Awards & Engraving

January '20

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46 • A&E JANUARY 2020 U V printing has quickly emerged as one of the most flexible and adaptable methods of direct-to- product customization on the market. Due to the fact that UV printers can accom- modate an almost endless array of prod- ucts and substrates with minimal setup, they've become the go-to solution when it comes to decorating one-of-a-kind or oddly shaped items. Many times, the situation arises when there's a request for personalization on a customer-supplied product or a unique piece that you haven't printed on before. If the object has an uneven or curved sur- face, it could pose a bit of a challenge to print. Not to fear — there are some tips and tricks that you can employ to conquer even the oddest printing requests. WHERE TO START When preparing for UV direct-to- substrate printing, it's important to have a "discovery phase" when deciding whether you have the capability to print on a par- ticular item. The first thing to address is what your limitations are when it comes to the height of the product and whether it will physically fit inside your printer. In order to position the item with the desired imprint location directly under the print head, you need to take into con- sideration the maximum height clearance of your printer. Some printers can only accommodate products up to 4 inches thick, while others can adjust to fit items up to 10 inches or even taller. Sometimes you can work around height limitations if there's a portion of the product that can be detached, disassembled, or flat- tened somehow to fit more easily inside the printer. Rachel Tindal is the Senior Graphic Designer at LogoJET and has over 20 years of experience in the printing and graphics industry. Originally from Ontario, Canada, she has worked with small print shops and promotional product businesses ranging to large corporate marketing firms. She relo- cated to Rochester, NY in 2004 and has specialized in creating artwork for direct-to-substrate printing technology for the last 13 years. By Rachel Tindal That's Odd! How to UV Print on Odd-Shaped Items The fact that UV printers are so versatile, allowing you to decorate products of all shapes and sizes, opens up a world of possibilities. ALL IMAGES COURTESY RACHEL TINDAL Use a ruler or a caliper tool to measure the depth from the highest point on the object to the depth where the imprint will be applied in order to get the best- quality final print. A critical component in producing a high-quality imprint is to provide the flattest, most level printing surface possible. To achieve this with an oddly shaped or tapered item, you may need to create some sort of jig or fixture. When printing on items with curved surfaces like urns, the farther down the curvature of the surface the ink has to travel, the fuzzier the imprint becomes. You can maximize the imprint area of curved objects by printing in one area, then rotating the product and imprinting another part of it. But as always, you must test for optimal settings. Diagram 1

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