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VERSACAMM - should it do this?

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Michael.

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:34 pm

VERSACAMM - should it do this?

We would like to apologise for the loss of some images submitted for this product test. To see the second set of images submitted doing the exact same tests, please click he link provided. https://www.uksignboards.com/viewtopic.php?p=30706#30706




This morning me and the missus went trundling off to Slough, to the office of Roland UK to see a demo of the NEW VersaCamm in action. I went armed with a CD containing a selection of our own images so we could see how it would perform with our own type of work rather than their own 'prepared' images.

Well the demonstration went well - we went from being impressed to 'not sure' and back again! We saw images printed onto Gloss, clear, banner and matt and we were particularly impressed by the results on the latter two.

What I want to share (and ask about) is the same old chesnut about 'durability'...

During the demo the salesman said it was 'minimum' three year outdoor life on any industry standard UNCOATD media - though in hostile or highly abbrasive conditions it was 'anyones guess'?!. Well I want to show you the following in the hope it'll raise some comment and opinion regarding this partcular issue.

These images were printed around 11.00 am this morning...at 5.00pm this afternoon, no less than six hours later, we discovered this:

abrasion test with single dry finger rubbed back and forth 6 to 8 times over image printed on GLOSS VINYL:
ImageImageImage


abrasion test with single dry finger rubbed back and forth 6 to 8 times over photo printed onGLOSS VINYL:
ImageImage


abrasion test with single dry finger rubbed back and forth 6 to 8 times over image printed on BANNER MATERIAL:
ImageImage


abrasion test with single dry finger rubbed back and forth 6 to 8 times over image printed on MATT VINYL:
ImageImage

...and just for curiosities sake...

abrasion test with a small pencil mounted rubber rubbed back and forth just 4 times over an image:
ImageImage


abrasion test with a small amount of white spirit rubbed back and forth twice over an image:
ImageImage

...just to make sure it wasn't me - Clare tried it twice...and she's a dainty little thing :D

Image


Is it a question of the images needing time to 'cure'? The salesman said they would benefit from standing for 'a few minutes' prior to use but these had six hours in a warm car and then in the house!. Surely if these same images had been applied, let's say wet, without application paper to a vehicle panel and applied with a squeeqee without a cover then would damage have occurred? Even if a felt squeegee were used it's still possible given the apparent delicate condition of the ink? If any chinagraph marks were removed from the van with white spirits (as is the norm) and the cloth happened to brush over the face of the print - would they not again be damaged?

I've read others points about 'always' laminating graphics for vehicles - which I agree with - but exactly what should we expect from a claim of 'three year outdoor unlaminated life'? Personally I feel a little unsure about the VersaCamm at this moment becasue of what I've witnessed this evening...were these images printed badly during the demo or should we expect more?...or am I expecting too much!!! :-?

can anyone shed any light on this matter?

more soon

mike
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Phill Fenton

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:05 pm

That is worrying Mike. I would certainly have expected better durability than this. A thermal transfer print would not have smudged like that. Have you relayed this information back to Roland?

I would not describe what I have seen here as being "Outdoor durable"

Thanks for highlighting this. I am interested to know how you get on. :D
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Kevin.Beck

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:13 pm

Will you be forwarding your finds to Roland, for a comment from them?

It`ll be intresting to hear what they say about this......
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Adrian Howard

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:18 pm

Eco-SOL INK
Aggressively bonds to both uncoated and coated media Safe to use and environmentally friendly
Up to 1440 dpi resolution with variable droplet technology
Water, scratch and UV resistant graphics up to 3-years outdoors*
Average running cost (ink and media) of 65 cents on pressure sensitive vinyl
Uses four 220ml ink cartridges (CMYK)
Roland COLORIP™ (RCR) software included
QuadrAlign™ - four-point optical registration system
Accepts media up to 30 inches wide

* Outdoor durability is based on accelerated weather tests. Results may vary depending upon location and application. Drying times vary depending on specific media characteristics, ink coverage and environmental conditions. Lamination may be required for some applications or environmental conditions.
This was lifted from Rolands US site i think that it will need to cure for at least 24 hours so try again tomorrow
Hope all is well then.... my friend runs its big brother machine and he always leaves his prints 24 hrs before applying
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Kevin Flowers

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:18 pm

Mike
you got me wondering so i dug out the print that i got from Roland at the recent show at Excel. Two rubs of the finger across the print and sure enough the print smudged. This was one of there prints printed on their choice of vinyl for the show. With this performance theres a few people that will be wishing they kept their encads. It may be nice to be the first to have the latest technology but on this one i think seeing how that technology holds up would be the order of the day

Kevin
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Robert Lambie

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:28 pm

i think adrian is right.. leave at least 24hrs.. then try.

the one finger test is something i have been doing for years now.. i think you will find the roland pc60-600 & the gerber edge do the same thing.
more so when they are left outdoors for a couple of weeks or more..
this is why i stress when putting any print from an edge or a roland on a vehicle or outdoor signage it should be covered in vinyl.

mike if you have the prints handy.. try cutting a strip of clear if you have it. say 6 inch by 1 inch stick it over a printed area leaving one edge dog-eared to pull back in a few moments.. waite, then pull back gently.
i hope you get some resistance. if not it will peal leaving the print on the clear vinyl a lovely strip of white were it used to have print.
again, this maybe better after the ink dries...
if this is the case i would not recommend wrapping vehicles with this machine.. :roll:

the only printers that seem to hold the vinyl best when covered in clear vinyl are thermal ones....
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Graham Scanlan

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:42 pm

leaving the print to dry overnight is a very good idea, letting the solvent escape and dry the print out completely,

also please can i add if we talk about lamination, that if you print a cast film please consider using a cast overlaminating film too.

most jobs i come across that are solvent printed are overlaminated too


thx
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Kevin Flowers

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:48 pm

a quick add on as a few posts were added whilst i was typing, this image was printed 22/10/03 it has been kept inside since it was picked up. the image sudged as easily as Mike discribed no real effort just a back and forth of the finger. Does the signboard archive have a very big :oops: if Roland decide to post. All of the above aside if the machine can eventually do what it claims then it will be a machine that every sign maker wants.

Kevin
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Michael.

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 9:12 pm

Thanks for the feedback so far... :D

I would like to reiterate that we found the quality of the images to be very good (see those of the motorcycle above).

The VersaCamm is extremely quiet when running - you could easily hold a telephone conversation right next to it! There was virtually no odour from the inks during use (unless you got really close with your nose). The whole machine wobbles a little on its stand when running, which is a sight to see, and there is no media catchment system either.

It was a strange demo...one minute I found myself thinking 'hey - that looks great!' and the next thinking 'well I couldn't put that in front of a customer of mine!' I suppose after more than a decade in cut vinyl it's easy to be critical of the spotty finish and the apparent delicate disposition of the finish for such a time after printing...

I suppose traditional signwriting takes time to 'cure' and even vinyl applied wet shouldn't be interfered with for a short time afterwards (hell, I've had dusted crystal jobs that took four days to dry out!). I hear what some have said about the 24 hour thing - but then Kev pulled out his prints after two and a half weeks to find it still does it...perhaps it'll be OK by tomorrow? As regards telling Roland about this - surely they should be telling us about such stuff? - not wait for us to find out. Why is is when buying digital and some other technologies you seem to get this constant feeling of "well you didn't ask" syndrome?...when will profit ever give way to the truth eh?... Roland are well aware of this issue...

more comment welcome...

yours sincerely

frustrated of Stanford...
Last edited by Michael. on Mon Nov 10, 2003 11:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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John Singh

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 9:13 pm

Its a little frightening to say the least
I'd be interested to hear what Roland have to say.

However the image resolutions seem to be excellent especially the bike

The actual machine itself looks really cute and doesn't look like it would take up much space

These are the +'s but not much use if they are not durable


Oh and Mike thanks very much for those informative pictures
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Lorraine Buchan

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 9:56 pm

I received some sample prints from sticky mark at surrey signs off of his new versacamm today, so they must have been posted on saturday!

I haven't tested them yet but.... will have a go tomorrow!
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Joe McNamara

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 10:01 pm

As regards telling Roland about this - surely they should be telling us about such stuff? - not wait for us to find out. Why is is when buying digital and some other technologies you seem to get this constant feeling of "well you didn't ask" syndrome?...when will profit ever give way to the truth eh?... Roland are well aware of this issue...


Oh, Michael, Michael, MICHAEL! :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
wHEN WILL WE LEARN.... :o :o :o
Roland ( among others ) have been allegedly claiming great print ability and outdoor durability for years.

I paid many thousands of pounds for a colorcamm pc50 which is supposed to be excellent for labels and stickers according to roland.
Check out this link and you'll see some of the disgruntled customers...
http://www.thesignstore.com/pc50.html

I also bought a colorcamm cj70 large format inkjet (pigmented) 54" wide cutting printer and this also is fiddly to use and I've had little success with it as a printer.

Don't get me wrong though, I think Roland make fantastic cutters and I wouldn't use anything else - I love the CJ70 as a big cutter, I'm just glad I didn't shell out the 20 grand they charged for it in 1998.

Funny, I thought the dawn of the Versacamm was going to do the same to cut vinyl that the original vinyl cutter did to the signwriters of old.

Looks like it's not gonna be the case.

All these big companies seem to be interested in is sales of these machines that are "better" than the last offering.....

I'll stick to farming out digital 17 - 20 quid a square meter and no hassle.

I don't know why we all get dragged into this hype...
You can buy a used cnc router for less than the price of a versacamm and cut yerself a nice niche that won't compete with print shops and new "signwriters" that seem to pop up every time we have a good shower of feckin rain.

Better still spend a hundred quid on a really good jigsaw and you'll turn out (with some practice) some nice dimensional work like Steve Broughton has shown us in the past - quality!

Sorry to rant on a bit about this one but like I said earlier I've had my fingers scorced a little with a three and a half grand cutter that's also a (allegedly) thermal printer Image seemed to do a great amount for a super tempting price at the time..........
versacamm.....I feel a sense of deja-vu coming on.

Well done mr Brown, and I tought you said you weren't going to bother with that gerber edge last time I spoke to you..... :wink:
Oh I just don't know.

Enough ranting for this week
Cheers
Joe
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Mark Candlin

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Post Mon Nov 10, 2003 11:40 pm

Rubbing off

Ive just tried the same test Mike on some prints I did on Saturday.
I didnt have the same dramatic results you seem to have got.
I tried in on a part of the image where there was heavy ink usage. I had to rub a good 20 times to see any smudging. It did smudge eventually.

Would this not happen with any other printed media though?
For vehicle prints we always overlaminate so the problem wouldnt arrise.

It all depends on the usage of your end product I guess.

The inks and printing process that the Roland Versa Camm uses are nothing new. They have been used sucsefully in other Eco-solvent printers
before this machine came out.
Whats changed is the entry price point, its now reasonable to produce in house full colour graphics for quite low cost.
Do I sound like a Roland salesman??

Ive still got the option of using flat colour vinyl as well if needed anyway.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:25 am

i think everyone will find, no matter what machine you use the finger rub will work to some extent. the golden question is which one holds up the most. the other one i tried at sign uk a few years ago was the meths on a cloth and wipe once or twice... how that lovely white vinyl comes through :wink:
again, on the thermal machines held up...

having said that.. solvent machines seem to be the way forward on low cost, high rez output @ high speeds..

the versa at the price tag still sounds best for taking the plunge in the digital market..
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jon vital

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:03 am

Surely the other manufacturers are planning to bring similar sized machines to the market?
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Rodney Gold

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 5:30 am

I find thos pic wierd - I use the same machine but just bigger and cant do what you have done to my prints. I am sitting here as we speak , vigourously rubbing a print I did yesterday , navy blue on Starrex 5-7 yr vinyl and Im on my 50th+ rub and Im now rucking the vinyl up with no real deteriation of the print .

The only way such damage could happen is if the media used was coated or is pretty poor stuff .The solvent based inks penetrate the uncoated vinyls whereas with coated media , they penetrate a surface coating on some cheap vinyl , the inks dont penetrate well.

The Versacam prints on both and coated media sometimes coated prints better than uncoated , so it might have been they used coated for a demo.? Roland sell their "Certified" media
The sort of "balling" and pure white under the areas where you rubbed off the print suggest to me this may be coated??? What type of vinyl was used?

The prints form both machines should not have to dry over 24 hrs , we laminate and apply prints literally minutes after they come off.
Some media , especially if you use the machine without the heater on (for stuff that buckles with heat , like styrene or ABS) do need 1/2 an hour to dry or if you have a particularily heavy ink coverage (the machine has options for a 2x or 3x "overpirnt" for denser applications- doesnt actually prints twice but lays down a lot of inks) , these arent dry when coming out the machine.


ANY solvent will remove solvent based prints - meths , spirits , citrus based oil , windowlene etc. That you cant get around ever.

Durability is a contentious issue - no one has actually "tested" for the period that is claimed , the prints are put into a UV box with light intensity than can give you cancer in 10 sec , and if after a while the prints dont come out crispy - they are considered durable!! :)
There are issues like mechanical abraision , pollutants etc that come into play in real life that are not considered in these tests.

I have unlaminated prints done on coated media on my pick up for at least 5 months , the vehicle is washed once a week and stands outside in full sun and I have had no deterioration of the prints at all.

Anything we do for vehicles or any application where the prints will be handled a lot , we laminate. I wouldnt give 3 days guarantee , late alone 3 years , on vehicle graphics unless laminated and that also goes for my Thermally printed media.

I will post and ask for comments from Roland on this - you must get the guy that gave the demo to tell you EXACTLY what vinyl was used tho.
I dunno , Im just getting busier and busier with my soljet and have had no comebacks whatsoever.
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Steve Broughton

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:03 am

Rodney Gold wrote:The solvent based inks penetrate the uncoated vinyls whereas with coated media , they penetrate a surface coating on some cheap vinyl , the inks dont penetrate well.

ANY solvent will remove solvent based prints - meths , spirits , citrus based oil , windowlene etc. That you cant get around ever.


Rod I've got to say you've contradicted yourself there mate, also after 15 years working in print I found that the main use for solvent based inks has been more the quick drying time as the solvent evaporates leaving the pigment on the media, and I would say in this case its the pigment thats at fault, Mike keep your money in your pocket (or spend it on a new V-Rod) and let the big companies be Rolands "Beta" testers :(.
Roland have been less than truthfull with their product ability in the past why should it be any different now, sorry Mike but you know we both have the same opinion of "suits".

Now I wonder what would happen if you went and spent 3 grand on a nice new plasma TV and after a week the picture turned black and white, you take it back to the shop only to be told by the shop assistant, "sorry sir but they all do that!" Hmm would the trades description act apply, Roland are quoted all over the place saying what their machines will do (I know I bought a PC50 and it was "RUBBISH"!!!!!!!) then you get a little disclaimer about certain media, dust, temperature, ribbons etc. etc. I can think of lots of other things to say but then Rob's "Oh I swore" machine would have a meltdown. :lol: :lol:
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Lorraine Buchan

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:56 am

Well the sample prints Mark did for me are fine, my finger has gone numb from the rubbing but no adverse effect, some of the ink has lifted and i have a yellow tinge to my finger but no smudging or significant deterioration.

Did anyone take the plunge on the signart nautilus??? I see in issue 16 of grafityps catalogue the price of £10980 (including delivery and installation) for the 610mm is crossed out with a special prices for a limited period, i guess this is in responce to the release of the versacamm.
Only thing is it seems such a huge machine. If the versacamm costs £9999 plus £550 for installation and dellivery!!
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Rodney Gold

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:51 am

Erm- how did I contradict myself ?
The Inks used in the roland actually allow the pigment in them to "penetrate" the vinyl , the solvents act on the vinyl and are not just an evaporative product. On coated media , the pigments penetrate a special receptiove coating , on cheap vinyl sometimes the solvents dont work as well as on some other vinyls or substrates.

Mikes experience is contrary to all others , not one person I have spoken to has experienced this at all , and I have Versacam output right here that is VERY durable
(As an aside , if you dont want to laminate , use spray and cook or pledge furniture polish spray on the graphic - cheap protection and a little more gloss)
I was VERY sceptical about Roland stuff , espcially cos of my Thermal printers - but my machine lives up to what Roland says it does - I tested output a lot before I bought it. Every machine and process has its limitiations , but this machine really does very very good work and Im making really good money out of it , we print up to 700 sq ft a day on it and make about gbp 1.75 (gross profit) per sq ft on average - the machine generates us about gbp 3-4.5k PROFIT a week , one job today , 21 banners , 1m x 3m at GBP 100 per banners has taken only 2.5 hrs to print and the cost to me per banners is around GBP24 - GPB1600 in 2.5 hours gross profit is fine for me - I dont mind being a beta tester for that :)

Lorraine , my laser guys also represent the nautilus , and they wont tell me exactly why , but they didnt want to sell me one ???????
I think it might be because I would have been the only one in the country to have one and they would have hads to carry spares , foils etc etc just for me.
However they were talking about the macine being expensive and the output not that great - it is not a high res machine tho , 300 or 360 dpi wouldnt cut it for some of the work I do.
I was looking at the 900 mm model at the time.
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Michael.

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:54 am

hi again!

thanks for the feedback so far...and to anyone who doesn't yet reply to posts or who are new here...get stuck in, your views are just as relevant as anyone elses - even if you don't do digital yet!

I'm reading all the replies here carefully...

The vinyls used were LG (hi cal) white gloss, MAcTac9800 clear and, of course, banner material - the results were the same.

If the salesman who ran the demo (Simon Johnson?) used the wrong materials or wrong heater/head settings then that's something that Roland need to be aware of.

It's now nearly 10.00am the next day - all but 24 hours later - and I can still smudge the prints. It's a little harder to do - but their still smudging. It just took me 10 rubs of the finger to take the banner back to white!

I guess the only way to know how it's gunna do is sit-back and see what happens to those already in service?

During our demo the salesman also ran a duplicate banner design through the Sol-Jet (which I understand is the big brother to the versacamm) and he said it uses the same mechanicals, the same process and inks - it's just bigger? Why was it then that when the SolJet ran, the fumes from it raised comment from all of us in the room instantly? - they were very pungent!

During an earlier call to Roland - one of their people (name withheld) said that as they hadn't a versacamm to hand that day - they were going to send out samples done on the SolJet saying "it's the same thing"?..is this correct? Should I be judging output from one machine from samples produced on another?...in the end they delayed and are sending samples produced on the versa'...but who's to know?

more soon

mike
Last edited by Michael. on Tue Nov 11, 2003 5:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Karl Birch

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 11:35 am

Hi There Everybody,

I have been reading your views concerning the new versacamm with much interest, mainly because i have been running water-based inkjets for years now and we are now looking to upgrade to a solvent machine, so i have been trying to get as much real information as possible. Now i say real information because as many of you have said trying to get realistict and true info from the manufacturers and sellers of these machines has been an impossibilty. You would not believe the things i have been told by one salesman and then something different from another. As somebody else said earlier on in the discussion it is very annoying when all you get are exaggerated claims and half truths about what these machines can and can't do. (That go's for all the solvent machines that i have so far looked at).
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Rodney Gold

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:28 pm

I can almost be 100% sure the Versacam was not using the correct inkset - Roland released 2 inkset - one for coated media and then they changed to a solvent based one with heater bars added to the machines (the EX models) - you CAN smell the solvents on both tye soljet and versacam. If you didnt smell the solvent , it was the old inkset and that is NOT solvent based at all , that would give rise to what you are experiencing . (Or it might have been a VERY ink reduced print - but that messes colours) You can use either iinksets n the machines , but you would have to flush one ink out prior to changing. there is NO POINT to be using the old inkset at all , it doesnt dry instantly and is made specifically for coated media. The new solvent based inkset prints on coated and its instantly dry.
These inksets and the print heads are used on other makers machines and they are proven.
The print heads and inksets for the Soljet are the same as the versacam , the soljet hs a LOT more printheads and takes an extra 2 colours of ink , Light Cyan and Light magenta, the soljet also takes 12 carts as the printheads are doubled for each inkset , thus the very high speed of the machine - 25 m2 per hour on banner.
Soljet samples will NOT be the same as versacam samples cos of the extra 2 inks which give better colour graduations , otherwise they should be the same. You cant actually use just CMYK mode on a soljet which is what is used on the Versacam - I think sending out soljet samples is a little underhand - not good at all!!!!!!

We run our soljet in an enclosed room with other printers - the smell is pungent , but not that bad and none of us "trip" on it ;)\
Real solvent machines need serious ventilation - the fumes are VERY toxic and long term exposure is not good, apart from them needing serious maintenece. Those inks are being legislated against and in fact a lot of couriers refuse to transport em , certianly in EC countries they are frowned upon.

I have no allegiance to Roland at all , in fact I get banned sometimes or sometimes have my posts deleted off the Roland boards cos I ask some embarrasing questions not in the "positive" light of the board or give away some of their new product specs before they release them , roland USA and Roland Japan seem to march at different rates , I knew of the versacam and had one to play with at least a month before the "official" launch in USA and knew of the EX upgrades on the PRO II machine whenI bought it , way way before the others. They were VERY pi---d off when I posted that my heater upgrade cost me only $900 (excluding an inkset wich works out to about another $900) and they were offering it with an inkset at about $3990
So I'm really only talking from a user perspective here

The only issues I have with my machine is that the cut registration drifts a little on very long print/ cuts (10000's of decals) especially if the cuts arent ordered - the machine jumps around from place to place and the vinyl travels a lot
The other issue is shrinkage of small full colour high enk coverage decals , it seems to me that the solvents "thin" the vinyl (very thin polymetric conformable stuff) and the edges can curl on small suff after cutting.
The 2nd last issue is that my magenta and yellow carts have 1/2 the amount of ink left as any other - despite me printing evenly distributed colours.
The final issue is that some medias , especially really cheap junk vinyl , show a small amount of banding when printing at the highest speed and lowest resolution , and despite claibration etc , you can cure it , but thats more a function of the vinyl
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Steve Broughton

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:38 pm

Sorry Rod mate I wasn't having a dig its just that you said
The solvent based inks penetrate the uncoated vinyls
and then you said
ANY solvent will remove solvent based prints
obviously it doesn't penetrate other than sit on the surface, I would have thought the only stuff that really becomes part of the vinyl would be thermal based printing. I apologise if you thought I was having a go :)
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Dave Standen

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:51 pm

Roland VersaCamm

Hi All
This is good stuff, but there's so much of it now -we need a little order to all the info.

The VersaCamm is supposed to have it's own inkset.
This is supposed to be the latest ink development - a step beyond the usual EcoSolvent inks as used in previous models and from Lysons. Low or no odour indicating less solvent or milder solvents or chemicals.

The idea of less vigorous solvents is to do away with the regular 'maintenance' of re-plumbing and new printheads.
These being eroded by the solvents or chemicals.

Rod -- Does your SolJet require regular 'maintenance'?
And - address for the Roland board - I don't know that one.
I'm in SA December - coming to take your photo!
I'm trying to get Rob to pay for the ticket!

Sounds like there's still some way to go.
But this is what the 'SignBoards' is for.
Bring out the facts and experience of the trade!

Regards Dave Standen
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Mark Candlin

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 5:16 pm

inks

In my so far limited experience the inks on the verssa camm are very low odor. I printed about 30 metres yesterday, full colour and really didnt notice much odor, and thats working in a very confined space.
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Rodney Gold

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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 5:40 pm

Hiya Dave
The inkset for the soljet and versacam are the same, the odour is dependant on ink laydown , but you can certainly smell it -
Not as bad as an Arizona etc . the inks need a heater or heated media to perform best , but they work as well as any , lets say, 600 dpi true solvent printer on unheated. No maintenace whatsoever - sort of. - Yesterday I removd the covers for the first time , feeling "guilty" cos I had never removed them before , replaced the sheet cutting blade , cheched the vinyl curring blade , soeaked up a bit of ink on the "wiping sponge" , cleaned the area round the printheads and capping station (just cos it said you shold , they werent dirty ) replaced 2 rubber "wipers" (they just looked a bit grungy , and I didnt really need to do that - but what the hell) and then pressed the environmental calibration button It's summer here , temperatures are higher etc, wiped the printing platen clean

That is ALL I have done since I had the machine , I can leave off printing on Fri afternoon 3 pm and start up agian on Mon morining , with perfect prints. It's so damn easy!!! I even have an ashtray perched on the top of the machine for a ciggie when inspecting whats being printed - gotta empty that too .......
The Roland USA site has user boards , for their various products , Digiat printing/colorcam was an independant board run by Bob Burns but Roland sort of co-opted it when he has problems with his ISP.

To be blunt , the moderators are not great!, any post that does not reflect Roland in a great light is either locked or deleted - Ostrich mentality.
I'm unfortunately not considered their ideal customer - cos I call a spade a bloody shovel :) they also take ages to respond - and we want answers NOW - noramally the merde hits the fan just before you are due to deliver a profitable print run to a client you been begging to give you chance for the last 2 years!!!!!!

Rolands ink names are a total mess up , Eco-sol and solinks , the new is called the Eco-sol , the old the Solink - confusing and it galls me to pay $900 for 2.7 litres of it, that's highway robbery.

Printheads seem to be treated as "consumables" - rated to some odd billions of dots , so far no problem , but we paid for a 2yr maintenance contract - which includes head replacement , Obviously not covered
if we use some substrate that causes a head strike

After 2 yrs I will most likely have got the next best digital printer to sliced bread (laser guided full 5 axis head movement + instantly UV curable 15 yr outdoor inks and a 10 tank spot colour reservoir , doing anything up to 15" thick , built in 500 watt Co2 laser cutter , reel to reel 500 m2 per hr take up and all costing under $5k;)
I would really love to meet you in SA - I live in Cape Town , and Im sure when you come here you will visit CT. there is amrvellous seafood restaurant , called the Blowfish - if you like seafood this is a true eating experience - for Gbp 30 you can eat like a king!!!! Im closed up from 19 th December so have free time
As to my Pic - I have some outdated ones and Im a little Camera shy - will get my wife to take something decent and post it.
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Post Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:19 pm

Keep 'um coming Guys!
I find this a fascinating post!

I'm not into digital yet but I am certainly gaining a lot insight into this area from guys like yourself.

Should that day come when I take the plunge I shall be well informed and hopefully not sucked in by the patter of a salesman

John
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Post Wed Nov 12, 2003 2:59 pm

Something occured to me last night as in sat reading a bike mag, (I'll let you guess where I was :) ) Isn't it funny that for almost every other product that we buy we can get truthful UN-Biased reviews of their performance in various publications be it a motorcycle or a kettle :lol: and yet for anything in our chosen profession we are told by our suppliers that what they are flogging is the best thing since sliced bread :x I wonder what the chances of Roland letting some of us review one .......................... oh sorry I'm just on the lookout for flying pigs :lol: :lol: :lol: :-?
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Post Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:58 pm

Steve
I think there is a lack of objectivity on a lot of websites - just look who sponsors a lot of them
In terms of print mags , the threat of a major manufacture withdrawing advertising is probably frightening to em. Revenue is generated mainly by advertisers , not mag buyers.
You might also find a lot of "independant" reviews by mag contributors are paid for by the manufacturers.
worse than that are the sock puppets that post as so called "indepndant users" and are actually employees of said companys.
Owners on the other hand are most likely also somewhat biased due to the fact that no one wants to admit they bought a pig in a poke.
There is a site that is pretty unbiased and does comparative tests of digital printers etc , its Flaar reports , however to access the nitty gritty - you have to pay.
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Post Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:00 pm

VersaCamm - Should it do this ?

Hi all,

Mike the Sign asked me to make a post on this subject in another thread (in digital printing) from the perspective of a supplier. I've read through all the posts listed, and it makes for very interested reading. I will endeavour to 'not overstep the mark' by giving you any sales pitch, but I've put on my flame proof trousers just in case !

It is also important to point out that the opinions expressed below are my own, and should not be construed as an response from Roland. (You should also be aware that the value of investments may fall as well as go up. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Your home is at risk if you fail to keep up payments on a loan secured upon it. etc :)

Mike, I was quite surprised at your post, as my experience of the Versacamm is a little different to yours, and is more akin to Lorraine's experience. First of all I would like to cover the drying of the print.

Prints off the machine are TOUCH dry after several minutes. After overnight drying they are much more durable, and we have found that they become even more durable after 2-3 days. The impression I get is that they are about 85% cured after overnight drying, but toughen up further over the next couple of days. I say impression, because I have no scientific method of measuring this, other than attacking ouput after different times of printing. I have had no problem with application with squeegees after overnight drying, but I am of course using soft ones. I think that there may be 2 variables to take into account here that can affect the durablilty that should be considered.

The vinyl - I haven't used the LG material, I have used Multifix, Metamark MD5-100 and Hexis DSS702 in the main. I can rub off the print with my finger if I really go crazy, but I got friction burns doing this (oo - err!). This LG media may be a vinyl that doesn't seem to work well - but I haven't used it myself, so I cannot comment.

Heating - The machine has a pre and post heater. The first heater pre-heats the material to open the pores and make it more receptive to the ink. The post heater is used to speed up the drying process. I ALWAYS max out the temperatures as high as they can go until the media starts to ripple. The more heat on the Pre-heater, the more the material opens up and the deeper the ink can penetrate. If the samples you were given were printed on a low heat, I would suspect that the ink didn't penetrate as deeply into the material as it could have.

Your rubber test. I was intrigued by your rubber test (or eraser test in case our American cousins are listening). I haven't tried this before, but I thought it well worth a go. So, confronted with a horde of sample prints I went into battle, HB5 in hand. The results were similar to yours. The eraser does rub the print away. I then also tried the same test on a true solvent output, printed on a different machine. Whilst the true solvent was a bit tougher, it also abraded away the image, albeit it took a while longer. It also seemed that when I was performing this test that I was removing the surface of the vinyl too. We do need to remember that the vinyl we are printing on is pretty soft too !

I would be interested to send you some samples that we have produced, so you can have a go at them yourself, just in case your fingers are made of emery paper. I would be particularly interested in whether you think they are tougher or not.

With reference to Roland's durability claims on the machine, I have to say that they are pretty reasonable, and in fact are no different from claims from any other manufacturer. This same ink is used by other companies in larger and more expensive machines. I would have to broadly agree that Roland's claims on durablilty are valid. Someone posted the quote off the Roland website, and if you read it, they are saying that the print is outdoor durable for 2-3 years unlaminated, and in abrasive/hostile applications, lamination is recommended.

Lamination of output has often been considered in the sign industry as akin to devil worship. We do not want to do that ! However, I can honestly tell you that it is not hard to do, opens up new markets to you and can even save you money. people are starting to realise this and the cost of machines has fallen recently. When we learnt that the VersaCamm was on it's way the first thing we did was to source a low cost laminator/encapsulator/mounter to compliment it. A laminator is a bit like power steering in a car, once you've had one, there is no going back.Other people also swear by liquid laminates too. Either way, you can ouput solvent and laminate it whilst still murdering thermal output on cost and quality. And that is the key point here.

The VersaCamm is designed to be the Signmakers Swiss Army Knife. Eco solvent is perhaps the most user friendly ink system out there in terms of what you can do with it, and the ongoing maintenance is minimal. True solvent printers are generally poor for printing onto coated materials. Eco solvent is at home on both. If you are looking for backlit lightbox film, photoglossy paper, and extremely high indoor quality work Eco Solvent has a lot to commend it. In fact I believe that the Eco solvent ink will make it difficult for the likes of Encad and HP with their GO ink and UV ink. You can also stand your VersaCamm for a month without having head clog issues. There is virtually no maintence to perform. You turn it on, do your work and turn it off. And there is nothing else like it at anywhere near the price.

Even with true solvent printers I would not put unlaminated output on the side of a vehicle for long term use. I know people who do, and I think they will regret it later. The customer might not come and complain, but he probably won't come back at all either. There are also issues with thermal resin output, which a lot of people seem to use as a bench mark of durability. I know of one major haulage company who bought a thermal resin system. The output was guaranteed for 3 years, but only 6 months later there was a very visible difference.

I'd like to cover a few points on the other posts:

First of all for Rodney in South Africa.

Roland have had 2 'solvent' inks. the old SOL ink and the new Eco-Sol ink. The VersaCAMM has only ever been run in the UK with the new Eco-Sol ink. I know for certain that the machine in Slough is running the Eco-Sol ink.

The larger machine, The SolJet Pro II Ex uses exactly the same inks as the VersaCAMM. I think the reason it smells more is the firstly that the Pro II Ex has a much large print surface area (width), and also prints much quicker. Therefore more ink is exposed to the atmosphere more quickly leading to a stronger odour. Even so, I think that the odour is very mild. Secondly, there is no post heater built into the Pro II, they use a separate drier wheeled up to the front of the machine, and this post heater accelerates the dry time reducing the odour more.

With reference to the samples that Mike was told were printed on the big machine. I don't know either way what the samples were printed on. However, you can Run the SolJet Pro II as a four colour machine. You just set the RIP not use the LcLm inks by using four colour profiles. I don't think Roland were being underhand - It would have been underhand if they hadn't told you. So if these samples had been done this way, it would have been the same ink / same head / same RIP. I just did a test to verify this, on our demo equipment and the output was identical, as expected.

BTW Lorraine, The VersaCamm is £ 8999.00 + VAT & Del not £ 9999.00


Oh, and John from Alpha signs - you said it looked like a cute little machine. It's just under 6' wide and weighs a ton ! It may be cute - little it ain't.

All the best,


Mike.
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Post Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:16 pm

Mike, a great post and very useful.

Well, at least I've now worked out for myself why the VersaCamm doesn't have a catch bin built into the stand? - any printed media folding up on itself straight from the printer would just smear and stick together!!!

I am not finished with this VersaCamm thingy yet - if I can get to see one running as it should? and produce something in front of my eyes that is as stable as it should be then I'd still be very interested in buying one?

I must say that, on reflection, I think Rolands in-house demo was a poor show for this NEW machine and left me with more questions than answers...I've learned as much here on the UKSignBoards as I did in the demo itself! :-?

Any chance of getting to use one for a week Mike :wink:

mike
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Post Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:40 pm

Nice post mike
I must say I have found you pretty much the gentleman and certainly not a hard sell proponent - so what you have to say seems way above a bottom feeder in the food chain.
As to vinyls , I have used a alot of them , Avery , Mactac etc - I find the profiles supplied don't work that well and tend to use Starrex with the old coated hi gloss vinyl profile and fine tune in the rip.
Some pencil rubbers have an abraisive built in??
As to lamination , you are spot on , a point worth mentioning it does other stuff to prints rather than just protecting. for example you can soft matt overlaminated to stop glare , there are tons (we use GMP) of different cold laminations and some really nice specialised films for non slip floor graphics , membrane switches and so forth - so you can change the look of a print by laminating , we often use a gloss to "POP" the colours.
Encapsulation and hot laminating is also great - we often use a VERY heavy hot laminate to encapsulate paper output so it doesnt have to be mounted.
Mounting is also great , we often dont actually mount but use that function to apply double sided adhesives. We also use the laminator for contract lamination (we have quite a nic high speed GMP excellmaster that does 1.6 wide stuff and I get my films at a distributor price which is between 40 and 50% discounted of retail so I can be super competitive)
We also have a large etching co that uses us to put dry film resist on thick metals. I must say , that lamination is not that easy to master - especially big stuff - and even more difficult if one cheaps out on a laminator.
BUT best of all is the Rolands print/laminate/cut facility , that makes a laminator all the more important.
Ambient Temps are high here in SA and its dry , and I also whack up the temp , so thats probably why our stuff drys quicker than the UK - espcially in winter.

Perhaps you can give me an answer to this - the solvents tend to pucker or shrink prints , espcially on premium thin vinyl?

Im using the colorip 1.2 and cant see any way of turning off the light colours , there is a light ink control and a seperation rule thingy - where is that under? Are you using the newly launched colourchoice II + rip?
I dont have 4 colour profiles?
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Post Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:47 pm

Versacamm

Hi All

Just my half pounds worth.

If the heating element has to be turned up to full blast to handle office conditions in the UK. How long is it expected that the element will last and what are the replacement cost.

Or is this one of the items that would be covered under the maintenance contract?

I only ask because like Mike I'm in the market for one of these, and had a call into Roland, who have not called back yet, until Mikes post.

Dan
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Post Wed Nov 12, 2003 11:10 pm

the one finger test is something i have been doing for years now.. i think you will find the roland pc60-600 & the gerber edge do the same thing.


I think not!!! Image

Robert, you mean to tell me you can rub your finger over the prints coming off your ColorCAMM three, four, up to six times and have it react the same as Mike’s experience as shown above? If so, that is an issue with your device and not characteristic of most color thermal printers, be it Roland, Gerber, or others.

Can’t deny that there will be abrasion wear the moment it comes out of the machine, but to have something like Mike shows with that minimal effort but forth, no way. Not normal for ANY thermal device. Image

••••••••••••
Image

...just to make sure it wasn't me - Clare tried it twice...and she's a dainty little thing


Just as I had always thought. Those fingers on the bottom bike picture look like “working” fingers to me. Truth is out, Clare does the “real” sign work there doesn’t she?!? Image

Image
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Post Thu Nov 13, 2003 12:26 pm

i think you will find the roland pc60-600 & the gerber edge do the same thing. more so when they are left outdoors for a couple of weeks or more..


:lol: :lol: you missed my next line when quoting me bob :wink:
actualy your right, is much harder to rub at them and remove the print straight after printing.
but try it after a few weeks on a vehicle. for some reason it comes away much easier. obviously car wash chemicals, dirt and grime have started to attack the print by now.. but it does rub off.. but like you say. not as easy as the versacamm. :oops: :wink:

i have signs that have been up, and vans running around for about 4-5 years. the prints from the pc60, then i cover in clear vinyl. they look exactly the same today as they did then.. maybe a tiny bit lighter.. so UV stability is high.
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Post Fri Nov 14, 2003 1:29 pm

PC60 Prints

Hi Rob
Couldn't resist the temptation:
You must be using some good ribbons on your PC60!!
Regards Dave Standen
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Lee Attewell

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Post Fri Nov 14, 2003 11:14 pm

I've gotta say it folks. This is one of the most interesting threads I've read for ages. Well done to all.
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Post Sat Nov 15, 2003 1:10 pm

VersaCamm - Should it do this.

Hi all,

Rodney, in the U.K. we are using ColoRip v 2.0a. I don't know anything about ColorChoice II, but that isn't terribly surprising, as Roland do things different ways in different countries. The original ColorChoice was a cut down Scanvec/Amiable software RIP, so it would be resonable to guess that ColorChoice II is a version of Photoprint DX or Photoprint Server.

However, I have to say that if you like ColoRip v 1.2, you will like ColoRip 2 even more. They have tidied up the user interface and made it simpler to operate. In the U.K. the upgrade is free. If you are going to switch to v 2, allow a little time to get used to it and things have been moved round a bit, but I like the new version a great deal.

As for four colour profiles for ColoRip, we do have them, but they are not normally distributed with the RIP. The drivers for the Pro II and VersaCamm are very similar too, and we have been able to drive the VersaCamm with the Pro II drivers !

About you question regarding shrinking/puckering of prints - cast your mind back to 3rd grade physics, where your physics teacher, a man with a challenging fashion sense and an alarming haircut, produces the 'Bi-Metal' Strip. Two pieces of metal with diiferent rates of thermal expansion glued together. When heated, the metal bends.

This is very similar with solvent ink and vinyl. Remember that the ink is applied to the material when it is warmed by the heaters, and when it dries it will return to room temperature and shrink very slightly. Combine this with the effect of the ink drying, and you will sometimes get the effect you describe. This is more common with premium thin vinyl, as it has less torsional rigidity (or innate strength) and by its very nature is much more conformable than other vinyl.

Oh and for Storeinet. You do not need to worry about the heaters. 'Full blast' is only 50 degrees, hardly a stretch for a heating element. The element is expected to pretty much last for the life of the machine, and is fully covered under the warranty (I can only speak for the UK, but I would be amazed if it were different abroad). Even at full heat, we are only pre-heating the vinyl, not nuking it ! :)

All the best


Mike
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John Singh

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Post Sat Nov 15, 2003 11:41 pm

Just to say thanks Mike Antrum for taking the time in explaining a few things

John :)
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Post Sun Nov 16, 2003 3:29 am

Pictures

Hi
Perhaps I should borrow Blairs pic?
Just joking!
Mikes OK
He sold me one of his first PC60's - and now look what happened!
Now what can I find for this other Roland machine ---Mmmmm!
What this space!
Regards Dave Standen
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Post Sun Nov 16, 2003 6:14 am

Hiya Mike
I upgraded to 2.0a , but the profiles are not right , you have to run each old profile thru a convertor or load up the japanese site ones and the Japanese ones are a disaster - I got way too much ink deposited and adjustments just made the print look bad , went back to 1.2 and the old profiles (which is Wasatch Softrip 5)
I really hate having to re-invent the wheel after what should be a simple upgrade - I would have had to reprofile each media. Pity, cos the functionaliity of 2.0a is better (which seems to be Wasatch Softrip 5)
I'll try just upgrading the program and not the profiles as well.
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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 11:51 am

VersaCamm - Should it do this ?

Hi

New to this notice board, but in looking around for "the machine I have been waiting for..." I have been pointed to this discussion by one of the suppliers. (not Roland)

We are a sign making company in Manchester. We have a CNC router and we have had the "edge" for 6 or seven years and have been waiting for the inkjet market to produce a machine that would satisfy our needs, full colour logos on vehicles, banners etc, with print & cut, with outdoor durability and with inks that don't need a health warning.

So it is with great interest that I have read this thread, as we are just about to order the Soljet 54" version from Roland. but before spending £20,000 on a machine that maybe doesn't perform to the standard it should we thought we would try some tests as in the previous thread.

We had a demo at the Roland office in Crewe (which has to be seen if only for the very elegant and grand driveway to the office (set in a stately home!)). We found that the gut from Roland (and IMHO) was most informative about the state of the colour market and the state of inks today.

We have some samples straight off the press printed onto vinyl and banner. We have tried to rub this off with our fingers and succeeded in only getting friction burns. This was printed onto Metamark digital sign vinyl.

We also asked for a specific job to be printed as a test. This was rolled up and put in the post that night, delivered next day and arrived in perfect condition.

We have looked at several printers but as an all round machine, for the price, the not very much mentioned superb print quality, the print and cut facility we (again IMHO) cannot fault the Roland

Even after the rub test we are confident this machine will perform and help us down other profitable avenues. I must say that Rodney from South Africa has probably helped that decision with his most informative replies. (you may get a few "help" messages from a new user Rodney.)

Having been in the sign game for a while you become used to being sold stuff (software, materials and machinery) that "you will have no problems with sir!," only to find when you really get into it there is a lot more to the finished article than "just click that button". I am sure this will be the case again when we blunder (sorry "learn") about the "subtractive" full colour market rather than our thermal edge machine

By the way we have seen the versa camm and and can only believe that every sign company will eventually have to have a machine like this (just like we all have a vinyl cutter) to compete and survive in an evolving full colour world

I look forward to the recent debate on laminators as this a whole new area we will need to explore.

what are peoples experience in this, what laminating machine would I need for the Roland Soljet?

Regards
Craig Hill
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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 4:24 pm

Verrsa cam

Ive been using the versa camm for a couple of weeks now.
Ive had no problems with mine and I also have not been able to rub off the print as Mike did. In some ways the print on uncoated vinyl seems to be just as robust as coated.

One problem I have identified is media alignment when loading up the machine. You cant tell if the vinyl or paper is aligned square to the machine.
My old Roland cutter had alignment marks front and back so you had a good idea if the vinyl was going adrift or that it was miss-aligned.
The Verssa cam has nothing in the way of visual alignment so I always have to run a few metres out to make sure its set up ok.

The Cutter is a bit on the slow side so I would advise keeping your old plotter for flat colour work.

All in all Iam very happy with the results.
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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 7:46 pm

Mark, what vinyl(s) do you find works best on the Versacamm? I am very interested in buying one of these printers and I travelling to Dublin tomorrow to get a demo.
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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 8:56 pm

Verscamm!!??

Hi everyone...New guy here! I have witnessed the Verscamm, and have a demo print 1 month old on gloss white from the Expo show, London, its been kept in my warm office and it rubs of easier than a... I wont continue!! Iwas going to buy one, glad Im not now, thanks for saving me money!! if any of you have any alternatives, I'm looking to buy equipment in the near future!? currently lookin at Mutoh Rockhopper 2? cheers :wink:
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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 9:59 pm

Well Roger T, KTF and others seem to be having a similar experience to me :-?

Well, I'm not gunna go on and on..."let the buyer beware" and all that!

Thought I should share these images with you though...

THESE ARE ROLANDS OWN SAMPLES (2nd SET TO DATE!)
sent to me a few days ago - and they've been printed some time now - at least two weeks!

First there was the accompanying note from the Roland rep:

Image

...glad to see what they think of vinyl (sticky backed plastic?) now that they're trying to get us all to buy digital instead of just plotters eh!

Next there was the 'sample' they sent along with comment that they 'burned their fingers' and all it did was 'rip'...

Image

So, I thought I'd take another of the images from the same packet and give it a rub...

Image Image

as you can clearly see - with the one I tried just 'rubbed off'? (red section - top left of right hand image)

So I tried a few others - all ROLANDS OWN SAMPLES and you can see for yourself what happened...

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

So I tried the same with an EDGE1 sample (as some folk had said ALL digital prints rub-off?) and you can see there was simply no effect...?

Image Image

Well, I'll leave them all another week or two and try them again...

more soon

mike
Last edited by Michael. on Wed Nov 19, 2003 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 10:03 pm

did you try the 1inch strip of vinyl mike then pulling it away slowly from surface to see if it lifts the entire print?
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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 10:07 pm

I havn't yet Rob - but then again it's not something that the sign/print would normally come up against in the real world - not like the abrasion of cleaning, handling and general wear and tear?

Next time I test them though - I'll give it a go...

mike
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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 10:15 pm

We here in the States have another sign show in about two weeks. Not sure I’ll be able to snap any pictures “from the floor”, but will have some samples to take away Friday, try “the test”, and post the results. I have numerous meetings scheduled while there (during and post show hours), so posting the results here on the board may not happen until late Sunday evening, December 7th once I return. I’ll document everything to the best of my ability. I’ll also review this with some contacts within Roland (USA) to see what they are willing to say “on the record”.
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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 10:26 pm

Hi mike
I would regard this as a very important issue when buying a printer like this.
Take lamination for applications on vehicles. On a thermal print, vinyl adheres pretty well, but still not brilliant for wrap laminations in recessed areas..
Some inks on vinyl simply act like a skin and have almost no bite what so ever. “its worth testing”
If it easily peels, lamination on vehicle prints will be useless unless giving the vinyl lamination an overbleed on the print below.

a bit like the blue van printed butterfly demo you have done.
can you imagine if the lamination come away easily? :-? the costs wouldnt bare thinking about... :o
https://www.uksignboards.com/viewtopic.php?t=2137

If no over-bleed the edge would be exposed and if it dog-ears the whole print will come away leaveing the white vinyl below.

hense my reply to phils post on lamination... :roll:
https://www.uksignboards.com/viewtopic.php?p=29050#29050
Last edited by Robert Lambie on Wed Nov 19, 2003 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michael.

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Post Wed Nov 19, 2003 11:35 pm

hadn't thought of it like that Rob - of course you're right, this type of test would show how well laminates etc. would adhere...makes bloomin good sense mate...thanks for putting me straight :P I'll try it.

:wink:

more soon

mike
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James kelly

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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:12 am

As some have had success with prints from the Roland and others have not, it seems to be the vinyl that makes or breaks the machine. Mark has had success and told me what vinyl he is using while the samples that Mike received from Roland are obviously crap! What we need is a list of vinyls rated from 0 to 10 in terms of compatability, the good ones and also the ones to be avoided. What vinyl were the Roland samples printed on?
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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:58 am

Interesting point James... :wink:

I've had a look and:

The Budweiser prints were on 'Metamark Digital Sign Vinyl'

James Bond was on '3M Scotchcal Series 40'

Armani was on an 'unmarked' white gloss vinyl

The fancy pinkish 'J' on the marbled background was on an 'un specified' banner material

Batman was also on an 'un specified' banner material...and...

The smiling Girl was on an 'unmarked' white gloss vinyl

more soon

mike
Last edited by Michael. on Thu Nov 20, 2003 1:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 1:07 am

I agree a valid point.
Im unsure, but are Roland selling these machines on the basis that they print onto basically any uncoated media?
If so, aren’t we doing their job for them now? Researching, testing etc
I bet if they agree what we all come up with here. it will be included as "their" finds while researching and improving the machine at the next sign show... yeh right :roll:
This kind of thing takes me back 5 years when they guaranteed the pc60 5-year outdoor life without lamination. When i called with my complaints, they blamed their agents for giving inaccurate details in the ad campaigns. :-?
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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 1:08 am

by the way...

A recent email I received from Roland, following my post on the VersaCamm, included the following comments:

"...For your own information, Roland are not making any wild claims about the print durability..."

"...When it comes to durability then this is very subjective as it depends on what you do to the print..."

"...We are told by Epson that the expected UV resistance is three years..."

"...with something like the VersaCamm; you need to know what it can do and what it cannot do. The latter is probably just as important..."

and a strange comment:

"...I have included a JV3 Mimaki print onto banner. This machine is circa £24K and cannot print at the same quality as the Versacamm AND it doesn’t cut. They have sold around 130 of these printers in the UK..."

Is it just me, or does that read a bit like "...well Mimaki's are crap and they manage to sell them - so we should be able to shift a few of these..."

The email did offer other comments regarding the question of suitability of the VersaCamm for signmaking but those above sorta jumped out at me?

more soon

mike
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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 1:31 am

"...with something like the VersaCamm; you need to know what it can do and what it cannot do. The latter is probably just as important..."



as you can see in their reply. They agree! The latter is equally important. Yet they never stress or educate us on the downside while demoing. They hard sell us the machines as the next best thing blah blah…
only when we pay-up and get back to them with problems do they put the downsides to us.. down sides we should already have known about well in advance…
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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:05 am

As can be seen on the comp slip Mike recieved from Roland they have no idea about or respect for the craft that they are selling too! as I've said before we need independent reviews of equipment like this so, imagine how many Colourcamms they would not have sold if we had known what we know now. Good job they didn't have the same ad agency as Ronseal :lol: as its obvious this thing doesn't "do what it says on the tin" :lol: :lol:
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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:55 am

I have not found Roland to misrepresent the capabilites of the latest crop of Eco-sol inkset digital printers (the Soljet Pro II EX and Versacam sp 300 ) and I'm pretty much a sceptic cos of my PC's.

Whats odd is that actual users are NOT having the rubbing off problem that others who are testing are having??? I cant even replicate it , hard as I may try. Apart from which , there is no international hoohaa or even a mention of this problem elsewhere, I'm really perplexed!!!
I have just tried to "strip" the print off something that came off my machine an hour ago - using high tack vinyl , sellotape and parcel tape - not a trace of print on the tapes at all and nothing lifts off the print.

I have printed on a zillion vinyls at a zillion settings , and the only thing that seems to differentiate the vinyl is the print quality - not the durability. Not only that , I have wet applied large areas of digital print to various substrates - WITHOUT application tape (using felt squeegees) and have never had ANY damages/runs/scratches to a print when doing so.
There is NO printer mnfgr out there who would even dare to claim that their print will not last with determined abuse - anyone can break anything if they try hard enough.

Im totally independant of ANY ties to Rolansd and I couldn't care who sells what machine to whom for whichever purpose.

All I can say is whilst others who havent actually used the machine argue its merits etc - I'm making very good money, servicing customers better , have increased my product range , am doing stuff I could never dream of doing before and have NEVER had a complaint as to the durability or quality of my output. (and bear in mind I work for a LOT for the trade)
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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:31 pm

WOW- now this is getting confusing :-? To buy on or not to buy one..... (?)
Users say they are not having any problems with durability whereas samples from Roland printed by Roland are not up to standard (!) The question needs to be asked - Are the users who use the machine everyday better qualified at using it than the Roland rep. who does the odd demo. print? I must say Rodney and other users of the machine sound far more 'qualified' than a few sample prints from Roland.....
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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 1:34 pm

Still seems weird though In I mean that Mark doesn't seem to have any problems and the ones from roland all have problems

Obvoiusly must be a problem with their equipment or operator.
Its unbelevable that they would invest and reseach a product that produces this. It would end up like that Ratteners the Jewellers guy shooting himself in the foot.

I also find it hard to belive that they sent Mike more samples without testing them themselves with a rub test (but then they maybe don't read the boards).

I know if I sent a second sample and it was the same as the first in my present job I no longer would have one as my manager would "fire my ass"
Corporate "BUZZ" words I hate em Makes you feel as though your standing in the middle of a flock of sheep
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Post Thu Nov 20, 2003 2:42 pm

Here we are at the 5th page of this thread and the main question has not been answered WHY is this machine doing this, we have end users of this machine and people that flog them offering comment but no official reply from a roland rep, maybe they don't know about it (yeah right :-? ) or maybe they think it might go away (Wrong :D ) C'mon Mr Roland tecnical chappy tell us :P

(Pardon who me? Cynical you say, No never! :wink: )
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Robert Lambie

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Post Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:07 am

regarding what Rodney said about only the non-users finding issues with the prints..

is there a possibility that Roland may have printed their samples with the wrong type of ink?
Does the machine not use two types of ink? Just a thought…. :roll:
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Post Sun Nov 23, 2003 2:42 pm

went to see the versacamm the other day two mins out of the machine
i gave it the rub test all i got was sore fingers even got them to print on
lexan same result i think its down to the operator he said some machines
arent set up propley and put down to much ink that u have to play with the right settings. :roll:
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Robert Lambie

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Post Sun Nov 23, 2003 2:48 pm

there is a good chance mate..

next thursday eveing i will be posting my "own" finds using print samples from the versacamm..

should be interesting... :roll: :wink:
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Lee Attewell

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Post Mon Nov 24, 2003 11:46 am

Still a bleeding good thread.

I've just had a thought though. Rodney, why don't you send Mike a small test print so he can test it the same as the others. That way we can have pretty much the same pressure and abrasion from Mike's dainty little pinkies. Just a thought.

I'd expect that roland should be looking at this hread and pulling their finger out instead of putting their head in the sand and come clean with the true story on this machine.

Judging from the detailed and very knowledgable threads that Rodney has posted in the past, I'd suggest he would know better how to set up one of these machines better than the people at Roland UK.

I'm planning on making a purchase of a print/cut machine in the next twelve months, to tell you all the truth, I'm leaning towards the edge as it's tried and tested by independant people.

Roland have got to realise that this is a small world. What goes on in one office in Northern England, is affecting future sales on the other side of the world.
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Rodney Gold

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Post Mon Nov 24, 2003 1:19 pm

Thing is , Other machines use the same inkset and heads , like Mutoh etc.
I cannot understand the results and even looking at them is bewildering as the media cannot wipe totally white even if you use solvents!!!
There has been no reporting of this problem worldwide , barring this site!!

I am sending some samples of what we print and the samples I have of the Versacam output - let whomsoever do as they wish. As I said , I couldnt care who sells what to whom , I'm in south Africa and dont have a problem with competion etc.

As far as the edge is concerned , I wanted one but the resolution that it can do is just not good enough , the EDGE agents actually told me not to bother with their machine as it WONT and CANT replicate the fine detail either the PC series or Soljet (read versacam) can do. they tried to do small stuff for me , even on their "high resolution" printer and it just was NOT acceptable. (dotty output and "shattered" small text)

I can tell you , the local Edge guys are running scared here , they cannot do what an inkjet can do at near the cost - yes , the Edge is a tried and trusted system , however so is a a 1967 John deere tractor , Yet the latest combine harvester models do what it does betterand faster ... Same with Roland , I dont see how they can possibly sell another thermal printer into the market unless the buyer is an ignoramus!!! You can go with a technology 10 years old if you wish - things have advanced.
Perhaps at gbp 3k , I would take a new PC 600 , but not at any other price!!! today , I have just completed 70 m2 of banner , fabulous output , the job is worth GBP 3k to me at a cost of Gbp 466 - I like those figures VERY much. the Job after that is GBP 1600 (5000 domed decals) at a total cost of GBP 200 or less - these are VERY tasty figures!!!!

You will NOT compete with an edge/thermal printer in the majority of digital print jobs , you will in certain cases , but those are few and far between , you have to look at where the major demand is , and I can assure you , it's in areas where the Versacam or any 1/2 decent inkjet is as capable as ANY digital printer - I would NOT have spent the money on my printer had it been a pig in a poke!!!
I really don't want to comment more on this thread , cos I feel that there is something really odd going on here and dont want to get involved - take that as you will!!
At the end of it all , the cut and apply market is highly competitive and digital print and cut can do what a multi layer cut and apply system can do a lot quicker and a lot cheaper!!! Most applications do NOT require a guarantee for 5 years and the longevity issue is much of a red herring - most digital printing is short term and whatever you print with is subject to the same problems re abraision , even if you digfitally print , you still have to "finish" the print for longevity!!!!
You have the choice - compete with the rats and mice and those that undercut you in terms of a cut only machines (albeit there is still a nice market there) or buy an expensive tried and tested system where you cant compete price wise per sq area and thus get "fringe" jobs , or get something sort of cutting edge and run with that and it's foibles.
Waiting for ANY technology to be totally "safe" and trouble free will just sideline you , we chose to adopt lasers a few years ago and have never looked back , depsite the "issues" we had wit earlier models.

I NEVER believe a manufacturers claims , they "bend" the truth , yes , you most likely CAN do what they promise if the wind is from behind , you are going downhill and the gods of good fortune are smiling . but IMHO if you double their costs and 1/2 their speeds and it works out well for you even with that model , then it's pretty good!!!
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Post Mon Nov 24, 2003 5:08 pm

Rodney wrote:
I cannot understand the results and even looking at them is bewildering as the media cannot wipe totally white even if you use solvents!!!


I don't understand...earlier in this thread you wrote: "...ANY solvent will remove solvent based prints - meths , spirits , citrus based oil , windowlene etc. That you cant get around ever..."

intrigued by this I tried it...

sample print from Gerber Edge(left), VersaCamm (centre) and just add one bottle of 'bargain basement' meths!... :D

Image Image Image

wipe away and...

Image Image

you're right - whether thermal or inkjet - the results the same...though admittedly the versa print left a very faint ghosting...

Rodney also wrote:
I really don't want to comment more on this thread , cos I feel that there is something really odd going on here and dont want to get involved - take that as you will!!


Why you should react in this way to a question about the claims of a manufacturer's new machine being addressed and discussed in open debate is beyond me. If you've nothing more to add to this topic then that's OK - but your input will be sorely missed...

The VersaCamm may have been around a while in your 'neck of the woods' - but this is the UK - and here on the UKSignBoards - it's NEWS!, it's very relevant - and it's of great interest here to find out all we can about it and also judge it for ourselves.

Roland seem interested in discussing it further too - only this morning I received a phone call from them. I spent an hour discussing the Versacamm and the eco-solvent inks situation and thouroughly enjoyed the whole conversation - as did their guy. Although by the end of the conversation I was left in no doubt that my findings regarding the VersaCamm prints came as no surprise to anyone at the 'other end' - we did both discuss and agree that the VersaCamm is, nevertheless, likely to mark a turning point in digital printing throughout the trade.

Let me put things into perspective here - I have high hopes for the VersaCamm and other similar machines that are likely to appear following Rolands push into affordable high-res printing. If I find that the VersaCamm really does do what they say it will then I will be back in the queue faster than you can say "colourcamm be damned!" :D but so far, the various results I've been shown by Roland have left me with a few questions - and I for one won't stop til I get some answers! There are lots of signmakers at this site - newcomers, improvers and more - who don't have our experience or knowledge regarding the trade and the rash of broken promises that have plagued the development of digital technology to date. I happen to think that it's very important that issues such as these are discussed openly for the benefit of all...

The prints I've tried seem to have little resistance to abrasion - but there we need to draw a very definite line!!! The VersaCamm does so much more than just vehicle graphics or signboards. The VersaCamm will enable signmakers to print posters, illuminated signboxes, stickers, labels, point of sale merchanise and much more! When it comes to vehicle graphics and signboards though it would seem that everything must be laminated...so a generic claim of 'three years unlaminated outdoor life' would seem to come with a few conditions - fair enough!

I'd like to see this topic run and see further debate regarding the whole digital thing...this technology is moving forward so fast that it's important to pause sometimes and review and discuss what's what and where we are...after all, it is undoubtedly the future of signmaking and we all need to make sure we understand it and don't just sit there nodding!

Thanks to everyone who's taken part so far and...let's play nice...

more soon

mike
Last edited by Michael. on Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:42 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Post Mon Nov 24, 2003 6:30 pm

Rodney Gold wrote:Waiting for ANY technology to be totally "safe" and trouble free will just sideline you!


Ok Rod but why should we put up with it, why should we all pay to be "Beta testers" because by the look of things that is what the poor old signmaker is, look at the issues with Signlab E6, there was a list of bugs and fixes as long as both my arm's, and look at the computer world, Microsoft are well known for sending different versions of Windows out too soon and letting the customer sort it out for them.
I for one will not tolerate being used as a guinea pig, and will not part with my hard earned dosh just to keep up with Jones's Signs, and to be a free developer for a supplier, if they can not or will not tell us why these things are happening then then they can stick em you know where!
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Post Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:10 pm

My pennies worth

I thought as one of the first people to buy a Verssa Camm on this board I'd summarise my feelings on the machine and this interesting thread.

Ive got to say when i first saw this post start a few weeks ago by Mike I dropped everything and went and did the same tests as Mike on some prints I had done that afternoon.

The results I got were not as bad as Mikes but I DID get some ink coming off on the finger test . The erasor test took the ink off very easily, I didnt try meths or any solvents but I think the results would have been the same as Mikes.

I mentioned this earlier in this thread but you can take ink off almost anything if you try hard enough. I gotta say here that I have limited experience of thermal prints from the colour camms etc, they probably are a lot more robust straight from the printer than from the VC(verssa Camm).

The tests worried me for awhile untill I sat down and worked through the sort of work I expected to use the VC for...

Vehicle Livery.
I don't know about you but I am getting more and more requests for full colour elements on vehicle liveries these days.Not only full wraps but trade logos and the like.
Some Vans I am working on at the moment require the whole rear of the vehicle to be wrapped, about 2m square of print. The edge or colour camm can NOT compete with an solvent printer when printing an image that size both on cost and print quality.OK so you have to overlaminate but that should be done anyway for vehicles.

Ive got 4 lorries to do shortly, full colour both sides and rear, about 35m square of print a lorry. It would be madness to think of anything else but an inkjet to produce this amount of coverage. This job alone will save me about a £1200 in print , money that would have gone straight to my old supplier. I think Mike would agree that the output by the VC is very good, much better than any thermal. So for vehicle graphics I think its a no brainer, the VC wins allround.

Stickers and labels.
With print and cut this is real easy work on the VC, set it up and leave it to it.
Lamination is a choice for the customer, but people dont expect a sticker or label to last to long anyway so lamination can be an extra if the customer requires it. Much in the same way as litho print offers lamination as an extra cost, some need it some dont.

Posters
Iam supplying poster inserts for customers with A boards. Again lamination not needed as they are short term promotions anyway.

Banners.
Ive only printed one so far I found the ink a little more fragile on the banner material (coated) so I over laminated with cast vinyl to be on the safe side. Iam going to try some uncoated banner material to see the difference. I found the coated banner material a little "chalky"
For short term banners I think lamination is not need, but the customer again has a choice.

I could go on but you get the picture.

I think Mike is quite right to ask awkward questions about any new bit signmaking technology, I'd be dissapointed if he didn't!!
BUT I think the main problem here is Lamination. Its another peice of kit to get, more shop space taken up etc etc. But as ive shown you can pick wether a particular job needs it or not. Its still cheaper than any output from an edge or colour camm even with lamination dont forget.

A couple of downsides, the plotter is quite slow and media alignment is a pain, no calibration marks on the front like the pnc plotters have.

In closing i would say that the VC aint perfect but its working well for me at the moment............touch wood.
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Post Tue Nov 25, 2003 12:16 am

...thanks for the feedback and update Mark - very informative - it's what we all need right now!... :D

I was reading about lamination today in that new signlink magazine that came out...about heat and pressure types etc. - very interesting. I must confess to viewing lamination as a bit of a pain - such a pity that digital needs it so often at the present time...

...when you say you laminted a banner - with cast - doesn't that make the banner more rigid, sorta less of a 'flexible' banner and more prone to crinkles if rolled or bunched up? - just askin'...honest! :D

I openly admit to not having much experience with wrap - but - does the use of a laminate make it any more difficult to conform and work with?...again, just askin'...

thanks once a gain Mark,

more soon

mike
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Post Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:10 am

This has been a very interesting thread and is a great example of what makes the UK signboards such a valuable resource. Thank you Mike, Rodney and Mark for your informed input into this discussion. (Where else can the independant signmaker get unbiased information about such important issues).

Rodney - I hope you continue to enlighten us with your knowledge and experience. I for one hang on every word you say as I believe it is genuine and well informed advice.

Likewise I praise Mike for questioning the claims made by the manufacturers based on his experience of samples he has been given.

Much of what has been said is subjective - i.e a matter of opinion - And I for one appreciate the fact that Mike,Rodney and Mark are all prepared to give us their unbiased opinion on this machine. Thanks guys and please keep your informed opinions coming :D
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Post Wed Nov 26, 2003 12:11 pm

VERSACAMM - should it do this?

Hi

On a bit of a different tack.

We are taking the plunge and buying the roland Soljet. I don't want to inflame the debate but we have done our research and think this machine will make money and new lines of profit out of existing and new customers

I would like to know if anyone (Rodney are you there!!!) has printed onto a canvas material . ie canvas banners!

your thoughts would be appreciated as I have an existing customer that would be interested. I think they are printed on a large VUTEC at the moment by another firm.

Cheers
Craig
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Post Wed Nov 26, 2003 2:26 pm

Mike

I've been following this thread, and so far all the reading has been very good and relevant information that would benefit all signmakers, in retrospect if you have one of these machines already, if you are looking at getting a machine in the future or in my case may need to sub-contract a job off of someone a piece of work printed on one of these machines.

imagine our horror if we supplied a job to someone and stated that everything would be with a 2 yr colour fast garantee, and in retrospect 2 weeks later after the vans first wash, all the ink rubbed off. one very unhappy customer and embaresed signmaker. who would be out of pocket refitting or wost case repaying back and loosing future buisness.

So i do appritiate all the views of ALL the users on here suppliers included, so we can get all views on how these machines stand up to their work.

So cary on testing as all the information is very good and we can make up our own minds weather to buy one or even commition work off of someone who has one.

Well done .................... and keep up the good work

Paul
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Post Tue Dec 09, 2003 11:18 pm

(Please note: amongst others, I currently use 3 Roland machines. 1no. 24inch cutter, 1no. 48inch cutter & a 1no. PC60 print and cut machine.
All machines work perfectly well & I have had them for many years without any major breakdowns. Our company's next machine purchase is a grenadier
Wide format solvent printer. "Why am I telling you this?" the grenadier was originaly a Roland machine but has been modified in various ways.
(hope this clears anyones thoughts that i myself may have vested interests in the outcome of this test. I dont!)



The tests I show below were carried out using the exact same procedure on one sample, as was the next. The tests I show are basically the same ones already shown in previous posts by Mike Brown.
After mixed opinions on the outcome, some disagreeing with the results.
I decided to carry out my on tests to try & settle things once and for all.
All prints tested by Mike were supplied to him direct from Roland.
The prints I show below were sent to me by Roland, a Roland sales agent, a UK sign maker that now owns a Roland versacamm and a follow-up test will be made on samples sent to me from a south African sign maker as soon as they arrive.
All different samples, from different locations, all printed using the new Roland versacamm on different materials.

The results are as follows:-

Image


All tests shown consist of rubbing backwards and forwards using only a single swipe/rub until the print shows signs of fading.

Backwards = one pass/rub. Forwards = 2nd pass/rub & so on.




Test 1 (Finger Rub Test)

Image 1 Roland sample print on vinyl
Afar rubbing backward & forward 10 times. The print started to fade slightly but did show some resistance. Result after 10 rubs as shown.

Image 2 UK Versacamm user sample print on vast coated vinyl
After rubbing backward & forward 10 times. The print started to fade slightly but did show some resistance. Result after 10 rubs as shown. (Same as above)

Image 3 Roland Agent sample print on vinyl
After rubbing backward & forward 10 times. The print started to fade slightly but did show some resistance. Result after 10 rubs as shown. (Same as above)

Image 4 UK Versacamm user sample print on calander vinyl
After rubbing backward & forward 10 times. The print did not fade. I carried on another 6 times. It showed some dulling but not fading.

Image 5 Roland Agent sample print on banner material
After rubbing backward & forward 10 times. The print started to fade. I carried on to 15 rubs. The result as shown in picture. Did not cope as well as the others.

The following images show the results after the "finger rub" tests.
Image




(Test 2) The "erasure/rubber rub" tests.

Image 1 (Roland sample print on vinyl)
Afar rubbing backward & forward 10 times. The print started to fade slightly but did show some resistance. Result after 10 rubs as shown.

Image 2 (UK Versacamm user sample print on cast coated vinyl)
After rubbing backward & forward 10 times. The print started to show signs of dulling. Shows good resistance to this test.

Image 3 (Roland Agent sample print on vinyl)
After rubbing backward & forward 10 times. The print started to show signs of fading.
Showed some resistance to this test but not as good as the above vinyl.

Image 4 (UK Versacamm user sample print on calander vinyl)
After rubbing backward & forward 6 times. The print did start to fade. I carried on another 4 times. Result as shown.

Image 5 (Roland Agent sample print on banner material)
After rubbing backward & forward 3 times. The print started to fade. I carried on to with 7 more rubs. The result as shown in picture. Did not cope as well as the others.

The following images show the results after the "erasure/rubber rub" tests.
Image





The next test was scratch resistance from a single fingernail.
All materials shown showed similar resistance. I found my fingernail digging into the vinyl more rather than being actualy able to scratch away the print. This maybe because the prints tested were not mounted onto a hard surface. None the less under this test, they did cope.

the following images show the results after the "fingernail" test
Image



(Test 4) The "metholated spirits" test

Image 1 (Roland sample print on vinyl)
Afar rubbing backward & forward only twice, the print reacted 7 started to deteriorate quickly. On the 6th wipe the print was gone!

Image 2 (UK Versacamm user sample print on cast coated vinyl)
After rubbing backward & forward only 4 times the print was gone!

Image 3 (Roland Agent sample print on vinyl)
After rubbing backward & forward 3 times. The print started to fade fast.
After 6 the print had finished as a smudge/smear of mint. Gone!

Image 4 (UK Versacamm user sample print on calander vinyl)
after rubbing backward & forward 2 times. The print did start to fade. I carried on another 2 more times. Result as shown. Gone!

Image 5 (Roland Agent sample print on banner material)
after rubbing backward & forward 2 times. The print started to fade. I carried on to with 4 more rubs. The result as shown in picture. Did not cope well at all, but did better than the others. I feel this was because the texture of the banner material held ink better than the smooth vinyls.

The following images show the results after the "metholated spirits" test
Image


Well I wont comment on the performance of the prints at this moment.
Ill leave that up to you..




Robert Lambie
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Last edited by Robert Lambie on Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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John Singh

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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:07 am

Robert

A hearty thanks for all the hard work you have done
We really do appreciate it

Thanks

John
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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 7:24 am

Great choice Robert - you get true solvents with all the rest of the goodies - what RIP is supplied with the unit?

Do yourself a favour , buy a laminator - using the machine to print , laminate and then cut is a snap , and you can market "tuffguard" decals and charge a lot more - whats tuffgaurd? Well its what we call an overlaminate on the decal (matt , smooth etc) that protects it and is excellent for industrial labels etc , you can even make membrane switch overlays this way.
Vinyls are generally a lot more expensive than lamination films and dont have the same effect , the laminations we use have ultra clear glues and come in different thicknesses and surface finishes and conformability and run at from less than 25 pence to about 80 pence a sq meter , if you cold pressure laminate a full print especially with dark background , you dont see the glues , unlike laminating with clear vinyls. The lamination does not come off the print at all , and if you do manage to strip it , the print doesnt come with.

You wont get 28 sq m an hour at saleable quality - I 1/2 the speed and double the cost to get true running figures , at 28 sq meters per hour you will get banding especially with darker colours , there are ways of limiting this like calibrating the printer to the media , doing an envronmental calibration and using some advanced stochastic screens that will give a more grainy appearance which is preferable to banding , slowing the heads down , letting the heads scan the full width of the printer , setting a drying time at the end of a head pass and calibrating for bidirectional printing , the banding is an issue that affects all printers with scanning heads and a media feed , it's nothing to do with the inkset etc. solid colours exhibit banding most , bitmap images are generally ok to run at those speeds unless there are large areas of uniform colour.

As to guarantees , well all are the same , not one manufacturer would shell out for mechanical or solvent damage to an unprotected print - and we wont guarantee a print for a day (thermal or inkjet) if it isnt overlaminated if it is going to have to undergo ANY mechanical damage or ANY chemical attack. Meths strips the inks off all my prints but then I dont expect my consumers to use meths on a print , one wouldnt use it to clean a photo or any other graphic and I would consider it abuse.

As to solvents , the EEC and other countries are legislating or have done so against some ingredients and a lot of couriers and carriers are now classifying them as hazardous substances and you incur extra costs when transporting them
It depends on how stringent the particular countries laws are and how nit pickky the health or authority responsible for monitoring this is , however the solvents ARE hazardous to your health , make no mistake about that and long term exposure can be damaging apart from making you high (relax in the printer room after work , run a solid colour panel and take the edge off;)

A lot of us do not have the dedicated space to run true solvents and there are other issues with aggressive solvents that are not mentioned , such as the fact that they cannot possibly adress really high resolution due to the way they work (you get a dot gain effect with solvents , the droplet of ink containing the solvent spreads to the next drop , the more agressive the solvent , the worse this becomes albeit the ink mnfgrs have additives to ameliorate this , it's still a problem) You will most likely get a true resolution of 720 or a little less , but it really is not that serious as the difference tween lets say 720 x 360 and 1440 x 1440 is hardly noticeable and a lot of media itself cannot possible resolve 1440 x 1440.
The other problem is that the solvents (and this applys to eco solvent too) thin the vinyls selectively , for example printing dense black on a light yellow background will make the vinyl pucker where the black is , very noticeable on premium vinyls from the back (the sticky side) and often makes larger prints difficult to apply.
Be careful of printing and cutting full print coverage small decals , its a lot better to print , wait a day and then cut as the solvents and inks seems to make the edges of the decal curl , we have the same machines here running full solvents and this issue affects them too, this isnt an issue if you laminate.
The inks used in digital printers are fairly complex , the major problem with these inks is pigment particle size , the heads lay down some really teeny droplets , especially those that have variable droplet technology and the problem is to get the particle size small enought to go thru them , the top ink mnfgrs (there is a guy here that ships a 100 tons of ink worldwide for the big machines ) have thier own grinders and filters to ensure the particle size is even etc. The solvents are the mere carriers of these pigments and the issues with them are evporation at the heads and thus clogging and how they affect the components of the ink delivery system.
There are other additives to the inks like dispersants , dot gain inhibitors and so forth , the ink a screenprinter uses is not as complex and doesnt need the quality control or perhaps the specialised solvent that inkjet does.
Running costs vary , however a really good rule of thumb is between .8 and 1.5 ml per sq ft at a 720 x 720 resolution and the inksets are Gb 70 per 200 ml - IE about 35-40 pence per sq ft.
When you buy an inkset be aware of this: Lets take black as a standard , you will use 3x magenta , 2x yellow and cyan to every black and you will use 1/2 the light colours to black. I would suggest getting extra magenta , yellow and cyans with your first inkset. I pay round 55 pounds a cart for the eco-sol inks which I feel is a rip off - that translates to about 275 per litre - VERY expensive. You will get about 180-200 mls per cart , however if the grenadier , which uses the Epson DX3 heads , can utilise the same inks as the big true solvent printers can , then you should easily be able to get hold of aftermarket inks at a much cheaper price and convert to a bulk ink system - aftermarket inks are Round $125 per litre or less and some have better colour gamuts than OEM inks.
The big problem is to fill the cartridge without introducing air , the cartrige has a bladder inside it and a when the bladder emptys a tab that is attched to it protrudes from the side and trips a microswitch in the machine which will beep to you and stop printing till you put another one in , you have to work around this with bulk inks and the way we will do it (Im having the Eco-sol inks analysed and have been promised local manufacture in the new year with a full garuantee that the inks wont damage anything , currently orange and green are not avialable and I would rather use them in place of the lc and lm inks for more vibrant prints ) is to plumb the bulk container into the bladder , failing that , teksys.com.au has a bulk refill type cart at AUS$120 that you can use instead of the OEM cart
Pricing your printing at X per sq ft is really not a good way of doing things , however ink costs are significant (albeit not as significant as your PC thermal)and big savings there add up quickly.

Whats really nice is the ability to print on rigids , however you can't really use the heater system as the rigids tend to buckle and you get head strikes , so the quality and durability of print is not the best , but its pretty acceptable - nice to print directly to ABS, Styrene , Lexan etc.

A few tips as well , static is a big problem in some environments and affect the vinyl , the machine and the ink laydown , so either an ionizer or an anti static gun is needed especially if its a dry day.
BE VERY careful about rolls of media that are not specifically meant for digital printing , when they are rolled , dust etc is trapped and bigger unseen particles will cause what's called fisheyes , the ink cannot get to the media thru the particle and a sort of white spot develops round it , espcially noticeable with dark colours.
Its always better to roll out the media from the roll than alow the roll to be tensioned and unrolled via the printer , often not unrolling the media makes the vinyl stretch slightly etc and can result in banding or worse , the media cockling or developing a bulge in the middle leading to a head strike or bad printing.
When doing a print and cut , you can only use the outside rollers , the machine has 4 rollers , the 2 middle ones have to be left up as they will mess up the print when it scrolls for cutting and even if they dont affect the print , the grit pattern on the bottom rollers mark the vinyl.
Using only the outside rollers on wide media does compromise the feed somewhat , thus you roll out. The problem with rolling out is that the vinyl attracts dust etc due to static , so be carefull. We use an ioniser in the printer room and often clean the vinyl with alcohol before printing to remove plasticisers and other gunk on top of it.
There is something else you are going to need if you don't want to babysit long prints , especially if if the prints arent bone dry as they come off , and some prints are tacky for a while and fall to the floor or fold up on themselves and this can ruin a print , you need a way of hoisting the print or allowing it to stretch out , otherwise you have to stand there while it prints.
Allow a LOT of space in front of the printer , like 5 meters at least .

BE VERY careful of very long prints of zillions of decals , the guaranteed error is 0.4% of distancee travelled , however this DOES NOT apply to the length of vinyl , but to *total* travel , now if you use Corel or a package that does not order the cut , you might find the machine going all over the place when cutting and if there are complex shapes , a linear meter of vinyl can result in 10 or 20 meters of travel , on 0.4% of this is a fair amount , even the 0.2% is a lot, so rather send the file in small batches many times , its a lot faster to rip too as well as manipulate in your graphics progam as well as having a much shorter time to eport as an EPS. I would suggest on step and repeat to to sort the cuts if you can , it makes cutting a lot quicker. If you print with the heaters on , then also cut with them on for good registration.
Heaters cause problems with media creep as well as certain backings , some backing absorb moisture and the heater dries it and it then it reabsorbs and this messes around with the media , storage is an issue too as the calibration you applied to the vinyl when new is no longer current due to the paper backings having absorbed moisture.
Whether it be solvent , eco solvent etc , some medias just do not perform well at all , some of the cheaper vinyls give just acceptable results and some materials cannot be profiled at all.
I like Corel as the design/print engine for my machine albeit Draw is not very good at editing bitmaps , there I use Photoshop 7 and import to Corel.


Good luck with your purchase and I hope you do well with it , I'm pretty sure you will and if you need any help with the machine or the RIP (assuming its the WASATCH rip) or with medias etc just ask :)

PS when do you get your machine?
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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 11:25 am

Hiya
The machine cant print directly from the application , you export to EPS and then RIP the eps - well it CAN print from the appliction , but it's not at all ideal and its VERY fiddly to set the print properties from the windows driver and you have far less control so essentially you have to step and repeat in the application and then export. What I really want is to say to Corel , ok , select all cut lines , and order them from left to right and then down or something like that , I think other sign programs can do that?
Just as a matter of interest , The RIP has a nesting function which is very nice for optimum usage of the media
I did the syringe thing as well , but its really a mission and its difficult to get the needle thru the self sealing neck as well as being an extremely messy thing , I sqirted magenta all over , clothes , keyboard etc and I cant get it off some stuff ;)
At GPB 11 per sq meter for media only , you have difficulty competing in todays market
I took a look at the first system just now , it looks great , but locks you in to one media only which would be very problematic to me and my customers as I print on an amazimg amount of various substrates.
Vinyls here in SA run at about gpb 2 per sq meter for a decent 3-5 yr stuff and lamination is a lot cheaper - Micronex Dura , which is chemical , solvent , abraision , uv proof is round GBP 1 per sq meter , so you are generally at least GBP7 - 8 ahead with lamination. Thing is , you dont really have to laminate a lot of stuff you do. Even so , if you do do only 5 sq meters a day , you save roundGBP 40 a day and thats 800 a month.


Im not sure what the hooha about lamination is , it's frightening before you start and then once you have been doing it , you wonder how you can cope without it , it makes us a lot of money as well and we dont just laminate our own stuff.

PS just got a great material today , its a printable mesh , much like the stuff they do vertical blinds with , its one way on the printed side and you can see thru from the inside , its not that micropore stuff and its ideal for roller blinds , banner in high wind locations , making vertical louvre blinds out of - prints wonderfully BUT you have to put application tape behind it when printing otherwise the inks that go thru the holes end up on the platten. At any rate its less than GBP 1.70 per sq meter. It can be sewn or welded.
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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 2:46 pm

I've just read this thread from Mike's first post through to the latest from Rodney. From a layman's point of view, Mike's tests and Robert's tests prove one thing, Roland are not being entirely honest with thier claims about the Versacamm.

Fine, if they said "Look Mike, if you rub it with some budget meths, its gonna come off" or "if you're gonna send this to a customer, make sure you laminate it first", all would be hunky dory. Thats NOT what they are saying. They are claiming in the industry press that this machine produces things that are durable and can withstand a battering.

Being very new to the sign industry obviously I'm going to aspire to being like you guys, offering professional products to an end user who will get 'reasonable use' out of them. Only the other day I read about Robert having to replace a curtain-sided lorry full of vinyl due to a mistake in vinyl choice. Robert admits, mistake made and replaces the chaps signage (which is excellent business practise) but what if Robert had supplied the chap with a print from the Versacamm? As far as Robert would be concerned, the Roland salesman said it would last, so why should he disbelieve it? Personally I commend both Mike and Robert for exposing the flaws in this equipment and the prints it produces. Everything has it's limitations, and the tests shown have highlighted them.

Naively I was going to be putting money on one side so that one day I too could join the ranks of large format digital prints. One thing this thread has shown me is it really isn't as easy as the manufacturer would have you believe.

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 3:23 pm

This time I would like to thank Rodney for his valuable time in presenting all that information for our benefit

John
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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 4:01 pm

Well the info so far has shown up the versa camm for its weaknesses, not the posssitives,

Correct me if i am wrong but it seems we have seen the machines limits,

Would it be sufficient to use a clear vinyl, or a chemical barrier ??? as an alternative to buying a lamination system ??

I like Allan i was thinking in a versa camm, begining to have doubts ???


Although it has alot going for it , ' I am trying to make myself feel good'

Cheers

Richie
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Rodney Gold

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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:29 pm

Sheesh - you folk you have hit on a point that has been clearly qualified by the manufacturer in their advertisements and you seem to think that abuse with solvents and mechanical abraision is something you "haven't been told about" ??
Why did the manufacturer CLEARLY state that outdoor resistance is dependant on conditions? Read the page and see it's NOT buried somewhere obscure in fine print !!!! there are 2 instances on the main ad blurb where there is CLEARLY a star that refers to the qualifications!!!

Buy a stainless steel toaster and clean it with a scotchpad against the
grain and then go back to the manufacturer and tell them the finish looks like doo-doo and see what they do. You can winge all you like that it is "stainless steel and should be resistant to anything you throw at it" but there are limitations to any process or material.

There are MANY other printers that use the same inks and the same heads and none of them would guarantee a print against determined abuse - do you clean your new car paint with thinners , do you use a blowtorch on your cut vinyl or steelwool on polished chrome? Do you expect a label on a toaster saying "If you put your finger in here when its on you will get burnt?

Why do you think all major digital print shops have a lamination or a print finishing department , cos they want to spend extra on expensive machinery?

From The Mimaki site :
High UV resistance
3 year UV resistance with no lamination, 5 year with lamination


From the Mutoh site
Media Durability Prints are water and UV resistant for up to 3 years outdoors* Lamination may be required

From the Spandex Jetster site
Prints are water and uv resistant for up to 3 years outdoor*
* accelerated weather test predict up to 3 years durability

From the Seiko site:
UV Lightfastness
As the ink set is a pigmented-based ink – it can withstand a great deal of indoor (fluorescent) and outdoor (UV) light exposure without significant fading. Preliminary results indicate our inks rank extremely high in terms of sustained outdoor ligntfastness without fading. As accelerated light and weather testing methods can only approximate actual outdoor conditions, actual performance can vary based on geography, latitude, angle orientation, chemical exposure (acid rain), and temperature. Under normal conditions, our inks are recommended for outdoor applications up to 3 years without lamination on standard uncoated vinyl and banner materials

So please tell me where ANY other mnfgr has claimed unqualified durability against solvents , abraision or abuse ???? Where is the lie Roland told?

At the end of it all we all have choices , we can wait forever for technology to be proven 100% and never get a foot in the door , you can use ancient technology and never be competitive and limp along , you can adopt cutting edge stuff and put up with some vagaries and shortcomings and make your money when you can and build up a customer base , or get on the bleeding edge and suffer haemmorage and die.
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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:52 pm

Rob

Rob I think you should see a manicurist ASAP
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Robert Lambie

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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 6:15 pm

long replies.. will ahve to waite till i get home to reply proper.. mark,
not my fingers mate... :lol: :lol: one of our guys
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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:58 pm

Rodney Gold wrote: Buy a stainless steel toaster and clean it with a scotchpad against the
grain and then go back to the manufacturer and tell them the finish looks like doo-doo and see what they do. You can winge all you like that it is "stainless steel and should be resistant to anything you throw at it" but there are limitations to any process or material.


I see where you are coming from Rodney, and to a point I agree with you. If you abuse a product in a certain way you'll get doo-doo, but come on, a toaster! :o I've never seen a toaster manufacturer claim to have produced a toaster that will be durable for outdoor use.

As I said earlier, I'm a novice in comparison to the majority here, but I don't see any of the tests done to the sample prints as unreasonable. I can read luckily so I whizzed over to Rolands website to take a look at the Versacamm and in their own words "...for dependable outdoor and indoor use". Call me picky here but the tests prove otherwise to me and to others here. Ok, so not everyone goes round rubbing meths onto posters, but that is one chemical, how many chemicals are there in the average ladies handbag (no offence intended by this, I mean stuff like perfume, lippy etc). and before it is said, I'm using a ladies handbag just as an example, I carry chemicals in my car to clean my windscreen, deice my windscreen, polish the wheel trims... this is not to mention what the average teenager decides he/she will add to some signage with who knows what!

No one is particularly attacking or singling out Roland here, all manufacturers gloss over certain flaws in their machines, but this seems to be a slightly large flaw. Over ten grands worth of a slightly large flaw if you buy this machine for a specific purpose. Granted, the problem is solved by lamination, which is fabby if you have an extra few grand spare and some time to learn the processes involved. But when Ronseal say its one-coat varnish, it should be one-coat varnish. When MacDonalds say its a juicy burger, don't give the customer something that resembles reconstituted cardboard. And when Roland say dependable outdoor use, don't hide the flaws in small print, be honest.

I had a conversation earlier today and an excellent point was made. If we the consumer stop buying the 'doo-doo' models, it'll force the manufacturer into producing something better to entice us into the fold. Maybe then they'll develop something that potential customers (because most ppl here are exactly that, including the testers) that won't fail a simple test like a bit of rubbing.

Cheers, Dewi

edit: Can I add that Roland say "water, scratch and UV resistant", I'm a slow reader unfortunately. :roll:
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Post Wed Dec 10, 2003 10:14 pm

Hi Rodney
The rip package is called troop that comes with the grenadier. They recommend it & say it has been tailored to suit this machine.
The laminator is a must, “I think” but then I don’t make the final choice in our company. But I think its safe to say it will come with the machine. To be honest I really only want it for vehicles. But obviously having it will allow me to use it as often as I like..
I like the tuffgaurd idea.. Clever! Never even thought of these areas of the market before. I hear what you say about the print speed vs. quality. We do a heck of a lot of health and safety signage. This is the type of thing I planned spitting out on this machine day in day out. Anything from “no smoking signs” to vehicle wraps..
Obviously the wraps will be a different case altogether.
The down side of this machine for me! Is its only on the market about 7 months..
The company offer numbers to call independent sign makers using the machine already, so I will do this soon & get realistic opinions.

Having read yet another of your very informative posts I see numerous tips in there that I have taken note of. Some raised a smile, as I understood fully what you meant. Simple tips but many good ones! Thank you.

Thanks for the offer of help on the rip etc.. I will seriously keep that in mind.
We had planned to have had the machine last month. Because of tight deadline (end of finical year) we missed it.. serious kick to my backside.. I was gutted. Wanted to have a play around with it during the winter as things start to slow down it would have given me ample opportunity to do so.
Exactly when now, im unsure. I hope mid January. The good thing coming from all this is im learning lots daily reading these posts and doing my own snooping..
Last edited by Robert Lambie on Mon Dec 15, 2003 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Thu Dec 11, 2003 7:20 am

Dewi , there is no flaw , there is a concept of fair usage in any product , one would not try do the same thing with a photograph or any other graphic and not one other manufacturer using the same inks and printheads can offer any better !!!!
There are other issues involved here in terms of medias etc - I can give you prints on Starrex premium vinyl that are virtually indestructible and then give you the same on mactac 9200 series which wont survive at all as the vinyl is not at all suitable for printing on with *any* inks.

I'm no Roland shill or sockpuppet and if there had been another machine with the features of the Soljet , I would have rather bought it over and above a Roland offering as my experience with their thermal printers and what they are capable has been less than exemplary.

One cannot believe as gospel what manufacturers warrant , it's pretty obvious that results and figures obtained are going to be best case scenarios
Why not do what I do : I take an "impossible" job to the purveyor of the equipment , a job which will either stretch or exceed the limitations of the machine , and then I inspect and test the results . What this does is tell me the shortcomings of the machine are , what its real limits are and more importantly , what it CAN do. I have gone through this procedure with many of the machines I have bought , lasers , Cnc mills and so forth and it has served me well.

I'm a realist , I know that nothing is perfect , but the final analysis of whether some machine or process will be viable is if it can generate extra income and profit , if it can increase the range of my business's products and if it will aid me to serve my customers better.
You can get a lot better then the Roland in terms of durability etc , BUT it is going to cost you a LOT more and there are other trade offs.
The only real application where the kind of durability being asked for is needed is in reality vehicle graphics , and any one worth their salt that does this type work will tell you that whatever method is used to print , lamination is essential.

The problem with a lot of sign guys going into digital printing is to break out of the mindset of "signage' , machines like this are hugely versatile and are what they say they are - printers!!!!
There are millions of other applications apart from banners , billboards and wraps that are hugely profitable and what most users don't get is that the banner , billboard and wrap market is a cuthroat business where cost per sq meter is king and you CANNOT compete with the big print shops with Arizonas etc in size , speed , and cost to print. This is NOT an area I would be looking at and if you are , you have to position yourself at the top of this market , IE high definition , colour matching , fast delivery etc at a much higher price.

Allan , yep its not rocket science to convert one of these machines , you buy one , tear it apart and replace any piping , pump etc that is subject to attack by an agressive solvent , there are companys that do that in the USA (splash of colour) and there is even a company that has modified the machine to print on to rigid substrates up to 2 1/2 inches thick , Roland Europe's product manager even has a modified machine that can print on curved surfaces like a loaf of bread or a vase!!!
The Epson DX3 head was never meant to handle agressive solvents like XAAR head machines and the like , and I really doubt that the solvent ink used in the grenadier is the same as these machines use , the pricing of their cartriges certainly doesn't demonstrate this as they are more expensive than the standard Roland cartriges and if common inks were used , they should be much less!!! Perhaps the solvent is a little more agressive than Rolands? Roland obviously have other considerations like reliability , ease of use etc . If AMG can modify mercedes's to go a lot faster etc , why didn't Mercedes do that in the first place? Because it leaves no margin of safety in componentry and there are trade offs the general public wont accept , handling comes at the expense of ride comfort and performance comes at the expense of increased petrol consumption and increased stress on an engine.
In terms of solvents , the nature of solvents would not have allowed a 1440 dpi resolution albeit the heads can , maintenance would require a lot more flushing and head cleaning , and beleive me , a power head clean can consume 10-20% of a cartridges inks , thats a LOT of printing going "down the tubes". Heads too have a finite life and are treated as "consumables"(thats another thing no one mentions) and they are VERY expensive to replace (GBP3000 for the soljets 6 heads) , running a true solvent thru a head not designed for it is just asking for trouble , even tho it may survive . I would imagine its life MUST be reduced somewhat? I could be wrong.
There is an ink manufacturer down the road from me that ships out 100 tons a month worldwide for large format printers that do use solvent inks , I have talked to him and been there in regard to inks for the Roland so sort of know the ins and outs of solvent vs Eco solvent - he does not recommend his agressive solvents for the DX3 heads.
Roland themselves sell worldwide and the very nasty components of Solvent inks are subject to legislation in various places , there has to be a "blanket" policy , one cannot supply one set of inks here and another there. The health risk to users also have to be considered , especialy in litigious places like the USA where ppl sue at the drop of a hat.
As to the lamination issue , refer to the top of this post. We make lamination a "feature" not an apology and realise that it just makes our product that much better (we would do it with solvent or ecosolvent and do it on thermal)
Roland Japan/Europs and Roland USA are sort of out of step as well , Roland Japan releases retrofits to make their machinery more versatile way before America , Roland USA , it seems to me are reluctant to release their customers from being tied into their media , inks and machines as the machines that are having to use coated media have NOT been offered the uncoated media retrofit there whereas it is offered in other parts of the world??? Im not privy to Rolands policies etc so cant really comment on this barring what I have seen.
One other point to bear in mind is that both firmware , drivers and rip upgrades are offered on the internet as certain problems are identified or new algorithms are developed increasing the functionality of the machines , going with an unsupported modified machine means that these cannot be taken advantage of as they might not work with the modified machine and thus one has to rely on the modifier to provide these.

Robert , find out what RIP troop is based on , for example the Roland Colorip is actually a WASATCH rip and Wasatch is very very good , I'm pretty sure it's based on a commercial rip??
In terms of a laminator , you will get by with a cold pressure only one , which is a lot cheaper than a dual roller hot and cold , just make sure you have about 15-20mm mounting facilities with it - compared to the price of the machine , its sort of minimal.
Just to warn you , put aside a good wad of cash for consumables , you have to carry stock of a lot of roll media and regardless of whether you do solvent or eco solvent , the best medias to use are those specifically marketed for digital printing , a 50 meter roll of 1.37m wide media is not small change and carrying 5 or 10 different types of roll stock can gobble money like you wouldnt believe - apart from that , you will also have to most likely carry that SAME roll stock in lesser widths , cos printing a 910 mm wide by 3 meter graphic on 1.37 wide media can waste a ton of it unless you fill up with other stuff , some media you CAN fill up to take advantage of wasted space , but on stuff like banner , its unlikely you will have a size to fill the wasted space. We charge per linear meter in that case not per sq meter of print , IE the customer pays for the wasted media.
You will wonder what the hell you ever did without your Grenadier once you get to grips with what you can do in the decal market :)
I must say , that had I wanted to do vehicle wraps , I would not have really bought the soljet , I would have gone for a solvent based high volume low resolution machine , BUT if you are thinking of printed and die cut vehicle graphics , you have a great tool!!!!!!!
The soljet actually works against itself for low resolution stuff on vinyl , the fast modes are only available in banner and generally vinyl is offered as 720 x 360 modes , not 450 x 360 , however its not difficult to reprofile the banner mode to work on vinyl and I'm sure they have done that at B&P. The biggest problem is going to be banding in that mode , but as I said , using various screens etc will almost eliminate that.

This 12 cartridge ink thing might have a sting in the tail if you have to buy a complete set of cartridges as they are NOT used evenly , one might be stuck with a lot of unused ones and have to top up with others , unless you can mix and match carts to get to the "set of 12" , I heard figures of 24 bandied about (I could be wrong) but based on about 1.2ml per sq ft thats about 400 sq meters a month at minimum , which translates to 20 sq meters a day , 20 sq m/day is a LOT for a start up shop to sustain in the first few months!!!
I can't remember If I did run thru some applications , but will do so again

Decals of all types , from self adhesive vinyls to self adhesive paper, Tuffguarded or not
Posters , photos , pops , plans , certificates articles instore display temproray signage etc on various papers , waterproof , coated , mattes , glossy , semi matt , thick card , heavyweight roll stock , canvas , art papers etc etc - its almost endless
Fabrics like polyesters , silks , see thru meshes , twills and cottons - some need to have application tape applied so that inks dont drip thru , mos print really well
Rigid stock like styrene , abs , lexan , great for printing on stuff to bevacuum formed or scored and broken out - tons of promotional items etc etc
Banners of all types , frontlit , backlit , blockout , popups , rolaways , on ally frames etc etc
General signage on a myriad of substrates , window graphics , lightbox graphics on frontlit/backlit , here the applications are totally endless!!
Vehicle graphics - you know all about that
Some other applications that are not so obvious like making seperation sceens for screenprinting or for flexoprinting , positives or negatives for etching , membrane switch overlays . inserts for rosettes , medallions and trophies/awards , a myrid of items that can be domed like full colour keytags , badges , branding of other ppls promotional items etc - this alone is HUGE.
Im sure there are plenty I can't think of at this moment
With that list in mind , understand why I say folk must break out the "signage" mindset" , the opportunities to expand your business are endless and the durability , rub test , solvent test becomes far less relevant.

One thing I haven't mentioned is that the materials used for digital printing are not really those you come acoss with vinyl cutting , there is a HUGE amount of digital stock out there and the range gets confusing , there are materials that are specific to applications and within those materials there are subgroups etc , I advise you to do this: Call EVERY rep around , ask them to bring you samples of their digitally printable media , samples BIG enought to try (not an a4 - at least one sq meter) , keep a book with all your settings etc on various substrates from various suppliers , try them ALL (Write off your first month of operation and one set of inks to "school fees" and developing a portfolio and samples) and find what works best for you at various modes and resolutions , do not look at costing , saving a few pence a sq meter at the expense of an inferior product is just not on. As digital printing becomes more ubiquitous , the range of medias expand dramtically and drop in price the same amount and we have at least 2-3 reps calling a week with "new and improved and cheaper" media - We are now testing a high quality digitally printable heavy duty banner that comes in at GBP 1.20 a sq meter - now thats REAL cheap!!
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Post Thu Dec 11, 2003 10:51 am

the head, the mods on the machine.. can it not be down to something as simple as b&p hold the patant for this mod?
im sure roland isnt going to bother, if they are buying their machines in bulk to run this mod.. maybe the agreement is to share the mod after 1 year who knows? :roll:
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Post Thu Dec 11, 2003 11:11 am

Have a look here , maybe this will give you more info
www.splashofcolor.com they use Lyson inks in theirs
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Post Thu Dec 11, 2003 11:41 am

Great info. Everyone- you are all very informative. Thank you have a point saying that it may be more difficult to apply laminated print as a wrap and he would not use laminate but I think, correct me if I am wrong, those cab prints do have a relatively short life before they are ‘re-branded’ so it may not be required to laminate. If you were doing digital work for a customer who wanted his new vehicle signage to last 2-3 years you would have to laminate whether you are using eco or strong solvent- I think we all agree on that. So really buying a Versacamm has it’s limitations but at the end of the day so does strong solvent ink machines. The prints from the Versacamm seem to stand up quite well to normal ‘rubbing’ tests but fail on solvent test it seems. So for a cab that is going to keep it’s ad. on for say 3 months I think the prints from the Versacamm will do fine (except for maybe around diesel filler-you could laminate that area maybe?) and for longer lasting jobs you are going to have to laminate anyway. Just some thoughts….. (-)
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Steve Thurlow

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Post Thu Dec 11, 2003 7:01 pm

WOW, some serious info on this subject.

Well done guys, I've just spent a Long time reading through this posting, it is so interesting :o

I have these wild dreams about buying a vinyl print machine, but then these posts pop up & I think better of it, (oogle)

I spent years coxing a 3' Novajet Pro into printing exhibition graphics, half the time it was great, the rest of the time was VERY frustrating & I ended up with hands stained with magenta ink (it was water based ink but try washing the bugger off!!)....(the worst was Yellow ink... :evil: It made me look like I had a horrible desease....... 'Mummy why has Daddy got yellow hands?' 'He enjoys it dear, just wait till tomorrow, his hands will be blue!' (:)

I don't wanna make this a 'War & Peace' posting like the fab stuff from Rodney (you will have to write a book mate) but like Dewi has mentioned, what life do you expect from these prints? (hmm)
How about a test where you put a print on a clapped out Escort Van & you drive it through muddy lanes for a month then hose it down with a B & Q cheapy pressure washer?.... just a different perspective... no offence ment to a fantastic post.

Cheers, Steve
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Post Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:42 pm

...Thanks for the report Robert - it was very interesting and though I sometimes used twice the number of rubs you did, it still looks like your samples were showing early signs of failing :-?...

I'm always intrigued by that phrase upto 3 year outdoor life - especially the 'upto' part...do you really think it means that 'everything should last three years'? or does it perhaps mean that 'most of the stuff tested lasted considerably less than that with a small percentage that did'? This rather vague statement simply means that nothing produced solely on the versacamm will last no more than 3 years outside and that is the absolute maximum and even then - not in every case. If it is in full sun, washed, cleaned, moving in the breeze, leant against, handled or touched - it won't even last that long!

Rodneys comment on scratching the toaster with a scourer etc. may have missed the point slightly...surely this whole thread is not about whether we can scratch the proverbial toaster - but whether the toaster (the versacamm) can actually produce the right toast at all? (the type that signmakers want).

I guess if the versacamm were a toaster, then instead of having to laminate the output, we'd have to remove the toast from it and place it under a grill in order to 'brown' it off properly? :-?

I, for one, am not (and never want to be) a "major digital print shop" [[shudder]]... I am a professional signmaker and very proud of it - and according to the brochure that Roland sent me, the 'individual signmaker' is who this machine is aimed at.

I do use technology - proven technology - and have a foot in lots of doors...

If I and others here at the UKSignBoards who use conventional plotters are users of 'ancient technology' - what does that make traditional signwriters?

God help me - I never want to be 'competitive' - I hope only to be different :wink: Whenever someone says they're phoning around purely for the best price, we tell them we don't do 'competitive tendering' and suggest they go elsewhere...I don't shop on price and I don't deal with those who do either.

mike
Last edited by Michael. on Sat Dec 13, 2003 1:11 am, edited 7 times in total.
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druiddesigns

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Post Sat Dec 13, 2003 4:44 pm

Well Lads :cool:

i agree that this machine is for the small signmaker, not a production shop, hence the price

Allen you are going to buy this machine, what made you come to this decision, you said that you have a post that will shake up a few feathers, love to see it ,

I was onto Roland about the tests and results done , and they said that alot of it is down to the qualtity of the vinyl, the have some that they reccommend for the machine and they said you will not have those dramatic results as seen .......

Cheers

Richie

*drink* Come on Christmas *drink*
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Bill.

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Post Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:25 pm

See, there Roland go again, "Its down to the vinyl"... um, ooookay, so when they send out samples, they print them on substandard vinyl on purpose so the potential customer sees a half nice print? I think not! If it's down to the vinyl, they'd make damn sure they used the right vinyl for samples! :x

Now lets us the anti-bullsh1t translator on Rolands latest comments....

"Um, yes sir, we are fully aware thats the prints just scratch and wipe off certain surfaces, but if we advertised the machine like that, how would we ever get ppl to buy this crap? No sir, its better that we put a little spin on this, elongate the truth and say, ummmm, ah, yes, it's the vinyl! We don't manufacture all vinyls of course, so thats where the problem lies. The vinyl!"

Blimey! That translator worked better than I could've ever expected! :wink:

Cheers, Dewi
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Phill Fenton

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 12:56 am

Well done Mike for starting this thread. Surely this holds the record for the most replies and viewings of any topic ever posted on the UK signboards. :D

Why am I so interested in the Versacamm? Mainly it's down to greed on my part. I think if I buy one of these It will make me a lot of money. :-? I believe these types of machine are real money makers for signmakers.

Why do I think this? It's because only today I was reminded once again of the labour saving of such a device. I use a Coloracamm machine (which has extremely high running costs :-? ) yet this machine is of more value to me then any employee (and I have been through a few :roll: ) I have had in the past. Only today my colorcamm was busy churning out labels which only required a click of the mouse button from me to set away. This machine goes on producing an income without the need for tea and lunchbreaks, holidays and sickness, or even the odd "I can't be arsed" day.

Print and cut machines actually make signs - so you do not have to employ others (or use up your own valuable time) to weed, tape and put these things together - all this before you even consider the other possibilites offered by a digital printer.

Rodney suggested recently to think of these machines as an extra employee. This I agree with 100% - a machine like this can be set up to do a task and churn out work. They undoubtably pay their own way when marketed properly.

Yes I'm seriously considering buying one - no I have no connections with Roland - simply stating what I believe.

Just my opinion :roll:
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Martin Pearson

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 2:33 am

I have to agree with you Phil, this has been a very interesting post and thanks to Mike for starting it.
I am surprised though that you are considering buying one though. Do you really think it is worth you buying a second print and cut machine or would you be buying the versacamm and selling your colorcamm? I know these machines make money if marketed properly and would agree with you that its like having an extra person working with you.
The small signmaker also has the advantage of having a standby plotter for vinyl work should their main plotter fall over.
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druiddesigns

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:35 am

Hi all

Phil and Martin you talk about this machine can make money if it is marketed right, what market is worth going after, (?)
i have been doing some research into labels, you cannot produce labels from this machine for the food industry because they need to be thermally printed for the fridges etc..... :cry:

Cheers

Richie
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Craig Hill

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:24 am

VERSACAMM - should it do this?

I have not looked at this thread for a while and am impressed to the depth of some of the replies ( Rodney do you get time to work as well or do you type these in while the machine is printing)

I have taken the plunge and am just having the roland SolJet installed today so I will keep everyone informed on progress.

Rodney you do make some very good points on the printing process and no doubt I may have some questions on the Rip etc. watch this space

Are the inks you use in S.A. the same as the inks that will be delivered with my machine?


Regards
Craig H
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Rod Gray

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 12:50 pm

Mike,

Would it be a little premature to have a poll on this topic?, along the lines of;

"Would you consider purchasing a Versacamm based on the comments in the "Versacamm, should it do this" thread."

1. Yes
2. No
3. Undecided.

I`d have done it myself but it`s your topic and i recon it would be more appropriate if you "completed" it.

Theres a million replies, some people fence sitting and some people changing their minds. I`d love to get a general concensus.

Cheers

Rod
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Rodney Gold

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:17 pm

Why do we need a poll on this?
IMHO , If there WAS a poll , it should NOT be targeted at the Versacam or just one manufacturer , but at EVERY inkjet mild solvent and full solvent printer as non of them warrant against these tests , neither does ANY ink mnfgr - just go to the LYSON site who produce full solvent inks and read their "longevity" section.

Impact man , I would suggest you contact me privately for this , it's pretty specific info and can get real complex and it might not be a general interest thing unless there are others on the forum who want to get into the real nitty gritty ???

In the interim , the profiles supplied with colorip 2.0 do NOT work well and I would suggest limiting ink to 140-150 instead of what is proscribed (often 200 and above) and use the colour separation rule and limit total black cut off point to 90%. You can use the high gloss vinyl profile for most everything and tweak it. The RIP is pretty complex and the options can be VERY confusing intially. Try not to use cheapy materials but those SPECIFICALLY designated for inkjet printing , all mnfgrs have a good range and they perform better at the same or similar price point to general materials. There are literally 100's available. the big difference is the tension on the roll and the fact that digital media is rolled in a dust free environment and has backings that are stable etc. In fact some materials are CHEAPER then general stock , We usebanner and mesh that comes in at R19 per sq meter , about GBP1.60 and it works better than anything else.
You wont regret your purchase , this is a wonderful machine and will expand your capabilities enormously.
Write off your first month and a set of inks to school fees while you experiment and build up a sample range and portfolio. Be aware you use magenta , cyan and yellow at least at twice to 3x the rate you use black and the light cyan and light magenta - keep extras of these in stock, espcially magenta!!!
I get to work at about 5.30 am , to avoid traffic and to give my Corvette a good spin , so have a little time to relax , have a cup of java , reply to mail and post etc.
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Adrian Howard

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 5:15 pm

well i have being watching very closely and have just tendered for a job with a national company who want 80 pop up banner displays must be rain proof and withstand normal handling i have a friend with a soljet who made me a sample from my file i took it to Brighton to a meeting with the client - very pleased each one will be same artwork just address and tel no different, so looking good so far i made enquiries about buying a machine the versacamm falls short only being 30" pop up stands are 33-34" wide this to me was a big mistake by Roland, as this area is a very lucrutive if i get the order i will buy a grenadier
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Craig Hill

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 5:18 pm

VERSACAMM - should it do this?

Thanks Rodney

I will try and save my questions up and not become a pain
Do I email you direct through this site from the page, If that is the case I presume I will have to become a "fully paid up member" rather than the freebee I am at the moment

Regards
Craig H
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Craig Hill

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 5:21 pm

VERSACAMM - should it do this?

Hi Adrian

Did you know that the Grenadier is a rebadged Roland Soljet and prints about 54" but costs £20k

Craig H
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Adrian Howard

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:59 pm

Yes i do, but i think the Guys at B&P have made a few mods this machine can be purchased just under £20k but i believe the wider width will generate more income especially on display and pos jobs which the versa camm fails - if i get this job at least half outlay of the machine will be recouped
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Lorraine Buchan

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:02 pm

You can't really loose then Adrian!!
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John Singh

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:15 pm

Oh! ........and great picture Adrian!

John :D
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Chris Wool

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:13 pm

Versacamm LIFE

NEW MEMBER HI EVERY ONE
i have a soljet pro11 and it prints lovely on the right stuff durability is a problem but only abrasion so far unprotected prints out side 7 months
still fine if its for a vehicle laminate or frog it smallish stickers look and feel great when frog juced so work to the machine strengths and price the job accordingly where is the spell checker on here
i still have a pc60 and love it to bits but havent printed on the graphtec/encad since i got the soljet i have learnt one thing over the last 18 years of doing this is dont beleive whot it says on the box
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Lorraine Buchan

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:35 pm

Welcome to the site mr sticker, interesting to hear your views.

More info on "the right stuff" would be good!
Last edited by Lorraine Buchan on Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:57 pm

thanks for the feedback mr sticker. great to hear more hands on feedback, & welcome to the boards :P

adrian great choice mate.. this is the machine we are going for also.
like you we have several existing customers already wanting this type of work & plenty of it at that! :wink:
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John Singh

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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:29 pm

Welcome to Mr Sticker
Hope you enjoy the site
Get stuck in and keep posting

John
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Phill Fenton

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Post Thu Dec 18, 2003 12:22 am

Welcome Mr Sticker - tell us more about your experience with these machines :D

Martin - My only reason for changing to the Versacamm would be because of it's low running costs. The colorcamm is not cost effective at producing large process colour prints when inkjets can do it at such a lower cost. The colorcamm is fine for producing spot colour labels but even these would become more profitable if produced on a Versacamm.

Richie - there was no particular market that I was implying with my earlier post. I have a broad base of existing customers that I would target as potential users of the type of work I could produce with one of these machines.
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Martin Pearson

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Post Thu Dec 18, 2003 12:47 am

Welcome to the boards Mrs Ticker (did I get that right?). Tell us a bit more about yourself and your own experiences with the printers.

Richie like Phil I wasnt thinking of one sector to target with a machine but for the likes of safety signs, labels, domed badges a machine like this is just what you need. The sign company down the road a bit from us bought a machine and now they say they dont know how they ever managed before they got it.
If you see some of the jobs they are now getting and the stuff they can turn out on the machine it makes me a little green with envy.
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Craig Hill

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Post Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:25 pm

VERSACAMM - should it do this?

Hi Adrian

I was trying to make the point that you have a choice between B&P and Roland direct for the "same" machine.

I have just looked into this in quite some detail as the thread has developed.

The B&P machine is a modified Roland but both print the same width.
I wont go into all that has been said before but basically the B&P print is more durable but the machine needs more looking after, cleaning and bleeding pipes etc.

Any outdoor print should be laminated anyway.

There are differences in the print quality, we preferred the Roland but I guess people will see different, thats your choice and I am sure you will look into that yourself. We developed a "difficult" print file for each to test on the different speeds and quality, we bought the Roland, again your call!!!

The B&P inks will produce a much stronger smell due to the difference in the solvents.

Have fun!

Craig H
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Chris Wool

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Post Thu Dec 18, 2003 11:10 pm

the company name is mr sticker but you can call me chris
reading your reports there seams to be inconsistancy in the results which is whot i expected because of all the different vinyls used at different temp and with the CR ver 2 rip has even more adjustments that affect the result
think of a dot on the vinyl surface as a bucket when the bucket is half full of ink then it will be light when full all is well but when over full the rest of the ink has to flood out wards the trick is only to fill the bucket
but every vinyl has a different depth of bucket so the amout of ink has to be altered but that will effect the density of the colour your skill as the operator is to find the right vinyl then the right settings
i have 3 different vinyls i use all for my machine but to get the best out of then its 3 different machine settings inc head speed resolution and total ink quanity but they are all sold for that machine for standard use
for people with verseras & soljets if you havent tryed slowing the head speed give it a try may be waffal may be of help
chris
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Pryam Carter

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Post Thu Jan 22, 2004 10:03 pm

Versacamm sp 300

I've purchased one and l'm very happy with it. You must leave the prints at least 24 hours before testing. I found a sample that l had printed weeks ago and it passed the smudge test.
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John Singh

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Post Fri Jan 23, 2004 9:45 pm

Great to hear that you are happy with your purchase Billy

Keep us updated wont you?

And welcome to the site :D

John
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jkape

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Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:45 pm

Hello everyone,
I too have the same abrasion problem with prints originated from a versacamm machine. It does happen more on specific materials though. This is generally ok for most stuff BUT occassionally I need to protect the prints somehow. Would it be possible to lay clear vinyl on top of the print and then perform cutting ? Will that protect the print ?
(I do not have a lamination machine, I was told I need a cold lamination machine most shops near me have hot method ones)

Iosif
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Robert Lambie

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Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:53 pm

Would it be possible to lay clear vinyl on top of the print and then perform cutting ? Will that protect the print ?


yes covering the print with clear vinyl will protect the print.

yes regular vinyl can be used.

i have used this method for years covering my PC60 prints. never had a problem yet!

you dont really need a laminator unless doing huge graphics. simply apply a clear vinyl ontop of the print, once the graphics is applied to the substrate or before.

when kiss-cutting after lamination i would guess your cutter has to have a special function for this to happen. i have heard it is down to printing registration marks while the print is being printed. then aligning them with a lazer guide on your cutter. i have one on my graphtec but ive never used it.. i hear the summa cutters come with them also.
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Nigel Fraser

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Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:18 pm

Yeah, as Rob says, it is perfectly plausible idea, you just have to be aware of a few points -

1) As Rob mentioned, you obviously need to be able to re-register your material in the plotter.

2) When you apply the clear, cast is probably best as it is normally thinner and will give you a better chance to cut more complex shapes better.

3) You will obviously need to adjust the cutting depth to suit the twin layered film.

4) If you apply the clear wet (I bet even Rob might do this app wet??) make sure you don't get the backing paper wet or it will go all wrinkly when it dries out and will be tricky to cut accurately. You can do it dry but it is difficult to get a good finish especially if the print is a dark colour, you tend to see "silvering" where tiny air pockets are trapped.


Hope that helps a little...

Nigel
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Andy Gorman

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Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:22 pm

If you can get hold of an old mangle with rubber rollers, this is a good way to laminate using regular, clear vinyl dry. Just tape the clear to the print at one end, like a normal hinge method, and then run it through the mangle removing the backing paper as you go.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:46 pm

(I bet even Rob might do this app wet??)


nop, honestly dont find applying to vinyl anymore difficult than painted alloy or perspex :wink:
it is more risky on a large digiprint though, but i do still do it dry. :wink: :lol: :lol:
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jkape

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Post Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:06 am

The mangle idea sounds good, is that thing similar to a printing press used in etching (big rollers where print and plate go through?)

Iosif
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Mike Wilson

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Post Wed Mar 03, 2004 1:25 am

VersaCAMM as a Cutter

I'm considering buying a VersaCamm and this thread has been a big help. Thanks for all the info. How does the VersaCamm work as a stand alone cutter? I've heard conflicting views so I thought I'd ask here. Thanks in advance!
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Robert Lambie

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Post Fri Mar 05, 2004 7:43 pm

im not sure myself mate. maybe some of the guys here on the site that now have the versacamm could elaborate. from what i have heard, roland seem to have sorted the tracking problem that the old pc60 has.. i could be wrong though. the cutting speed on the old pc60 is not gooud eaither, again i would imagine that should be upto scratch.. maybe someone else will pick-up on this. :wink:
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fluidedge

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Post Sat Mar 06, 2004 2:45 am

The cutting performance on our cadet (re-jigged versacamm) is up to scratch with the latest roland plotters.

We're still using the Graphtec though for straight vinyl cutting, cadet is too busy printing Dewi's stickers!
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Vale 46

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Post Sun Jul 18, 2004 1:11 am

Versacamm

Man, that has taken some reading!

There is a few things I don't understand. Why has this thread died in March? (or is it my computer not showing me all the info?). Also no-one has mentioned the free laminator offer from Sign UK.

I have owned an edge for 5 years and found it to be a great money maker. Always been frustrated with print width and quality, but happy most the time. I have never understood sign companies buying printers that don't cut. Obviously when the Versacamm came out at less than 10k I took notice. I saw it at sign uk and was very impressed with the print quality so arranged a private demo. I did a rub test on the prints a few hours after the demo and they rubbed off. But I cant say as it bothered me. I still decided to buy one because I was told that any print that comes into much contact with people would be best laminated and the machine came with a free laminator.

Someone mentioned on one of the first couple of pages, that there was no catch bag. That is because you can buy an infra red automatic take up spool as an extra.

I must put out a mention to Solutions 2 on Beverley Road in Hull. I decided to buy my machine from them (1 of the 3 recognized Roland Distributors) as oppose to Roland because they are only 45 minutes away from me and they were offering exactly the same deal. Apparently I was the first person who had decided to spend the extra £1000 on the take up spool from them. In the first week of owning this machine I printed an 8000mm x 700mm banner. Why would you want it printing out all over the floor?

The offer of the free laminator (which does have heat if required) as I said earlier was on at Sign UK. I bought my machine a week later and got the same deal. I don't know whether it is still available. The total cost was as follows £8995 for the Versacamm with free hot laminator, £1000 for the infra red take up spool, £250 for delivery, £249 for installation and training. Total cost £10494 plus VAT.

We print, then laminate and then cut the print. It is very easy to do. The printer will print 5 registration marks (1 in each corner and one extra one at the front), you then laminate and reload the vinyl, the machine then automatically finds the reg marks itself and then cuts the print.

One of the other things I love is when you print and cut (when you don't intend to laminate) the cut starts automatically after the print. You don't press print and then press cut. This saves so much time compared to using our edge where we are loading it into the plotter and then manually lining up the reg marks.

The last thing I love about it is a tiny thing which we have never had before. Sheet cut off. You just press a button and it cuts the sheet of for you, rather than you cutting some dodgy line with a pair of scissors. The reason this is important is it makes lining the vinyl up a very easy as you always have a square edge. As someone mentioned earlier, this machine doesn't have guide lines like most plotters. You could always print some and stick them on though!

The different profiles that are needed to print on different medias are all available for free download from the Roland website, which is updated with new ones regularly.

The last thing that has really impressed me is Roland quoted me ink costs of £4 per square metre. Over my first 300 square metres my cost has been £1.97 per square metre.

I cannot say enough good things about this machine. As far as I am concerned no-one else should buy one! I don't want you all being able to offer the same great print and cut service, with those tiny costs.
(cheesy)






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Arthur Rayner

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Post Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:27 pm

versacamm vs cadet revisited

Greetings all

In conversation with a chap at Hexis today about profiles, the differences between the VC and the Cadet arose and I pointed out the tests that have been shown on this forum and my own tests which resulted in me plumping for the Cadet. I then related the maintenance procedure. The Hexis chap mentioned that originally it is likely that Roland were running the heater config temperatures at between 35-37 degrees and that possibly the inks were not penetrating the media fully/correctly. I phoned Roland and posed the question, they now run their temperatures at 50 degrees, (a directive from Roland Japan apparently) whereas I run mine on the Cadet at 40 degrees.

This now begs the question, if Roland were demonstrating at the wrong temperatures, were they giving us erroneous results? One doesn't want to jump to conclusions too early at this stage, but suppose the increase in temperature to 50 degrees does stabilise the Roland Eco-Sol inks far better than have previously been demonstrated, have those of us who have bought the Cadet, bought it erroneously as well?

I would far sooner not have all the additional maintenance issues and the foul smell from true solvent inks. Roland tell me that they do not have the additional maintenance issues that the Cadet has.

If anyone has a Roland Versacamm would they mind trying identical tests perhaps by raising the temps to 50 degrees then testing the output by rubbing and wiping with solvents such as meths/petrol etc.

I realise that some of you are likely to respond with..."laminate then no problems whichever machine"...but this isn't the point. It is clear to me possibly that Roland have learnt something "in the field" in the last 12 months.

I bought my machine to work as I find the work and to do specific jobs for myself whilst I am building up this side of the business which is a totally new venture.

I left the cadet for a month without using it only to find that the inks had solidified in the pump. I note that there is nothing in the manual as to long term down time and I pointed this out to B&P who last week replaced the pump FOC. There are of course additional costs in running the cadet if usage is more sporadic in so far as that it is required to do a head flush using 4 flushing cartridges, again nothing in the manual about this. Another problem was that the yellow ink cartridge ran out during the printing of a solid banner...I walked away from it for an hour. The tab in the cartridge had failed to pop out thus not triggering the machine to stop. So two maintenance calls from B&P in two months. I do find it annoying that I seem to be doing some R&D for B&P at my cost.

I seem to get banding when printing a solid colour. B&P say that it is the banner material, yet Hexis say it is most unlikely...who do I believe? I am sending Hexis a file and sample of material (marked on the back so I know they use it) and we'll see the result.

Oh well, I await the outcome and wonder!
This is all rather maddening at £9K plus wastage when one doesn't get these problems with a £90 desk top printer...albeit different ink systems.

The additional tests will be the proof of the pudding perhaps, though they might tell us nothing. If there is a difference, I for one will be mad.
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Rodney Gold

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Post Tue Oct 05, 2004 3:47 pm

Raising temps is not going to do anything about durability , in fact it might make it worse. Full solvents rely on attacking the substrate to make the vinyl liquify and mingle with the pigment , the longer one has before the solvents flash off , the better in some respects. Elevating temps flash off the solvent quicker , giving it less time to disolve the pvc and infuse the pigment. The heat does promote a better reaction and allows a better defintion print , but it wont increase the solvent resistance or rub resistance.
What bothers me is the fact that you did buy a printer and dont use it. Every day the thing stands idle costs you a ton , about 40 quid a day. That month cost you a bundle. Surely in that time you could have used the machine to build up a portfolio or do freebie give aways to build up that side of things?
Banding is not really a machine problem , there are various strategies that ameliorate it or totally eradicate it
1) do a manual calibration on the media abd bypass the profile calibration , thicknesses etc vary
2) DO an environmental calibration every day
3) do a bidirectional calibration for every specific media
4) slow the print speed
5) allow the machine to do a full scan (ie travel fom end to end of the machine instead of th just the width of the media or the graphic)
6) check all nozzles are firing , banding in one colour is indicative of a misfiring head
7) print at higher resolution/more passes
8) Some media , especially cheap stuff will NEVER print well
9) try a different rip
Remember you are dealing with a machine that is expected to print on a zillion different substrates and needs a fair amount of user intervention and control to do so flawlessly every time
There is no such thing as a free lunch , you cant expect to press a button and get perfection. No such digital printer exists as of now , there are alawys trade offs and isssues involved.
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Arthur Rayner

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Post Tue Oct 05, 2004 4:42 pm

Thanks for your comments Rodney. Its all a new game for me, and an additional risk. I already use a couple of pigment ink printers big Epsons and of course have no problems. No doubt I'll all come out in the wash...maybe not the best of metaphors!
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Robert Lambie

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Post Wed Oct 06, 2004 2:38 am

just for the record mate, the prints i used in my own tests were from roland direct, an agent selling the versacamm & cadet, and also prints from a uksg member of this website that uses the versacamm daily. 3 different sources & all prints had weeks to dry before i carried out the tests.

i actualy still have some versacamm prints in my office, these should be at least a year old now. havent left my drawer since. if you want i can test them against fresh prints coming from my own solvent machine.
infact... i will do a short video download on it for all to see. maybe a good update for that product test?

like i said before when you posted about this on another thread mate.. i can sympathise with you, there is nothing worse than problem with a new bit of machinery. especially at this price. but at the end of the day it comes down to the very light maintenance you need to carry out if leaving a machine using solvent inks like this. upto 6 weeks is a long time? :-?
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Arthur Rayner

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Post Wed Oct 06, 2004 1:20 pm

versacamm/cadet debate

Yes I know the test you did, I did similarly. The picture of the Les Paul guitar on banner material, I think, wiped off with virtually one stroke using a rag soaked in white spirit, I then tried meths, petrol and diesel, then took all pieces to B&P and tried the meths test at their place straight off the printer and I had to rub very hard I recall to move the print, it certainly didn't go walkies as it did on the VC. But as mentioned above it was only in talking with Hexis who one assumes are an "industry standard" and well respected supplier, (I've no reason to doubt them) mentioned that the increased heater temps might now be better in terms of stability on the VC, and Roland confirmed the increases. However, Rodney, who obviously understands the chemistry far more than I'll ever want to know, suggests to the contrary regarding increases in temp.

I take on board all that you say Rodney, however my usage pattern will only increase as I gather more work, I also bought the machine for my own internal work and reasons and all of this will naturally increase, but it has worried me that it is easy to overlook perhaps some of the maintenance, not so much the head soak say every 4 days or so if leaving the machine idle, but longer terms and the possiblilty of simply forgetting it! Roland say that it is possible to leave the machine switched on allof the time and that the VC will do a daily head clean automatically...any views on this? I walk past the machine daily even if not using it, so perhaps if I just do a daily test print and nothing else, this will have the effect of some usage as opposed to no usage?

I also accept Rodney's various permutations etc re my problem of banding, however when I put this to B&P they maintain that it is not the machine, it is the media, yet hexis say no it isn't! I have to add that on full colour, say multi mixed colour work, photos for example one is less likely to notice banding, however I notice it on single colour work over large areas. I did 8 3m long banners in solid orange as runway markers recently for an airshow, and the banding was most apparent. No if this was chargeable work for someone it would be rejected at say £60 a piece or whatever.

I realise that it is early days with my usage yet and I've a lot to learn and a lot of data to collect on various permutations etc, but I'd like to get these problems sorted rather fast, and there seems rather a lot of wastage in doing so. If the banding can't be solved, I'll have to get B&P out again. I can't be wrong surely with a £9K piece of kit that given the basic media that B&P recommend, it ought to perform straight out of the box once correctly set-up.
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Vale 46

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Post Wed Oct 06, 2004 2:11 pm

Higher Temperatures

Nice to see this post up and running again.

I have been running my Versacamm at 50 degrees since a few days after it was installed. We have the automatic take up spool and I was finding that even when the print went almost to the floor, around the two bars and then back up onto the take up unit, the print was still tacky. This meant that when we did a 5 metre run, we had about 3 metres to redo because the tacky print stuck slightly to the back of the backing paper. I rang up Solutions 2 who I bought it from and they said to always run it a 50 degrees. We since have done and have had no issues whatsoever.

Rodney is definately right though, it makes not one jot of difference to the rub tests. We have printed things at 50 degrees and left them for a week and they still rub off. But like I said in my earlier post, its not an issue if you know this before you buy the machine.

With regard to the cleaning. I turn my machine off every night and back on every morning. Every time you turn the machine on it runs the cleaning cycle before you can print anything.


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Rodney Gold

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Post Wed Oct 06, 2004 2:48 pm

We also use ours mostly for internal work and have gone on leave for 3 weeks and come back to print instantly , I would just run the machine on a daily basis just to keep things ticking along , a test print is fine!!
I didnt go for full solvent for precisely this reason , the maintenance issue and the fact that the mnfgrs of the machine and not an aftermarket convertor supportes it, apart from which , there are many more profiles avialable from the OEM as well as the firmware and rip updates (free)
Applying a solvent as a test on a print is much like using sandpaper on a photograph , I do realise that vehicles are exposed to this , but longevity of a print is a matter of degree , whether you use a solvent ink or not , no print can hope to survive in the long term with continued abuse!!
The machine will go to sleep if not used , it wont wake up and do head cleans by itself. The eco-sol inks are not that volatile that they need to periodically flush the heads and it's a waste of ink if they dont need to , I have no idea whether the modded machines will have different firmware which makes them do this.?
Well its the machine and the media , the feed mchanism must ake into account the medie thickness , strech when heated , environmental conditions etc , so one has to put the blame on banding on both the systems , the profiles supplied have compensation built in to cater for this , however not all environments , batches and machines are identical , it's a starting point not something cast in stone. The machine itself has built in "tests" that one can run to optimise everything.
In terms of the highes speed lowers res mode , the asles literature is bulldust!!!
I have yet to see a digital printer that runs in the fastest advertised draft mode , produce "saleable " output
Generally "cheap" media is a problem to print. I dont know hexis , but we generally print on mremium polymeric 5-7 yrs vinyl , the budget 6 months stuff just cant handle a decent print at all.
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2004 7:18 pm

Hi every one,
a few day's ago one of the guys here said that he noticed banners that we had installed approx' 2-3 months ago fadeing....

We have a uniform cadet which is a versacamm sp300 with upgraded ink system (little brother of the grenadiar).

We have been printing on to vinyl for vehicle wraps and sign boards with the best of results, all over laminated and all are not fadeing, (been up for 6 months).

BANNERS, though we seem to have found a problem, after being informed of the fadeing I have been around many diferent site's that we have installed and have noticed a drast change in appearance. There are also a couple of sign companies with in a 20 mile radius with a Cadet, and I have seen there banners out - also fadeing.At first We thought it might have been us useing it wrong, but after seeing others fadeing we now don't think so. We were sold the system and told that useing the correct ink and media sold direct from Uniform we would or should not have any fadeing on banners or vinyl for approx 3years give or take for conditions.... but 3 months I am realy concerned.

If any one out there has any idea's why this would happen please help!
We have orders comeing in and are loseing faith in our product (NEVER GOOD) we were thinking of upgradeing to a Grenadiar - but that uses the same ink system and if that has a problem with fadeing than we are considering the like of the mimaki JV3. I air concern about the ink because our prints that are lasting out doors are laminated - IS THIS TEMPORARY - and only because of the laminate... I have spoken to many suppliers and there selling lines are all the same " ours will last" but that is not the case so I would appreciate if any one out there has any other solvent printers, could you let us know how they hold up in external conditions.

For years we have wanted to move in to the full colour market, year before last we invested in a thermal Summa DC3 - fantastic machine highly durable strong colours - also has low points - costly to run slow and not high res', which is why we bought the Cadet... But if work is going to come back with unhappy customer saying " 3 months where's my Banner gone" then I don't now what to say. I have alway's been led to believe water based inks last approx 1-2 months out side if your lucky but solvent are measured in years.

Look forward to any responces

All the best to you all


Rich

The best to every one out there
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Richthom1976

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Post Wed Oct 20, 2004 7:45 pm

merlinart

you are experiencing banding on the banners, we had this problem at first but have solved it. Instead of haveing the banner going in to the machine tight , once you have loaded it (extremely stright) roll out the banner behind the machine so that it is pulling the material up fro the floor instead of of the roll, when I say the floor I mean the direction - don't allow the material to get contaminated with dust or dirt. I found that the weight of the roll was causeing banding, try you should have good results. This is only to done with banner.

Regards

Rich
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12brj12

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Post Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:33 pm

cadet vs versacam

I am thinking of getting either a Cadet or VersaCam just like a lot of other sign makers, but can't make my mind up which way to jump.Both ways end up in the fire by the sound of it.I will probably go for the Cadet but then again maybe the VersaCam,or will it be the Cadet or.........Help.
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12brj12

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Post Sun Dec 05, 2004 7:50 pm

Re: cadet vs versacam

What is the cost of maintenance for these machines weekly so as to avoid the problem of clogging?
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Robert Lambie

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Post Sun Dec 05, 2004 8:02 pm

i dont think you have any real maintenance with the versacamm.
the clogging you speak of maybe with the cadet, the cadet is a modified versacamm to except solvent ink as oppossed to eco-solvent ink.
even with the cadet its not really a maintenance issue, more a clean that takes a few minutes and only needs done when/if leaving the machine turned off for a couple of days or more.
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12brj12

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Post Mon Dec 06, 2004 9:32 am

VersaCam vs Cadet

Rob,
Thanks for the reply."Treat 'em clean to keep 'em keen" is the motto there. So if I should be lucky enough to go away for two weeks holiday and I've cleaned the machine properly before leaving...no problem.

Next...is it possible to use either Eco-Solvent or Solvent inks in the Cadet?
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Mark Shipley

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Post Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:37 am

Hi 12brj12,

Next...is it possible to use either Eco-Solvent or Solvent inks in the Cadet?


The VersaCAMM uses ECO Sol inks and the Cadet uses Solvent.

The Cadet is a VersaCAMM with it's guts ripped out and replaced with tubing and print heads that are suitable for solvent inks.

It's an either/or situation, you chose which inks will suit you best and select a machine that uses them, not the other way round.

Mark
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Rodney Gold

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Post Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:21 am

I dont think the heads are replaced , the epson dx3 heads in that machine can use solvent inks.
Tubing , dampers (those sort of reservoirs on the print head ) , the wiper blade (thing that wipes the heads of excess ink) and the capping station (thing that the heads park on , sucks em clean and keeps em moist) and maybe the pumps most likely are all the changes. Depends on the convertor and how far they go .
You can actually convert the roland machine to solvents without doing anything to it barring replacing tubes on a regular basis if you really want to (not advised)
The whole inking system is sealed , the inks should never really dry up barring at the heads as evaporation can really only occur at the heads or the bulk ink bottles , albeit the dampers do have "air" gaps (IE the reservoirs are not completely full , they act as an ink sump) so this might be a problem area.
You can use either ink in a converted machine. You cant use solvents in a versacam unless you are looking for trouble.
In making your purchasing decision , all of this is actually a little irrelevant , more relevant is are you actually going to get a decent return on investment.
Digital printing is relatively "mature" , the days of it being a liscence to print money are gone. If you have competiton in your area , then prices for output can go as low as 10 quid a sq meter for the bigger jobs , and what with affordable printers like the versacam , the market is becoming , to a certain extent , flooded. Unless you got in a few years ago and have built a market , undertaking it without an exisiting market can be dissapointing. YOUR marketing efforts are going to be the most crucial thing of all.
You might be lucky , you might be the only player in town , but how quickly are others going to take the gap ESPECIALLY as printers drop in price. You have to recover all your money in 2 yrs or less , there is very little resale value in an old model.
The Cadet or Versacam are already superceded by the 54" model. Even my machine , the soljet , has no real advantage over a versacam to justify almost 3x the price tag , it does wider , it does 6 colours and it does it faster which makes it more suited to "commercial" printing , however we do a lot of smaller die cut stuff on it and a versacam would have accomplished 93% of all my work with little loss of quality at all and had it been around when I bought mine , I would have gone for it.
The biggest problem of all is the fact that durability/fading claims are merely matters of degree. Doesnt matter how you do it and how you lam , the best you can expect is 3-5 yrs of useful life , so ALL digital printing is realtively short term in nature anyway. You might as well buy a versacam and convert it if you really want to at a later stage , the ink costs of converted machines are no less then eco-sol and the durability of both are pretty much an issue if the graphic is going to be abused or abraded. The full solvent might allow you to get away without lams in a few cases , but its not an overall position. If the ink costs of the converted machines were 1/2 to 1/3rd of the price it would be a different story.
As I have said before , im not aligned or a pimp for any co , I'm a user and call a spade a shovel.
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12brj12

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Post Mon Dec 06, 2004 7:31 pm

VersaCam vs Cadet

Let me tell you a story.
I used to be a sign writer,(but I'm alright now).
I'm not interested in building an empire but need to earn a living from a job that I don't dislike.
If I purchase a print-cut machine it will pay for itself from 1 contact within 18 months, but it might otherwise not be over used ...at present.
If maintenance on the Cadet had been a problem for me, I would have to go for the VersaCam.
But I need the durability of solvent prints.
So.......VersaCam and laminate
or........Cadet and maybe laminate, this is the dilemma.

Things are clearer now though, thanks to your replies.
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Chris Wool

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Post Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:01 pm

why dont you ask for some samples of the file you are going to do
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12brj12

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Post Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:33 pm

Cadet vs VersaCam

Good idea. Will do. :P
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stephenbenson

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Post Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:44 pm

Versacamm Durability

My first post: I know a bit about this machine as heaps of them have been sold here in New Zealand. Not by me which is a mixed blessing. I don't own one but I know people who do. The fact of the matter is that the machine is reliable & produces an awesome graphic that unfortunately, is far from bulletproof. Most guys who own them know that the print isn't as durable as opaque sign vinyls and take steps to protect the graphic. This means that everything from laquer to cold overlaminates are used and everything in between. There's a good product out of the US called ClearStar Clearshield which is a thick water based varnish that you can roll on the prints. People also use doming gel, some are using Resene Hypershield two-pak, everything in fact. Protect your reputation and cover the prints. You'll still make plenty of money with this machine. If you simply must have a durable print without the lamination step the Gerber Edge is still a great machine - otherwise take your chances with hard solvents and all the drama's that accompany that. By the way - I haven't read this whole thread, it's too long so this may be repeat info but the versacamm is not just a vinyl printer. I am reliably informed It's also good for Die-Sub printing and there are new materials arriving all the time formulated for it's inkset such as a printable heat transfer vinyl for t-shirts. I agree with a previous poster re technology. You're damned if you do & Damned if you don't.
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12brj12

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Post Sat Jan 22, 2005 2:04 pm

(!) I have gone for the Cadet, due to be delivered early Feb.
I will let you know how I get on.
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LLyndy

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Post Fri Feb 04, 2005 6:57 pm

I have had the versacam for nearly a year now and was in use at my previous employment most of our work is outdoor and has to last up to 7 years.....so far there hasnt been any complaints but the prints are always hung to dry for at least 24 hours before being either posted or mounted on foamex......wouldnt consider touching the print before that very minimum cure time and customers are always warned that they have only just been printed and need time to cure before being rubbed...that gently rubbing is all that is required to clean on the particular products our labels are for and that if they rub hard on newly printed signs then yes it will smudge.
They are told not to use spirit and only very mild detergent and to make sure that if applied to windows the window cleaner doesnt use vinegar lol :P well only if hes having chips whilst cleaning them lol
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12brj12

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Post Sun Feb 06, 2005 5:17 pm

versacam

Does your work go onto vehicles?
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LLyndy

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Post Sun Feb 06, 2005 8:06 pm

I do some work for vehicles but I dont specailsze in it...just do it as and when
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12brj12

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Post Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:32 am

versacam

So do you laminate ANY of this work. (chat.)
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LLyndy

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Post Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:36 pm

only laminate if heavy usage eg vehicles the general outdoor stuff I dont laminate as I was informed by the supplier that i dont need to and neither did the manufacturer I used to work for
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Rodney Gold

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Post Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:16 pm

Whatever machine you used , giving a 7 yr guarantee is just looking for trouble, not even systems using premium 3m materials and top quality certified cast overlam will offer a 7 yr guarantee. I would not even offer that on thermal resin prints which are WAY better than any digital ink baseed print. At the end of it all , offering that type of warrantee is , to be blunt , bulldusting the customer. There is already a problem with Cadet suppliers here in south Africa , Roland are screwing their own customers in supplying machines to be converted at prices that enable them to sell into the market in any competitive way with eco-sol machines and as far as Im aware , the CADET resellers are no longer being supplied at reduced cost or distributor prices (I may be wrong)
As I said , paying extra for durability which is a miniscule demand in terms of digital printing and NOT being able to use cheap inks is a silly option - and I repeat again , and I have experience in this , the durability issue is NOT worth shelling out the extra bucks for if you arent getting a SUBSTANTIALLY reduced ink cost. Ask yourself this , why would a major player like Roland not offer a solvent based machine if it was a lot better than their current offering , it would cost them almost nothing to enable their printers to be full solvent and gain them huge market share??
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Rodney Gold

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Post Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:30 pm

I want to add something , and this is not going to endear me to some suppliers on this board , but to be frank , I couldnt care a whit . I was asked by an unamed reseller/convertor to write an article against bulk ink systems and 3rd party inks , I declined as it is against my principles , but the gist of it was they wanted to sell their inks to converted clients as that is where they made their money and dissuade them from buying aftermarket stuff at a much cheaper price. I'm not aligned to any co . machine mnfgr etc and wasnt prepared to compromise my integrity and be anyones lapdog. I dont need favours or freebies from anyone and am prepared to put my neck on the line and stand by what I say. Albeit I have a Roland Soljet , I have had MANY posts deleted off the Roland boards cos I have taken them to task about their policies or disclosed info they felt may harm their cause or be of gain to their competitors- and couldn't care a f--k. I contribute to this board in the spirit of sharing and will continue to do so unless of course I am banned here for being tooo blunt:)
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Alan Drury

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Post Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:03 pm

Keep the comments coming - all too often we buy software and hardware that just doesn't quit work the way we were lead to believe, ie outside durable for 3-5 years without lamination, can't help but think this is a bit of a sweeping statement.
Alan
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stephenbenson

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Post Wed Feb 09, 2005 7:21 pm

7 Years is too long, in Aussie & NZ at least.

Llyndy, you stated that you offer outdoor durability guarantee's of up to 7 years for digitally printed media. I really don't know how you can do this. There are too many variables with digital printing. Forget about the durability of the inks for the moment, I know that if you look at the spec sheets on digital media, lets look at one manufacturer - and we can call them "Unnamed" (I don't want to get in the pooh) you will see that "Unnamed" have covered themselves in disclaimers left right and centre - basically, they say they will replace media found to be defective at the time of sale but there are too many variables to offer any authentic warranty and that 'values' given on the spec sheet "are not for use in specifications. They are intended only as a source of information and are given without guarantee and do not constitute a warranty." - With regards to 'Durability' they say that this is based "on Australian exposure conditions. Actual performance life will depend on substrate preparation, exposure conditions and maintenance of the marking. For instance, in the case of signs facing north; in areas of long high temperature exposure such as northern Australia; in industrially polluted areas or high altitudes, exterior performance will be decreased." "Unnamed" also state bluntly that Salesmen are not authorised to make any representation contrary to what's on the spec sheet - basically, that you take anything they say with a pinch of salt. Durability ratings for "Unnamed" films here in the southern hemisphere are obviously significantly lower than up North so I will not offer those but what I will say is that the implied outdoor durability rating for the films is (1) surprisingly short & (2) given to the film 'unprinted' - basically, once the film is printed the ball is in your court - inks used, application techniques used for overlamination and environmental conditions are all too far beyond "Unnamed" control to offer iron clad warranties.
I'm not picking on any one media manufacturer here - I'm sure they all cover themselves similarly - you need to read the spec sheets of any material used, if guarantees offered by your ink, media & machine manufacturer are in any way vague, then your own guarantees must be similarly vague. Ask almost any machine manufacturer to offer warranties on printed media and you will get all sorts of disclaimers - the only decent warranties on offer out there lock you in to 'matched component systems' - basically you use our media, our ink, our machine and our RIP. I personally regard a 7 year warranty or guarantee as setting yourself up for a fall.
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12brj12

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Post Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:10 pm

versacam

Well.. Cadet arrives next Monday, just finished extending my workshop to house it. Hope it's all worth it. Will let you know.
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havinalaff

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Post Tue Mar 29, 2005 11:50 am

cadet is defo the machine to go for over the versacamm from my experience.

Having the two prints side by side is the only way to compare them and when you see the difference in durability between the two its amazing.

I mean its not a problem laminating work for use on vans etc and isn't a bad idea with any printer, but to have to laminate on things like small labels to get any real durability on them is just ridiculous.
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Dolfyn

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Post Wed Mar 30, 2005 7:20 am

about versacam

Hello, I`m new to this so please don`t get mad ....

I`m from Roumania. We are using Roland SP-540V with EcoSol Ink.

Using this machine Ive noticed a few things such as:
- the print does come off if the rubbing is done in a few days from printing, we have done some prints for outdoor and the prints haves stayed to dry a few days (almost a week) and the print didn`t went off that easely.

- when we have decorated cars we laminated the prints whithout asking, and it was ok.

- a notice about Roumania sign making: a lot of decorations are made with Oracal 641 (:) . Not a good idea, but the general flow is made upon the price not onto the quality. A lot of prints are made at cheap, and very cheap price with printers like Digirex, Infinity, at low, but very low quality. An we have to do the prints at low price (and we have expensives costs: the EcoSol Ink are expensive, the matterials that we have to use are not cheap; we can not use cheap materials for the fact that the colours can not be reached using cheap materials - we use Grafyprint and Metamark)
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eddietucker

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Post Sun Apr 24, 2005 9:50 am

Versacam limits

I think that the versacam has had it's fair share of digs from the message boards, but it's still one of the best out there. If you are going digital, then there are only 2 real choices to make. Solvent or Eco-solvent. Yes you have to laminate the versacam prints if you are wrapping, but it's a small trade off if you want good quality prints.

The Cadet would have better adhesion to the vinyl and is the same engine and heads as the versacam (we all agree on that) and you MIGHT not have to laminate, esspecially if you only need to get 3 years out of the prints.
Personally, my money would be on the cadet simply because you can go back to using Eco-Solvent inks if you can't stand the smell and with only a simple flush out of the system, but you can't go to Solvent ink without a conversion on the Versacam.
It's not really such a tough decision to make.

Eddie.
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Gordon Forbes

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Post Sun Apr 24, 2005 4:46 pm

Thats why I bought a Cadet.

Goop

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