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How to choose the best large format canvas printer

How to choose the best large format canvas printer

In the market for a large format canvas printer? Make sure you buy the right one with our handy guide answering the most common questions.

Canvas prints have been designed to replicate the look of an original oil or acrylic painting, and are often used to produce large format photos or artwork for interior design. Large format printers and plotters that can print onto canvas tend to be created especially for graphics and photo reproduction, and as such can also print items like posters, magazines and books.

If you’re in the market for a large format canvas printer or plotter for your business, you may be unsure of the best options available to you. The right canvas printer depends on what your business needs are, so we’ve answered some of the most common questions you may have below.

Can any large format printer or plotter print on canvas?

Simply put, no. Printers and plotters capable of printing on canvas are specifically built to handle heavier substrates, with a manual roll feed able to deal with thicker material. Canvas has a weight of approximately 280-430gsm which a large format printer set up for lighter media, such as CAD paper or plotter paper, cannot process.

Not only that, the cutter in a non-canvas printer is also ill-equipped to deal with heavier media. Powered by a motor only as effective as it needs to be to cut through lightweight paper, these cutters will likely struggle to cut cleanly through canvas.

Trying to print on a material that is too heavy risks blunting the cutter, wearing out the cutter motor and eventually causing a non-canvas printer or plotter to break down entirely. So, rather than having to pay out for costly spares and printer repair, it makes sense to invest in a printer or plotter designed to print on canvas.

Do I need special inks for a canvas printer or plotter?

Because canvas and graphic prints are so often created to be displayed where they’re exposed to sunlight and in some cases, the rest of the elements, they have to stay looking good over time.

Inks for canvas and graphic printing are pigment-based, waterproof and UV-stabilised, meaning they won’t fade or diminish even when placed outside. HP even go so far as to guarantee the quality of their pigment-based inks for 200 years.

Conversely, most other printers and plotters use non-waterproof water-based dye inks which may look great in the short term but will eventually disappear under the glare of the sun.

Is print resolution important when printing on canvas?

Print resolution, or the number of dots of ink per inch (dpi), is less important than you might assume when printing on canvas.

Large format canvas prints, banners or signage are all generally viewed from a distance so the print quality doesn’t have to be outstanding close up. The ink you use is far more important than resolution to the quality and lifespan of your canvas printing.

What else should I take into account when choosing a canvas printer or plotter?

Think about how much printing on canvas your business needs to do, both now and in the event that demand increases, you’ll need a printer or plotter that can keep up.

If your business will be dealing with high print volumes, make sure you choose a canvas printer or plotter capable of speedy and powerful processing, and that can take larger ink cartridges and larger rolls of print media so that you can leave it to print unattended for longer. On the other hand, if your business will be printing on canvas less often, go for small ink cartridge volume to keep costs down.

For more help and advice in finding the perfect large format printer or plotter for your business, talk to us today by calling 0845 680 9000. 

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We're here to help. Whether you're looking to get started with a large format printer or you've been in the industry for years, our team of qualified specialists are always happy to lend a hand. Give us a call on 0845 680 9000.

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