What machines are used for printing on sign material?

hsearcy

Member
Another option is to print on a wide format roll - for example on self adhesive vinyl - and then adhere to the base substrate (foam core, corrugated, etc) before trimming. That's assuming you have a wide enough laminator to adhere smoothly. Trying to apply large pieces manually is a bit of a nightmare.
 

Laith

Active member
Another option is to print on a wide format roll - for example on self adhesive vinyl - and then adhere to the base substrate (foam core, corrugated, etc) before trimming. That's assuming you have a wide enough laminator to adhere smoothly. Trying to apply large pieces manually is a bit of a nightmare.

Is the price of wide format printers justifiably lower than flat bed printers, to make you do the extra work?
 

hsearcy

Member
Is the price of wide format printers justifiably lower than flat bed printers, to make you do the extra work?
Well in the case of the shop I worked at that did this - they had a wide format unit for printing posters and banners and they decided to branch out into doing more sign work. It enabled them to use their existing equipment and broaden what they could offer. Some shops also don't have the floor space for a flatbed.

No idea how the costs between wide format and flatbed would compare.
 

Laith

Active member
Well in the case of the shop I worked at that did this - they had a wide format unit for printing posters and banners and they decided to branch out into doing more sign work. It enabled them to use their existing equipment and broaden what they could offer. Some shops also don't have the floor space for a flatbed.

No idea how the costs between wide format and flatbed would compare.
Okay, do you know which one, signs or banners, is more in demand?
 
Hi, if you're still looking into this option between the 2 types, we carry Wide format (Epson, Canon and HP), flatbed, solvent and latex. We'd be happy to provide options that would work best for you.
 

Laith

Active member
Hi, if you're still looking into this option between the 2 types, we carry Wide format (Epson, Canon and HP), flatbed, solvent and latex. We'd be happy to provide options that would work best for you.
Thanks for your info. I don't live in the US.
 

gregbatch

Well-known member
Is the price of wide format printers justifiably lower than flat bed printers, to make you do the extra work?
Huge difference. 24x36 UV flatbed starting price about $55k. There are smaller machines, but nearly useless for sign work. A 54" HP Latex roll feed machine starts at about $7500.

I would get a solvent or latex machine and apply vinyl to base materials. Get a basic cold laminator for applying the material smoothly and quickly. That lets you produce a fair amount of work in house quickly and profitably. For higher quantity jobs, use a good trade sign shop. If and when you build your volume to the point of justifying having your own machine it will be a smooth transition. I'm not sure I would ever reach that point.

One trade vendor had an ad with a photo of their huge expensive machine and these words: $0 MSRP. $0 Down. $0 per month. They have a good point.
 
Huge difference. 24x36 UV flatbed starting price about $55k. There are smaller machines, but nearly useless for sign work. A 54" HP Latex roll feed machine starts at about $7500.

I would get a solvent or latex machine and apply vinyl to base materials. Get a basic cold laminator for applying the material smoothly and quickly. That lets you produce a fair amount of work in house quickly and profitably. For higher quantity jobs, use a good trade sign shop. If and when you build your volume to the point of justifying having your own machine it will be a smooth transition. I'm not sure I would ever reach that point.

One trade vendor had an ad with a photo of their huge expensive machine and these words: $0 MSRP. $0 Down. $0 per month. They have a good point.
Great point about using trade shop to do your printing for you. I design and sell vinyl banners online and use a vendor to print my banners, the price is right, the quality is superb and they ship for free. The cost of owning one of these large formant printers is just too much for a startup. Try doing drop shipping, it makes more sense than making a huge investment that may or may not succeed.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
Great point about using trade shop to do your printing for you. I design and sell vinyl banners online and use a vendor to print my banners, the price is right, the quality is superb and they ship for free. The cost of owning one of these large formant printers is just too much for a startup. Try doing drop shipping, it makes more sense than making a huge investment that may or may not succeed.
Lol. A sign shop is like pennies compared to a small format operation. The monthly payment for a digital press + the finishing equipment necessary to sustain it (cutter, folder, creaser, etc) could be about at much as it is to BUY a wide format machine.
 

gregbatch

Well-known member
Lol. A sign shop is like pennies compared to a small format operation. The monthly payment for a digital press + the finishing equipment necessary to sustain it (cutter, folder, creaser, etc) could be about at much as it is to BUY a wide format machine.
I disagree. If you are going to be a real sign shop your investment is right up there with a small format operation. I'm not talking the little add-ons that most small format shops use for a profit center, or even the garbage that most retail sign franchises provide (there's high failure/turnover rate because of it). You need a fast flatbed UV printer, a fast solvent printer, a decent dye-sub printer, a good CNC cutting machine, wide laminator, stitching or welding machine for banners, material cutter, trimmer.
 

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