Four-Part Series: HP Latex Printer Accessories

Part Two – Using the Counterweights and Take-up Reel on Your HP Latex Printer

Printing panels for trade shows can keep a latex printer and a production manager busy, but there is one tip from HP Latex Specialist Timothy Mitchell that can help lighten the load a little: use the counterweights.

“There are a couple of key pieces to successfully panel printing with the 300 series latex printer,” Mitchell says of the counterweights. If you’ve never used them, they could still be on the dancer bar for the newer 300 series printers. For the older models (310, 330, 360), you may need to contact HP Support to order a set.

When panel printing, it is more efficient and accurate to reduce the tension on the media. The dancer bar adds tension and adjusting the counterweights on either end of the bar allows you to increase or decrease the tension, depending on the media thickness and material.

Another important tool to use properly is the take-up reel. Many people may not know that there is an option to wind the graphics inside or outside.

“If you go inside, there is a little less tension than if you go outside. I usually judge it by the media,” Mitchell says.

Much like adjusting the counterweights, winding media inside or outside depends on the media.

Watch the video above to see Mitchell discuss his tips and tricks for the counterweights and take-up reel. If you have an older 300 series printer, you can contact HP Latex Support.

If you have questions or are interested in learning more about printing with latex, contact a LexJet printer specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit

Quick Tip: Cut Back on Media Waste When Printing to a Take-Up Reel

A take-up reel is recommended for flexible substrates like fabric, mesh or banner material, and is essential for long runs and unattended printing. However, the amount of lead material you need to start your take-up reel can be costly when using high-end products. To keep you from wasting that higher-end material, here’s a quick tip to try when using your printer’s take-up reel.

In the example featured in the video above, we chose HP Light Fabric to print to. To avoid wasting several feet of unprinted fabric, we are going to create a re-usable leader out of a scrap piece of media.

Step 1: Measure

  • Start by advancing the fabric to the take-up reel to measure the length needed for the leader.
  • Once measured, rewind the fabric and remove the roll.
  • To make the leader you will need:
    • Scrap media that’s the same width as the media you’re printing to
    • Quality tape
    • Utility knife

Step 2: Create Leader

  • Since the width of the fabric is 42-inches, we’ll use a scrap piece of material that’s the same width
  • Align both rolls and tape the edge of the leader to the fabric on both sides, and trim the tape edges flush.
  • Make sure your tape is secure by applying some pressure with the tape roll after it’s in place.

Step 3: Ready to Print

  • Now, reload the fabric with the leader into your printer and advance it to the take up reel.
  • Pull the media taut and secure it to the spindle core with tape. Now you’re ready to print.

The leader we created here saves more than $25 of wasted media on this job alone. And better yet, it’s reusable for future savings as well.

For more information and video tips, visit the LexJet YouTube page and give us a call at 800-453-9538.