It’s convenient to roll up inkjet art and photo prints for storage before they’re delivered, but not so convenient when they won’t roll back out nice and flat for final delivery to the customer.
Mastercolor Professional Labs, Greensboro, N.C., came up with a simple “de-curler” system that has the dual purpose of flattening out prints while re-using the cores of the inkjet media rolls the company uses.
“We save the empty cores when we finish printing a roll of media and save different-width cores so that we can de-curl a variety of widths,” says Chip Wright of Mastercolor Professional Labs. “We’ll usually tape scrap canvas to it to help protect the print when we roll it back up print-side down to de-curl it. You just roll it against the curl. Some papers will flatten out in 15 seconds; others in a minute or two. You can just hold it in place with Velcro if you don’t want to sit there and wait for a couple of minutes, but you don’t want it to sit there too long or it will start curling in the other direction.”
Wright adds that thinner papers will flatten out faster than thicker papers, and that smaller cores (2″) will do it faster than thicker cores (3″).
“When someone’s paying a lot for a fine art print, we don’t want to hand them something with curl. It makes it more difficult to command that higher price you’ve set because of all the other things you do in the print process to ensure quality,” adds Wright.
Here’s how it works…
Photo 1: The curled print and the “de-curler”.
Photo 2: The de-curler unwound. Canvas is taped or glued to a used inkjet media roll core.
Photo 3: The print is rolled onto the de-curler.
Photo 4: The de-curler is secured after rolling. The time can range from 10 seconds to whatever is required to de-curl, depending on the thickness and amount of curl. Practice will help determine the length of time required.
Thanks for the tip, Chip!