty 'fine art' oriented service is what I need for my most critical work. I am going to continue looking deep into that vein before seriously considering buying my own equipment (for all the reasons you and others have stated).
     
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  4. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    I hear you and you aren't wrong. I do believe however that I should be able to get what I want and am absolutely willing to pay a premium for it. I'll keep looking for a white-glove, boutique type service if it's out there.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Any decent shop should be able to reproduce something the exact same as the first time. For the customers that need it done, we print a small enough sample to see all the details and attach it into our "Sample" book, along with the profiles, any color changes, print mode, exact machine we printed it on, etc. We've been able to go back to files 6 years old and reprint it to be the exact same. That being said... people do upgrade printers, so getting a perfect match isn't always an option. Especially if there are gradients and stuff being used - Matching colors is easy, matching a gradient from one machine to the next is near impossible. But when you do change printers... So long as you have a sample, you should be able to get relatively close, then you make a new sample..etc.

    All of this will cost more because its custom, which you seem to be ok with - If you're willing to buy a printer, you must get a decent amount of work - Find a local shop to partner with. Don't goto a sign shop or someone who specializes in mass producing... find a local shop that does interior work, artistic prints, etc. Solvent... Latex, it doesnt matter which - yes, your latex sample looks like **** - you cant even see the name on the bottom of the print... I'm not sure how they printed it that badly, but thats not typical of a latex printer. And a solvent printer can easily get a good black... My guess is your file has it as 0/0/0/100 and thats what they printed it at, which will give it a light color. Another sign their machines arent profiled... If you want a nice deep black, go with 60/40/40/100, or just 100/100/100/100 and even if theyre not profiled, it'll be a nice black.

    The problems arent the machines, or the machine types... the problems the guy who's told to produce 10 rolls of vinyl a day, and making sure your product looks great will cost him the time it'd take to print a full roll. Search for a shop thats G7 certified, their colors will be more accurate and consistent than usual shops.
     
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  6. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    The built-up blacks I know and do religiously - the G7 certification is news though, another plum of knowledge gained since starting this thread :)
     
  7. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    The big advantage of printing it yourself - when the print is bad it is easy to find and yell at the guy who did the work.
     
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  8. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    It's important to add that most better quality print/cut machines would do more than adequate and accurate cutting to prints from properly set up files when they are aligned correctly back on the printer after laminating. Which is not that difficult to do.

    We have an 11 year old Roland vp-540 that is incredibly accurate in cutting contours. It cuts imperceivably as well as our stand alone 48" Gerber plotter. Sharp blades, good condition cutting strip, proper blade offset, cutting speed, pressure, etc. All add to getting more accurate cuts.

    Yesterday, after not adjusting our cutting pressure from wrap to a little thicker laminated media, I had to recut several prints and some of it was quite small and delicate text over about a 52"x72" area. It cut them EXACTLY over the initial cutline without any deviation. After weeding it didn't even have the little hairline thin excess vinyl one sometimes gets after double cutting.

    Our new Mimaki is just as accurate, but we were printing a big run of large full color photos, so we used the Roland for these smaller, short run print/cuts.

    We regularly do custom color print/cut jobs that have text UNDER 1/2" in height and find the cut quality we get very acceptable. So do our clients who have high expectations.

    As far as the 90% of the prints have flaws in them comment, that high of a percentage is 100% dependent on the operator and their shop environment and housekeeping regimen.

    I haven't found the OP pretentious or arrogant at all. He knows his clients and expectations and is just trying to get his needs filled by a competent partner.

    I'm willing to bet that he will find a local option who has the gear, expertise and commitment to get him what he needs and add to his or her revenue stream in a positive way.

    To the OP, only buy your own equipment if the annual revenue and demand is there to justify the investment.

    Nice design work by the way.
     
  9. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Sounds like Toad might be your best bet. He does good work, 100% "craft". Play your cards right and he may throw a gummie in the package along with the signs ;)
     
    • OMG / Wow! OMG / Wow! x 1
  10. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    Answered in sequence:

    *Roland VP-540 accuracy -
    I've been basing my perceptions of cutter accuracy on excuses I've heard over the years from vendors as to why some parts of my orders will be correct and some will be so far off they're unsellable. They say my expectations for tracking are unrealistic and I must allow more bleed to compensate for blade wandering. In the past that may have been true(r) but I've steadily learned to make better files that allow for some inaccuracy, like making my contour runs shorter. One of my local resources has a Roland VG-540 (not the same as yours?) and claims it is unreliable on prints longer than a few feet (although I'll admit I've been mostly pleased with his cuts and he's one of the more attentive to quality control).

    *Finding a local option -
    My preference by far because the demand is unknown at this time vs the cost and learning curve of buying my own.

    *Buying my own -
    I'm going to keep searching till I find someone that can at least hold me over till there's enough demand to justify taking that leap.

    *Nice design work -
    Why thank you, it's the reason I'm in this kooky trade :)
     
  11. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    That sounds like an endorsement there - thanks for the vote of confidence, it's great to know who's qualified out there. The only drawback is we could not be further away from each other in this continental US which is not the end of the world I guess. If nothing else pans out it nice to have an ace in the hole.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    I think my little buddy was just joshing around a bit.

    Plus, I'm not a merchant member, nor was I phishing for an opportunity and wouldn't. I respect the rules of the site.

    I was simply stating the facts about our experience at our shop.

    That copout about tracking accuracy dropping off after only a couple of feet is user error, lack of proper calibration or equipment failure. We cut/print stuff that is over 8' long all the time and might have a 1/32" drift. If after cutting something, we look it over and reprint if it isn't 100% to our satisfaction. It doesn't take a perfectionist or a "craftsmen" to take NORMAL pride in your work. Isn't every shop like that?

    i have no idea what size runs your are sending your sources, but if you are sending individual files the sizes of the decals you've shown examples of, the RIP software lets the user choose the quantity of prints that fits comfortably on his or her media. If my machine doesn't cut accurately after so many feet, I EITHER: FIX IT or reduce the number of decals in a run and shorten the length of my print to where it will cut accurately. Pretty simple concept.
     
  13. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    So Joe Rees receives some work from TimToad... the best.jpg
     
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  14. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    I'm pretty realistic in what I expect from a contour cut - I too run a friction plotter - but to answer your question, apparently there's a lot of diversity in what's considered normal pride. I think it would make an interesting thread to poll what forumites consider acceptable flaws - at what point do you pull the plug and start over vs pretending you didn't notice?
     
  15. Boyanski

    Boyanski Member

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    You are absolutely in the wrong place and in the wrong forum. But you have been given very valuable advice about what printers and vinyl.

    There is a Roland BN20 group in Facebook and plenty of people do only fine stickers there. This the best place to start with. The other place to find what you are looking for is Etsy.
    Or as pointed, find someone near you with Epson S40... S60.... S80... , Roland with 6 colors or similar, someone dedicated to make finer products like photography or design.
     
  16. JoeRees

    JoeRees Member

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    I posted this in "Vehicle Wraps" because the next closest topic was "Labels and Decals" which I didn't feel would cover the same materials I desire, nor apply to the larger 'wrap' packages I sell. This is a diverse industry segment with a lot of different specialties and needs. My particular niche is just as valid as anyone else's so I'm going to learn as much out of you all as I can, absolutely appreciate it, and contribute something back whenever I can.
     
  17. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Hes not in the wrong place. He got valuable information, (and a few rude posts, but that's the internet) and he has a good direction to go in.

    Hes been a good sport in here and I encourage him to keep posting
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
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