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Need outdoor adhesive substrate and printer advice

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  • Need outdoor adhesive substrate and printer advice

    Hello! I'd like to print new vehicle graphics for a company van - not just to update it but to see what's involved.
    A little background: My company is quite new to large format in general - specialty is high end offset - but have for years created "large format" color-correct proofs for offset printing.
    So, here's what I have available - HP 5500 (old), Epson 9600 (also old) and an HP Z5200 (new). What would be a good machine / ink / media combo to do some vehicle graphics? No wraps and doesn't have to be huge prints.
    So far I found HP's Matte Adhesive-back Poly for the HP printers, and maybe one product from Sihl. Inhouse inks currently only UltraChrome and dye.
    Thanks for any pointers!

  • #2
    Hi, unless you planning on overlaminating, none of your printers is suitable for outdoor signage, especially on plastic.

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    • #3
      Overlam or not, you can't get there from where you are.

      All the printers you've listed are what are known as aqueous inkjets. Which basically means that they print with water-based ink. As such, they're intended for producing indoor-only materials. Nothing you could print on them would stand up to the rigors of life as a vehicle wrap (or graphic) at all.

      What you'd need to get into this arena is a solvent inkjet printer -- mild solvent is okay, but hard solvent is better -- a laminator, and then any one of several brands of cast-coated vinyl on which to print.

      Mike Adams
      Last edited by Correct Color; 11-04-2012, 11:31 AM.

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      • #4
        Whatever you use, don't use 3M.

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        • #5
          I agree 100 %. Better solution is to find someone with a Roland Eco Sol solvent printer or (better still) someone with a fairly new HP latex printer and have them print the material for you. The best you'll get from pigment ink on (cold) laminated Poly Propylene is 9 months. From then on you'll watch your masterpiece disappear before your eyes.

          I sold my Roland Ecosol printer earlier this year and bought a HP latex printer. The problem with production printing on wraps is the solvent has to sit while the chemicals evaporate. Print to wrap time is four or five days. I can print and wrap the same day with latex and get 40% longer life from the wrap (or so HP claim). But definitely find someone to print it for you. If you've got a cutter and plan on cutting shapes after printing, find someone with a cutter/printer and have them do the whole thing. All you need do then is apply it. I've been an Avery user ever since a 3M job cost me $5k to redo. Maybe 3m have changed since then but I'll never find out.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the feedback. I'll share this and keep my fingers crossed for a proper UV printer.

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            • #7
              pworden, just to make sure you're on the same page you DO NOT want a UV printer to do wraps with. When I say UV (Ultraviolet) I mean a printer that prints a UV sensitive ink that it immediately cures with a UV lamp. This type of printer will not work for wraps due to not being able to stretch, the ink is rock hard when cured. UV printers are used for rigid substrates such as corrugated plastic campaign type signs, etc. We have a solvent printer that we use but if you're buying something new definitely go with the latex option, I've seen some very good prints off the HP latex machine, look much brighter and more vivid than anything I'm capable of on our solvent machine.

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              • #8
                Got it, and thanks, again!

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