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“Before You Buy a Printer  -  


Would you like to know the 10 most important things to consider when shopping for a sign printer?

  1. Most large format sign printers are intended to print on vinyl media, such as self-adhesive decal and sign materials, or banner material, but many will also print on paper. A few specialty machines will also print directly on hard surface substrates, for example wood, plastic, metal, or even ceramic.

  1. There are two main types of large format sign printers: Ink Jet and Thermal Transfer (also called Thermal Resin).

  1. Ink jet printers come in two types, solvent and eco-solvent. The latter uses environmentally-friendly ink. The regular solvent printers require ventilation or an air cleaner on the operating premises, whereas eco-solvent printers can be operated safely without implementing these costlier procedures. They are certainly healthier in general.

Inkjets are most suitable for photo-quality work, fountain fills, and printing on a wider variety of media. The production costs can be less expensive than thermal transfer. However, if lamination is required, production costs will be equal to or greater than thermal transfer printing. Regular solvent inks are more durable and scratch-resistant than eco-solvent inks, which makes them better for outdoor or other high-wear applications. However, research and development in eco-solvent inks is constantly improving them. Both types will stand up for 3 years outdoors.

The main disadvantage of inkjet printers is that lamination of the prints is required for use on vehicles and other high-scrub applications. Lamination adds to the production costs, negating the low production cost advantage in these cases.  Having said that, inkjet is the most appropriate choice for vehicle wraps, due to the high speed capability.       

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