Getting a New Wide Format Inkjet Printer? Read this First

Besides the actual installation of your new printer, the most crucial aspect is preparing for its delivery. Being adequately prepared and having all the details ironed out beforehand will make the installation itself go that much more smoothly so that you can get right into production.

Pre-installation Checklist:
1. Note the dimensions of the printer so that you can prepare enough space for both its installation and the path to the print shop when it’s delivered. A minimum of three feet of working space to the front of the printer is recommended.

  • Include specifications and special needs to get the equipment from the delivery truck into the print shop: Elevator size, loading dock, lift gate, etc. (where applicable), and where the print shop is located in the building in relation to where the printer will be delivered. All doors, passageways, arches, and corners should be measured to accommodate easy movement of the equipment.
  • Develop a simple scaled floor plan diagram showing power outlets, network drops and where equipment will go.
  • Plan the location of each component (printer, work tables, cutters, etc.). Make a complete list of all equipment, storage, and supplies to be accommodated in the printing area. Define the workflow between equipment and identify efficient operational techniques.
  • Arrange the components in the workspace based on your analysis of workflows and efficiencies. Be sure to allow sufficient aisle space for movement of media and personnel. Allow for maintenance access to equipment.

2. Make sure you have the proper power outlets and network drops ready in the space allotted for the printer.

  • Power outlets should be in close proximity to the printer.
  • Extension cords and surge protectors should be planned for as well.
  • 110v is required for aqueous printers; 220v for solvent and UV-curable printers.
  • Most printers give you the option to connect directly via USB to the computer. For USB connections, a cable no longer than 10 feet is recommended to avoid any potential connectivity issues.
  • For printers connected to a network, drops are required for each piece of equipment that will be on the network (all printers), and should be close to the printer.
  • Every piece of equipment that will be on the network will require a unique IP address, which will be needed on day of installation. This is applicable only for users that have a primary domain controller in a corporate or administrative network.
  • For printers connected to a network, administrative access will need to be granted so that drivers and software can be installed to the network.

3. Ensure that all preparations for the printer installation are complete. It is essential to have all utilities (HVAC, exhaust, electrical) available at the time of installation.

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that room and equipment exhaust, makeup air supply, equipment supports, and electrical services meet all applicable codes and ordinances.
  • Check with the printer manufacturer for the environment for your printer. A general range is between 68-85 degrees F and 30-70 percent humidity, non-condensing.
  • Additional measures may be required or desirable because of the particular or exceptional conditions or circumstances present in the user’s work area or because of the requirements of applicable local law.
  • Do not assume that all necessary procedures, warnings, and precautionary measures are described here.

Shipment Checklist:
While most printer deliveries proceed as planned without any hitches or damage to the printer, if you notice any damage to the crate/box, the following procedures will prove helpful…
1. Inspect crates and cartons for any damage. If at all possible, do this with the delivery carrier’s agent present. Photograph any damage and immediately file a claim with the carrier. Carriers cannot be held legally responsible for shipping damage unless they are notified within 15 days of delivery. If an indication of damage is observed, then the following steps must be taken:

  • You may refuse shipment of the printer, which is the best thing to do in this situation. If you refuse shipment, contact your LexJet account specialist who will ship a new printer to you.
  • If you do not refuse the shipment, record the indicated state in the appropriate place on the shipping/delivery documentation before the delivery agent leaves your shop.
  • Notify the shipping agent that a mishandled item of packaging has been detected.
  • Obtain authorization from the shipping or insurance agent before mishandled package is opened.
  • Notify your LexJet account specialist about the observed condition.

Also, check the outside of the box to make sure you’ve received the printer model you actually ordered. This happens occasionally, and it’s a simple precaution that saves a lot of headache if you take the printer out and find it’s not the model you ordered.

2. Use personnel and equipment appropriate to move the equipment from the receiving area to the staging area. Measure aisle, doorways, and archways to be sure there is enough clearance for the printer. Provide a sheltered area for the shipment close to the installation site to unpack and prepare the equipment for installation.

3. If you have asked for lift gate service to get the printer off of the back of the delivery truck and the delivery company arrives without a lift gate, you have two options:

  • If you have enough help on hand, you can opt to unload the printer yourself. Please call your account specialist to let them know that the delivery was made without a lift gate so we can credit your account for the lift gate charge.
  • You can refuse delivery and ask that it be redelivered with a lift gate. In this case, call your account specialist to let them know what has happened so they can contact the freight company to arrange for the printer to be re-delivered with a lift gate. Keep in mind that it may take a few days to get the printer re-delivered.

When the freight company delivers the printer it is considered curbside delivery. Be sure that you have help on hand to get the printer inside your location.

4. Don’t forget to fill out and send in any rebate forms within 30 days of purchase.

5. Download updated firmware and drivers from the manufacturer’s website.

Need help? Call a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538.

Creative Applications with Dee-O-Gee on the Windows

Dee-O-Gee is actually the name of the establishment that sports a creative application of inkjet printable vinyl to advertise and inform customers and passersby about its natural pet supply store in Bozeman, Mont.

Originally reported on this blog earlier this year, the project by Ink Outside the Box is ongoing and changed slightly depending on the season. As the photos show, Ink Outside the Box embellishes the original images, printed on LexJet Simple Low Tack White Vinyl with an HP Designjet 35500 flatbed UV-curable printer, with removable bits and pieces that coincide with the season.

“We thought it would be a great idea to print ornamental images on a repositionable material to dress up that same image. Then, they can peel those off and save the materials for the following year,” says Justin Lind of Ink Outside the Box. “The material we use from LexJet is perfect, because of the consistency you get for the price. Every time I get a roll of material, one roll is the same as the next. I like the adhesive with the 24-hour cure that you can pull back up and stick back down again during application and then it sets within 24 hours.”

Lind adds that this particular project has helped loosen up the sign codes in Bozeman a bit. He says it’s simple economics.

The original window graphics project for Dee-O-Gee before the Christmas additions by Ink Outside the Box. The dog photos are by Loneman Photography in Bozeman.

“This one client has increased his walk-in business by 35 percent just by having those murals on his windows. We took this information to the city and told them that we’re trying to help businesses survive during tough times, and this helps the city’s tax base,” explains Lind. “The way we advertise now is so different than what we did even five years ago. The window graphic is a great solution because it’s right there, it tells a quick story of who you are and what you do, plus it’s economical.”

Wide Format Inkjet Printing Business Intelligence at LexJet’s Updated Blog

As part of its recently re-vamped website at, and based on comments and suggestions from its customers, LexJet has updated and restructured its wide format inkjet printing industry forum and online educational resource at

The primary purpose of LexJet’s blog is to keep its customers and those involved in wide format inkjet printing updated about the latest industry news, tips and tricks and innovative projects and people, as well as best practices for sales, marketing and technology. LexJet’s Chief Information Officer, Pete Petersen, explains:

“Working in collaboration with Web developer atLarge Inc., we incorporated customer feedback and blogging best practices into the updated blog. We noticed, for instance, that it was difficult to leave a comment and interact with our authors and experts on the old blog, so we made the comments section for each post more visible and easier to use. The layout of the entire blog is much more consistent now so that you can navigate to another post and find the subject categories, comments and the most recent and most popular posts quickly.”

Previously, the subject categories were based on the market segments that utilize wide format inkjet printing, such as Photography, In-House Printing and Print for Pay. The new categories are more intuitive for the reader and are based on what they do as opposed to who they are.

The new categories are:

Inkjet Technology and New Products: Updates on the latest products and innovations for inkjet printing, including hardware, software, inkjet media and laminates and workflow tools.

Marketing and Sales: Marketing and customer service tips, plus upcoming seminars, conferences and webinars designed to build sales and maximize profitability.

Case Studies and Profiles: Find out who’s doing what and how they did it with wide format inkjet printing.

News and Trends: Trends, technology and news of interest from the wide format inkjet printing industry and beyond.

Tips and Tricks: Posts that detail how to make the inkjet printing workflow as efficient, productive and profitable as possible.

Twitter and Facebook integration has also been added so that readers can easily share stories and links with their colleagues and customers through those social media sites. And, users can follow the blog via RSS feeds or subscribe to email alerts when something’s been posted to the blog.

Petersen plans to post a series of articles on developing a blog and how the architecture behind it, such as plug-ins, maximizes search engine optimization and enhances the reader’s experience. “We’ll focus on how print shops can better market themselves and connect with customers and potential customers through the Web,” adds Petersen.

If you’re interested in being featured at or have any suggestions, tips or tricks you would like to share, contact Regan Dickinson at or 941-906-3378.

Protect Your Data with Effective Storage and Backup

Almost everyone who creates digital images has lost crucial information due to some sort of hard drive crash or malfunction. But there’s good news… Memory has become rather cost-effective. Think about how much your first 1G flash card cost compared to your most recent purchase. The same can be said about external hard drives. If you’re in the market for a new external hard drive, here are some hints…

The very first thing you should look for is an external hard drive with multiple disks, known as a RAID system. A lot of people will buy a single-disk hard drive and partition it. Partitioning a hard drive is when you take a single hard drive and divide it into smaller segments that act as individual hard drives within the primary hard drive.

Partitioning causes a lot of wear and tear on your hard drive, which can also cause it to fail prematurely.  Therefore, you should get a hard drive with multiple disks so that there is no need for partitioning. If a hard drive does crash in a RAID system, you simply purchase a new disk and plug it in and it will automatically back up to that disk. It’s safe and it’s easy.

You should also understand exactly how much capacity you’re really getting. Many hard drives list their entire capacity, not what their capacity is if you’re running in a back-up mode. For example, if you want 5 terabytes of storage space you might find a two-disk hard drive that has 5 terabytes of space.

However, once you bring it home and select that you want to run it in safe mode (so that each disk is a copy of the other) you get only half of that storage, or 2.5 terabytes. If you have an external hard drive with two drives, then I would run RAID Mode 0.  If your external hard drive contains four drives, then I would run RAID mode 0+1.  Both RAID Modes 0 and 0+1 are completely safe, but 0+1 is faster, so you may want to entertain the thought of a four-drive model if speed is important to you.

Another thing you should look for is transfer type and rate. If you can afford it, a hard drive that runs off of an Ethernet connection is going to be best. This is especially useful if you have multiple work stations connected to a central hard drive, or if your files are rather large.

Although I don’t recommend FireWire as a connection to printers, it is recommended for hard drives if Ethernet is not an option. FireWire 800 will usually give a transfer rate up to 100 MB, whereas USB 2.0 will only provide a rate of about 60 MB.

LaCie is a great source for external hard drives, as well as monitors. I would start looking at LaCie’s 2big Quadra or the 4big Quadra. They are robust, safe, and offer storage from 1 TB up to 5 TB. There is one available for every need and price range, starting at around $300.

Off-Site Storage
Just using a good external hard drive will not protect you from other issues like fires, tornadoes, or hurricanes… a Florida favorite. Off-site storage is recommended to protect against such natural disasters.

There are two methods used to handle this… You can pay an off-site company to store your files. They offer insurance and guarantees. I have not used such a service so I cannot give any specific recommendations in this regard.

You can also burn your files onto DVDs and take them off-site. There are two things you need to keep in mind if you are going this route. First, make sure your DVDs are archival. If the DVD can’t stand the test of time, what good is it to use it as backup? Second, store these DVDs in a heavy, fire-proof safe. 

Following these steps will guarantee that your precious files are safe, and should allow you to sleep a little more soundly at night.