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What can we print on?

One of the first benefits that comes to mind, when using our Fatbed UV cured printer, is that it can print directly onto any flat, rigid media. There are a variety of surfaces that are available- cardboard, glass, and wood, to plastic, metal, tile, carpet, and much more.

Following are some print-ready rigid substrates. Almost all media described below or their equivalent is available to Microprint.

Acriglas Metallic acrylic sheets emulate the look of bright dipped brushed anodized aluminum, come in a brushed finish (4 x 4 ft) or a matte finish (4 x 6 ft), and range in thickness from 1/8 to 1/2 in. Compatible with wide-format inkjets, Acriglas Metallic is available in 16 colors and 10 textures.

Alcan Composites offers several rigid substrates for direct-print with large-format printers.

Dibond consists of two sheets of 0.012-in. aluminum bonded to a polyethylene core. Pre-painted with a polyester finish, it’s available in 2-, 3-, and 4-m thicknesses and in sizes up to 60 x 120 in. Designed for interior signage, exhibits, and displays, as well as outdoor applications, it’s compatible with solvent and UV-curable wide-format printers. Dibond Brushed Gold gives a metallic gold finish in a 3-mm rigid media.

Sintra is a lightweight yet rigid, expanded PVC board with a low-gloss matte finish. Designed for large graphics, signage, exhibits, visual merchandising, P-O-P displays, and photo mounting, it is available in a wide range of thicknesses-from 1 to 13 mm, and in various colors and sheet sizes.

Gatorfoam, made of durable polystyrene foam between Luxcell wood-fiber veneer liners, is available in sizes up to 60 x 120-in. sheets for direct printing. Gatorplast features an extruded polystyrene foam core laminated on both sides with high-impact polystyrene.

Fome-Cor, a foam-centered board with clay-coated paper liners, has a wide range of uses-from P-O-P and displays to picture framing, photography, and exhibits-and is available in stock sheets up to 60 x 96 and 48 x 120 in. It can be digitally printed directly using water-based, solvent, or UV-curable inks. Fome-Cor JetMount board has a higher density, is more rigid, and is specifically designed for mounting and direct printing of digital images.

Foam-X, a polystyrene foamboard with clay-coated paper liners is a recovery board that retains its shape (producing an open edge) when die cut (while Fome-Cor compresses completely and stays closed permanently when die cut, creating a 3-D effect).

FiberBrite comprises a line of fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) panels, all of which are compatible with solvent and UV-curable flatbed digital printing. The panels are available in a variety of sizes, sheets, and thicknesses. Products include: FiberBrite Original, VandalSafe, Survivor, and TuffStuff.

The photoluminescent PermaLight rigid media (PVC or aluminum) can be used with both solvent and UV-curable flatbed printers. The rigid PVC Permalight is 0.045- to 0.059-in. thick with glossy or matte surfaces. Used to print safety signs, the 48 x 40-in. rigid aluminum Permalight sheets have a matte surface and are 0.7-mm thick. The product is also available in a range of luminance, for specific code and safety compliance.

Available in a wide variety of thicknesses and sheet sizes, Plexiglas acrylic sheets and Tuffak polycarbonate sheets can be printed on with wide-format inkjet printers.

FOAMBOARD SUBSTRATE: Bienfang Framing Products
Bienfang, a division of Elmer’s Products, features Bienfang MightyCore 0.25-in. foamboard, which is compatible with solvent and UV-curable inkjet inks.

Offers a variety of rigid roll and sheeted products, including Lexan, PET UV, PETG, Veltex, C-M/M, Dynox, White HI Impact Styrene, Expanded PVC, and Acrylic. Products are available in ranges from 0.05- to 0.5-in. thick and are compatible with UV-curable inks; some products are compatible with solvent and aqueous systems.

Gilman Brothers offers many foamboards that can be directly printed using Microprint’s UV-curable wide-format inkjet. The boards are available in a variety of thicknesses (1/16 to 4 in.), sizes (up to 48 x 192 in.), densities, and surfaces.

InSite Reveal Magnet Receptive Foamboard features a printable paper surface with a ferrous film under it, which allows a magnetic sheet to "stick" to the front surface. InSite Reveal features a bright white paper exterior with extruded polystyrene Reveal foam with memory. InSite Polycoated offers a polyethylene-coated paper surface that creates a barrier to moisture and humidity; this stable and lay-flat foamboard is a good choice for hanging signs. InSite Flame Resistant features flame-resistant paper and extruded polystyrene foam, which can be utilized for trade-show exhibits, retail store, theaters, and other public places.

Ryno Board has an extra heavy-duty paper exterior, with an extruded polystyrene interior, which features good compressive strength and dimensional stability. It resists denting and warping and also prevents moisture absorption.

A heavy-duty plastic-faced foamboard, Duraplast is moisture-proof, warp-resistant, and offers a clean crisp edge for cutting and finishing. Available in a variety of colors and sizes from 3/16 to 2 in., Duraplast is designed for use in signs, exhibits, and displays.

Hartman offers a variety of foam-centered boards that can be printed Microprint’s UV-curable inks.

HartPrint offers either a satin or matte surface, thickness of 3/16 or 1/4 in., and is available in sheets up to 48 x 96 in. Harty is a 1/4-in. ultra-rigid clay-coated foam-centered board available in sheets up to 48 x 96 in.

Other printable foamboards are its standard clay-coated HartBoard (available in a 1/8- or 3/16-in. thickness and in sheets up to 48 x 96 in.), color-coated HartCote (3/16-in.-thick and up to 40 x 60-in. sheets), and an all-plastic HartPlus with a smooth white surface (1/4-in. thick in 48 x 96-in. sheets).

ALUMINUM COMPOSTE SUBSTRATE: Horizons Imaging Systems Group
AlumaJet is an inkjet-printable aluminum that can be used with water-based dye and pigment inks; no pretreatment is required. Laminate or overspray adds protection against image loss due to moisture or UV exposure. AlumaJet can be printed on using an inkjet printer with a straight-paper-path configuration. Sheet thicknesses range from 0.012-in. to 0.016-in. AlumaJet comes in matte, satin, or brushed silver, as well as satin gold and semi-gloss white. It also offers an 0.005-in. thick flexible material that will work with "J-path" printers.

WOOD VENEER SUBSTRATE: Imaging Alternatives
Imaging Alternatives features SmartGrain inkjet-printable wood veneer. The veneer is specially treated using chemicals, enabling it to be printed on most standard inkjet printers using aqueous, solvent, or mild-solvent inksets. The pretreatment allows it to accept the digital image and also accept a protective finish (spray or self-adhesive plastic laminate). Large-format materials are 0.02-in. thick, depending on the backing material. Only available in maple, SmartGrain veneer comes in sheets up 4 x 8 ft.

Kommerling offers four PVC media that can be printed by wide-format flatbeds: Komabrite, Komabrite dp, Komacel Plus, and Komatex.

Komabrite features a bright white matte surface, a fine-celled foam structure, and excellent ink adhesion at production speeds. Weather- and chemical-resistant, it’s available in thicknesses from 1 to 6 mm and in 4 x 8-ft sheets.

A closed-cell PVC sheet, Komabrite dp is designed for digital printing on interior applications such as P-O-P displays, trade-show exhibits, and signage (as well as limited outdoor uses). It offers a bright-white matte surface, is available in 2- to 6-mm thicknesses, and comes in standard sizes up to 5 x 10 ft.

The newest product, Komacel Plus is a thicker, but lighter PVC material. It offers all of the characteristics of the company’s standard Komacel, but adds a matte wood grain faux finish (the surface’s roughness is what allows it to be printed on UV-curable flatbeds). Used for both interior and exterior applications, Komacel Plus is available in thicknesses from 10 to 30 mm, and in sizes up to 48 x 120 in.

KomaTex is a printable, rigid PVC with a fine matte finish on both sides. It comes in 14 standard colors, thicknesses from 1 to 12.7 mm, and in sheets up to 5 x 10 ft. It can be printed using water-based, solvent, or UV-curable inks.

D-Lite panels from Laminators Incorporated are lightweight, aluminum sign panels that can be directly printed using solvent or UV-curable flatbed printers. The 3-mm panels comprise a high-gloss aluminum surface bonded to a corrugated plastic core and are available in 12 colors.

Omega-Bond is a solid polyethylene core with painted aluminum surfaces that is compatible with aqueous, solvent, and UV-curable inksets. It’s available in several colors and in sheets up to 5 x 10 ft.

Compatible with wide-format solvent and UV-curable flatbeds, Polyguard and Thru White are available in 0.05- and 0.072-in. thicknesses and in sheets up to 48 x 72 in. Thru White is bright white with a smooth coating and is for indoor signage; Polyguard is for short-term outdoor use and has a high glossy polyethylene coating on both sides.

Plaskolite's 3015 White acrylic is compatible with wide-format inkjet printers using UV-curable inks. Sheet thicknesses range from 0.118 to 0.236 in.; sheet size is 49 x 97 in.

Available in more than 40 textures, Texture Plus is a molded high-density polymer with a water-based acrylic finish compatible with either solvent or UV-curable inks. The 1/2-in. thick 2 x 4-ft panels come in standard or interlocking styles. Textures include bamboo, brick, diamond plate silver, castle stone, driftwood, slate ivory, and the company’s latest-coral

Its Opacity line of clay-coated paperboard is opaque, available in thicknesses from 8.5 to 11 mils, and comes in sheets up to 60 x 75 in.

UltraFlex offers several sheet and rolled rigid media, all of which are suited for use as P-O-P displays, bus shelter advertising, backlit boxers, and indoor posters. Rigid media includes 14- and 18-mil Styrene and Pressure Sensitive Styrene; clear, white, or frosty Rigid Vinyl; translucent Dulkote; and opaque Spraytex. Compatible with UV-curable and many solvent-based inks.

United Industries offers several rigid substrates with extruded foam cores that are compatible with UV-curable and solvent inks.

Ultra Board is a heavy-duty, all-plastic foamboard with a high-impact polystyrene surface. It ranges in thicknesses from 3/16 to 3 in., comes in white, black, red, and blue, and is available in sheets up to 48 x 96 in.

Ultra Aluminum is foamboard with an anodized aluminum face. Available in brushed or polished gold and chrome, as well as acrylic baked white finishes, it’s available in thicknesses from 3/16 to 3 in. and in sheets up to 48 x 96 in.

Ultra Plus is heavy-duty polystyrene foam between two layers of 1- or 2-mm PVC liners. It ranges in thickness from 1/4 to 3 in., comes in white, and is available in sheets up to 48 x 120 in.

Other printable rigid media includes Ultra Core (3/16-in. foamboard with a 12-pt clay-coated paper face) and Ultra Mount (available with pressure-sensitive or heat-activated liners in 3/16- to 1-in. thicknesses).

Ultra White is a 2- to 6-mm solid PVC substrate designed for outdoor use where resistance to UV degradation is critical. A bright-white high-gloss product, it’s available in 4 x 8-ft sheets, and is printable with Microprint’s UV cured inks.

This is by no means a complete list. For new or more information, please contact us at 630-969-1710 or email:


10 Differences between Aluminum and Stainless Steel

Posted in  Hints and Tips, Metal Man Knows  by Metal Supermarkets, on Dec 15, 2014

Aluminum and Stainless Steel might look similar, but they are actually quite different. Keep these 10 differences in mind when deciding which type of metal to use in your next project:

  1. Strength to weight ratio. Aluminum is typically not as strong as steel, but it is also almost one third of the weight. This is the main reason why aircraft are made from Aluminum.

  2. Corrosion. Stainless steel is made up of iron, chromium, nickel, manganese and copper.  The chromium is added as an agent to provide corrosion resistance.  Also, because it is non-porous the resistance to corrosion is increased. Aluminum has a high oxidation and corrosion resistance mainly due to its passivation layer.  When aluminum is oxidized, its surface will turn white and will sometimes pit. In some extreme acidic or base environments, Aluminum may corrode rapidly with catastrophic results.

  3. Thermal Conductivity. Aluminum has a much better thermal conductivity (conductor of heat) than stainless steel. One of the main reasons it is used for car radiators and air conditioning units.

  4. Cost. Aluminum is typically cheaper than stainless steel.

  5. Workability. Aluminum is fairly soft and easier to cut and form. Due to its resistance to wear and abrasion, Stainless can be difficult to work with. Stainless steels are harder and are especially harder to form than aluminum.

  6. Welding. Stainless is relatively easy to weld, while Aluminum can be difficult.

  7. Thermal properties. Stainless can be used at much higher temperatures than Aluminum which can become very soft above about 400 degrees.

  8. Electrical Conductivity. Stainless steel is a really poor conductor compared to most metals. Aluminum is a very good conductor of electricity. Due to its high conductance, light weight, and corrosion resistance, high-voltage overhead power lines are generally made of aluminum.

  9. Strength. Stainless steel is stronger than Aluminum (provided weight is not a consideration).

  10. Effect on Foods. Stainless steel is less reactive with foods.  Aluminum can react to foods which may affect color and flavor.