Where do I get the BEST?

ams

Member
Would someone like to fill me in on where this attitude is coming from? Is this subject so controversial that discussion is not allowed? I realize I'm new here so please inform me if I've committed some taboo.

The issue is that no one is the best, already you can't say one brand is the best and all others are horrible. So if your using a printer and then you get a print with a speck of dirt on it, your going to complain and kick them to the curb and go to someone else. The problem is you are coming across as someone with a magnifier and if anything is wrong with it, your going to complain. So your post is all high and mighty and making the rest of us look like little half *** shops.
 

FireSprint.com

Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing
The best doesn't come from one printer, one madia, one cutter, one ink. It comes from years of experience producing the highest quality work continuously refining the variable mix. There are literally thousands of variables that go into a print. You're looking for a printer that accounts for more of them than most. Every one controlled for will add cost.

Don't worry about the process, material or equipment. You will not find an answer to those questions as any small handful of variables will not get you what you desire. You are looking for a person, not a process. Forget about the "gear"

I think your first post is fairly reasonable, but you are going to have a tough time finding the right partner. As with all things it takes time and tenacity.

(And while I would love to work with you, I don't think we're the right fit either, we are a volume shop. Our quality is great for retail or outdoor, but not fine art.)
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
Your designs are good looking, and I'm sure motorcycle people see value that they are willing to pay for. Your higher than normal quality is what they will be after and willing to pay for. Unfortunately that high quality may be difficult to obtain by relying on commercial-sign wholesalers. Best bet would be to research and test out some printers so you can buy one of your own and fine-tune the output to your satisfaction.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
I was gonna write that, but never got to it.

When you have as many 'Quality Control' issues as you've presented, it's best to bring fabrication and production in-house. Go to a few shows and see what catches your eye. Do some of your own research and don't rely on other peoples emotional opinions. You need this one on your own.

From what 'you've been asking, I think a small solvent type printer, along with a cutter and laminator would fit your ticket. You just need to suck it up and shell out the money and push the button on one. Finding the right fit should be easy, as you're only talking about a small niche. You're biggest decision would be 30" or 54" equipment. Otherwise, you're just gonna hafta go with whatever........ from someone else. Why not be the someone else and make all the money ??
 

Christian @ 2CT Media

Active Member
Are you willing to pay $15-20/sqft plus setup fees and etc. If not you may want to look in to getting your own equipment. What you want derails most production shops to focus on high demand quality work, it costs shops a lot of money to do that.

We used to have clients that were the same as you. We started having to ratchet up pricing to compensate for time invested and they all left in search of cheaper solutions.

For us when you can accomplish 3-5 standard projects in the time it takes to do 1 smaller size high demand project, it just doesn't make sense.
 

JoeRees

New Member
Alright, alright, I've been schooled. Please accept my apology for coming across as a fathead and thanks for understanding my plight. Man, buying my own printer is the last thing I want, but you all make a compelling case because I definitely am that magnifier-glass customer in a world of volume-oriented vendors. It explains why the results I get back are all over the board. It's going to be a tough transition because I'm already barely into sign fabrication anymore, operating mainly as a broker who would far prefer to design it and have someone else build it. As I'm nearing retirement, over the next couple of years hope to cease commercial signs altogether and focus solely these motorcycle graphics as my supplemental retirement income. I'm going to keep searching for a "boutique" supplier but will also begin looking into smaller, high-resolution, Solvent mills that can print, laminate, and contour cut. <GOD I don't want to go there>. There isn't something that does all 3 as an integrated unit is there? That's probably a ludicrous question but remember I'm clueless. I'd be operating this unit from my small home so size is a factor, but luckily my print size is also small, nothing over 15" wide would be required for the motorcycle graphics, and speed/volume is not a factor. I don't see any sign expos coming to my area anytime soon, in the meantime any ideas on what might be a brand or model to begin researching would be appreciated. Thanks for the help.
-Joe-
 
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2B

Member
if you start doing your own graphics on a SMALL scale.
Roland VersaStudio BN-20 + hand application of the lamination (either liquid or film)

as others have listed, you are looking for a fine art printer if you outsource
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
if you start doing your own graphics on a SMALL scale.
Roland VersaStudio BN-20 + hand application of the lamination (either liquid or film)

as others have listed, you are looking for a fine art printer if you outsource

I second the Roland Bn-20. Looks like a good fit for him.
 

fresh

Member
I'm going to echo a lot of what has already been said here.

Its not necessarily the material or the ink or the printer that is going to make the difference, its the time spent dialing it all in for your specific project. Would you be willing to invest a few $K to get it exactly how you want it? This could take many hours and tries to get it. And there is a potential that for each project you'd need to do the same thing again. So once you calculate that cost, plus the cost of actually producing the decals, is there any way to make money on the venture. IDK, maybe, but in most of our experiences, the project cost is above and beyond the retail value.

I have another suggestion for you. Is it possible to screen print these? I'm not a screen printer, so I could be completely wrong, but I feel like you might be able to get the quality you're looking for using a process that isn't digital.
 

sardocs

Member
I am a small in home custom sign shop owner. I have minimal equipment, a plotter, a 30" roland printer and a cheap Daige laminator. I started as a sign painter in the mid 70's. I have pretty good design skills. Decals of any quality that are aimed at the custom motorcycle or the hot-rod crowd have a limited price ceiling no matter how beautiful they look. They're just vinyl graphics. They can be buried under a pile of clear coats, but they're still decals. When I really want to high sell a higher-end custom job I have to break out the airbrushes and quills and scroller brushes to get into the custom pay-check zone.
 

Christian @ 2CT Media

Active Member
Are your products going over the topcoat or are your clients clearing over the graphics? If its the latter you can forgo the lamination and get yourself a Mimaki UCJV300-75 or a Roland LEC2-300 and do print cut in line.
 

ams

Member
Alright, alright, I've been schooled. Please accept my apology for coming across as a fathead and thanks for understanding my plight. Man, buying my own printer is the last thing I want, but you all make a compelling case because I definitely am that magnifier-glass customer in a world of volume-oriented vendors. It explains why the results I get back are all over the board. It's going to be a tough transition because I'm already barely into sign fabrication anymore, operating mainly as a broker who would far prefer to design it and have someone else build it. As I'm nearing retirement, over the next couple of years hope to cease commercial signs altogether and focus solely these motorcycle graphics as my supplemental retirement income. I'm going to keep searching for a "boutique" supplier but will also begin looking into smaller, high-resolution, Solvent mills that can print, laminate, and contour cut. <GOD I don't want to go there>. There isn't something that does all 3 as an integrated unit is there? That's probably a ludicrous question but remember I'm clueless. I'd be operating this unit from my small home so size is a factor, but luckily my print size is also small, nothing over 15" wide would be required for the motorcycle graphics, and speed/volume is not a factor. I don't see any sign expos coming to my area anytime soon, in the meantime any ideas on what might be a brand or model to begin researching would be appreciated. Thanks for the help.
-Joe-

90% of sign jobs have some kind bubble, crease, dirt speck underneath, slight over spray, etc. Mainly due to mass producers. Also 90% of customers do not give a crap about it. If you wrap a car and it has a couple of tiny bumps from dirt specks, the customer won't notice and won't even care unless it's a $10k wrap. Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes from time to time. So spending all of your time and energy making something perfect will hurt you in the end.
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
90% of sign jobs have some kind bubble, crease, dirt speck underneath, slight over spray, etc. Mainly due to mass producers. Also 90% of customers do not give a crap about it. If you wrap a car and it has a couple of tiny bumps from dirt specks, the customer won't notice and won't even care unless it's a $10k wrap. Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes from time to time. So spending all of your time and energy making something perfect will hurt you in the end.

Some people aim high and I commend them for that;)...We all know your standards AMS :(
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
Too bad this happened to this thread, but this just doesn't make sense to me..... :confused:

Your insults aren't worth responding to.

If the insults are not worth responding to, then why did you respond to it and reference him directly ??

  • I know, I know..... now I'm not worth responding to, either, huh ??
edit: that bullet is for wayne
 

Bly

Member
I have to agree with most that if you want perfect quality you're best off getting your own printer.
Any trade printer by their nature will maximise output by printing at the fastest acceptable rate.
 

JoeRees

New Member
Would you be willing to invest a few $K to get it exactly how you want it? / Is it possible to screen print these?
I would be willing to invest in my own equipment if that ends up being the best way to resolve my supply woes. Screenprinting wouldn't be an option for me because in my business model every full set of motorcycle graphics would be different colors or pieces...too many variables.

Are your products going over the topcoat or are your clients clearing over the graphics?
My graphics would always be on top of the factory paint job.

if you start doing your own graphics on a SMALL scale - Roland VersaStudio BN-20 + hand application of the lamination (either liquid or film)
What a learning experience this post has been - I had no idea there were such compact units available as the Roland BN-20 which could print and cut simultaneously. A machine like that would preclude laminating though, wouldn't it? Or is there a way to remove the print, laminate it then reregister for the contour cut? Same question goes for 2CT Media's suggestion of a Mimaki UCJV300-75 or a Roland LEC2-300...I can see this is going to be a large learning curve before I can pick something that'd be ideal for my needs. Thanks to all who've responded I appreciate the insights.
 

2B

Member
JoeRees
Youtube is going to become your best friend. LOTS of videos about these machines,
also contact the maker and they will send samples and the closest dealer

short answer, ALL machines (big & small) require the graphic to be removed for lamination to be applied
in this case for the BN-20, and then put back into the printer to be cut.
 
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