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Who uses a large format printer?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I had to find a place to print a 40X80 photo and then make 5 more prints. Yes framed too.
I found one place able to do that for me in a three county's. Im sure others was able to that, but not wanted to. That got me thinking, maybe time to look into getting one in the store. Is this nuts? I know the prices have dropped from what they was 4 or 5 years ago.

Advice please.
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PFG, Picture Framing God
You can do these on a good 44" printer but stay away from getting an Epson as when the head finally clogs...and it will... you can't repair it yourself and will spend $1,500 or so for the parts and another $1,000 for the labor. Look at a Canon as they can be easily repaired yourself. I'm working on getting rid of my 64" wide Epson and dropping back down to a Canon 44" wide one.

There is a learning curve to printing really good work so look into some sort of class from one of the masters in printing.


True Grumbler
Quote: "You can do these on a good 44" printer but stay away from getting an Epson as when the head finally clogs...and it will"

Outdated info. The new line, P9000, 20000 etc is not an issue. They also now have a timer that will self clean if not in use for when you're on vacation etc.

There is definitely a learning curve. Ink is expensive, so is the media. Unless you're planning on running it daily I'd outsource until you use it enough to justify the cost. To do a good job, you'll also need to know how to do some editing, which is also a large learning curve...if you want to be able to do it well anyways. Should at least know how to remove dust spots etc.


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
I got into large format printing on a whim - found a good, slightly used printer on eBay close to me and for a killer price, and went for it. Then got inks and paper on eBay for a good price. Sure, you can't get all of these materials asap when your looking on eBay, but I didn't need the printer turning a profit asap. I was just really experimenting at first. So if you can do it this way, cost is not a great barrier to entry, and is well below buying everything new. Just be sure you check out the printer to be sure it's running perfectly before you purchase. I took some time to work out the bugs and it's now a great profit center for me. BUT, I will admit that I've geared it's capabilities toward some of my higher-end museum and gallery clients, who are willing to pay a good price for large graphics. But if you choose to offer printing to the general public who wants $20 large format posters, you may find yourself doing a lot of work and having a lot of headaches for very little money. Of course if you only offer the printing to clients who are having you frame whatever you print, then you are greatly upping your chances of turning a good profit, by bundling your services together. Good luck!

FM Framer

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Is this nuts?
I /we (the spouse is still not happy about it) bought a Canon IPF8400 (44") printer a few years ago and we print and frame.....well framing pays the rent and we also print and have a small gallery and more.........
As a non photographer, non artist, non photoshop guru, I can offer the following advice based on actual real time experiences no BS things(in no particular order) you may want to consider BEFORE buying any brand printer and stepping off into that abyss:

Feel free to PM me and I will send you my phone number if you'd like to talk........

1:Research the local "wide format" dealers - do not buy from anyone that does not have a LOCAL to YOU tech(go ahead ask me why) that you can call in the event you have a printer issue - i.e. not a 800 number helpless desk located in Mumbai etc

2: Find a local photo restoration / Adobe guy/gal for your editing etc unless you are very very familiar with Photoshop (by local I mean local to your store - not Google). Mine is 5 minutes away and is fantastic.

3: Find a local paper/canvas wholesaler - Dallas has a few that even deliver. Have to give a shout out to Clampitt paper and their resources, products, support, paper school, and more to include the "steam roller" sidewalk printing event they held at their store yesterday.

4: Buy your ink aftermarket on Amazon or the like. Aftermarket ink will not void the printer's warranty and is a fraction of Epson/Canon etc.

5: Research other's pricing for "wide format printing" - in your area - most have it on their websites. Yes, you will be more expensive than Sam's club or online print shops (shipping a stretched canvas usually kills any bargain from many online printers).

6: THINK before you insert someone's flash drive into your computer - a virus can ruin your day/month etc - Iran's nuke program is a great example of what not to do with a USB flash drive. There are inexpensive ways to avoid this.

7: Do you have room for a 44" printer that takes up a space about 20" x 72"?

8: Do you have storage for the various rolls of media - not all will be 44" wide but you will probably start with just 2, then like rabbits they multiply......

9: Do you have a computer and software to support the printer and data storage/backup, etc?

10: There are only two brands - Epson and Canon that fit into most budgets of a frame shop. You will find owners of both defending their choices. Epson is known for using ink to clear clogs on machines that are not used every day. I bought a Canon because I knew I would not be printing every day - and the Canon wakes up to maintain itself (thought it was an intruder or extraterrestrial first late night that it woke up and started stirring the tanks)

11: Make sure to ask your spouse or partner before the 400 pound new item gets delivered.....oops

12: Don't expect to be able to sell every square inch of media on each roll - not going to happen.

13:Canvas - will you be coating your canvas? if so how and where?

14: Go to the next WCAF in Las Vegas and see the new printers and various other offers before buying (if possible). Do Not waste the time it takes to sit through the "free" 'from capture to printing' class that the PPFA/WCAF offers - a total waste of time.

15: Have patience - many offer rebates, rolls of media, free delivery, etc so take your time and shop. This will be a fairly large investment in terms of cost and the time it will take to be proficient at it.

16: When you do get into printing - make sure your local art leagues, clubs, artists, etc know you have local personalized fine art printing services available.
Good luck
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MGF, Master Grumble Framer
We have an Epson 44" printer and love it. It is a work horse. We do work for other places as well as our customers.
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