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Author Topic: Epson DisplayTrans + Plexi-face mount + LED Panels  (Read 4669 times)
PatrickAllen
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« on: March 26, 2012, 10:40:19 AM »
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At Ken Allen Studios we have been testing light panels and transparencies for inkjet printers over the last year and are excited about the combination of materials that are now available. We wanted to share some of our findings with the community for those interested in lightbox solutions.

First is the print material, Epson DisplayTrans. Until now there was no transparency material for inkjet printers that could come close to rivaling DuraTrans. With Epsons new material we are achieving rich blacks and saturation; and while Duratrans™ tends to fade quickly we are hoping that Epsons new material along with pigment inks will be much more lightfast.

Next are the new ultra-thin LED light panels. The LED technology provides even illumination across the panel with no hot spots and emits practically no heat while lasting much longer then older fluorescent light boxes.

Another benefit of the LED panels is that they are thin enough (1/4") that we are able to use high quality wood and metal frames instead of the bulky, snap-together frames used with other light boxes. In this example we worked with our custom framer to create a custom solid wood frame for the finished piece which allows room for an AC power cord.

Finally, we face-mounted the transparencies to PlexiGlas for a beautiful glowing presentation. These panels can also be displayed without a frame for a more pronounced effect. The light panel not only illuminates the transparency but also creates a nice wash effect on the wall which the piece is displayed.

Any feedback on this process or the materials used is greatly appreciated.

Best,
Patrick Allen
www.KenAllenStudios.com
www.PatrickAllenPhotography.com



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fetish
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 12:43:10 PM »
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looks and sounds awesome.  Cool
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epatsellis
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 02:22:35 PM »
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Patrick, do you have a good source for LED panels?


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framah
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 02:35:32 PM »
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Google CeeLite and check them out.


Apparently, Larson-Juhl distributes them.
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PatrickAllen
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 03:18:28 PM »
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We use LumiSheet which is distributed by Evo-Lite in the U.S. Most LED panels are made to order in Korea so it can take 2-3 weeks to receive the panels. I did some research before settling on LumiSheet (until something better or Made in the USA becomes available) and CeeLite is not a good choice for several reasons, some of which I am forgetting now. I do remember talking to a CeeLite distributor about this application of illuminating transparencies in a fine art environment and he did not recommend it. I believe there are issues with consistent color temperatures, the actual brightness or luminance of the panels themselves and perfectly even lighting across the entire panel.

The Lumisheet so far has had consistent color temperatures on every order. We were worried that they would vary but so far the 5300 and 9500K panels we have received have been good. Also the acrylic panel that the LEDs are housed in, has arrived with no marks which is very important as you would see any marks in the transparency. These panels are also UL listed as the sales rep pointed out to me there are cheaper knockoffs that are not.

The main thing that differentiates LED panel manufacturers is the technology/patent they are using to distribute the light evenly across the panel. How companies make this grid is how they are distinguishing themselves. Lumisheet, distributed by Evo-Lite and made by Fawoo Technology has the patent on a "v-cutting" technology I believe. So the LEDs run along the side of the panel and emit light though a grid made of these v-channels. Other companies include Thin Light USA and GPI design but we've been happy with Evo-Lite so far.

One thing we have found is that the LED's do show in a standard frame with a 1/4" lip. You need to have a custom frame made with a 1/2" lip if you want to completely hide the LEDs.

Best,
Patrick Allen
www.kenallenstudios.com
www.patrickallenphotography.com
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framah
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 05:54:18 PM »
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Pat... Thanks for the update. Back when I was nosing around about these things, the only one I could find was the Ceelite.

I'll definitely check out that other one.
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Johnny_Boy
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 09:20:30 PM »
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Thanks for sharing the info. I very much appreciate it. I don't have much to add, but have a couple questions:

What would be the cost of one of those units if you want it in like 20x30 size? Did web search but could not find pricing info.

How are you going to deal with the dangling chord problem, if it is going to be wall mounted? 
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PatrickAllen
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2012, 01:40:41 PM »
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Framah, That's funny because Ceelite was the first product I found when I started researching as well.
Johnny, You have to contact a distributor directly for pricing. Its hard to get an accurate list because of the shipping costs from Korea. A 24x30 is roughly $240 but then you need to estimate the shipping which is around an additional 40% of this cost. So the more you order the better deal your are going to get.

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graemetouch
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 09:35:29 AM »
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Apologies on bumping an old thread, but this was best source of information.

In process of testing printing for backlit exhibition in UK. Firstly seems some confusion at Epson over the DisplayTrans media (US only)
and the Matte Backlit film. Is this the same product? Seems like UK info is on the matte backlit film.

The images are to be displayed on LED lightbox panels, and we are evaluating inkjet media instead of the conventional Duratran route.


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PatrickAllen
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2013, 10:07:43 AM »
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I would assume they are the same but I am not 100% sure. The Epson DisplayTrans Backlight media is an opaque matte film. It looks like the specs for the product in the UK and in the US are the same. We are printing on the Epson 9900 with matte black ink, Enhanced Matte Paper setting, +30% color density, and 1mm paper thickness.

Best,
Patrick Allen Photography
KenAllenStudios
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graemetouch
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2013, 10:24:15 AM »
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Thankyou Patrick for quick response.
I think you are right. We are using MK on 9900 with same settings.

But, then I also find that the Dmax on this material is quite light, and not particularly solid.
Did you find that once mounted to reserve of suitable perspex the black becomes richer again.

Graeme
www.touchdigital.co.uk
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PatrickAllen
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2013, 10:47:37 AM »
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The blacks are not quite as rich as a DuraTrans because that process uses Chromogenic dyes. The advantage of using the pigment ink process is longevity. Duratrans prints fade very quickly, so although they may have richer blacks at first, this does not last long. It's definitely a tradeoff as there is no "perfect" process.

Best,
Patrick
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meierruedi
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 03:26:41 AM »
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Hi Graeme

I'm printing with + 50% colour density:

to avoid any "smearing" I increase the drying time to +50 and I'm printing only in one direction.

Very time consuming but worth the while...


Cheers
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graemetouch
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2013, 11:30:11 AM »
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Thanks for all advice. Doing more testing this week.

We have actually ordered a roll of the Display Trans from USA to double check if exactly the same as (UK) Epson Matte Backlit Film.

I tried to get some information out of Epson UK customer services on Monday. They really confused things, giving me totally different settings for the 9900 than what Epson USA recommend when you download the icc profile. Also, Epson UK were convinced 100% that the image should be printed as a reverse "flipped" image and the opal side of the material (the white glossy side) should be facing OUT!!!! i.e. that the image is printed on the reverse (matt) side of the media.
I think (I know) this can not be right! as it of course looks terrible.

So, the next issue we are trying to resolve is best mounting options.
Front or rear to perspex? with possible front seal, or just non reflective glass in the lightbox frame.

Lots of options that we are trying and we will share results here in due course.

Graeme
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 05:23:55 PM »
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facemounting would probably give you the best and most consistent look, but facemounting inkjet is hit and miss. Some adhere quite well, others are sketchy and problematic.  I would try facemounting to acrylic first as I think it would give you the most consistent surface.

I'd be curious as to the Epson material as well.  I've been toying with the idea of using these, but am worried about the fading.  Duratrans by nature doens't fade any faster than other photo emulsions, but it tends to be display in front of high UV light sources which is the reason for the fading.  Not sure about the UV output of the LED's.
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PatrickAllen
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2013, 12:48:06 PM »
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Graeme: That is strange. Do they want you to unroll the entire roll of material and reroll it backwards?!? They don't know what they are talking about. When material is on a roll you can only print on one side.

We facemount to the plexi using optically clear adhesive film with no problems other then the occasional dust bunnies hopping onto the surface. There is good adhesion between the DisplayTrans and the acrylic with no bubbles, etc.

Wayne you are correct that the Duratrans does not fade faster then other c-print's and it is primarily the constant display in front of the light that causes it to fade so quickly. However, the pigmented inkset from Epson will resist fading much longer than any chromogenic dye process, Kodak or Fuji.  And within the pigmented inkset a monochrome print using just the black inks will have very long life even with lots of light exposure.

Best,
Patrick
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rcs100
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2013, 02:33:03 PM »
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Patrick,

Would appreciate learning the brand of adhesive film you use for face mounting.

Thanks,

Conrad
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2013, 02:38:46 PM »
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Agreed, the pigment Epson prints should last longer. Would still like to know the UV characteristics of the LED panels.  If this is designed for an "art" piece that still might be a concern.  Most of these panels are designed for POP advertising.

 Glad to hear it seems to facemount well. Just ordered a roll to give it a try.

As far as optically clear adhesives, I have tried the Coda and Drytac products.  I didn't like the Coda at all (seems to stretch out of shape too easily and doesn't seem as "clear" ), but have good results with the Drytac.  I have not tried the Seal products.
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PatrickAllen
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2013, 09:51:02 AM »
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We are using Mactac Permatrans for face mounting. I have heard good things about Seal's optically clear adhesive but have not used it and do not feel a need to switch at this point. The Mactac product works well on glossy inkjet papers.

Best,
Patrick
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graemetouch
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« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2013, 10:36:11 AM »
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We got much better result printing today with The colorburst Overdrive RIP.
we already run three other printers using Colouburst Xproof, but thought it was worth a try on the rip.

Also, our local mounters A Bliss are going to face mount to non reflective glass using Mactac as well.
Graeme
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