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im new to the trade which supplies do you recommend?

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John Dorling

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 1:41 pm

im new to the trade which supplies do you recommend?

Hi all. :D

I've already introduced myself on the 'hello' forum and this is a repeat of a question there but in a nutshell:

totally new to the industry, ordered a VersaCamm VP540 & arctic titan laminator. Got a unit big enough to fit a 45' trailer in and a nice new office (I run another business from here but wasn't using the space). I'm using a PC with Illustrator CS3. Looking to do everything that I can with the VersaCamm including (but not limited to) block vinyl graphics to vehicles and signs, full colour prints (eventually wraps), canvas prints, stickers and maybe a few clothing transfers.

Quesrtion: What essential kit do you recommend bearing this in mind?

TIA

John
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Shane Drew

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 1:47 pm

John, your covering a pretty broad range in your description. I'm not sure what you refer to as a kit. Canvas printing and stickers are two different markets and products, as is the myriad of print vinyls you can use to do prints and wraps.

The most essential thing I can suggest is to (1) make sure you make a profit, and (2) remember the phrase 'you get what you pay for' when buying stock.

Don't fall into the trap of buying cheap products, because each product has its limitations, and the cheaper the stock, the greater the limitations.

3M gold squeegees are a must tho :P
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Steve Vallis

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 2:31 pm

Hi John

I dont think your printer is best suited to canvas prints, Epsons & canons probably give best results


Steve
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Hugh Potter

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 2:56 pm

kit...

knives (stanley type, scalpels, razor scraper)
metal rulers / straight edges, and decent set squares can be handy.
large workbench, mine is 12x2'6, but i only cut 600wide vinyl, you'll need at least 1200 wide as you're cutting 900 vinyl? i use toughened glass tops too (underlit)
application tape dispenser (easy to make)
usual power tools, drills, heat gun, jugsaw,
eyelet press if you're going to print banners,


can make it a lot longer, but those items spring to mind! basically if you're going to be a sign 'maker', then just equip the worksop out with good hand and power tools, i just did it as i went along, buying what i needed as and when if i didn't have it, which is prob best!

have fun!
Hgh
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Gareth.Lewis

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 3:22 pm

Thinking away from the manufacturing.....

Access equipment (ladders/trestles/towers)








Kettle
First aid kit
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Peter Dee

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 3:37 pm

And after you've sussed out all the basics and suppliers and been up and running for a few years plus got some regular work coming in you could think about a decent printer/cutter.
Oh! You've already got them??? :o
Seems a bit of an @r$e about face way of setting up a new sign business to me. :-?
Research is one thing but getting enough regular work to pay for that kit is going to take a while.
A brave move but then if I had the wonga I might do the same... :wink:
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John Dorling

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 4:39 pm

Peter Dee wrote:Seems a bit of an @r$e about face way of setting up a new sign business to me. :-?
Research is one thing but getting enough regular work to pay for that kit is going to take a while.
A brave move but then if I had the wonga I might do the same... :wink:


You have to remember that as a haulier I'm used to spending £100k on a rig and fueling it up at £750 a pop, taxing it at £1800 a year and paying a driver - all for a relatively tiny profit.

In construction I have to lay out £300k before I can even make a sale!!!

I already have the premises which aren't being used to their potential, so £15k - £20k to totally kit myself out in a new business is pennies by comparison!

I also have many contacts with other hauliers and couriers, and already have over a dozen inquiries from them, all through word of mouth. I just hope I won't end up eating my words!

Shane - yes I was a bit vague there. I'm hoping to specialise in vehicle graphics, but I hope that the machine I have is versatile enough to do other things. Not looking at canvas printing as a main product as it seems a very competitive market on the net, but I won't rule out any job as long as it is profitable and within my capabilities.

I'll let you know how I get on as I start out.

John
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Neil Davey

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 6:05 pm

'Essential kit'......

Imagination, good designs skills, good layout skills.

Plenty of 'negative space' and loads of enthusiasm for the job because believe me you'll need it.

Never use brush script or comic sans and don't think wraps are the answer to everything cos there sure are some sh!t wraps out there.

Oh and a dictionary..............

:D
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Post Thu May 29, 2008 6:12 pm

#1 A subscription to SignCraft
(it comes with a free pricing guide)
#2 "Mastering Layout" by Mike Stevens
#3 "Logo Design for Small Business" by Dan Antonelli
#4 Good fonts from Letterhead Fonts, House Industries, Sign DNA, or Signfonts.com

Love....Jill
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Graeme Harrold

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 6:51 pm

You made a good start by getting full membership, just have a good look through the demo section as it may focus your product range.
Just remember 'Jack of all trades, master of none' try not to spread yourself too thin and wide.
Excel in quality rather than undercutting in price.

Good luck and all the best with your new business.
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Paul Humble

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 7:02 pm

1. A nice big table
2. Guts

Is signcraft the magazine?
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Neil Davey

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 7:05 pm

Paul, yes Signcraft is a magazine, it's well worth the subscription.

I get mine from Wrights of Lymm but you can subscribe direct....

www.signcraft.com


Neil
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Graeme Harrold

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Post Thu May 29, 2008 7:20 pm

Neil Davey wrote:Paul, yes Signcraft is a magazine, it's well worth the subscription.

I get mine from Wrights of Lymm but you can subscribe direct....

www.signcraft.com


Neil


Fantastic, Im subscribed.............$49(£26) for 7 issues direct or £38 for 6 in the UK???????
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DaneRead

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Post Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:58 pm

sorry maybe i am missing something?? :-?

But i really think you need a vinyl cutter
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Brian Hays

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Post Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:06 pm

DaneRead wrote:sorry maybe i am missing something?? :-?

But i really think you need a vinyl cutter


The VersaCamm has a built in Cutter? :-?
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DavidRogers

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Post Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:48 pm

Brian Hays - Impact wrote:
DaneRead wrote:sorry maybe i am missing something?? :-?

But i really think you need a vinyl cutter


The VersaCamm has a built in Cutter? :-?
On that note (as I run one in disguise as a Cadet), does it run as pitifully slowly as a cutter when not doing profile cutting round prints? - I have never bothered to find out!

re: essential kit etc.
an extra pair of hands :) , imagination & attention to detail.

I've never considered the vehicle side of the business (for me) to be the most profitable part. For the time it takes to livery a vehicle - you could probably put out significantly more 'signs' at a greater value & profit...unless it's easy van fleet stuff...churn them out like shelling peas ££££

As for canvas prints - it may be a competitive market...but whenever I see that particular phrase I just read "working for next to nothing".

C'mon, even ASDA are doing canvas prints these days...and the ebay market is flooded with so-cheap-it's-nearly-free stuff. I do them as a niche 'service' rather than a mainstream item. Some students loved them for their final projects - and it's a nice 'extra' for existing clients to get some wall art in-house.

Dave
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DaneRead

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Post Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:29 am

i really do not belive that you can use a printer to cut vinyl with.

It must take ages to load the machine also you now have the whole head moving to cut vinyl

Surely it cannot cut efficiently?

Small lettering etc. Also speed must be extremely slow.
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DavidRogers

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Post Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:17 am

DaneRead wrote:i really do not belive that you can use a printer to cut vinyl with.

It must take ages to load the machine also you now have the whole head moving to cut vinyl
takes maybe 20 seconds instead of 5...and the cutting part detaches from the print head (leaves it on the capping station).

Surely it cannot cut efficiently?

Small lettering etc. Also speed must be extremely slow.
That's what I'm guessing....and why I've never bothered - detail for small text wouldn't be a problem as it's just as accurate as a 'normal' plotter, but when profile cutting...it's a bit on the slow side...like dead slow.
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DaneRead

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Post Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:08 am

i understand the logic but i would hate to have a one machine doing both things.

Can you imagine having a 50mt roll of PVC loaded and you want to run a few little letters out in a few minutes

You will have to take out the PVC maybe you can leave it on the spool on the machine then load the small piece of vinyl then finish it an re load the PVC.

Also you are busy printing a 5mt vinyl job an you now want to quickly finish a cut vinyl job where you have forgotten to cut a couple of letters.
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Russell Huffer

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Post Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:04 pm

And so the print & cut versus print then cut question raises it head again.

I run print then cut more down to the way company developed than choice, however it was no easy task to learn how to do a print and cut job on the Grenadier printer then cut on the Graphtec cutter, I spent a long time speaking to Uniform (printer) Graphtec (cutter) and Wasatch (rip) before i managed to get a good result and because 3 different parties involed i was never sure who to speake to.

The Versacamm is a geat choice for starting out I have not heard bad comments about them and at least as a novice if you have an issue with orint ing then cutting you only have one contact though I am sure it must be easier on same machine.

Regards


Russell.
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DaneRead

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Post Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:20 pm

hi i don't disagree about the printing and cutting on the same machine it is using a versacamm printer to do standard vinyl cutting jobs.

I really think that a conventional vinyl cutter is still a must in a sign company. For cutting lettering etc.
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Lynn Normington

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Post Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:21 pm

I would much sooner have a plotter and a printer, that way if you are printing you can still be cutting something else or visa versa and also if your combined machine goes wrong you can't do one or the other :roll:


Lynn
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Karen Gianfrancesco

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Post Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:51 pm

Lynn wrote:I would much sooner have a plotter and a printer, that way if you are printing you can still be cutting something else or visa versa and also if your combined machine goes wrong you can't do one or the other :roll:


Lynn
Good point lyn as you know my episode with my printer if i hadn't had my seperate cutter i wouldn't have been able to do anything for 6 weeks at least i could do sign, vans and t-shirts
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Cameron Steer

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Post Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:04 pm

Hi there,

As its a VersaCamm and your looking to specialize in vehicle grahics and presumably wrapping large Rigs why dont you get yourself on one of the Roland vehicle wrapping courses at the Roland Academy £550 for two days which includes Hotel accomodation and food.

You will save a fortune in wasted prints and time not to mention the peace of mind knowing thats once its wrapped it will stay wrapped !!

Regards
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Warren Beard

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Post Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:05 pm

Cameron - Europoint wrote:includes Hotel accomodation and food.

Regards


not when we did it :o
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John Childs

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Post Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:20 pm

Peter Dee wrote:Research is one thing but getting enough regular work to pay for that kit is going to take a while.

Peter, I had to spend £20k to set up, and that was twenty years ago when £20k was probably worth something like double that today.

And in those days that amount of money didn't get you any fancy kit like a printer. Computer, 500mm cutter, scanner and software. That was it.
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John Dorling

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Post Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:23 pm

Cameron - Europoint wrote:Hi there,

As its a VersaCamm and your looking to specialize in vehicle grahics and presumably wrapping large Rigs why dont you get yourself on one of the Roland vehicle wrapping courses at the Roland Academy £550 for two days which includes Hotel accomodation and food.

You will save a fortune in wasted prints and time not to mention the peace of mind knowing thats once its wrapped it will stay wrapped !!

Regards


Booking it soon!
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Patrick Forsyth

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Post Thu Jul 03, 2008 3:18 pm

I use a versa camm 540, for print and sometimes for purely cut out, its okay, it definitely is more stable when going through, how many times have I had my vinly slide using the camm1 from Roland. Ok sure setting up is a hassle from 1300 to size of vinyle. But the height is good for doing big cut jobs. I'm busy doing a 2 m x 1 m cut on white avery 500 and going through the versa camm, is perfect cause it touches the floor only after 1m20 as with the camm1 its on the floor in no time. Still pays to have a second machine. The camm 1 is a good scale for starting out. I think its worth about 3000 € Roland should be able to throw one in for what your buying your Versa Camm for. Try it on for size. you never know. Having someone who is skillful in DTP is a major help. I'm a DTP man so, I went that route without thinking. Good luck and start small is all I can say. No point in running with the big dogs, if you can't keep up. Patience is the art in this game. Perseverence comes in second. :cool: Salemans skills always help too.

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