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Large Format

Started by Tracy, November 14, 2022, 11:59:41 AM

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Didn't know where to post this

My Epson 9900 needs a new print head and instead of repairing it
we are considering getting into some Large Format Printing that we usually send out.

Since I have never done any Large Format, not sure what machine(s) to get
does anyone have any suggestions for us?
Hopefully @Skryber will see this.


I don't know a ton about it, but about 10 years ago I worked at a place that did a lot of posters and large-format signage and I remember we had some device by Océ. It was very fast. It didn't use ink cartridges - it had reservoirs that were filled with ink balls (looked just like paintballs.) It may have been some sort of wax. I don't think the ouput was quite as nice as Epson but it was good enough.
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Pro tip - ask the vendor you currently use what they are using (just don't tell them you're yanking work from them!)
Prinergy • Preps 8 (Not a fan) • SmartStream Designer

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night. But set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life!


You first need to decide what type of applications you think you will be doing mostly. If you'd doing indoor art prints, a low cost aqueous-ink printer will work just fine. If you're wanting to do outdoor prints that last a long time, there is eco-solvent, UV, and latex type inks. Eco-solvent is the most versatile because you can do outdoor prints that last a long time without fading, and you can even do vehicle wraps. You can't do vehicle wraps with UV because the ink doesn't stretch.

Another consideration is if you will be doing lots of prints that are mounted to foam board, corroplast, etc. If you have the space, you may want to consider a hybrid flatbed so you can skip the mounting step and just print directly onto the boards. UV and latex printers are ideal for this because those types of ink can set on virtually any material including wood, glass, plastic, foam, etc - and generally come with white inks to allow you to print on dark substrates.

Along with a printer, you'll want a laminator. A cold laminator with heat assist will suit 99% of your needs and it can also be used as a tool to mount prints to boards if you don't get a flatbed.

Additionally, you'll want a cutter (one that can die cut out any shape). It's worth noting that you can make labels with a wide format printer, but you may also need to cut out unique shapes for wall graphics. Many of the eco-solvent printers (such as the Rolands) have a cutter built into the printer. That is only good if you do low volume. You'll find yourself wanting an offline cutter because the cutting will slow down production if it's done on the same machine. However, if you do low volume, printing and cutting on the same machine is ideal because you don't have to mess with transferring the prints to another machine.

Lastly, you'll need a very large flat table with a self healing mat on the surface for doing all of the finishing. You'll need board cutters and large safety rulers too.


Depends on what type of work you are getting into. When it comes to flatbeds, the Canons (formerly Océ) are solid and great machines. They are the only Océ machines I've used and can stand behind. I trained a customer in Chicago who had one but switched locations and wasn't able to move the flatbed into the new shop without craning it through a wall on the second floor so they got a different one and hate it. Everyone loves the Canon flatbeds.

R2R? Well, I had luck with the Mutohs but I'm not familiar with the newer machines. Since I work for a Canon/Océ reseller, that's everything we use. We had the Colorado 1640 and I hated that thing. We got the first release and there were a lot of problems. I legit have PTSD from that machine. They came out with the 1650 which we upgraded to and it's wayyyyyy nicer. Most problems were worked out. I will say, if you aren't going to have a high volume of work for it, it's not the machine for you. The ink expires and if you let it, a tech has to come out and flush the machine. It's a super dumb design. The flatbeds have direct lines to the ink bags, so if you expire, you just switch out the ink bag. The Colorado fills a reservoir. When you add a new bottle, it averages the expiration date. So if you have 50% ink in the machine and its about to expire, and I add a new ink which expires in 6 months, the machine will say the ink expires in 3 months, unless you flush it out. And a tech has to do it. So I have to chase my tail sometimes. Now that's only happened a few times. If you have a large volume of work, the machine runs best and you don't have that ink issue. There are still some quirks here and there.

All of the above are UV cured inks. The UV inks in the 1650 are actually ok for wraps but we don't do wraps so I can't tell you from experience. The 1640s are not.

We have a small 64" SEAL laminator and a Colex cutter with a router. The Colex is my favorite machine at work. I don't know how we were getting by without it.

On the reprographic side, stay away from Océ/Canon. HP is blowing them out of the water. They just simply can't compete.

Sorry I've been away. I have some big life changes and it's kept me busy. Hope everyone is doing well!
Rampage 11.1 • Preps 5.32 • Fuji Film Sabre P-9600 CTP Platesetter with inline FLP 1260 processor • Rampage •  ManRoland PECOM using CIP3 data • HP DesignJet 5500 42" 6/C • Epson Stylus Pro 9880 • Xerox Docucolor 8000 with Fiery • Mutoh ValueJet 1604 • Océ Arizona 250 GT • Océ Arizona 365 GT • Onyx Production House/THRIVE • ManRoland 700 5/c + coat and 2/3 perfect • and a coupla' Heidelbergs and other stuff


wow! you are speaking greek!  ;D
Thanks Skry, I will look into the info and see If I can't help them decide what to get
I'm sure were not going to be too large of volume, Not sure what they send out yet, as those files don't come to me.
I hope I don't get PTSD!!
Thanks! pal!


Hey Thanks JWheeler and DCurry I just saw your posts too!
Good info


I gave all you guys' info to the one who will be purchasing all this.

I recently lost my imagesetter room, as we don't have a large press anymore.
It's right next to my department, looks like were going to have to give it back to me if we do this. 


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They are 💩💩💩💩💩
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Thank you! sheesh at this stage do I really want to learn more?  ;D
who knows maybe it will be good for me


Well, we got an Epson and it was crap... turns out it was a rebranded Roland, but for some reason, the Roland version works because that's what we had at PIP and it was marvelous. I wasted so much time and energy on that damned Epson... stressed me the fuck out... never had any issues with the Roland though, and it was basically the same model. Maybe it was the frontend? I forget what we used at PIP but at Sig-1 we used Onyx, and I hated it.
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Quote from: Tracy on November 14, 2022, 11:59:41 AMMy Epson 9900 needs a new print head ...

Could it be ... finally a print head issue that Windex can't fix?
I knew it had to happen one day... ;)


What a coincidence, we just replaced the print head in our 9900 just this last Friday.
If you want to learn to do it yourself there is a great video at myx900. Although it is $45 bucks to see the entire video, it does take you through the entire proceedure. You can get the printhead from Epson Prinhead.