Printer cutter combinations, plotters which both print and cut: Roland CammJet and the newer Graphtec Print

Our goal is first to be fair to the end user, so he or she does not get stuck with an unreliable printer. We also feel that a review should be fair to the manufacturer as well (unless the company engages in systematic exaggerated claims in their woefully unrealistic ads). Roland is a reputable company and their ads have not yet triggered any complaints.

Whenever we get a series of indications of problems or headaches with a particular printer we do our best to find out whether these are coincidental or endemic. So here is a series of readers' reports. In some cases we know the authors from previous correspondence (such as here). In other cases it seems that the writers are either allied with Roland or are otherwise upset that their favorite printer did not get top ratings. Such attempts to influence the review is rather transparent. That is simply because out of 100 users, enough reported similar glitches that we unfurl the yellow flag.

Here is a report from Roger .

Who we know via e-mail, so this is an actual report of a real situation. This is verbatim and not edited. The black text are my questions; the blue text is his answer.

Q: I get so many mixed reviews of the Roland from end users. Some love them and are upset that I don't praise them to the sky, yet others have banding and find the color gamut limiting in the pigmented inks.

A:
I find that on canvas there can be banding if it is not done at the 1440 dpi as far as the colors, I don't really have anything to compare to except some giclée prints in a gallery done with a Iris by experts and the colors were superior to what I have done so far.

Q: I am also curious about learning curve (printer and RIP), whether you had banding, and how you handle the
speed vs dpi?

A: I learned the software in two days as to print what I was seeing on the monitor, you have to match the media type profile to the media, and set the dpi higher for canvas than others. As for speed again I have nothing to compare to. At 1440 it is slow in my opinion, but it is awesome so I have no problem with it. I have a Camm Jet not a Hi Fi so I have a 540 dpi setting that is fast and does a good job too, it could be used easily for many projects including prints on film or photo paper.
Q: Are you willing to wait the time it takes a 1440 print to go?

A: Yes

Q: There is a nice ink available for the Roland, may have better gamut, DicoJet, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you need info. Pigmented, lasts outdoors; people in the company seem pleasant; is used widely for fine art prints but not well know outside its users.

A:I have checked out the ink from your site, it is very interesting, but I still have some ink so I am not in the market yet , but will be soon. I have found a machine (infrared dryer/Color Lock System) that uses a special vinyl to lock in the color from a inkjet printer. I will be using this vinyl and machine to do my signs and decals etc.....

I hope this helps a little. All in all, I would agree with the people who say why don't you praise the Roland more, I don't have much experience but I know a good machine when I see one, and my Camm Jet is one hell of a machine that amazes me every time I use it!

More stories from incoming e-mail:

"Are there any serious setbacks that you know of to the Roland machines. We also have an office in San Francisco that already has one and they told me about a time when they let it run over night only to find in the morning that it had run out of paper but continued to print."

 

This is the second complaint we have about producing red, if I remember correctly the other problem was "Coca-Cola red" and it may also have been on a Roland. When we get more than one person with a similar problem we estimate that it may be a systematic situation that others should know about. Within two weeks we got a second person who was unable to get a satisfactory red. In fairness I will say that many of the pigmented inks of a variety of the different companies have weak gamuts. Roland is by no means unique. Roland has other features which seem to work well, though if you need to produce great reds, you might be sure to experiment first and try a variety of options.

 

"Hi! How are you? We have read your website and find it really useful. We need help!!!

We are a sign maker in Singapore and my company just bought a complete system with a Roland cammjet CJ500, Umax powerlook 3 complete with a Mac & 2 PCs (for RIPs and design respectively) about 3 months ago. We have not really profit from it yet.. :( Sigh....

We have met with some problems, they are:- 1) Ink problems- We are using the six colour pigmented ink from Roland (CMYKLcLm). We have difficulty getting a very vivid "Red" colour. A check with the supplier and Roland-USA says that it's better for us to change to the Orange and Green set instead of Light Cyan and Light Magenta, It is also the characteristic of pigment ink that good vivid "red" colour is not possible to obtain using my current sets of inks.

The problem is... we need do fine art prints/photos (enlargement of wedding photos etc..) from time to time, although most of our work is outdoor signage. Dye based ink is out of the question because of its inability to withstand UV. Also because of the mechanism of the Roland Cammjet, changing of ink sets from time to time is not economical. It does not have the flexibility of Encad or HP where we can change our ink from dye-based to pigment easily."

 

Within two weeks we got a second person who was unable to get a satisfactory red. In fairness I will say that many of the pigmented inks of a variety of the different companies have weak gamuts. Roland is by no means unique. Roland has other features which seem to work well, though if you need to produce great reds, you might be sure to experiment first and try a variety of options.

 

"I own a Roland Cammjet CJ-70 and I am not quite satisfied with it. I think it is a bit slow and I have problems getting bright and vivid colors in a single ink pass (overprint 1), especially red (Coca Cola).I have seen a 54" HP working (I am not sure about the model but it is a 600 dpi model and I think its about 1 year old). The colors seem to be really better than my Roland's. I saw a backlit print in 3M vinyl and it looked great at night. My prints look poor and very light at night."

 

Please note, the majority of the Roland owners who we have contacted are very content with their printers. Most feel it is an outstanding printer. Some of the problems expressed here may be due to unrealistic expectations. Other problems may be due to lack of adequate experience in color management, a poor RIP, or using incompatible media and ink. In other words, you should try out a Roland if you feel this is the appropriate printer for your needs. The fact a Roland CAMMJet can also cut is a real benefit. Hewlett-Packard had no comparable vinyl cutter until the Graphtec model came out.

But recently Western Graphtec updated its aging cutter-plotter and has produced a modern state-of-the-art vinyl cutter - printer combination. Western Graphtec SignJet Pro JX 2150 and JX 2100, new, innovative, well thought out, good quality, well known company (Graphtec), reliable printheads and media feeding (both patented parts from Hewlett-Packard), a definite improvement over the clunky and low-dpi Encad NovaCut. We hope to have one of these soon in our evaluation facility, at which point we will report back on the new Graphtec printer-cutter combo.

Its hard to judge each printer when we don't have the printer to test ourselves, but since we do our testing in Germany and Guatemala we understand that not every printer company is willing to send their equipment so far away. However now FLAAR has added a third evaluation facility, at Bowling Green State University of Ohio.

 

 

Last checked Jan. 15, 2003.
Previously updates Aug. 12, 2001.

 
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