a couple of printing/laminating questions


I have a couple of questions:
1. I have a customer wanting printing on reflective. I have never printed on reflective before and was wondering if it does really reflect well even with black ink.

2. I am using a 3M reflective to print on (it came with my roland) but i use Avery Gloss laminate.
The question is.... It is ok to laminate over a material thats not the same brand? Would this be ok to do?

My printer is a roland versa camm and I am using eco sol inks.

Any information would greatly be appreciated.

Thank you,

mark in tx

New Member
I wouldn't laminate reflective.
Don't know about eco-sol on reflective, I use solvent ink and it works great.
I'm sure someone will let you know how eco-sol works.

high impact

New Member
I'm not at the shop right now so I can't tell you what reflective we use. But we have printed on it before with our versacamm with excellent results.


I wouldn't laminate reflective.

Do you have an actual reason for this?

I ask because I'm planning on doing exactly that and see no particular reason not to do so. I'm planning on using Oracal 5600 cast which it touted as being flexible, conformable, and printable on a tailgate wrap. I figure I'd use Oracal 290 cast laminate. A print on a vehicle application without some sort of laminate is doomed.

Enlighten me.


New Member
The inks used in these printers are transparent except the black. So your image will still be reflective unless of course any large black areas.
Lamination will not affect the reflective characteristics of the film.

Run all the heat on your Versacamm at maximum when printing reflective.

I print tons of cheap reflective decals and never laminate them however if these images are going on a car...better laminate.


New Member
I can't speak from experience here concerning reflective, but from what I've gleaned from others. First off, lamination should have no ill effects on the reflective properties of the vinyl.

Second, Triangle MLD inks for the V-Camm are NOT full-solvent, but are considered "mild" solvent. They do bite better than original eco-sol, about on par with Roland MAX (or so I'm told), but not as much as full-solvent.

Personally, anything printed and going on a vehicle will be laminated from me, unless it is intended for short term only.

mark in tx

New Member
laminate on reflective -overkill. Lipstick on a pig, so to speak.

Serious question though, what benefit to you is laminating everything going on a vehicle?
I'm not talking about wraps, just ordinary printed graphics.
If you are printing on vinyl rated by the manufacturer for 4, 5, 6 years, then laminating for even more protection, how do you expect repeat business from some customers?
I'm not talking about using 2 year vinyl and claiming it will last for 4 years because of lamination. I'm not talking unethical substitution of lower quality materials.
I'm wondering what benefit is there to selling a product that lasts so long, you'll probably never see the customer again?
Look at how many hand painted vehicles still have legible copy from 30 years ago?
When you look back at the history of sign work, in an overly generalised way, didn't people catch on to the fact that changing from painting to vinyl, because of the relative life of the products, a benefit to the sign person if vinyl has a shorter life.
Am I crazy?

Is just this line of thinking, in and of itself, unethical?


New Member
The primary reason for laminating on vehicles is to prolong the life due to chemicals and abrasion...something that the ink, by itself, is NOT rated for at all! The ink rating is based on a vertical surface with no abrasion or chemicals being applied. The rating is mainly a UV resistance rating.
So is it ok to print onto 3m and laminate with Avery.
Should this be OK?

I just wanted to check.
As far as laminating... I laminate all exterior jobs. Thats just what I do.


New Member

Laminate every graphic you put on a vehicle, especially reflective. Quikseps may be a newbie but he knows his reflective!! Lam is for scratch resistance and protection from chemicals, road debris, and carwash brushes. It is very risky to NOT laminate vehicle graphics. I have a client who laminates everything that comes out of her shop, she charges accordingly (sends those who don't want lam to other shops) and the word-of-mouth on her work is the best. It's all about how you want to be perceived by your customer base. If you strive for planned obsolesence, you may become obsolete. :smile:

Yes, you can use Avery to laminate 3M. The only consideration is manufacturer warranties, which require you to use their lam with their vinyl. Also, keep in mind that the warranties only cover material cost, so if your $3000 van wrap fails, you will get a couple of hundred dollars of material, IF the manufacturer admits fault. The exception to this is to become a Certified 3M installer; in that case you will get full replacement value of the job.


New Member
Brand is not so important as TYPE. You can use a CAST olam on everything, but not a CALENDERED olam over CAST vinyl.


New Member
I have literally made HUNDREDS of reflective decals. It used to be 40% of my monthly income... just reflective decals. And I can tell you, lam won't hurt it a bit.

I laminate EVERYTHING now, just because of the abrasion resistance and chemical resistance. I've gotten away with reflective without it, but I'd suggest using it.

Brand difference doesn't matter, but like another wise poster said, the KIND of vinyl does matter.

And last off..... please throw away the Avery laminate. They have a bad rep, and I wouldn't trust ANY of their products. You can get different brand of laminates that are the same price, and better quality. JMO though...


New Member
I agree about Avery but I have to admit we have never had a problem with their laminates. Vinyl, reflective and EZ (with 3M lawsuit) are a different story, one I'm sure too many of you are aware of.

mark in tx

New Member
I agree with you 100% on the benefits of lamination.
In my use of Eco-sol inks before I switched, I would agree on the lam, eco sol prints are pretty delicate.
I have had great success with the mild solvent ink durability.


New Member
Hiya Stacy,
Any time you apply ink or laminate over a reflective substrate it will loose some reflectivity. While it will hardly be noticable when you laminating alone, printed graphics will become less reflective with the more ink you apply to the print.
Just a head's up. IMHO, you should not combine different manufacturers of media and laminate for a finished product. While it may work 99.9% of the time, you will eventually have problems.
When these problems occur, you will have enough stress dealing with the client. But, it will only get worse when the media and laminate manufacturers point fingers at each other when it comes to assigning blame.



New Member
I have printed on the oralite 5600 and laminated it with oracal 751 clear,
that has worked great for the application I used it for, but most of the guys are right you will want to laminate,you need to match your laminate to the type of vinyl being used you wouldnt want to apply a calenerd laminate over a cast vinyl ,the deal is the vinyl is rated for x numbers of years and the ink will not last as long as the vinyl without the laminate,
also what I have done in the past is clear coated over the graphic after printing with automotive clearcoat, this works great for small batches if you dont want to buy a roll of laminate//chopper