Archive for the ‘Printing’ Category

How Does a Digital Duplicator Work?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Standard Brand Digital DuplicatorIf you need to create mass copies, in the hundreds or even thousands, you may want to consider using a machine called a digital duplicator (found here). While you may never have seen a digital duplicator in person, they look very similar to a toner-based Xerox copy machine. So what is a digital duplicator and how do they work?

Are you familiar with ditto machines or mimeograph machines? I can still remember (perhaps this is showing my age) in school people asking for a ditto of something on the ditto machine. Both Ditto Machines (aka Spirit Duplicators) and Mimeograph machines utilize direct contact with paper to print text. Digital duplicators, in a way, borrow ideas from these technologies to create a modern-day ink-printing machine.

Using a digital duplicator is very similar to using a toner-based copy machine, like a Xerox copier, but the actual printing process is very different. Here is a step-by-step breakdown on how the process works.

  1. First you place your document, text facing down, on the glass scanning surface of the machine.
  2. The digital duplicator scans the image off the paper.
  3. The image is then burned onto a wax-based master via tiny dots. Different duplicators have different resolutions referred to as DPI (dots per inch).
  4. The master is then wrapped around an ink drum.
  5. The drum, filled with ink, squeezes ink out through the tiny holes on the master.
    As the drum rotates, it rolls over paper, leaving the image on the paper.
  6. The paper exits the machine and the process either continues with more paper or ends.

The ink dries very fast. If you are concerned about the ink not being dry enough, I recommend using an air paper jogger. They are designed to quickly dry ink for use with digital duplicators or even with offset printers.

One of the first digital duplicators created, around 1986, was made by the Riso Kaguka Corporation. Their machines were often referred to as Riso or Risograph machines. While Riso machines are still used today, digital duplicators made by Ricoh and Standard Duplicating are more commonly used.

So why would you want to use a digital duplicator? Ink is far less expensive than toner. If you plan on printing a lot of text, perhaps for a manual, menu, flier or other documentation, a duplicator makes a lot of sense.

So why are copy machines more popular? Copy machines are often used to create one, two or perhaps a few dozen copies at a time. In small quantities, toner-based copy machines cost less to operate. The most expensive part of using a digital duplicator is the master. The price, however, drops dramatically once you start making 25 or more copies.

Digital Duplicator SuppliesCopies made on a traditional copy machine typically run around $0.02 a copy. Duplicators, once you hit around 200 copies, costs about $0.004 a copy. Simply put, a duplicator (at 25 or more copies) costs less to operate. The text printing quality of a digital duplicator is just as good as a toner-based copy machine.

You can read more about duplicator operation costs by reading our Digital Duplicator School Guide found here.

You can find our entire selection of Standard digital duplicators here and our entire selection of Ricoh, Riso and Standard masters and inks here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions about digital duplicators.

Digital Duplicator Ink & Drums FAQ

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Standard Duplicating & Ricoh Digital DuplicatorsI have had a lot of people ask me questions recently about what types of ink can and which drums can be used with their Digital Duplicators. While digital duplicators are pretty easy to use, once you have a little basic training, there are a few catches that you need to be aware of now to prevent headaches later down the road. These are just a few of them.

Digital Duplicator Ink & Drums FAQ

Does duplicator ink instantly dry once it leaves the machine?
While the ink does dry quickly, it may still be slightly wet once it leaves the duplicator. It isn’t wet enough to cause ink transfer to surrounding copies, but may smear or get on your hands if immediately touched. You should be fine to touch the copy after 30-60 seconds. Many people use paper joggers to quicken the drying process.

Are Standard and Ricoh duplicator supplies interchangeable?
Standard and Ricoh digital duplicators are made in the same factory, which allows ink and masters to be interchangeable. The only tough part is determining which Standard model matches up with the Ricoh equivalent.

Can I use multiple colors in my duplicator’s drum? The quick answer to this question is no. You truly need a dedicated drum for the color you are using. I have seen people put blue ink in a drum that was previously used with red. Let’s just say the end results looked pretty bad and the drum was pretty much ruined. Once a drum has been contaminated with different color ink, it cannot be cleaned out.

Can digital duplicators print full color? The answer to this is yes and no, depending on the machine you are using. Some duplicators have the ability to use multiple drums at the same time, allowing them to print full color prints. Most duplicators, however, are monochrome, which require multiple passes (using interchanged drums) to produce multiple colors.

What kind of dpi (dots per inch) can I expect with my duplicator? You can expect anywhere from 300 x 400 dpi up to 600 x 600 dpi, depending on the duplicator.

Can duplicator ink bleed through paper? I’m not aware of this being an issue. Most digital duplicators allow you to speed them up or slow them down. If the ink is being laid on too thick (potentially bleeding through), I recommend speeding up the duplicator and thinning out the ink.

Are digital duplicators cheaper to operate than a copy machine?
It really all depends on how many copies you are making. If you are only making one or two copies at a time, a copy machine is going to be cheaper. If you are making hundreds to thousands of copies, a digital duplicator will be the cheaper way to go. You can read more about the pricing breakdown differences between duplicators and copy machines here.

I hope these common questions and answers help you in your quest to find a copying machine and I certainly hope that these questions help prevent some headaches later down the road. Having used many digital duplicators myself, I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with the modern take that has been put on an older technology.

You can find our entire selection of digital duplicators here, duplicator ink here and duplicator master rolls here.

K-Sun BEE3 Label & Bar Code Printer Review (Discontinued)

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

K-Sun BEE3 Label, Bar Code & Heat Shrink PrinterOrganization helps things run smoother and is a huge plus for any home or business. One great way to keep things organized is to label products. This makes things easier to find and can ultimately save you time and money. One product you may want to consider using to help keep things properly labeled and organized is the K-Sun BEE3 label and bar code printer (found here). This is my review.

The BEE3, to put it simply, is a portable keyboard and printer. The device itself holds a roll of tape and includes a keyboard that allows you to type out custom messages. You can then print out the message, cut it off and stick it to a product. It even includes a built-in tape and shrink tube cutter. It is fairly simple to use.

The K-Sun BEE3 not only prints letters, but can also print bar codes. This is especially nice for inventory management. The BEE3 supports printing 6 of the most common bar code formats. Simply print out the bar code and stick them to a box.

The BEE3 also has the ability to use a special heat shrink tube cartridge. This allows the BEE3 to print on polyolefin heat shrink tubes. These tubes are commonly used for the identification of wire and cable.

This labeling machine can be run on 6 “AA” batteries or with an AC adapter. The BEE3 includes a low-battery indicator. The fact that the BEE3 can run on batteries is a huge plus, especially for use on a work site or in a warehouse. A power-save mode helps extend battery life when not in use.

The built-in handle makes the K-Sun BEE3 extremely easy to pick up and move around. The machine itself only weighs in at 1.23 pounds, which is extremely manageable.

The keyboard on the BEE3 is extremely easy to use. It follows a traditional qwerty keyboard layout. Buttons include a space bar, shift function, letters, numbers and many common symbols. A built-in print preview lets you see the labels design and type style prior to printing. Printed letters are clear and easy to read.

This label printer comes in a variety of different packages. Each package contains different amounts and colors of ribbons and supplies.

I consider the BEE3 to be beneficial for either home or office use. The labeling possibilities of this little machine are endless. The quality is great and it features an impressive 3-year warranty.

You can find the K-Sun BEE3 label and bar code printer here and our entire selection of labeling machines here.

Hot Foil Stamping Fun – Emblems, Logos & Symbols

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Hot Foil Stamping Emblem BeeDo you have a hot foil stamping machine and are growing tired of simply stamping text? There are many options out there that should help you to get a little more out of your hot foil stamper. Something you should consider is using emblems, logos and symbols in your hot foil stamping.

Hot foil stamping machines are not simply text stamping machines. They can be used to hot stamp company logos, emblems, religious symbols and more. The type holders on most foil stamping machines can easily be adjusted to accommodate emblems.

Hot Foil Stamping Emblems StrawberryAt ABC Office we offer literally dozens of different pre-made emblems. This includes animals, insects, faces, sports, food, plants, religious symbols and much more. You can find our entire selection of hot foil stamping emblems here.

We also offer the option for you to get a custom hot stamping logo made at a reasonable price. The price is based on the size of the stamping die. You can find our custom hot foil stamping dies and logos here.

Hot Foil Stamping Emblems FootballI have seen our hot stamping logos and emblems in use and they look great! If you don’t already have a hot foil stamping machine, you can find our entire selection here.

Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions you may have about hot foil stamping machines, supplies, rolls, emblems or even repairs!

Most Popular Hot Stamping Foil Colors

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Hot foil stamping is popular and has been so for decades. It is commonly used for stamping names on napkins, matchbooks, pencils, photos and much more. With dozens of colors available, it may be a little tough settling on a specific style. There is one color that continues to be extremely popular with our customers.

This should probably come as no surprise, but gold is by far the most popular color of hot foil stamping foil with silver coming in just after that. Both gold and silver tend to match well with just about any color and they look classy. Gold is extremely popular for stamping on photos, where silver is a big hit with napkins.

Hot Stamping Foil Rolls

Books, especially scriptures like the Bible, are popular for foil stamping an individual’s name. Photo studios often like to use a foil-stamping machine to imprint their name on the corner of a photo. We have also found that foil stampers are popular for stamping names on napkins for weddings.

At ABC Office we offer a wide selection of foil rolls from Kwikprint, one of the most popular manufacturers around. Foil colors include not only gold and silver, but also include blue, green red, white, black and much more. Not only do we offer several different colors, but we also offer a wide variety of “types” of foil.

Believe it or not, not all foil can be used on all types of material. Some types of foil are best used with plastic, stationary, leather and other materials. The temperature used also varies depending on what is being stamped.

You can find our entire selection of hot stamping foils here. You can find our entire selection of hot foil stamping machines here. We carry 1″ and 2″ cores in 200’ and 400’ lengths. Our foil rolls will work with most foil stamping machines. Please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 if you need a special size of foil or simply need to know if our foil will work with your machine.

How Does A Thermography Machine Work (Thermographic Printing)

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Thermographic Printing / Thermography PowderThermography machines are pretty neat little devices. These machines are used to create a raised-letter type that is commonly found on businesses cards, brochures and other literature called thermographic printing. Machines vary in size from hobby thermography systems to high-end industrial thermography machines.

Years ago we used to sell a machine called the H-1 made by Martin Yale. We used a digital duplicator to create a print, after which we would run it through the H-1. The H-1 would disperse thermography powder over the wet ink. The powder would then stick to the wet ink and the machine would shake off the excess powder. The sheet would then run through an oven, which would bake the powder to the ink, creating a raised-letter look.

Scrapbookers have been doing this on a much smaller scale for years. They will use a stamp, put it on a piece of paper, sprinkle thermography powder on the wet ink and then manually shake off the excess powder. They then use a heat gun to bake the powder into the ink, creating the same effect.

Unfortunately we don’t sell thermography machines anymore, but we do offer a wide variety of bulk thermography powder. This powder is sold in 5 to 25 pound containers. We offer both high gloss and flat matte powder. This powder retains the color of the ink it sticks to. You can find our thermography powder here.

The key to thermography working correctly is to use a digital duplicator, stamp or offset printer that leaves the ink wet for a few minutes. If the ink dries to quickly, thermography cannot be done.

Good luck with your thermography operations!

Widmer E-3 Electric Embossing Machine Review

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Widmer E-3 Electric Embossing MachineYou have probably seen them on certificates, awards and other reputable documents. Embossing not only looks great, but also provides a degree of authenticity. Embossing your own documents isn’t hard; you just need the right equipment. One machine you may want to consider using is the Widmer E-3 embossing machine (found here). I have used this machine and this is my review.

I have the Widmer E-3 embossing machine in front of me now. The housing is made from solid die cast metal. You can tell at first glance that this machine was designed from the ground up to last for years.

The E-3 has quite a bit of heft to it, weighing in at 20 lbs shipped. It is still, however, easy enough to pick up and move around. It has two suction cup feet on the front of the machine that helps keep it in place when used on a solid surface or desk.

The cover casing is locked, preventing access to the striking die inside. This is ideal for security purposes and eliminates possible die theft.

The embossing die itself is custom made and is available in 3 different sizes (1 3/8″, 1 3/4″ or 2″). Once you purchase the E-3, we will request some information from you so we can get the die made. Once the die is made, it should be able to emboss documents for years to come.

The base price of the E-3 includes the cost of a die that features simple engraving or text. More complex stamping dies will need to be quoted ahead of the purchase. State seals with text can be used with the E-3, but are only available to verified government entities.

Not only can the E-3 be used to stamp legal documents, awards, certificates and other important paper, but it can also be used to emboss single and 2-sheet carbonized forms. I have personally used this to emboss standard paper all the way up to card stock.

If the impression is too light, the striking pressure can be increased. If the impression is too strong and is actually damaging or cutting through documents, the pressure can be scaled back.

Using the Widmer E-3 embosser is easy. There is no switch or foot pedal required. It has a micro switch built in. When paper is inserted, it triggers the micro switch, which in turn activates the embossing stamp. Embossed images and text can be stamped from the edge of the paper up to 3″ into a document.

If you are embossing larger documents, an optional adjustable guide shelf is available. This shelf also makes it easy to emboss documents over and over in the same place. You can see this guide in the picture I included in this review. Aligning the emboss stamp is pretty easy to do manually, which is what I am doing right now on an 8 ½” x 11″ sheet of paper.

Overall I am really impressed with the Widmer E-3 embosser. It has been around for years and I am not aware of an quality issues. It is one sturdy, tough and well-built machine. Be aware that the embossing is done by the stamp striking the document, which does produce some noise.

You can find the Widmer E-3 embossing machine here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any embossing questions.

Kwikprint Model 86 A/A “The Big Bench” Hot Foil Stamping Machine Review

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Kwikprint 86 A/A Big Bench Hot Foil Stamping MachineHave you ever seen napkins at a wedding, photographs from a photographer or perhaps a name on a book that feature gold or metallic stamping? This is done by using a hot foil stamping machine. These machines are still widely used to day.

If you would like to start foil stamping documents, or are interested in a replacement machine, one model you may want to look at is the Kwikprint Model 86 A/A “The Big Bench” hot foil stamping machine (found here). This is my review.

To begin with, Kwikprint is probably the best-known manufacturer of hot stamping machines. They make a wide variety of models, from small to large. This includes both manual and air-powered machines. Most of their machines are made from die-cast iron and are very well built.

The Model 86 A/A is no exception. The build quality on this machine is amazing. We have one in our warehouse that we have been using for 10+ years and it still works great. I have personally used it to foil stamp samples for customers. It’s a solid machine.

The platform work area is large, measuring in at 12″ x 12″.  This is a large enough surface to foil stamp Bibles, yearbooks, ribbons, pencils, matchboxes and much more. I have used the Kwikprint Model 86 A/A to foil stamp book binding report covers, hardbound books, plastic poker chips, playing cards, leather keychains and more.

Kwikprint offers a wide variety of attachments that can be used with the Model 86. This includes a pencil holder, a matchbook attachment, a line finder and more. You can find all our Kwikprint attachments here.

Kwikprint also offers a wide variety of accessories including right angle guides, different sized roll feeders and different sized type holders. You can find all our Kwikprint accessories here.

The biggest difference between the Model 86 A/A and the standard Model 86 is that the A/A version is air powered. This means that the A/A stamping head is brought down by air rather than a manual lever. The air-powered machine is faster and ideal for higher-volume jobs.

Using the Model 86 A/A is easy. First you’ll want to place your lettering, numbering or logo in the type holder. Once the type is ready, plug it in. Make sure it is connected to an air compressor and then wait for it to warm up.

Lettering can be changed when the machine is warmed up, but tweezers are required do to the heat. The temperature is adjustable and able to accommodate most types of hot stamping foils.

Overall I consider the Kwikprint Model 86 A/A to be a great hot stamping machine. The build quality is excellent and it should easily last for years. This machine is great for higher-volume hot foil stamping.

You can find the Kwikprint Model 86 A/A “The Big Bench” hot foil stamping machine here. You can find our entire selection of Kwikprint hot foil stamping machines here.

Foil Stamping Machines & Typeface Fonts

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Foil Stamping Machines, Fonts and EmblemsDo you own a foil stamping machine but want to use a different typeface or font? This is a question and a concern among many hot foil stamper owners. Don’t worry. You have many options available to you that will help you get more out of your machine.

To begin with, foil stamping machines can use a variety of different typefaces / fonts. Your biggest limitation is going to be the size of your type holder. This shouldn’t be too much of a concern though. Most foil stamping machine manufacturers offer larger type holders.

Chances are pretty good that the type holder you’re using is going to be more than enough to handle a different font style or size.

So here’s the next question I get. Where do you find more typefaces and fonts? We actually offer a wide selection of typefaces (fonts) and emblems available for use with hot foil stamping machines. Here is where you can find them:

  1. Foil Stamping Typefaces / Fonts
  2. Foil Stamping Emblems
  3. Kwikprint Type Holders
  4. Foil Stamping Rolls

You can find our entire selection of foil stampers here. We have decades of experience with foil stamping machines, so feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 if you have more questions.

Improve Press Sheet and Digital Printout Drying Time

Monday, September 20th, 2010

MBM AJ-700 Air Paper JoggerDo you run, operate or own a printing press? Are you looking for a machine that allows press sheets and digital printouts to be air-dried immediately? If so, you may be in need of an air jogger.

Normal paper joggers use vibrations to align paper. Air joggers not only use vibrations to align paper, but also use air to align and separate paper.  This has many benefits. Because air separates the sheets, it keeps them from clumping together and creating double feeds and jams. This is also extremely beneficial because the air helps the ink on press sheets and digital printouts to dry faster.

We currently offer two different models of air joggers:

  1. MBM AJ-700 Air Jogger – The MBM AJ-700 air jogger forces air between sheets to reduce jogging time and eliminate powder buildup. Press sheets and digital copies can be air dried immediately to prevent offset. This significantly reduces misfeeds and double feeds in printers, folders, and collators.
  2. Formax FD 402A1 Air Jogger – The FD 402A1 High-Capacity Air Jogger is ideal for print shops and production houses as it aligns and dries printed sheets as a single process, while removing static electricity.

These joggers are both considered to be commercial / industrial paper joggers. They can be used all day long and don’t require any special “cool down” period of time.

You can find our entire selection of paper joggers here.

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