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  • Printing Posters and such (Large Format)

    I've got the task of doing some research on Large Format Printing and I have no idea of where to start. I saw a bunch of Large format printers at the Print 05 show in Chicago last September but we weren't interested in that medium back then. Anyone know where I can go to compare printers? Anyone have any useful info? Here are some specifics of what I think our client will be looking for:

    24x36 size
    Full Color, with and with out bleeds

    In terms of production, I need to know info on what files these printers can take, whats the rip process, the different types of stock that can be run and print speeds.

    Thanks in advance if anyone can shed some light.

  • #2
    Comparing printers? That's a daunting task, do you plan on running die based or solvent inks? Do you want indoor or outdoor capabilities? What size printer do you want, they come in all sizes from 30" wide, to 100+" wide.

    The printers that i have worked on are as follows.
    HP 5000
    HP 5500
    HP 3500
    Mutoh Falcon Indoor II
    Mutoh Toucan

    All of those are 60" or wider printers, the HP's are unique in the tubing can be easily switched out to go from die to solvent, which is a nice feature. I prefer the HP's over the Mutoh's but that's just because I worked on them for a longer period of time and know them inside and out.

    As for media types, all of the printers I just listed can print on anything, canvas, photo matte, photo gloss, backlit material, calendered and high speed vinyl, bond, mesh, adhesive back vinyl, adhesive backed backlit vinyl, cloth, polycarbonate...etc.

    But for your needs it sounds like you just want a poster, which would be photo matte, with maybe a laminate on it to protect it. As for files, here at our shop we take .tiff files no bigger then 200dpi at size, and depending on how big it is, we sometimes scale down to 75dpi. Rip process, we use ONYX here, so you can google that if you want all the details. Print speeds, we can print something like a foot a minute, but tend to slow that down for quality control.

    hope that helps
    ‘Our great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately controlled. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. No government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of men.’ - Woodrow Wilson

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    • #3
      Thanks Frag. That helps a lot. I'm kinda just being thrown into this and learning from the ground up. I have looked at the HP Printers and those mostly have my attention. I have seen some others but not sure about everything else I am reading. I need to sharpen up on inks and stocks at this point but I am getting an understanding about what I may be looking for.

      Know anything about Cannon printers? I found one that has edge to edge printing and it really has me drawn in at this point.

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      • #4
        If youre only gonna need to go 24 inches wide, some big large format printers are just over kill, look HP, Canon, xerox, whatevers your fav, ect. and find there ones with the width you need most of them nowdays you can get the paper roll atachment for any length

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        • #5
          I'm doing that also rockem....Thats more of the way in which i'm trying to lead my boss in actually.

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          • #6
            At my previous jobe we had one I beleive it was an HP and it was great the color consitency and matching was really good, Ill email my old boss and see if I can find out what it was, I cant remember how wide it printed 26 maybe not sure

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            • #7
              The HP 5500 is the way to go if your graphics/design oriented. If its a simple "now open" banner or sign go with a Roland, Mutoh, or Epson.

              The Hp 5500 series was designed specifically for graphic designers. The other brands are just general use large format printers. Overall pretty good but not excellent for graphics.

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              • #8
                Maybe try www.flaar.org

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                • #9
                  Hi there. I can help you with this. What is the quantity you are looking to print? Sometimes the quantity is the big deal breaker --- if it is a low run it can get pricey.

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                  • #10
                    I offered to send some information about professional digital presses and offset. I will start in the digital world. Ask your printers if they use Indigo presses - HP Indigo Digital presses. The models are 3000, 3050 and 5000. These presses produce amazing quality - they convert to CMYK and offer a really dead on color match. These are great presses for runs say up to 5000 in qty - anything over that -- go offset. The ink is an electrostatic ink that does a great job sitting in the fibers of the stock. If you have a piece with a lot of coverage tell printer to sit on it - not literally!! But to let the ink settle in before they ship. Sometimes printers are eager to get jobs out -- ink is not ready to ship. Indigos are also great for variable data - direct marketing pieces. Word of caution -- heaviest stock on an Indigo is 12pt lowest is 80# text.

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                    • #11
                      UDesign, I think he's looking to buy a printer, not hire one.

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                      • #12
                        We bought an Epson 9600 and Colorburst RIP software for our large format needs. It ran somewhere around $6000 for both and they're great. We tend to run Premium Glossy Photo Paper and Adhesive Vinyl but it can run many more including canvas.

                        I'm pretty sure they make a smaller version of this printer. It is the 7600 or something like that.

                        The profit margin on this printer isn't too bad either.
                        You want it when!? Well in that case, let me pull my magic wand out of my ass and take care of that for you.

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