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Transparency printing at STAPLES

bill jim , Apr 29, 2010; 02:57 a.m.

I'm a photographer and I am going to STAPLES to find a printer and something to print on that is totally transparent and as large as possible. I need to make high quality images that are about 150 dots per inch, printing speed and price are not important.


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William Kahn , Apr 29, 2010; 09:16 a.m.

Good luck at Staples. All the transparency film I've seen there is 8.5X11 and designed for use in laser/dry ink printers. Also, most of the printers are also 8.5X11 paper size and designed more for general home/office work rather than high-quality photo printing. You might have better luck finding the right printer at a store like Best Buy, but I'm not sure where you'll find the transparency film you need.

Kelly Flanigan , Apr 29, 2010; 09:41 a.m.

Usually this type of transparency is for school type "overhead projector transparencies" ie pies charts; what animals live in Africa; bar graphs with different colors of sales of widgets per company division; or real estate sales stuff showing a photo of a house and its floor plan.

*****The type of transparency material is matched to the printer; if wrong results can be poor.; and sometimes on a fuser type machine the printer gets ruined; if drum distroyed***

Here with T-shirts the 11x17 transparency goes into our 15,000 buck color copier; a toner based machine. These higher end transparencies cost me about 1 dollar each my cost; but they are good in quality. A lessor material here gives worse results. If the wrong material is used; it gets/fuses on the drum and I am out a 800 to 1,000 buck drum.

Thus what happens is some Goober guy wants me to drop my transparency prices if he brings in some garbage unknown transparency. We lost a drum long ago by doing this. In a way it is like if old Goober shoots a rat and then brings it to a 5 star eating place and wants it cooked and wants the meals price dropped.

Many of these transparency materials have to be fed thru a "side tray" instead of the normal trays were 8.5x11 and 11x17 paper goes; thus one has more labor; no automation

Troy Ammons , Apr 29, 2010; 09:46 a.m.

I had a friend that ran a print shop and they had rolls of transparency films.
Seems like I did find some 11x17 somewhere, but cant remember where.

Don Bryant , Apr 29, 2010; 04:13 p.m.

For quality transparency material use Pictorico OHP, Inkpress transparncy material or the transparency material sold by Freestyle photo.

I have no idea what Kelly Flanigan is trying to communicate.

bill jim , Apr 29, 2010; 05:00 p.m.

Is there a printer and transparency material to print on that anyone would recommend, that I can order online?
I need the transparent film to be totally transparent, I am going to be putting it on top of normal paper without a light source in the back, and as thin as possible.
I am trying to print out a grid-like pattern on these transparencies. Would that be better to do on a laser printer? because on an inkjet the grid wouldn't be totally precise?

bill jim , Apr 29, 2010; 05:01 p.m.

Is there a printer and transparency material to print on that anyone would recommend, that I can order online?
I need the transparent film to be totally transparent, there is going to be no light source in the back, also it needs to be as thin as possible.
I am trying to print out a grid-like pattern on these transparencies. Would that be better to do on a laser printer? because on an inkjet the grid-like pattern wouldn't be totally precise?

Don Bryant , Apr 29, 2010; 05:03 p.m.

An inkjet printer can make precise prints. Any of the transparency materials I listed above can be ordered online.

Kelly Flanigan , Apr 29, 2010; 06:07 p.m.

Re "I have no idea what Kelly Flanigan is trying to communicate"

*****Ok back to the basics; for clarity:
(1) Bill does not mention what kind of printer he has or wants
(2) Printers can be inkjet or toner based.
(3) most all transparency materials sold are for toner based machines
(4) Unless the printer model is known; there is no logical way to choose a transparency material
(5) In lower end transparency materials the material sometimes supports less ink or toner; it is use for grade school stuff; not high end pictorial stuff.

Transparency materials are made for either type printer. (inkjet and toner based)

If one places an inkjet type transparency material in a toner based printer; it can ruin the drum; the heart of the printer. It often voids the warranty of service contact. It is like placing sugar in a cars gas tank; or diesel in a gas car; ie problems

If one places a toner based transparency material in an inkjet; some combos never dry; you get a sticky mess. Ie you leave the sheets on tables and wait a week or two; with a box fan blowing on them. This then requires one to have alot of tables and paper weights

If the wrong toner based transparency material is placed in a toner based machine one can get blotchy results; or toner that flakes off; or again the drum is ruined. On a high end printer the drum can be 2 grand; plus labor too.

A wrong combo is like mixing two types of blood; it might not work.

Unless one knows the actual printer; there is no logical way to choose a transparency material; unless folks like to guess.

With a toner based transparency; different printers run different fuser temperatures; a wrong material can ruin the drum

With the wrong inkjet material in an inkjet printer the ink may never like to dry; it just sits there all tacky like flypaper. If you place one finshed sheet on top of another; they get glued together and ink transfers ruining both. This was common long ago when one had epson; HP and novajet inks. You ordered transparency material for the printer one used; a wrong combo would make a bloody mess an often be tacky 2 weeks later.

In toner based printers a lower cost transparency material can be B&W only; if used for colors it might allows one to make cheaper pie charts; but poorer pictorial stuff; ie photos.

With toner based transparency materials a better product comes in as sealed bag with a drying agent; if the unused material is left out in a humid room; one gets a blotchy poor image; it shows up bad in areas of one tone. New old stock and poorly stored stuff can be like this.

In backlite signage pigmented inks are often used with transparency materials; to fend off UV damage due to the lights. Pigmented inks can require a different transparency material than a water based inkjet; again because of drying and smearing issues.

In printing for the public the lay public often wants to buy their own transparency materials at some box store; surplus outlet or ebay and have us use the unknown stuff; all it does is cause issues; thus you hand it back the them.

There are about an order of magnitude more issues that I have seen; in using and selling transparency materials for pen plotters; inkjet and toner based machines. Most folks think there is only one type of material; thus they want you to "try" their 25 cent piece of stuff in a 16 grand printer; they really want to part of the risk; ie new drum or giant mess.

Some inkjet printers require a strip so the printer sees the clear stuff; some require a blank paper to have the printer see it

Kelly Flanigan , Apr 29, 2010; 06:21 p.m.

Transparency materials are a vexed subject dealing with the lay public as a printer. After one has screwed up several printers; one just has to say no; it is too damn risky. It is like if Bubba wants to fly Delta airlines and brings in a can of oil and fuel for the airplane; in his world he his helping; ie there is no risk.

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