Seeking Advice on Large Film Printers

shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member
edited April 11 in K2 Business Forums
*Maybe a moderator can relocate this to the business forums - it might be more appropriate there.

Does anybody have an experience buying these kinds of printers from TSAUTOP or other hydrodipping factories? It costs USD$4590 (excl shipping) and is only warrantied for a year. However, opening moulds with the manufacturer for films is so expensive, it only takes 3 moulds to be able to buy this, so this makes more economic sense from that point of view. Are there better options you guys know of? And I'd want to be sure that this would be serviceable for at least 3-5 years when the warranty is only for 1 year?

I've also heard people say they can re-purpose regular large commercial printers like the Canon ipf 8000s.

As for the ink, I've heard that "it's pigment ink nothing special about it" (presumably a commonplace ink) - so I wouldn't be confined to getting dedicated hydrodipping ink for printing on clear film. All I'd need to get from the hydrodipping manufacturer was the clear PVA film.

Can you confirm my info is good?




Post edited by shau2 on
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Comments

  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,322Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    I can see why you want to order everything from China since it's so close and the shipping is a hell of a lot cheaper than sending to the US. But Please, don't use pigment ink printer unless you already have one in your shop and need to find a new use for it, and then use only QUALITY pigment ink. (And there is a big difference in manufacturers of pigment ink.)

    Also, don't let TSAUTOP send you the 1.27 x 250 M roll of film. It won't fit in ANY printer and you will have to manually reroll it to 100 Meter sizes. Order Rolls at the 100 meter length size. The factory they buy it from will make 100 meter rolls.

    Thirdly, buy an HP 115 latex printer locally and save yourself a whole lot of headaches in the future.
  • shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member
    edited April 11

    I can see why you want to order everything from China since it's so close and the shipping is a hell of a lot cheaper than sending to the US. But Please, don't use pigment ink printer unless you already have one in your shop and need to find a new use for it, and then use only QUALITY pigment ink. (And there is a big difference in manufacturers of pigment ink.)

    Also, don't let TSAUTOP send you the 1.27 x 250 M roll of film. It won't fit in ANY printer and you will have to manually reroll it to 100 Meter sizes. Order Rolls at the 100 meter length size. The factory they buy it from will make 100 meter rolls.

    Thirdly, buy an HP 115 latex printer locally and save yourself a whole lot of headaches in the future.

    Is the HP 115 latex printer a pigment ink printer?

    Does your recommendation come from experience?

    What kind of ink would I use with the HP 115 latex printer for hydrographic film printing?
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,322Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    The HP Latex printers use Latex Ink. Yes, my recommendation comes from extensive experience... Pigment ink will work, but latex ink is lightyears better.

    My apologies for making the link to the HP Latex printer distributor in Australia embedded in the text so that i wasn't obvious. Here it is as a plain URL https://www.neopostgraphics.com.au/large-format-solutions/sign-display-printers/hp-latex-large-format-printers

    This should get you on the road to researching the capabilities and pricing of the Australian HP Latex printer line.

    Here's where you get the patterns to print. https://pva.supply

    HAPPY PRINTING!
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,322Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    @shau2 Have you made any decisions about the Chinese pigment printer that TSAUTOP is selling? I hope you end up buying one or the other.... It's an underserved market.
  • shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member
    edited April 15

    @shau2 Have you made any decisions about the Chinese pigment printer that TSAUTOP is selling? I hope you end up buying one or the other.... It's an underserved market.

    Underserved...? What did you mean by that and what advantage does that create for me? TSAUTOP printer pricing is - if you'll forgive my saying - extortionate :bawling: Can one ever expect to make back all the money even if one were to sell custom prints? That's a whopping 5 grand printer and I suspect the rate of printing means it is fairly low throughput.

    Leaning towards a non-dedicated printer for the purpose, like the HP you suggested, if that'll be cheaper...

    I don't want to buy it on my own though - I'm trying to get someone to co-invest in one with me. Anybody interested? For a perpetual share in any profits from custom film that I sell using that printer? :)
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,322Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    The HP 115 cost twice the price of the Chinese printer from TSAUTOP. The only other thing you can use a pigment printer for is printing on paper and specially coated vinyl.

    Underserved... Let me answer with a question. How many custom film printers are in Australia?
  • TroubleTrouble Posts: 414Member ✭✭✭
    @Studebaker was the printer you used when you first started selling custom film latex or Pigment? If not latex do you know anyone selling custom film that is using latex? I am interested in printing my own film. I have tried custom film from almost all the the US sellers doing it. Some of what I used worked fine some did not.
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,322Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Trouble I started with Latex ink, because I had tested and rejected pigment before I ever decided to start the custom film printing craze.

    To answer your other question, BigBrain and Kingsmen Kustom both sell custom film from pigment printers. They both sell a good quality product. I have seen and been impressed with the color reproduction from that style printer.
  • TroubleTrouble Posts: 414Member ✭✭✭
    @studebaker Thanks I have a small workforce pigment printer and experimented a few years ago I had trouble with activator A and I found the ink to be thin and did not stretch well on some things . I am thinking of bringing in a larger printer and giving it a try again. I have dipped film from you, BBG and a few others.
  • gardnerdddgardnerddd Posts: 230Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭
    @Trouble You should give us a try. @studebaker is correct, pigment ink is ok but not sure if the greatest. This Monday we will be kicking off our new pricing structure to make custom film more reasonable.
  • TroubleTrouble Posts: 414Member ✭✭✭
    @gardnerddd I have gotten film from you at least twice and it worked well. I am no longer interested in the custom aspect of printing. I get request almost every other day where a customer has a great idea for a pattern until I give a price quote. They are not willing to pay for the extra cost of the film or my time creating their pattern. They always opt for what we have and ask for a price break or I never here from them again.

    I am starting to look at printing another way. I am interested in possibly cutting cost. Less waste such as buying extra film because its a pattern I have never worked with, Less space to store etc. I don't have the exact number I spent on film last year because I am away from home but its around the 20k mark and my shop is only in operation less than half the month. I am always looking for ways to cut cost and put more money in my pocket.

    Is the film from you pigment or latex?
  • gardnerdddgardnerddd Posts: 230Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭
    @Trouble That is amazing, that you spent that much money on film. I have both and it depends on what media I am printing on. Well inbox me your information, I am sure I can help you get set up with something. I can print on the paperback film, the paper film (smartsolve) or I can print on high-quality blank PVA (which I do the most).
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,920Administrator El Jefe
    Thank you for the input @gardnerddd always a pleasure to hear from you!...
  • TroubleTrouble Posts: 414Member ✭✭✭
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,322Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    @shau2 How did your experiment with printing your own film turn out? Have gotten rich yet? :-)
  • shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member
    @shau2 How did your experiment with printing your own film turn out? Have gotten rich yet? :-)
    I will be discussing the possibility with a potential collaborator in the coming weeks.  I don't have the means to go this path alone at the moment.
  • shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member
    edited May 25
    shau2 said:



    @shau2 How did your experiment with printing your own film turn out? Have gotten rich yet? :-)

    I will be discussing the possibility with a potential collaborator in the coming weeks.  I don't have the means to go this path alone at the moment.

    The difficult part if I want to take this forward as a collaboration is to estimate the costs and inventorize the project; then I can make a pitch for it. Any advice, or even your own project plan, suggested breakdown of costs and inventory - all very welcome. In particular it will be necessary to justify particular commercial printer candidates.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,920Administrator El Jefe
    Considering that a large scale printer is going to cost you around $12,000? You better be damn sure you can bring that kind of work into your business...

    And stay away from partnerships...or collaborators?...They will only bring you heartache and pain...especially when you don't know jack about the business or even have a professional tank...

    Baby steps my ninja...baby steps...you got a whole lot of upgrading to do before you start down THAT road of printing your own films...
  • shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member

    Considering that a large scale printer is going to cost you around $12,000? You better be damn sure you can bring that kind of work into your business...

    And stay away from partnerships...or collaborators?...They will only bring you heartache and pain...especially when you don't know jack about the business or even have a professional tank...

    Baby steps my ninja...baby steps...you got a whole lot of upgrading to do before you start down THAT road of printing your own films...

    I'm in no rush. That said the prospective collaborator is a quite successful artist - the the extent Japanese retailers are using his designs on merchandise
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,920Administrator El Jefe
    Well, my advice is worth exactly what you paid for it...which is nothing...
  • shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member

    Well, my advice is worth exactly what you paid for it...which is nothing...

    Nah, I reckon your advice carries plenty of weight. And sometimes, it's the free advice that is worth the most because of the good intent behind it.
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,322Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Excellent... Is it true that all Japanese artist aspire to have their artwork plastered all over YETI cups? LOL Just kidding.... Maybe. I did print some custom film for a Japanese fishing reel manufacturer, once. There are opportunities eveywhere! Go for it.

    But please, don't buy a cheap pigment printer, do it right the first time. I know it contradicts Jim'sadvice for baby steps, but I went through baby steps starting several businesses and I can say with certainty, that in retrospect I can see all the wasted time and effort "building up" to full burn. I've been through 8 large format printers and still have 4 in the back of the shop with their little rotting ink lines taking up valuable space, because I took baby steps. Although it was a very enlighting decade, I wish I had someone like me to get advice from. Like in this forum... :-)

    All the professional Dippers on this forum advocate using professional equipment for professional results, and I do too! Use a professional level printer for professional results. Those little "cheap" pigment printers will give you a bad reputation and you will lose interest because nobody is beating a path to your door. And all you will have left is something that may or may not sell on eBay.
  • shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member

    Excellent... Is it true that all Japanese artist aspire to have their artwork plastered all over YETI cups? LOL Just kidding.... Maybe. I did print some custom film for a Japanese fishing reel manufacturer, once. There are opportunities eveywhere! Go for it.

    But please, don't buy a cheap pigment printer, do it right the first time. I know it contradicts Jim'sadvice for baby steps, but I went through baby steps starting several businesses and I can say with certainty, that in retrospect I can see all the wasted time and effort "building up" to full burn. I've been through 8 large format printers and still have 4 in the back of the shop with their little rotting ink lines taking up valuable space, because I took baby steps. Although it was a very enlighting decade, I wish I had someone like me to get advice from. Like in this forum... :-)

    All the professional Dippers on this forum advocate using professional equipment for professional results, and I do too! Use a professional level printer for professional results. Those little "cheap" pigment printers will give you a bad reputation and you will lose interest because nobody is beating a path to your door. And all you will have left is something that may or may not sell on eBay.

    He's actually Australian, but his reach is enviable if he's managed to interest Japanese retailers. He does a lot of community projects and also commercial promotional ones.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,920Administrator El Jefe
    Actually, when I said "Baby Steps" I meant that he needs to get his feet under him as far as a professional tank, professional air delivery system, professional paint booth, professional rinse tank...a building to house it all..."Baby steps" does NOT mean buying cheap stuff first only to replace it later...(ask me how I know?)

    And THEN maybe a printer...does him no good to print his own film when he doesn't even know how to diagnose what's wrong with his system in the first place...

    So I actually meant? Do this...THEN that...

    Or in the words of the mighty & wise "Jim Tzu"...

    "When 2 rabbits are pursued? Both will escape..."
  • NWHNWH Posts: 84Member ✭✭

    Actually, when I said "Baby Steps" I meant that he needs to get his feet under him as far as a professional tank, professional air delivery system, professional paint booth, professional rinse tank...a building to house it all..."Baby steps" does NOT mean buying cheap stuff first only to replace it later...(ask me how I know?)

    And THEN maybe a printer...does him no good to print his own film when he doesn't even know how to diagnose what's wrong with his system in the first place...

    So I actually meant? Do this...THEN that...

    Or in the words of the mighty & wise "Jim Tzu"...

    "When 2 rabbits are pursued? Both will escape..."

    I am in agreement with Jim on this one you would be putting the cart before the horse without being able to be a professional at WTP with preprinted film trying to make a go of self printed film is going to be a cluster F--K.
    Learn the ins and outs of the process first. Not only that but for as long as I have been doing this I would have a hard time justifying $12,000.00 for a printer to do custom film even if you up charged a extra 100.00 for a custom printed job you would have to do 120 jobs to pay for it. And to top it off how many people are going to ask you for custom film? You will find it would be about 2% of your customers.
    NWH
  • shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member
    NWH said:

    Not only that but for as long as I have been doing this I would have a hard time justifying $12,000.00 for a printer to do custom film even if you up charged a extra 100.00 for a custom printed job you would have to do 120 jobs to pay for it. And to top it off how many people are going to ask you for custom film? You will find it would be about 2% of your customers.
    NWH

    That's why I probably wouldn't go solo - I'd only partner with a prolific artist who I knew could have enough customers - or stand a good chance of having enough business to get a return on it.

  • NWHNWH Posts: 84Member ✭✭
    shau2 said:

    NWH said:

    Not only that but for as long as I have been doing this I would have a hard time justifying $12,000.00 for a printer to do custom film even if you up charged a extra 100.00 for a custom printed job you would have to do 120 jobs to pay for it. And to top it off how many people are going to ask you for custom film? You will find it would be about 2% of your customers.
    NWH

    That's why I probably wouldn't go solo - I'd only partner with a prolific artist who I knew could have enough customers - or stand a good chance of having enough business to get a return on it.

    A good artist dose not fix the issue of not understanding the process. Dipping is as much as a art form as a artist is for a image.
    Custom printed films do not behave like rotogravure films.
    NWH
  • shau2shau2 Posts: 112Member
    NWH said:


    A good artist dose not fix the issue of not understanding the process. Dipping is as much as a art form as a artist is for a image.
    Custom printed films do not behave like rotogravure films.
    NWH

    Indeed :) Not saying I've mastered the artform, but getting there day by day with the help of K2Forums and the K2 gang :D

  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 7,003Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    shau2 said:

    I'd only partner with a prolific artist who I knew could have enough customers - or stand a good chance of having enough business to get a return on it.

    I think there is a flaw in your logic, here is the breakdown

    People that want something hydrodipped=10,000
    People willing to have you do the work, rather than another dipper=5,000
    People with a product expensive enough that justifies a custom film=500
    Projects that are so sensitive or high end that require you to print your own film =10
    Projects so high end that they would want custom artwork created by an artist=1

    You are banking on the artist's name and art to drive the work to you, that's not how this works. If he sells his art to the film makers in China, they have a bigger wallet than you.

    I don't think this is going to work out the way you expect.

    Listen, EVERYBODY sees the possibilities in this process when they start out, EVERYONE is excited. You are not the first person to do this, you aren't the only one that knows an artist, you are not the only one that can get film printed and put it on something expensive... If there was money in it WE ALL WOULD BE DOING IT.

    The money is in production, it isn't glamorous (No matter how awesome @MidOhioHydrographics looks while doing it) but it will pay the bills. You are chasing something not based in reality. These guys are giving you good advice...
  • NotSoFastNotSoFast Posts: 3,409Member, Moderator El Moderator

    Actually, when I said "Baby Steps" I meant that he needs to get his feet under him as far as a professional tank, professional air delivery system, professional paint booth, professional rinse tank...a building to house it all..."Baby steps" does NOT mean buying cheap stuff first only to replace it later...(ask me how I know?)

    And THEN maybe a printer...does him no good to print his own film when he doesn't even know how to diagnose what's wrong with his system in the first place...

    So I actually meant? Do this...THEN that...

    Or in the words of the mighty & wise "Jim Tzu"...

    "When 2 rabbits are pursued? Both will escape..."

    Basically, get the dipping portion down 100%, THEN worry about printing. The best printer and artist in the world won't make your dips any better. Bad dips will ruin your business.
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