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EDGE 2, Tips & advice needed?

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Post Thu Jan 22, 2004 8:01 pm

EDGE 2, Tips & advice needed?

Has anyone got an edge printer?
I have the chance of buying one but I am a little unsure if I should be taking the plunge. Or should I say taking the plunge with this machine? I have heard good and bad reports. I would appreciate any tips or help.
I’m looking at around £10000 for a second hand edge 2. I may get it cheaper, haven’t spoken to them yet.
Is this a good price for a second hand model and do you think it’s the way to go?
Lots of questions I know. Sorry! Big step for me, lots of cash. :-?
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Post Thu Jan 22, 2004 9:11 pm

I`ve had my edge for approx 6 months. and I`m still on the first ladder of the learning curve.

I bought new, because I didn`t want a machine that had been flogged to death.

I think these things need asking.
Does a plotter come with the deal, you`ll need a sprocketted one. (GS15 or similar)
Software to run the edge.
How old is the machine and will spandex carry over or give you a warranty.
See it running, do a full width print, to see if there are any patches where it hasn`t printed.

can`t think of anything else, but there must be a few more questions you need to ask.
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Post Thu Jan 22, 2004 10:38 pm

Gary,

I've had my edge2 for just over a year now - and it certainly has it's fair share of flaws ! Nothing too major but all stuff you won't hear from a rep or anyone flogging you one :wink:

1) Colour - colour registration tricky, you need to become a master of the software to be able to produce nice looking prints with traps/bleeds/outlines etc. - same for print to cut reg too, though this is more straight forward to deal with.

2) The 600dpi print mode is only 600 in one direction (i.e. 600x300dpi really)

3) The 600dpi mode will only be supported if you print using certain colour foils - apparantly Gerber say that some foils will not print properly at the higher resolution, but other makes of foils may well be ok ?

4) I personally find the Omega/Composer software a real nightmare after using corel for 10yrs+. It is really difficult to make it do the simplest things sometimes.

5) You have to be prepared to keep the machine really clean - as even a little spec of dirt can wreck your print by getting trapped between the head and the foil.

6) The ability to print a fine dot dithering pattern exists with this machine by setting a halftone of say Classical Dot 100lpi but if you try and use this setting for any design with continuous tones or graduations you will get horid colour banding. This is probably what bugs me most about the machine - it is capable of producing small high res dot designs but the software/drivers let it down.

7) Silly things like you have to import bitmaps as RGB rather than CMYK if you want them to print properly.

Having said that it is very good at doing runs of stickers (small to medium) vehicle graphics (you can get a clear uv and abrasion guard cartridge to save having to overlaminate in most cases). It's really a case of horses for courses, if you want to be able to print small graphics/labels/membrane keypads etc then it's hard to beat but don't expect it to be a rival for a solvent inkjet machine !

If you want any more advice, feel free to give me a call 01926 850850 or drop me a e-mail via my website link below. You might also check out this edge site if you havn't already - "edge talk"/homepage/

Hope thats some help !!

Nigel
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Post Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:08 am

Good feedback so far mate.
ide expect some more good ones as im sure there is a good few run an edge on this site.
I don’t know enough about the machine to give comment on it but i have seen one run a few times now and my friend has one also.
My biggest grind is the width. It’s just, well, not ideal at 12 or 13 inch wide.
I have heard they are good machines though.. And obviously good money can be made from them or they would not be so popular. The site, edge talk has some amazing stuff on it. Check it out..
I think these days though, if i had the option & for the same sorta money i would buy a versacamm. If i had well ventilated premises i would buy the cadet. Both lower than 10 grand and "from what i can see" wider, easier/less hassle to run & cheaper to run. But the like the edge, the cadet and the versacamm come with their own problems.
The edge is sprocket/tractor fed & the one thing i always regard sprocket fed machines for is "tracking". You can’t beat it if the sprockets are kept clean. they track for miles..
A year or so back i went to a sign college to enrol staff. They had not long got an edge. They gave me a quick demo on it. I was surprised when it printed a 12 inch high word "text" but left a blank band running right throw the middle about .25 inch wide. I do not know why it did it but it did.
I took note as i run a pc60 and they are sometimes guilty of doing similar depending on the heads age.

I cant think of anything to add to becky or nigels comments.. hope it helps
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Post Fri Jan 23, 2004 9:08 am

I've had an Edge 1 for about 9 years now.

Brilliant piece of equipment, very expensive to buy at the time, but worth it's weight in gold.

I already had two GS15 plotters and have always been using the Graphix Advantage (now Omega) software, so the learning curve for me was very short. All I had to do was connect the Edge to the PC and off it went.

The main disadvantage is obviously the limited width (299.7mm), hence why I also have a 52" solvent printer.

Having said that, the Edge is unbeatable for complex multi-spot colour work and accuracy of kiss-cutting.

Short run decals are it's bread and butter, but I've also done some quite large runs (biggest one I ever did was 30000 3 colour decals on clear, and 3 run-ons of the same job).

Just yesterday I completed a 13 colour job on it.

If I went back in time, I would definitely buy it again.

Regards,
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Post Fri Jan 23, 2004 10:30 am

I would echo George's comments, I had Gerber software and plotters previously so buying an Edge was just an add on to an existing system, previously to owning one, I bought in services from a company that ran 3 of them, just selling prints to other signmakers.

I find that the registration thing is not a problem using choke/spread, and bleedcut. Thats what is there for.

Talked recently to Cadlink about the thermal module who say they get some really great results from printing....much better than with Omega, and that its often not the machine but software driving it that sets limits.

There are pro's and con's for all systems....the Edge is proven in many markets lots of media available for it, and variety in spot colours through different manufacturers.

It makes money...and I am interested in now getting into Signlab's thermal module too.

Some people say the thermal markets days are numbered...I think that's a little premature with Gerber producing newer hardware and the likes of Cadlink developing thermal modules....you wouldn't do that for dead technology?
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Post Fri Jan 23, 2004 11:15 am

there is an edge 1 (latest model) with software, computer plotter etc on
Ebay at the moment

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2589380463&category=3180

I have the identical setup and mine makes a min of £500 a week profit from various labels, machine templates etc very good for short run
labels, this is only an add on to our signmaking business and takes little
babysitting it will print 30m easily in registration.

Today it is printing 1000 machine labels approx 30m of vinyl 2 colour contour cut with 5 switch holes retail £634.00 (cost in materials less than
£120) these machines in the right marketplace make money
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Post Fri Jan 23, 2004 11:46 am

I use the edge1 and it runs 12 months of the year 10 hours a day mainly doing health and safety signs but also large runs of stickers the Omega software I find very easy to use but did benefit from a two day training course (Spandex). There are issues with colour registration but most of them are solvable, in three years I have turned away only one job because it involved 8 colours on a 40X40mm sticker the registration was a joke!
The main suppliers are very expensive compared to companies like Print One and Europoint I have also found the quality to be much better.
I have had very little downtime but the security device (Dongle) did pack up and took two and a half weeks to replace even with a service contract, they dont keep them in the UK and need to ship them in from the States (not even a spare!) not overly impressed with tech support.
We are gaining business all the time because of the quality of our output, no advertising, all word of mouth, started with a pc60 (supplied by mr.sticker) upgraded to an edge 1 with gs15plus and use the pc60 as a plotter and with this combination will attempt almost any job.
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Post Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:29 pm

Guys,

Just an add on thought since there are members who obviously have run their machines much longer than I. Recently I was asked by spandex if I wanted the extended warranty cover for my edge when the 12month std ran out. The cost was between £22 and £65 (depending on speed of response req.) per month per piece of kit (i.e. edge,plotter & pc) plus £26 pm for print head cover.
I decided not to go for it but was a bit worried by their comment that the head costs ~£1300+vat and has an average life of 18months.

Has anyone had any experience of head or other failures and after how long ?
Does anyone else have a non spandex contact for maintenance/repairs ?

Nigel
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Post Fri Jan 23, 2004 2:53 pm

top question Nigel.

I would be intrested in what people thought about warrantys
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Post Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:40 am

I suppose it's simple mathematics - if the head is going to go twice a year, the extended warranty with head cover is well worth it. We used to go through a couple of heads a year, but we did run about 1000 metres of vinyl a month through it. One thing does spring to mind - if you buy a new head for 1300 quid (or whatever) is that head guaranteed for any period? My old boss was very considerate when it came to things like this and he calculated the warranty to be well worth it in his case. I always got the impression that the Spandex engineers were under orders not to be too hasty when dispensing new heads. For example, if you reported an obviously malfunction that was print head related they would turn up without one, and then order it once they had inspected the machine.
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Post Sat Jan 24, 2004 3:04 pm

I asked spandex what the warranty would be on a replacement head expecting it to be 12months and was told it is only 3months "because thats all the manufacturers give".
Still if you can reckon on getting through 6km of vinyl per head then that sounds pretty good to me - at only 22p per meter its pretty easy to build in the cost to your jobs :)
I guess there are lots of other factors coming in to play though, like what foils do you use, how much solid print area, how many colours and how clean is the machine kept.
I would be very interested to hear from other edge users with regards to reliability issues.

Thanks in advance...

Nigel
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Post Sun Jan 25, 2004 12:17 am

Just out of interest, the first job I ever printed on the edge2 was 18x50m rolls 1 colour (big G starts counting on his fingers.........) that's 900metres. At the end of the job there were what I can only describe as burnt spots on the head and it had to be replaced. The job consisted of the same image which was a thin stripe, meaning the same small part of the head was used for the whole 900 metres.

That's one case scenario, another is when we used to print badges for doming. Often 2-300 metres of vinyl at a time. The head tended to last a lot longer when it was producing a variety of images rather than the same one over and over forever. I tended to be very strict on cleanliness of the machine, cleaning the head every 10 metres etc. Whether it makes a difference I dunno. My opinion: These machines aint perfect, but they aint bad either.
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Post Sun Jan 25, 2004 6:22 pm

Thanks Big G, the more info the better ! If you had 900m of thin stripe to run wouldn't you stack however many up on the 300mm width and use the full head area ? I guess there was a good reason why not - I usually try and stagger the prints I do, if there are say 200mm square logos, I alternate from one side to the other to even out the head use, though I guess this still uses the centre area twice as much anyway so maybe you cant win !
I think you're right on the cleaning though, it is bound to help the head last longer if it hasn't got build ups of dirt/bits etc on it.

I must start to promote my machine much more and not keep worrying that the job is too long to be economical. I guess it's just having had 10 yrs of buying in prints at other peoples costs I tend to look at a job, work out its gona take 25m of vinyl or so and think "oh thats too much, it'll have to be screen printed instead" ! Old habits die hard :wink:

Thanks for the input anyway,

Nigel
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Post Sun Jan 25, 2004 6:50 pm

I have always fancied an edge from day one. i looked at thermal machines for a few months. we have to be realistic about
What we plan to print with them & how much it will really cost.
The edge beats the PC600 on speed, running costs & a few other factors.
The PC600 beats the edge on unattended use, dpi and width.
Both machines can be tiled for large prints and both are more than capable of being used for it. I think the edge wins hands down on that too.
Like Nigel said, if the job is large and would take multiple tiles & lamination.
Why go to all the bother for a lower return. It has got to be better to email a file to a trade supplier and get it the following day or two in possibly one piece?
It would possibly cost less using this method with a better result because of less tiles, better dpi, zero manufacturing labour & so on.
I’m not knocking the machine or that of the PC600. They are both great machines for smaller graphics.
Maybe it’s just me. But when someone asks me for digital printing, I visualise large format.
I think if I had 10 grand spare, it would probably be a wide format print and cut machine like a Graphtec. I don’t know of an ideal printer for outdoor use, possibly the machine rob has mentioned, the cadet sounds like a good bet. :-?
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Post Sun Jan 25, 2004 11:14 pm

Nigel,
Actually, I did stack the image up the page, which meant 4 thin stripes. (Being only part of the finished image with some cut only parts.) making 3600m of stripe.

It's a more difficult decision nowadays, what with print and cut machines but I suppose individuals are the only ones who know what they want from a printer and can choose accordingly.

Having read some of the comments about a certain new machine on here, none of them are perfect for every job, and all have their restrictions.

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