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Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

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Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:45 pm

Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Hi all,

I made my first post a couple of months ago with regards to producing bespoke sized number plates and I now have all the foundations in place (A few orders have even been made on my website which I have had to refund! :sad: ) . The only issue I am struggling with is the media / printer combination.

Tennants UK and the other main number plate material suppliers are not able to offer their solution as they only supply standard 'off the shelf' materials which don't accommodate my bespoke number plates so I am forced to come up with my own solution.

I have found 2 materials which I am interested in:-

1) Xerox Premium Nevertear Clear Clingfilm SRA3 53Mic Paper Backed 50/pk 007r91568

This media is laser printer friendly but only comes in SRA3 sizes which has its limitations; I can produce smaller number plates this was but not the larger ones. Also, I am not sure which printer will give a nice dense black print on this media.

https://www.antalis.co.uk/business/prod ... =478095527

2) Orajet 3651 Gloss Clear Perm 1520 X 50m 1rl

This media is solvent inkjet, eco solvent inkjet, latex inject, and uv inject compatible. This is in roll sized of either 1370mm x 50M or 1520mm x 50M which will cover everything I need. However, the printers are significantly more expensive and I am reluctant to spend multiple 000's on a printer at this moment in time. Can anybody recommend a supplier for a respectable printer which isn't so costly - possibly even allow monthly payments?

https://www.antalis.co.uk/business/prod ... =238953970

Alternatively, does anyone have any recommendations on other printer / media solutions I could consider? I am fully DVLA registered and need this solution to be fully legal; any advice is greatly appreciated!

Kind regards,
Carl.
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Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:10 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Carl
only a quick reply bur none of the printers will allow you to make road legal plates which need to meet BS145d & possibly a later standard now, material from Tennants etc have under gone certification to meet the standards


Also tennants do custom size plates subject to the system used

Kev
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Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:22 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Hi Kev,

Could you please elaborate as to why none of the printers will allow me to make road legal number plates? The requirements for BS145d can be read here:-

https://www.privatenumberplates.com/bsau-145d

As long as my drawings and material satisfy the requirements I should be okay?

I have also spoken to Tennants UK in the past and they can only supply 'of the shelf' sizes. For instance, an imported car with 5 characters can legally go down a number plate which has dimensions of 87mm high x 300mm wide; Tennants UK cannot supply the materials for this size plate but I am willing to make them up with relevant materials.

Cheers,
Carl.
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Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:56 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Hi
looked at this a long time ago & cannot remember all the issues, but you can have issues regarding your materials meeting the BS for reflectivity etc this goes for the clear film as well as the reflective do you have the resources to get that independently certified, Relective backing could be matched to the Tennants vinyl product.
Best way for you to do this is to purchase a Tennants system, guillotine & corner rounder & basically chop up an available blank to size. Printing not an issue just print to middle of clear film include an outline of plate on film for alignment.
Type of money to set wide format for this would be expensive so cannot ever see it paying for the amount of custom sized plates you would make

Kev
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Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:21 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Hi Kev and thanks for commenting again.

The reflective material I am using is already a certified reflective graded material and the reflective data and colours at daylight comply with the requirements of the British Standard BS AU145d. However, when used in conjunction with a transparent media (and my choice of perspex) this may reduce the overall reflectivity; I will look to get it certified though.

I was considering the solution you have advised with regards to the Tennants system and chopping down then printing accordingly. However, the Tennants software doesn't accommodate the smaller number plate characters that can be displayed on imported vehicles (64mm high - same as motorcycles). I spoke to a few of the tech's at Tennants and they advised they cannot offer a solution with smaller number plate characters. Also, the transparent media Tennants use does not have adhesive on the rear as the reflective substrate they use has the adhesive with the transparent media applied to the surface of the plate. This method of printing doesn't look as nice as opposed to having the perspex on the front with the transparent media 'wedged' in the middle between the perspex and reflective material.

As a result, I have therefore drawn up all my different dimensions on illustrator and will print directly to my media and then apply to the perspex / reflective material. All i need to do is type in the relevant registration plate; the BS number, company name etc are all displayed accordingly.

I completely agree with the wide format inkjet printers being overkill and not being cost effective for my niche so i am struggling a little. I am therefore also trying to find some A4 rolls that are laser printer compatible in order for me to print in banner mode on an Oki C532 but currently without much luck!
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Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:04 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Carl Hanley wrote:I completely agree with the wide format inkjet printers being overkill and not being cost effective for my niche so i am struggling a little. I am therefore also trying to find some A4 rolls that are laser printer compatible in order for me to print in banner mode on an Oki C532 but currently without much luck!


You could always ask about getting rolls slit down, most suppliers offer this, but unsure as to how small they can go.
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Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:42 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Phil P Davies wrote:
Carl Hanley wrote:I completely agree with the wide format inkjet printers being overkill and not being cost effective for my niche so i am struggling a little. I am therefore also trying to find some A4 rolls that are laser printer compatible in order for me to print in banner mode on an Oki C532 but currently without much luck!


You could always ask about getting rolls slit down, most suppliers offer this, but unsure as to how small they can go.


Hi Phil,

I am more than happy to even cut them down myself - I am just struggling to find the material altogether lol :bangshead:

Basically, all i believe i would require is a roll of transparent clear media with adhesive on one side that is laser printer friendly; is there anything that you would recommend?

Kind regards,
Carl.
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Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:38 am

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Carl Hanley wrote:
Phil P Davies wrote:
Carl Hanley wrote:I completely agree with the wide format inkjet printers being overkill and not being cost effective for my niche so i am struggling a little. I am therefore also trying to find some A4 rolls that are laser printer compatible in order for me to print in banner mode on an Oki C532 but currently without much luck!


You could always ask about getting rolls slit down, most suppliers offer this, but unsure as to how small they can go.


Hi Phil,

I am more than happy to even cut them down myself - I am just struggling to find the material altogether lol :bangshead:

Basically, all i believe i would require is a roll of transparent clear media with adhesive on one side that is laser printer friendly; is there anything that you would recommend?

Kind regards,
Carl.

Whoops! Mi-read it .... :blushing:

You can get printable films, but all tend to be A4 sized as most laser printers top out at A3....
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Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:47 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

would have thought you could make just about any thing from this selection presume the glue is on the back of the acrylic
https://www.jepsonandco.com/plate-components/
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Post Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:33 am

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

H Chris,

The acrylic I have looked at don't have any adhesive; the adhesive is on the clear transparent media and on the reflective material. Below is the layout of the plates:-

Top (Surface) - Protective Acrylic

Middle (Print Media) - Clear Transparent media with adhesive on one side, reverse printed on 'dry' side and 'wet' side applied to the rear of the acrylic.

Bottom (Reflective Material) - Reflective material with adhesive on the front reflective side, applied to the 'dry side' of the clear transparent media.

If i could find an acrylic with clear adhesive properties that would make everything so much easier!

Kind regards,
Carl.

Edit:- Also just looked at that link you have supplied. Unfortunately their products, and the rest of the big number plate suppliers won't work as they only sell pre-cut sizes.
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Post Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:00 am

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

You would have to laminate acrylic with the adhesive of your choice, but getting it completely transparent would be an issue, since it would be a double sided tape applied. I have done similar with tapes from Tapes2Go, they slit tape to size from 1,5M logs, so you can get exactly the size you want. We do this to acrylic and HIPS before laser cutting, but aren't bothered about optical properties.
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Post Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:25 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Hi Phil,

I thought that would be the case which is why i settled for non adhesive acrylic and went down the route of searching a laser printable media with clear adhesive instead. Also, this way i am fairly confident the reflectivity of the bottom surface (reflective material) won't be compromised by 'cloudy' adhesive if i applied it myself to the perspex.

ahh the hunt continues :sad:
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Post Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:51 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

there are two main systems for making plates one with glue on the reflective ..one with glue on the acrylic.
as you say you use illy and a laser with a straight through tray and you don't mind cutting the acrylic down i cant see much of a problem with that system shown. all the ingredients are there.

its not certified for laser printers but i have printed to standard clear sign vinyl, play with settings for best results, your risk.

the thermal printers do this well

done the sandwich method with a solvent printer using both glue methods. one you reverse print on the clear.
if its bespoke size and design then its your imagination imo that's missing.
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Post Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:01 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Chris Wool wrote:there are two main systems for making plates one with glue on the reflective ..one with glue on the acrylic.
as you say you use illy and a laser with a straight through tray and you don't mind cutting the acrylic down i cant see much of a problem with that system shown. all the ingredients are there.

its not certified for laser printers but i have printed to standard clear sign vinyl, play with settings for best results, your risk.

the thermal printers do this well

done the sandwich method with a solvent printer using both glue methods. one you reverse print on the clear.
if its bespoke size and design then its your imagination imo that's missing.


Hi Chris and thanks again for the comments. I do completely agree with your last comment regarding the lack of imagination :lol: the world of printing gets overwhelming quite quickly when trying to figure out what the best way of doing things when considering different print methods, different media, media properties, ensuring things are still legal etc etc; especially when I am new to this game lol. However I will get there! :thumbsup:

With regards to cutting the acylic down, I have currently sourced and in the frame of mind of using a 3rd party company using a router to cut the plates out of a larger sheet as i dont personally have the capabilities of this yet. The cut plates will then have a nice bevel on them for a better quality finish. If i was to buy the above plastic plates (which already have the adhesive on them) I will essentially be paying twice for the bespoke plates (once for the actual plate / again to get them routed down further). Therefore if possible, I would like purchase sheets of acrylic with clear adhesive and only have to pay once to get them cut.

When considering printers, I have read that the OKI C332dn requires an upgraded firmware for it to work with the transparent media from a couple of suppliers? Also, some other supplies use a thermal printer as opposed to a laser printer? Ideally, which method is the better way to go forward with regards to UV stability and the density of the black print and ultimately cost wise?

Cheers,
Carl.
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Post Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:03 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

long time since i did them.
i applaud you wanting to make a top notch product but getting someone to route them is going to be rather expensive unless he cuts a big sheet up at a time. possibly the glue will be a problem
so
with a deep score line and over a sharp edge the plate will snap dressing with a file, razor plane finely set and 1000 grit paper the edge can soon resemble the uncut edge. try it if you have't.

if you use as many off the shelf components as possible saves a lot of hassle with conforming. if the acrylic has a bs no etched on it use that part of the plate.
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Post Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:25 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Chris Wool wrote:long time since i did them.
i applaud you wanting to make a top notch product but getting someone to route them is going to be rather expensive unless he cuts a big sheet up at a time. possibly the glue will be a problem
so
with a deep score line and over a sharp edge the plate will snap dressing with a file, razor plane finely set and 1000 grit paper the edge can soon resemble the uncut edge. try it if you have't.

if you use as many off the shelf components as possible saves a lot of hassle with conforming. if the acrylic has a bs no etched on it use that part of the plate.


Thank-you Chris, I appreciate it.

The company i have been in contact with can route a 8ft x 4ft sheets giving me approximate 40-70 plates (depending on sizes) for £25-£50 labour + VAT. This includes bevelled edges too. The sheet will cost £65. I think i may stick with my guns and get them to cut a full sheet as opposed to buying individual plates as it would work out significantly more expensive and i simply wouldn't have the time to cut and file every plate myself, plus the machine doing the cutting will look far more professional.

I have therefore been looking into transparent tapes and applying that to the rear of my sheets / routed number plates.

Do you have any recommendations on clear / transparent double sided tapes; I found these last night which i believe would be suitable:-

https://www.rajapack.co.uk/packaging-ta ... ry=dst4965

https://www.psasolutions.uk.com/product ... mopp-liner

The thickness of these tapes are very thin and seem to be used in the sign industry. I have seen some other transparent tapes but are significantly thicker - nearly 2mm thick whereas these are circa 0.025mm thick yet still possess transparency and high tack properties!

Maybe these is the tape that is used on the plates you have linked above? If so, I think i may have found my solution! :yikes:

Cheers,
Carl.
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Post Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:57 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

will the available acrylic sheet meet the 2019 regs ? and remember a routed edge will be dull not shinny.

the glue tapes shown we use and would possibly fit the bill, when you remove the carrier its just glue left behind, but unfortunately you need full plate size rolls if you try to apply strips it will show the joins i had to make some special one off HD double side warning signs for windows and it showed a bit.

just thinking out loud and boring :sleep: the other members to death :smiles: :tongue:
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Post Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:05 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Chris Wool wrote:will the available acrylic sheet meet the 2019 regs ? and remember a routed edge will be dull not shinny.

the glue tapes shown we use and would possibly fit the bill, when you remove the carrier its just glue left behind, but unfortunately you need full plate size rolls if you try to apply strips it will show the joins i had to make some special one off HD double side warning signs for windows and it showed a bit.

just thinking out loud and boring :sleep: the other members to death :smiles: :tongue:


Hi Chris, when you say2019 regs, i presume you mean the number plate regs? I'm not sure what standards the perspex has to comply with, but i will try find out what standard the above perspex complies with and find a relevant perspex that Amari can supply.

I'm going to try and source wide rolls but if i cannot source them i will give the thinner rolls a trial. Fingers crossed!
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Post Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:34 am

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

I’m reading all your comments?? What size of plates do you intend making?? There are loads of off the shelf sizes & are easy cut with ruler & stanley. What equipment do you have presently?? Thermal printer & plotter is all you need.
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Post Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:07 am

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

Bernard Gallagher wrote:I’m reading all your comments?? What size of plates do you intend making?? There are loads of off the shelf sizes & are easy cut with ruler & stanley. What equipment do you have presently?? Thermal printer & plotter is all you need.


Hi Bernard,

Take a look at Four Dot Designer Plates website; they can create number plates that fit the number plate recesses etc - fully bespoke.

With regards to the printer; is it better to purchase an OKI from the likes of tennants that have the 'modified firmware' upgrade or would a standard off the shelf thermal / laser printer suffice?

Cheers,
Carl.
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Post Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:52 pm

Re: Struggling with sourcing a printer / media combination - Help Appreciated!

I’m one of Ireland’s biggest Number Plate suppliers. 95% are made on Roland plotter, Stanley & ruler. I only print MOT plates on OKI & there rubbish but people don’t care for tests.

https://cbmsigns.ie/product-category/number-plates/

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