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  • Equipment for a new venture

    Posted by rob1sh on August 14, 2004 at 3:06 pm

    Hi, this is my first post here, been looking through all the info on this great site & learnt a lot but hoping for some advise from you pros.

    I run a website retailing flags over the internet, we get asked all the time for flag stickers & would like to be able to produce diffrent size stickers of all the flags on our site (over 250), i also want to be able to produce small flag decals (approx 10mm x 15mm), & dome them to be attached to cufflinks, pinbadges keyrings etc

    Having the facility to be able to put company logos etc on polyester flags would also be good.

    After ploughing through posts on this site i think what i need is a printer/cutter like a pc-60 or similar, does this sound like my best option to set reasonably cheaply?
    Will the pc-60 print & cut as small as 10mmx15mm?
    If i can find one second hand what should i be paying?
    Am i barking up the wrong tree completley?

    Any help & advice would be greatfully received

    John Singh replied 19 years, 9 months ago 3 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Rodney Gold

    August 14, 2004 at 5:37 pm

    We do what you do re doming and printing and cutting very small stuff. The PC60 wont really have the print resolution unless you use spots , however this may not be important. We built our domed decal and badge business on the PC60 , and now use a Soljet thats a lot faster and better at printing full colour. The PC is good for small stuff , and can easily be domed. You can print directly to fabrics with a Soljet or versacam and I feel with meshes , banners etc , will serve you better.

  • rob1sh

    August 14, 2004 at 10:15 pm

    Hi Rodney,
    The smallest i would need to print would be for the cufflinks i have put a link for what i would need to produce at the bottom of this post, in your opinion is a pc-60 fit for the job?

  • Rodney Gold

    August 15, 2004 at 4:54 am

    It would work very well on that type job , we did tons of that type of stuff with ours.
    I remember a job where we had to print and dome about 35 african flags to go onto some shield (we did about 50 of them) that was being presented to UN members who had served in Eretria and we did the whole job on the PC. We also did tons of cufflinks using it.
    We make our own cufflinks , we use a CNC machine to do the faces (allows us to do any shape) , we stud weld a back , we print , apply to the face and then dome
    The PC12 – albeit its a little bit of a toy , would work VERY well for your app too , it prints better resolution then the PC60 which tends to dither a lot of colours. The nice thing about both machines is the ability to do metallics , so for example you could have printed the black in the dragon as metallic gold , and had that gone on a gold cufflink , the graphic would look like it was a stamped and enamel filled one. The only hassle with these machines is that they do dither full colour graphics (tho the welsh one could have been done using spots)

    We no longer use ours as there are issues with heads blowing and expensive consumable costs , Our major reason for using it was metallic gold and silver
    However , we now print colour onto mirror gold or silver vinyl with the inkjet (sort of the reverse of printing metallic on a colour) and this gives us a different effect , the colours assume a sort of metallic sheen when domed , and this looks very very upmarket. Makes the cufflink or domed item look jewel like.
    If I were in your type of business , I actually would go for a versacam/cyut and print inkjet if money allowed , as I can see a lot of opportunity.
    The PC wont be that great for larger stuff and it will be expensive. On items like the cufflink , price is not much of an issue as it is such a small graphic and the cost of print is minimal , even at 100 quid a sq meter , the welsh thing is mere pence , however for a 10cm x 8 cm vehicle decal , it does become an issue.

    If you use a decent doming system , (you can get a semi automatic one for about 2k) and decent polyurethane resins – you can do a ton more than just cufflinks. You can dome just about anything. A machine like a versacam or even better , a soljet will enable you to offer some seriously extended services. For example , we make pennants on banner material with ours , you can offer meshes with national flags (meshes are really cheap and amazing material , you can see one way with them , we print on them and customers use them as window blinds , you see out , but no one sees in)
    You can offer banners
    You can offer soft domed or undomed decals packs of flags , lets say 10 small , 5 medium and 2 large which can be applied to anything.
    You can offer economical bumper stickers , car decals , product decals (proudly made in Wales) , you can print on paper better than most deskjets . There are cheap self adhesive papers available too for paper stickers.
    There are polysilks you can print directly to , offering short run flags. There is even material that you can heat press to t-shirts.
    If you get a laminator , life becomes even more interesting , as you can do VERY durable decals , laminators allow you to make anything have double sided adhesive or enable you to mount , thus allowing self adhesive die cut decals on a vaster range of stuff other than vinyl (like waterproof photo paper) , you could offer mouse mats , coasters, floor graphics with the flag etc. the possiblities are really only limited by your imagination.
    Only thing is , this all wont come cheap , a versacam , laminator etc wont get you much change from 13-15 thousand quid. You can pick up a PC at 1500. Thing is , with a PC , you really wont significantly broaden the range of products you offer , but will be able to do what you want in respect of the cufflinks.
    It will also take a little while to get to grips with a larger printer , say a month or so , before you can really get going. Obviously to make money out of all this , one would have to set up a decent marketing strategy , as work wont come flooding in just cos you got a machine – its like winking at a woman in the dark , only you and no one else knows what you do!! – You would have to sell the new sevices.
    You can go cautiously into all this , or just say what the hell , lets take a chance. I normally do the latter , the fact I have an expensive machine I got to pay for motivates me to MAKE it work.

  • rob1sh

    August 16, 2004 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Rodney, Many thanks for all the info, but just one more question if you dont mind…
    I have been having a look at your website & on the “A sample range of our acrylic and other lower cost keytags” image there is a flag pin badge, can you tell me if in your opinion the pc-60 is capable of producing somthing that size to a reasonable quality? If so i have been talking to someone with one for sale second hand & it seems to be an economical way of getting started & if things go well i can expand from there.
    Again many thanks for your help.

  • Rodney Gold

    August 16, 2004 at 3:09 pm

    Yes , we did that on the PC60 as far as I remember. We cut the back with one of our smaller CnC engravers . 1mm brass (engravers brass is cheaper than rowmark plastic here) We offer it with a clutch pin back and a magnet back. 70 pence for 500+ with pin and about 1.10 pounds for the round magnet. Pricing is cheapish cos we do a lot of them. We normally charge 1.10 for pin backs that size in 200 and 1.50 for magnets. We charge around 5 quid for cufflinks in 50 prs up. Most of our cufflink sets were done on the PC60.
    1500-1800 quid is a good price to pay for one with good heads.
    Be careful of the machine , before you buy it , get the seller to print solid blocks of red , blue etc , about 5cm x 5cm. Any white stripes in those blocks , then stay clear as its likely the heads are blown. If you do get one , there is a foam roller thats near the head , replace that as a matter of course. Be prepared to run it in near clean room conditions and replace heads – treat them as consumables . Replacement will depend on how hard the machine works , how clean you keep it , ribbons you use and vinyl cleanliness. Consumables are pricey , but there are aftermarket ribbons that are a lot cheaper than OEM and they are getting better.
    Its a great place to start and it will do exactly what you want it to do , its a fantastic machine for very small high detail decals suitable to dome. It’s not much suitable for anything else. We did badges , keytags , trophy and medal inserts (small 2.5mm diameter circles with logos etc) with it.
    What we often did was use a few pieces of printed/cut vinyl for a single badge , for example this one

    The outer ring is blue vinyl , gold foil printed and cut with the PC 60 , so is the center blue part , that was put atop a crusshed silver/gold vinyl background , the red was printed and cut with a pc 60 and applied on the crushed background. The background was also cut with a pc 60 and printed in black with the outlines of where everything had to go , so 3 levels or layers. whole lot on brass , domed with glass hard epoxy , about 25-27mm I think. you can see the cut and print registration is good , look at the inner circle of the blue for the gold print and how it cut. , the red “flukes” too
    The pic is not high quality , it looks a lot better in real life. So you can combine vinyls , printed vinyls and cut vinyls to do some quite sophisticated stuff.

  • rob1sh

    August 16, 2004 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks Rodney, Think i will give him a ring & make an offer- i will let you know how i get on 🙂
    Many thanks Rob

  • John Singh

    August 16, 2004 at 8:14 pm

    Welcome to the site Rob

    As you can see, a wealth of priceless info and advice from the pro’s

    Very useful stuff Rodney


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