In-House Printing How to.(So Far)

FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
edited August 2015 in Business
Allright guys. We have been working on the process to do in house custom printing. Our goal is to be a Full Service Hydrographics Company. Able to go from design to finished dipped item all under one roof. This is a learn as we go process, since there is no one to offer any kind of advice or anyone to lead us in the right direction. So I will show ya'll what I am using to make this work. I am not saying its the only way, but its worked for me so far.

First thing was to have a printer that uses Pigmented inks. You can google for a list of printers. there is also a list at www.prostreetgraphix.com . We needed a new desktop printer in our office anyway. I went to Staples and bought this one for $99 and a full set of replacement XL ink Cartridges. The complete ink set was $95.

Next step was the film and Part "A" Fixator. At www.prostreetgrafix.com , I purchased the 8.5" wide package for $49.99. It Comes with 10 pieces of 8.5"x11" sheets and a 4oz bottle of the part "A" and a 4oz Part "B" Activator( We did not use the activator "B"). Instead we used Hydrogator.
Next we designed a custom logo file of some of our clients to be used for marketing the in-house process. We also are using 2 flower pics that were taken by me in 2010 in Hawaii. And last is a Istock photo we previously purchased. Here is a pic of the films after we printed and before applying the Part "A".

And here the first speedshape dipped with the printed film before clearcoating.

There is a couple minor spots on the dipped item, but this was the very first test dip.
I will do the others tomorrow. And will get the technique dialed in in short time.

So our first phase is a success. We have $250.00 invested so far.
Now we are going to move to our next phase. We are looking at the HP Designjet Z5400 PostScript ePrinter. Its a 44" inch printer which is perfect to print 100cm wide film. The cheapest price I have found so far is at www.Lexjet.com. Delivered to our door for under $3500.00. There is one other bigger Printer that can print 60" wide materials. But since most all dip tanks are 1 meter wide, then there is no need.
Also we are going to purchase a roll of 127cm film. We will get it cut down to one 100cm roll for the big printer and one 27cm roll for the desktop printer. We found this on ebay, which we will try. $720.00 to our door. That comes out to about $1.82 per sq ft. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hydrographics-127cm-100meter-blank-film-Water-Transfer-Printing-Film-Can-be-Cut-/261985568437?
Then we will get 1 gallon of the Part "A" from www.prostreetgraphix.com, which is $150.00 plus shipping. Covers about 400 sf.

So to get this into one package, we will be investing less than $5000.00. This should be in the next month or two. But we plan to have this whole thing working by end of year. Wish us luck, and we will keep you informed.





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Comments

  • AlanCoderreAlanCoderre Posts: 74Member ✭✭
    Very nice Thank you for the info
  • CoastalHydrographicsCoastalHydrographics Posts: 3,047Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Please do. Good luck man.
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,527Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    @FWHydro Thank you for the information, the forum was anxious for the results! A suggestion for forum members, consider the EPSON WF 7620 Printer, it has an 11x17 inch print bed / sheet feeder and uses the Ultrachrome pigment inks. Also the Epson uses the new "Precision Core" print head that is very long lasting with very little problems. It's only $200 and it has an 11x17 scanner.

    Also, thank you for publishing your cost for materials, that will help with people understanding that $3.00 per SqFt is actually the cost of production.


  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,527Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    @UptonSpoon I'm putting your calling card here because the information in this discussion from FWHYDRO will help with your research in the same field.
  • Archer0545Archer0545 Posts: 806Member ✭✭✭
    I'm fairly new to Hydrographics but I absolutely love where this is going!
  • UptonSpoonUptonSpoon Posts: 554Member ✭✭✭
    A thank you to @FWHydro and @studebaker for a) posting this and b) putting my calling card on the [post so as I didn't miss it.
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2015
    @Studebaker @K2Concepts - I am a man of my word. My intentions are clear. And it can be etched in the walls of the Hydro Crystal Palace for ever.

    "I will never produce and sell film wholesale or to the public. Ever. I will only use what I have to do Turnkey Full Service Hydrographic Services. I cant say it any clearer. I will never be any film suppliers competition.- Larry McDonald"

    Now with that out of the way, if you have any advice to offer for a quality wide format printer that can do 50" material I am all ears. If you wish to still keep it a Industrial Secret that's OK. The only one I have found so far as any brand is the HP Designjet Z6600. Its a great printer for poster graphics and any type of interior signage. And I am sure it would be a Great Printer for Hydrographic Films. Its the ONLY printer I have found that can accommodate the 50" material. And that printer would be $9500 to my door. We use a HP Designjet L25500 which is a latex ink. Better quality for vehicle wraps and outside signage. But HP seems to be the only company that has the only Pigmented ink printers that are 24" or over. The HP Z5400 is the one I am considering because it would benefit TMSigns as a second printer for paper posters and cheap banners. Which free's up our Beast to run the Wraps.
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,527Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sure! @FWHydro There's the large format Encad Novajet that will print pigmented ink, it's real cheap. Link to suppliers.

    They are a lot of used ones around if you look a little bit. And the parts market is real strong for these printers.
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
    @studebaker - So you have used or are using the Novajet now? Found a better one since? HP has Tech support and onsite repair. What about the Novajet. I am not looking to waste time or money.
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,527Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    No, @FWHydro I'm not using the NovaJet... I was answering you question about finding a lower priced large format printer for pigment inks. The is no tech support or onsite factory repair for the novajet printers. They are simple and easy to fix on your own, with cheap repair parts and accessories.

    They would be a good starting point for the forum members that "Have a Hankering" but don't want to fully commit to the price of the HP pigment printers that you are researching.
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2015
    FWHydro said:

    @Studebaker @K2Concepts - I am a man of my word. My intentions are clear. And it can be etched in the walls of the Hydro Crystal Palace for ever.



    No, @FWHydro I'm not using the NovaJet... I was answering you question about finding a lower priced large format printer for pigment inks. The is no tech support or onsite factory repair for the novajet printers. They are simple and easy to fix on your own, with cheap repair parts and accessories.



    "I will never produce and sell film wholesale or to the public. Ever. I will only use what I have to do Turnkey Full Service Hydrographic Services. I cant say it any clearer. I will never be any film suppliers competition.- Larry McDonald"

    Now with that out of the way, if you have any advice to offer for a quality wide format printer that can do 50" material I am all ears. If you wish to still keep it a Industrial Secret that's OK. The only one I have found so far as any brand is the HP Designjet Z6600. Its a great printer for poster graphics and any type of interior signage. And I am sure it would be a Great Printer for Hydrographic Films. Its the ONLY printer I have found that can accommodate the 50" material. And that printer would be $9500 to my door. We use a HP Designjet L25500 which is a latex ink. Better quality for vehicle wraps and outside signage. But HP seems to be the only company that has the only Pigmented ink printers that are 24" or over. The HP Z5400 is the one I am considering because it would benefit TMSigns as a second printer for paper posters and cheap banners. Which free's up our Beast to run the Wraps.



    They would be a good starting point for the forum members that "Have a Hankering" but don't want to fully commit to the price of the HP pigment printers that you are researching.
    @studebaker - That's Cool, but what about the ones like me, who are prepared to FULLY Commit. Any useful advice there?
    That is why I listed this thread in the Business Section. I did not ask for a cheaper alternative. I said Quality alternative.

    No Worries, I will keep researching. Stay tuned guys. I am 3 weeks from Oahu Vacation so it will prob be around end of Sept before we have our 2nd phase in action. But if Anyone has anything useful for us fully commited guys, I am all ears
    Post edited by FWHydro on
  • TsunamiTsunami Posts: 4,974Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    The dip looks fantastic Larry. Lots of hard work and determination. Damn, I hate to get between you and your favorite steak. LOL
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
    Tsunami said:

    The dip looks fantastic Larry. Lots of hard work and determination. Damn, I hate to get between you and your favorite steak. LOL

    @Tsunami - Thanks, Yes it was. And Please Don't. =)
  • deceased10deceased10 Posts: 83Member ✭✭
  • AlanAlan Posts: 193Member ✭✭✭
    @FWHydro - good work man! .... keep us updated on your mission by supplying us with both information and pics. There's a myriad of cheap wide format printers here in China ... the problem is I don't know my **badword** from my elbow when it comes to this kind of tech' equipment. :s
  • TsunamiTsunami Posts: 4,974Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2015
    FWHydro said:



    Tsunami said:

    The dip looks fantastic Larry. Lots of hard work and determination. Damn, I hate to get between you and your favorite steak. LOL

    @Tsunami - Thanks, Yes it was. And Please Don't. =)
    Larry, I did think of one procedure that has helped. I double strain my base and strain my X54. Started to notice little nibs in the x54 that were not in the base.

    Oh yeah, I expect to see a film that has EL DIABLO, The Magic Man, Spidermonkey,Crapes, and dont forget Profesor D!(K Weed LOL
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
    Thanks @Tsunami for the tips. I will do that on my next round.
  • BackwoodsHydroLLCBackwoodsHydroLLC Posts: 217Member ✭✭✭
    @FWHydro thanks for the update.. dip looks great. How is the "part A" applied? I believe it's a liquid, so I'm guessing sprayed?
  • 3monkeyshydrodip3monkeyshydrodip Posts: 839Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭
    Looks great @FWHydro! If it was easy we would all be doing it. Lol keep it up. 
  • UptonSpoonUptonSpoon Posts: 554Member ✭✭✭
    Nice job @FWHydro . Can you share what printer settings and subsequent adjustments you used please/
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2015
    The printer is a CMYK system, and our print file was RGB. So instead of printing a true black, it mixed the inks to create black. We call that color mud. It also caused the colors to be a little washed out looking. So we went back to the file and corrected the settings.
    Also there was a tab where the printer went heavier on the black ink.

    With these few adjustments we were able to hold the color all the way thru the process.
    Post edited by FWHydro on
  • UptonSpoonUptonSpoon Posts: 554Member ✭✭✭
    @FWHydro So an ICC profile might be the next thing to consider?
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭

    @FWHydro So an ICC profile might be the next thing to consider?

    Wont be able to get the right adjustments until we get the new printer. Then we can dial in the profile. Right now its not worth us going any further with the small set up we are using now. That was just for testing purposes. Now we go from the DIY Level to the Professional Level. But we are not done by any means. We are just getting started.
  • AlanAlan Posts: 193Member ✭✭✭
    @FWHydro - keep up the good work man and don't let anyone try to detract from what you're doing.
  • JimGJimG Posts: 88Member ✭✭✭
    Not that I plan on making films but it sure has me very curious of this "secret formula A". I do a lot of custom motorcycles and I use an inter coat clear after my base coat, to protect it if I need to "erase/wipe off a mistake". Now this is what I am thinking, "part A" needs to be transparent, compatible with the inks, reactivated by solvents, and have adhesive properties. Wouldn't lacquer clear work a a fixative? There are so many coatings that would work I wish I had a printer to test them. Lol
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
    JimG said:

    Not that I plan on making films but it sure has me very curious of this "secret formula A". I do a lot of custom motorcycles and I use an inter coat clear after my base coat, to protect it if I need to "erase/wipe off a mistake". Now this is what I am thinking, "part A" needs to be transparent, compatible with the inks, reactivated by solvents, and have adhesive properties. Wouldn't lacquer clear work a a fixative? There are so many coatings that would work I wish I had a printer to test them. Lol

    I have been told it spays good on the prints but I havnt heard if it works as far as dipping after. I will be experimenting with the "A" after we get a production roll of film. The 8.5x11 sheets are too small to do much of anything. So the Prostreetgraphix Part A that came with the kit will work for now, and it's $150 per gallon. But I will find out eventually. I do have a DuPont product number to try when I do start that phase.
  • UptonSpoonUptonSpoon Posts: 554Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2015
    JimG said:

    Not that I plan on making films but it sure has me very curious of this "secret formula A". I do a lot of custom motorcycles and I use an inter coat clear after my base coat, to protect it if I need to "erase/wipe off a mistake". Now this is what I am thinking, "part A" needs to be transparent, compatible with the inks, reactivated by solvents, and have adhesive properties. Wouldn't lacquer clear work a a fixative? There are so many coatings that would work I wish I had a printer to test them. Lol

    @JimG Do you know about an auto substance called "isolator or Isolator/sealer please?

  • JimGJimG Posts: 88Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2015

    @UptonSpoon each manufacturer has a name for or it and many different chemical make ups. But most inter coat clears are just what you are talking about. Axalta/DuPont, BASF,etc. 1k clear paints. Just like the old lacquers of the past
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,527Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes, @JimG and @UptonSpoon A thin coat of lacquer clear will work as a fixative. But sure of overcoat that will be applied though... It may or may not react well with an enamel based or water based clear coats. If you are going to use the clear lacquer as a fixative on your prints, consider using the same lacquer clear as the top finish coat to avoid compatibility paint issues.
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