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Author Topic: Metal Prints - High Gloss Finish  (Read 6088 times)
Gemmtech
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« on: February 21, 2012, 09:13:21 AM »
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I was visiting my niece (professional wedding photographer) and she had some new prints, one of which was a print on metal, but instead of the surface of the metal permeating through (an option) this print was super high gloss and it was beautiful.  I tried to find out what the finish was but the girl I spoke with in CS wasn't able to tell me.  Does anybody here know of other companies that do this finish? 

http://www.blackriverimaging.com/metal-prints-features.asp

"Please note:  The metal surface undergoes a special treatment prior to its high-heat exposure. We cannot control the tiny imperfections that may occur during this preparation process. While we make every effort to reduce their visibility when placing your image, we cannot grant remakes solely due to these uncontrollable imperfections."

And off topic, they do offer GICLE… Prints

What does the "high heat" do?  Why is it needed since they are printing directly to the metal?



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Jim Coda
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 09:40:59 AM »
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Here are two I know of in Northern California:

Bayphoto

Magna Chrome

Metal prints seem to be really growing in popularity.
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Gemmtech
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 09:54:30 AM »
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Jim,

Have you seen any of the high gloss prints on white from Magnachrome?  Do you know what they mean by Dye-Infused Metal Prints instead of printing on top of the surface?

Thanks for the links, they look very nice.

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John Nollendorfs
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 10:16:58 AM »
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Sounds like dye sublimation! Using dye sub inks, inkjet printing onto a transfer media, and then heat pressing the transfer sheet onto the metal. This is commonly used for white tee shirt printing, printing on mouse pads, coffee cups, and even ceramic tiles.
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 10:39:26 AM »
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Or are they heat laminating a hi gloss laminate to the metal?
That would answer their disclaimer about imperfections.
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Gemmtech
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2012, 10:49:09 AM »
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John,

I don't think it's dye sublimation because they are saying "Dye-Infused" my old Kodak Dye-Sub used 4 ribbons.

Dan,

I asked if it was a laminate and the girl "Dawn" said no, it's a coating, but then why the "High-Heat" even baking a finish in an oven does NOT take high-heat, nor does transfer sheets.  Granted, "High-Heat" could be a relative term.  The print is gorgeous, nice than acrylic IMHO, I was impressed.

Garry

Ps,  Their disclaimer got me thinking, the print I viewed had no such flaws, however it was "only" a 16x24
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Gemmtech
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 10:58:17 AM »
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Just spoke with another girl and she said they print (like an inkjet) onto a transfer sheet and then use "high-Heat" (didn't know how hot) to bond it to the metal, actually the word is "infused".  The girl last evening said there was a clear coating applied, the woman today said there is no coating applied.  She also said it is rare that they get a defect, but it does happen, I asked what the tolerance was and naturally she said "I don't know" :-)

So, I still don't really know how they are doing these, time to call another company.....

Garry
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na goodman
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 11:10:59 AM »
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I think "Dye Infused" is more a marketing term. In the description of the process some of the companies actually say
they use dye sublimation.
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Gemmtech
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 11:28:43 AM »
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Can you point me to which companies claim it's dye-sub?  Also, if it were like a t-shirt transfer if wouldn't be so sharp or vibrant.  What type of transfer sheet would they have to use to get the level of gloss they are achieving? 

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na goodman
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 11:35:45 AM »
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This is from one of the company's you mentioned Black River under the "specs" section. Go down to printing - ink jet, dye sublimation. Many dye sub products are printed on Epson printer's using dye sublimation ink.

http://www.blackriverimaging.com/metal-prints-specs.asp
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Jim Coda
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 11:45:39 AM »
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Jim,

Have you seen any of the high gloss prints on white from Magnachrome?  Do you know what they mean by Dye-Infused Metal Prints instead of printing on top of the surface?

Thanks for the links, they look very nice.



I just got a 16x24 high gloss or white gloss (whatever they call it) from Magna Chrome.  It looks very nice. They do achieve a look of high luminescence.  Most if not all of the print shops seem to offer four choices.  The first two look like normal prints in either gloss or matte.  (Gloss is by far the most popular.)  Then they offer a "silver" type print in gloss or matte where the silver shows through.  They have a strong metallic look.  It's like there is no coating applied to them.  I don't like them at all.     
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Michael H. Cothran
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 11:50:20 AM »
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I used hi-gloss Magna Chrome on two separate occasions a year or so ago. Ultimately I did not like the product, as it reminded me of 1980's Cibachrome - super high saturation & contrast.
Patrons in my booth showed interest in them, more due to the novelty than anything else - they were floated with a metal hanger behind, and a flush image in front. Almost like printing on a blank traffic sign! I could have forgiven any other less-than-desirable traits, but the over-the-top saturation/contrast was too much for me.
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Jim Coda
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 12:32:27 PM »
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super high saturation & contrast.

Mine matches my monitor (calibrated Eizo 243) about as closely as I could hope for.  It is highly reflective, however, so you need to keep that in mind. 
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2012, 06:59:38 PM »
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As far as I know, all of these labs produce these panels the same way.  the aluminum blanks are manufactured by a company called ChromaLuxe.  They produce specialty aluminum panels prepped with a receptor layer which is either white or clear.  The image is printed in reverse on a transfer sheet using Sawgrass dye sub inks with Epson printers (or printers using Epson heads such as Mimaki.  Printers using bubble jet technology such as Canon or HP won't' work).  The transfer sheet is sandwiched with the aluminum blank and pressure heated to gasify the dyes into the receptor layer.

The ultra smooth finish of the final product is the result of the property of the aluminum blank itself, I don't know any of the major labs that coat them.  This is the basic process used by companies such as Bay Photo, WHCC, mPix/Millers/ ACI to name a few.

If you want to do this yourself (not hard) Liberty Photo sells all the necessary stuff, including presses, inks and the Chromaluxe blanks.

One problem is the inks clog very easily so you really need to make some of these almost on a daily basis.  Most are printing the transfer sheets on old x800/880 series Epsons.
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Gemmtech
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2012, 07:05:44 PM »
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Wayne,

What temperature does the press need to be to do the transfer?  They all have told me now that there is no coating.

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a.lorge
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« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2012, 07:34:37 PM »
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Wide format sublimation in action
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2012, 09:32:07 PM »
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Very informative. Conde is one of the US distributors of chroma luxe and probably can provide everything to make these.  Liberty photo is another one. Here is the complete list of sources.

I'll be producing these at my store in the next couple of months.
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bteifeld
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2012, 10:49:04 AM »
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I wonder about the permanence of sublimation inks. My
impression is that they fade much more quickly, even with
a liquid laminate protective coating, than aqueous pigment
inks.

Any information is gratefully appreciated.
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framah
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2012, 10:58:15 AM »
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Wayne,

What temperature does the press need to be to do the transfer?  They all have told me now that there is no coating.



The typical temp for image transfer to tiles is around 400 degrees.
This link will give you a read on the process:

http://www.bisoncoating.com/Articles.asp?ID=147
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"It took a  lifetime of suffering and personal sacrifice to develop my keen aesthetic sense."
Gemmtech
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2012, 11:23:05 AM »
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I knew you guys/gals would have the answers.  I just wonder why the actual companies producing the prints just can't give you the information. 

One of the companies stated the prints were being tested for longevity.

400 degrees is what I would consider high-heat for the photography industry.

Thanks for all the information and the links.

Garry
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