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I am wondering if anyone can give me an overview on how to print and cut custom decals. They would be outdoors and need to stand up to the sun and weather.

 

Thanks!

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You left out step #1 - Put together roughly $10,000 and a commitment to properly maintain the printer on a regular (if not daily) basis and commit to spend a sizable amount of money on materials and supplies, whether you're actually using the printer every day or not.

 

 

Or, purchase adhesive vinyl specifically made to work in aqueous ink desktop printers, find a way to laminate them (there are liquid methods and adhesive vinyl methods) and make sure you own a cutter that supports contour cutting so you can cut them out after they are printed and laminated.

 

Here's a link to one source for adhesive vinyl you can run through your inkjet printer - http://www.texascraft.com/hps/home.php?cat=249&page=1

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You left out step #1 - Put together roughly $10,000 and a commitment to properly maintain the printer on a regular (if not daily) basis and commit to spend a sizable amount of money on materials and supplies, whether you're actually using the printer every day or not.

 

 

Or, purchase adhesive vinyl specifically made to work in aqueous ink desktop printers, find a way to laminate them (there are liquid methods and adhesive vinyl methods) and make sure you own a cutter that supports contour cutting so you can cut them out after they are printed and laminated.

 

Here's a link to one source for adhesive vinyl you can run through your inkjet printer - http://www.texascraft.com/hps/home.php?cat=249&page=1

do you consider the aqueous desktop version really appropriate to sell as an outdoor product to customers?  It is like buying couterfeit nike shoes and expecting them to stand up over time like the real thing.

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from papilio site   

How long might a printed design be expected to last in the sun?

This will be entirely dependent upon the ink used to print the image. Pigment and solvent inks last much longer than dye-based inks and coupled with a laminate, may last for months at a time".

 

cost per sq ft is around 1.18 + laminate 

 

 

would you sell shelf liner as car wrap material? - same idea - not the right product for the applicaton, but I am sure it would work for a short time.

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do you consider the aqueous desktop version really appropriate to sell as an outdoor product to customers?  It is like buying couterfeit nike shoes and expecting them to stand up over time like the real thing.

 

Nope - but then I don't think most people that come to this forum and say "Hey, I just decided I want to make stickers!" have done any research and found out what it's going to cost to actually try and enter the business.   I'm merely offering an affordable alternative.

 

I personally have printed inkjet stickers and laminated them with clear 651 and sold them to people telling them that they have a limited lifetime - it works great for election stickers that you don't need to last forever, or other short-term use.  I would never try to pass them off as the sort of high-quality printed designs that other people can make.  I made one 8 months ago for someone to put on the dash of their car and I told them "Hey, the stickers I can make DO NOT last a long time" and they said "That's Ok - it is for a gag gift" and it's still on the guy's dash and it still looks good.

 

How many times have you seen "Hey, I have $311.45 for a budget and I want to make stickers, what are my options?" asked on these forums?  There really needs to be a sticky entitled "So, you think you want to make stickers, eh?" and spell out the actual costs of start up (appropriate printer, laminator, RIP software, cutter with contour feature, inks, cleaning supplies, and whatever else I'm forgetting), plus consumables, plus how much is involved in daily maintenance and cleaning.  

 

I would LOVE to get into printing like this, and I could even choke down the initial cost, but it's the daily maintenance and support costs that keep me from even trying to step into this arena.  When I hear people say things like "yeah, I just had to drop $850 on another new print head" or "I want to go on vacation for 2 weeks, how do I keep my printer from running out of ink and melting into a pile of scrap while I'm away?" it makes me want to stay away from printing like it's radioactive.

 

Of course, I suppose it is always possible that printing has minimal actual costs, and people just post comments like that in the forums to keep everyone else out...  ;)

 

Edit - I typed 851 and meant 651 Oracal - my bad.

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come on Jones buy one and be the voice of experience . . .  . would welcome another owner with experience on here - and if you buy new you don't have to worry about the expenses during the warranty period - unless you get physical damage like head strikes, etc.

 

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So I can just use my desktop printer and get the same results? There is no comparison. Its like using a hammer to fillet a northern. I am sure it could be done but man it is going to be messy and sure it will be consumable afterwards but really is that something you would give your customer?

 

You speak of budget for said decals? That is the first question that should be asked both by you to your customer when they come to you and also stated by you when you are looking to get work done. Know the numbers and let who you are working with know them also so they can find the right materials and build style for your project. Be it decals, signs, banners, shirts or whatever. Without knowing what they have to spend on this project how can you begin to bid it?

 

The cost of any of the aqueous printable vinyl alone far surpasses what it would cost you get it done correctly by either one of the printers on this forum or any of the to the trade print houses that are available. 

 

Sure, everyone likes to say they made it, but really why pass off substandard material when you try to come off as professional to your clients. Even telling them that it will not last really just makes you look shady. It not only hurts yourself but this industry as a whole. 

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Sure, everyone likes to say they made it, but really why pass off substandard material when you try to come off as professional to your clients. Even telling them that it will not last really just makes you look shady. It not only hurts yourself but this industry as a whole. 

 

Dude, you don't know me and you don't know my customers.  You're sounding like one of those "if you don't charge a minimum of $40 for everything you do, you're a punk and you should close up and go home" types of people that lives on the Signs101 forums.  If they wanted to offer you the job to print their stickers, then they would have posted "How much to get someone to make these stickers for me?", but that isn't what they posted, is it?

 

At no point did I say you could get the same results. I merely offered an affordable solution to someone who has obviously done absolutely no research into this.  Once you tell people "cough up close to $10K and you can do it professionally" a vast majority of them come back and say "whoa, I can't afford that - what can I do with the equipment I already have?" or "what about this inkjet vinyl I saw on ebay?".

 

Using an aqueous compatible vinyl in a desktop inkjet printer and then laminating and cutting it gives them some experience with what the process entails.  Then if it seems like something they can do, then maybe they can invest the money and get a "real", "professional" system.

 

I'm not opposed to subbing working out to people that have the proper equipment and experience, but most people that come on here and say "I want to make stickers" aren't using a euphemism for "I want you to make stickers for me!" - they actually want to learn to make them themselves.  If you want to be helpful, then help them, don't point fingers at, or criticize me.

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ok dude, Your right, I dont know your customers and never said I did. And i do not recall offering to print anything either.

 

Laminating a A3 sheet with a squeegee and contour cutting it really does not prepare you for laminating a full 64" x 150' roll end to end and processing multiple jobs thru it at all. 

 

What you suggested the op to do will not last outside and stand up to weather. And that is what they were specifically asking. 

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The desktop solution reminds me of the guy on ebay that sold shelf liner for years as vinyl for signs . . . . just sayin even if it can be done doesn't mean it isn't the right solution.   If the method and materials used is disclosed at the time of the sale  -hey sell it to the customer -he has made the choice.  my only issue is the people that sell it as an actual equal product - kind of like people that cheapest aftermarket inks and don't lam at all - 2 years ago we went to New Orleans and the garbage prints were everywhere.

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