New Interactive Catalog and Your Chance for a $500 LexJet Gift Card

Digital Product Reference Guide

Go to www.lexjet.com/catalog for the latest LexJet Product Reference Guide, and click the Facebook Like or Share icons by Friday, May 2 for a chance to win a $500 LexJet Gift Card*.

LexJet’s new digital catalog is an excellent clickable source for everything you need for printing, with details on hundreds of products, including fine art materials, photo papers, fabrics, canvas, films, vinyl, banner materials, adhesive-backed materials, wallcoverings, specialty media, laminates, adhesives, printers, inks and more.

The new digital catalog provides interactive tools to make navigation and product sourcing simple:

  • When you go to www.lexjet.com/catalog, click on the catalog and it will open in your browser, starting at the cover page
  • Simply click on the right arrow to browse page by page, or use the tool at the bottom of the page (up arrow) for a thumbnail view
  • You can also click directly to the product page you’re interest in on the Table of Contents page, which you can access from anywhere within the catalog by clicking on the bullet-point icon located at the top of the page on the far right
  • The home icon at the top of the page on the far left takes you back to the cover

The comprehensive guide includes specifications, application ideas and pricing on the following:

  • LexJet, LexJet Sunset, Hahnemuhle and EPSON aqueous media
  • Sunset Stretcher Bars, Sunset Pro Photo Albums and Sunset and ClearStar coatings
  • Fredrix Print Canvas
  • LexJet, General Formulations and HP solvent, latex and UV-curable media
  • Specialty films and fabrics
  • LexJet laminates, adhesives and backers
  • Canon, EPSON and HP inks
  • Canon, EPSON and HP printers

If you have questions or need help with anything, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

*$500 Gift Card for products purchased through LexJet.

LexJet’s 2013 Product Reference Guide Now Available

LexJet Product Reference GuideLexJet’s new 2013 Product Reference Guide is in the mail and should be in the hands of LexJet customers. If you haven’t received the latest Product Reference Guide, click here to sign up for a free copy.

The Product Reference Guide is an excellent desktop source for everything you need for printing, with details on hundreds of products, including fine art materials, photo papers, fabrics, canvas, films, vinyl, banner materials, adhesive-backed materials, wallcoverings, specialty media, laminates, adhesives, printers, inks and more.

“I recently received the LexJet Product Reference Guide, and that’s very helpful because I can see all the different things we can do with our printer,” says Douglas J. Eng, owner of Douglas J. Eng Photography, a fine art print shop and photography studio in Jacksonville, Fla. “LexJet’s unique in that we have a rep that’s available to help us out when we need it.”

The 46-page guide includes specifications, application ideas and pricing on:

  • LexJet, LexJet Sunset, Hahnemuhle and EPSON aqueous media
  • Sunset Stretcher Bars, Sunset Pro Photo Albums and Sunset and ClearStar coatings
  • Fredrix Print Canvas
  • LexJet, General Formulations and HP solvent, latex and UV-curable media
  • Specialty films and fabrics
  • LexJet laminates, adhesives and backers
  • Canon, EPSON and HP inks
  • Canon, EPSON and HP printers

If you have questions or need help with anything, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Unique All-Purpose Vinyl Applications for All Kinds of Signs

LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl
This construction barricade was printed on LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl – Semi-Matte for a medical center.

 

Alan Russell, manager of FastSigns – Airway in El Paso, produces a lot of day-to-day flat sign work, but the truth is that much of it you really wouldn’t characterize as “day-to-day.” In the examples pictured here, Russell and his crack staff had to find a custom solution that would stay within the customer’s budget.

Dry Erase Laminate
An example of one of the dry erase boards printed on LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl and laminated with LexJet Dry Erasable Gloss Laminate that FastSigns – Airway in El Paso produces for various groups at Fort Bliss.

“We’re located in a budget-conscious town, so we have to watch the bottom line and keep our re-cuts down,” says Russell. “A big part of that is picking the right print material. For our standard, all-purpose sign printing we mainly use LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl – Semi-Matte. We use it both on our Mimaki solvent and our UV-curable flatbed. It’s an economical vinyl that prints well. It also seems like our re-do’s have gone down in production because it’s a little thicker than most economy vinyls.”

Dry Erase and Info Boards
FastSigns – Airway in El Paso serves the U.S. military base, Fort Bliss, and in doing so they’re asked to create fairly unusual pieces to support the base’s mission. Dry erase boards are a common request, which the shop fulfills using LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl for the background graphic, laminated with LexJet Dry Erasable Gloss Laminate (2 Mil).

Sign Printing Vinyl
The change-of-command board printed with a faux wood finish on LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl.

“The solution has worked beautifully. The dry erase laminate doesn’t seem to be prone to the same issues as other dry erase laminates, such as having problems with certain marker colors,” explains Russell. “The vast majority of our customers will have us print their dry erase board graphic with the dry erase laminate, which we’ll mount to a piece of Dibond or similar material, and they end up with a relatively inexpensive dry erase board. We do a nice little rounded corner, put a couple of holes in it or put hardware on the back for them to hang it, or however they want it.”

Similarly, the FastSigns staff printed a change-of-command board with a wood grain texture to mimic the look of the old homemade boards made out of plywood. The old ones were, well, old, plus very heavy to move from place to place.

Vinyl graphics for signs
A combination of cut-out graphics and photos printed on LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl with dimensional Gemini lettering. FastSigns – Airway in El Paso also has a number of A-frame signs printed with Simple Adhesive Vinyl used at checkpoints in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I found a decent photograph of wood grain, printed the wood grain pattern for the background, and made a banner across the top out of Ultra Board with dimensional lettering and they were ecstatic. The fact that the vinyl provides some texture when printed on the flatbed is incredible. They were blown away because one guy can carry around this 4×8 piece,” says Russell.

Cut-Outs and Construction Barriers
Though FastSigns – Airway in El Paso does not have CNC equipment, they do a lot of die-cut signage with woodworking equipment. Russell says he likes LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl for these projects because it doesn’t tear when they cut it or peel it up.

Moreover, Russell says the vinyl works well with the flatbed printer. Though they could obviously print directly to the board (and they do), on flat sign projects that use larger pieces of board, Russell prefers to print to the vinyl. If there’s a misprint, it’s a lot easier and less expensive to re-print a piece of vinyl than it is a board.

“The heat doesn’t impact the vinyl, the ink bonds well with it, and the signs look great. The fact that it’s not super-shiny gives the pictures and logos they use a great finish: a real nice textured, almost painted look. It’s thick, so when someone bumps into it they won’t ruin it. It’s not a delicate vinyl, whereas other thinner vinyls aren’t as durable,” says Russell. “We have certain methods to be cost-effective, and this is one of them. We do not and cannot sell a cheap product. We have to be competitive on a square foot cost basis, but we can’t sell cheap stuff. We give them the product they need and they don’t have to spend a lot.”

For construction barricades and other similar projects, LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl is again the print material of choice. The project pictured here for a medical center was up for one day and consisted of about 14 panels.

Though it was a one-day event, the medical center used the panels for other events. “They used those panels for several years, they took a beating and they still look great,” says Russell.

The Holy Grail of Banner Stands: Banners that Truly Lay Flat

 

Producing lay flat banner stand graphics

Lou Fiore, owner of Speedway Custom Photo Lab in Daytona Beach, Fla., has been kind enough to share some great ideas, which we’ve posted here at the LexJet Blog (LED Backlit Conference Room Graphics and Creating a Multi-Panel Display).

Printing banners that lay flatTo round out the trio of ideas, Fiore shares his process for making perfectly flat banners for banner stand displays, what he calls the “Holy Grail” of banner stands.

“Regardless of how lay-flat manufacturers say a certain banner material is, you usually get some curl, and it varies depending on the material,” says Fiore. “Recently, I tried LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene with GBC 5 Mil Octiva Low-Melt Emboss 50 Laminate. While at first glance, you wouldn’t think this is a good match since the laminate is applied at temperature, but the result is astounding, with absolutely knife-sharp flat edges.”

Fiore’s technique is to print the Water-Resistant Polypropylene on his Epson 9800, then the GBC Emboss 50 is applied using a sled at the lower end of its low-melt temperature range, around 170 degrees F. The laminate is allowed to cure for about an hour and the banners are then trimmed on a Keencut Sabre 2 General Purpose Cutter (120 in.).

Cutting and trimming banners“Initially, the edges appear to have some curl, but once the protective layer is peeled off of the Emboss 50, the banner lays absolutely flat and stays flat when it’s under the spring tension of the banner stand,” explains Fiore. “One nice characteristic of the Emboss 50 is that it’s a 5-mil vinyl, which is very flexible and not bulky. Plus, it has a very light crystal surface that doesn’t kill the pop of the print, yet it kills the reflection off of the graphic. I show this to my customers so they can see how beautiful the laminate is; that’s how much I like it.”

Thanks for the tips, Lou!

Advanced Signs & Graphics Sticks with Versatile Wrap Vinyl

Vinyl for vehicle wraps
That's more like it... Nancy Tipton of Advanced Signs & Graphics says they can knock out a vehicle wrap in four to five hours with LexJet Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl.

Nancy Tipton, owner of Advanced Signs & Graphics in Lancaster, Pa., recently had a vehicle graphics project where the client specified a certain type of vinyl. The problem was that the vinyl wasn’t LexJet Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl (it was a lot thinner, for one, says Tipton).

Wrapping a vehicle with graphics“We were wrapping the front hood and tried to heat and stretch it as we normally would and there was a huge color shift right off the bat: the green panel became light green. With Simple Flo you can pull it back up and heat it again if necessary, and you don’t get any color shift,” explains Tipton. “When we tried that with the other vinyl it tore, and our squeegee tore it too. We were frustrated with it and it made our install time twice as long because we had to be very careful with it. Also, we installed outside in a protected area, but as soon as the temp got up to 80 or higher the material really stretched. We’ve worked with Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl in 90-degree heat before and there were no issues with it stretching in the heat.”

Based on her experience, Tipton recommends factoring in the additional time it may take to get used to working with a vinyl that’s been specified that you haven’t worked with before.

“We have those installs down to four or five hours with Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl, and with the other vinyl it took about three days. Plus, Simple Flo is priced right,” says Tipton. Tipton estimates that Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl is about 40 percent less expensive than the vinyl that was specified.

Printing signs on vinylAdvanced Signs & Graphics first started using Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl as a sign vinyl and then started doing vehicle graphics with it as demand for those types of projects rose. An example of a sign-type project that was a perfect fit for Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl is shown here.

This project needed to be wrapped over the board, over the top and sides and around the back, “kind of like you would wrap canvas over stretcher bars,” says Tipton. The board shown here was one of several sample boards used by sales reps to show different types of cabinetry knobs.

Keeping the Beat with Custom Drum Graphics

Printing custom drum graphics and images

Decorating drums with custom images is a real challenge. Though you can get the drums in hundreds of different colors and styles, from wood grain to pearlescent, it’s not very practical to apply photographs and other full-color designs to a drum kit.

That may have all changed recently when custom drum maker, Bill Cardwell of C&C Custom Drums in Gladstone, Mo., decorated custom drums for the closing ceremonies of this summer’s Olympic Games. Cardwell was introduced to the material that would make this particular project work, and work well, by Mike Bertram, a doctor with a drumming habit who’s been working on a simple and efficient way to produce custom drum graphics.

Bertram told Cardwell about LexJet Avatrex and the race was on to provide the custom graphics for the Olympics as quickly as possible since there were only a few days left to get them produced and shipped.

Cardwell got the images from Coca-Cola, one of the sponsors of the closing ceremonies, and Bertram had the images printed in reverse on LexJet Avatrex and sent to Cardwell to apply to the drums. Cardwell says he applied the graphics with a drop of dishwashing liquid and water and it went on smoothly and easily.

“One of the problems we’ve run into in the past with vinyl is that it has a tendency to crimp up along the edges where the metal parts are attached to the drum shell. The Infinium is so thin and conformable that it doesn’t have the same problem,” explains Cardwell. “And, we’ve always had to put a clear coat of some sort over the top of it for protection, and we didn’t have to put anything on the Avatrex. It was also easier to lay flat and work out the bubbles. It really worked well for applying it to a drum shell.”

Avatrex is typically applied with heat and pressure for more permanent applications, conforming to the material to which it’s applied and essentially becoming part of that material. However, since this was a temporary application and time was of the essence, a “cold” application works just fine.

“As a drummer, I’ve watched the industry evolve over time, but the application of custom graphics to drums really hasn’t changed much over the years,” says Bertram. “Now that Avatrex is available it’s a whole new ballgame because the process can be streamlined and it applies to wood really well.”