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Metallic papers even metal itself can be printed on with today's new wide-format inkjet printers Print E-mail

There is metallic paper, metallic film, but what printshop owners are after today is printable metallic substrates, both roll-to-roll and rigid, for using with UV-cured flatbed printers.

Today at many parties even the attractive women have metallic glitter speckled on their skin.

So it is natural that printshops, giclee atelies, and interior decoration studios will wish to learn how to print on metallic effects materials (or use silver metallic inks).

Mimaki moves ahead with metallic effects: mirror-like metallic background colors

At PRINT '09 in Chicago Mimaki exhibited what I considered the best image at the show. It was a metallicized Sintra-like material.

metallic inks, metallic film, foils, metallic gold materials
Here is a sample printed by the Mimaki JFX-1631 printer. This sample was printed on mirror. PRINT' 09 trade show.

FLAAR is offering personalized consulting at each trade show. You can walk-the-floor with the Senior Editor of FLAAR and get his comments on any and all printers, inks, RIP software, color management, substrates, applications, etc.

So if you wish to learn about the difference between combo, hybrid, and dedicated UV printers, how latex ink compares, about textile printers, etc. contact FLAAR to obtain consulting.

You can also get consulting before ISA or FESPA anywhere in the world: Dubai, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China, Korea, London and more.

Specialized printers allow you to print on glass, Plexiglas, acrylic, mirrors, and raw metal

Especially in Europe you can find specialized flatbed printers that can print on unusual thick rigid materials: anodized aluminum is one popular material in Europe. But glass, Plexiglas, acrylic and even mirrors (or mirror-like material) can be printed on too (check out the FLAAR Report on applications possible with the GRAPO uv printers).

JETRIX uv-cured flatbed printers can even jet the pre-primer (adhesion promotor) onto the material.

FLAAR is very interested in any and all metallic materials (in part from our archaeological background and in part because of our background in architecture: Google HOK Architects and you will see why the H in HOK resulted in Nicholas studying architecture. So still today FLAAR is interested in materials related to architecture and interior decoration: and especially for museum displays.

Lots of gold and silver metallic effects, but not much iron, steel, copper, or bronze?

Roland focused on silver effects in its advertisement for its eco-solvent metallic inks (see below). Most other companies speak about, or display, gold and silver both.

Aluminum finishes are common too: Dibond is the best known.

But you do not often hear about icon, steel, copper, bronze or other metallic effects.

And what about cobalt, lead, mercury (or iron pyrite, a fascinating mineral used by the ancient Maya and Aztec of Guatemala and Mexico; at age 19, in the tomb I discovered in the jungles of Guatemala, I found the largest iron pyrite mirror every discovered in a royal burial; it is now on exhibit in Guatemala; my thesis at Harvard was over 400 pages on this discovery). This burial also had mercury (in the form of cinnabar).

And titanium, zirconium, nickel, zinc?

This all probably exists in printable materials, but would be nice to find easily at SGIA, ISA or FESPA.

Would be nice to have some jade-colored printable material; the mineral jadeite comes from Mexico, Guatemala, and a blue jadeite from Costa Rica. The tomb I uncovered at Tikal in 1965 had plenty of jade. Just Google Maya archaeology Tomb of the Jade Jaguar

Roland silver eco-solvent ink

At FESPA 2009 I saw the metallic ink, in the booth of the European ink manufacturer.

At trade shows in autumn 2009 (VISCOM Paris, VISCOM Duesseldorf, SGIA), I saw silver metallic ink in the Roland.

It did not require a PhD to know where the ink came from.

Actually the first message I received from sources in Japan who said that the Mimaki version was more advanced. The same thing happened with white ink in past years: Mimaki got it right first. But Roland has the leading market share worldwide, so will do okay.

I have not seen anything exciting in ink from Mutoh (surely they will have something by next year, I hope). The bio-solvent ink comes from InkWare (EFI VUTEk) and has not been successful at VUTEk itself, nor has any other manufacturer even tried to offer it.

Roland silver eco-solvent ink reviews
This is the Roland SOLJETproIII printing samples with silver metallic ink at VISCOM Duesseldorf 2009.

Aluminum composite material

The most common metallic effect is aluminum coated material. Although Dibond is the best known, there are many other brands.

• AluBond comes from the Alubond company.

• Acrilglas is a faux brushed aluminum from Acrilex that is really acrylic.

• AlumaJet comes in several finishes.]

• D-Lite, alimum over corrugated plastic; Laminators Inc.

• Omega-Bond, polyethylene inside with painted aluminum outside; Laminators Inc.

• Reynobond is a brand used in Europe.

• SAF is the maker of Alucobond, Reynobond, and Alpolic ACM

• Ultra Aluminum, foam-board inner material with anodized aluminum coating.

You probably know of other brands of metallic material that can be printed on with a wide-format inkjet printer (usually with UV_curing inks): if so, please write us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

metallic effects, glitter, mirror-materials, gold metallic, silver, aluminum-surfaceed media
Samples printed by the Mimaki UJV-160 at SGIA trade show 2009.


First posted October 13, 2009, after SGIA 2009.



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As of June 2019, Dr Nicholas and FLAAR had 3,662 contacts in LinkedIn (and over half a million readers worldwide on the FLAAR network).

Wide Format Inkjet printers, inks, trade shows, consulting.

Covers digital imaging, wide-format inkjet, inks, printable materials, digital photography, printer and/or signage trade shows around the world.

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