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Old 05-16-2021, 06:51 AM
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prabal276 prabal276 is offline
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What Printer to use for Model Kits?

Hello everyone!

As some of you are aware, I'm working on my own self-designed paper models of various Indian Locomotives. I recently completed designing my first locomotive and decided to sell them as "booklets" just like many polish paper model companies.
What puzzles me, however, is the type of printing they use...
I have built a few of them, and they are somewhat glossy, yet not laser printed. When the parts are folded/ creased, the ink does not 'crack' as in the case of laser printers. The Prints behave more like Inkjet-Printed pages.

Hence, I require some help figuring out which type of printer to use for my models...

Regards,
Prabal
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Old 05-16-2021, 07:29 AM
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airdave airdave is offline
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We have a number of members who are, or have been connected to the printing industry and can answer your question more accurately.
Lithography (lithographic printing) is the modern method of printing artworks and books.
Its the best way to print high volumes of prints easily and at an affordable cost.
Most of the cost is in the inital setup...printing more and more adds very little to the overall cost.

Unfortunately, when it comes to printing Paper Model kits, the volumes are much lower, making the cost less pratical.
A low run of kits can be a lot more expensive than you will like.

Thats where digital printing (inkjet) can be considered.
But its not cheap either, when you consider the cost of large format printers, expensive cardstock, and inks.

You also cannot get the same finishes as with lithographic printing.
Metallic inks, for example, are generally not available in inkjet printing.
And glossy finishes require glossy laminated cardstocks that are not ideal.

If you are asking what home printer you should buy...that ios a tough question because everyone has their favorites.
Inkjet printers with larger capacity ink are a hot topic these days.
Most manufacturers are producing "tank" style printers now because of the demand.
However, they are more pricey.

Smaller inkjet printers are still the biggest sellers based on their price, but they can be costly to refill with ink.
Original manufacturers Ink cartridges can be pricey.
Aftermarket ink sellers are a lot better these days, and most reputable sellers on amazon and ebay provide good quality ink refilled cartridges at a fraction of the price.

If you have the funds and plan on doing a lot of printing, consider a large format, ink tank refillable machine.
Pay the extra cost now, and relax later.

Consider the size and format of your model kits and get a printer that can handle it.
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Old 05-16-2021, 12:38 PM
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prabal276 prabal276 is offline
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Thank you for your inputs sir!

I do own a HP A4 Ink Tank Inkjet printer. Although it prints nicely, the colors are very vibrant and models come out great.
Should I use that for my kits as well?

I hope I don't stress the poor little printer...
But although, it'll be cheaper as I'll be able to print to order...

Hopefully once the sales pick up, I'll upgrade to an A3+ size printer... Because what I want to do finally is sell my models In form of 'booklets' and not loose sheets of paper...

Regards,
Prabal
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Modeling Indian Railways in Paper...
Currently working on: WDM2, WDM3D, BNR 'N' Class Garratt and 747-8i/f
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCro...-w2CvteWbPGJ-A
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Old 05-16-2021, 02:46 PM
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airdave airdave is offline
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So you want to sell printed kits privately?
Not through a publishing house?

This can be done...I do it.
But...its costly to print and package the kits.
I have to sell my printed kits at a lot more than people want to spend.

And shipping kits can be very expensive.
Postal rates are high all over the world now, and you must also consider the cost of protective packaging.

I don't ship kits any more...unless a customer is willing to pay for it.
I take my printed kits to model shows and other sales events, and sell them in person.

But honestly, I have sold very few printed kits.

I print my kits on good quality 65lb (Letter size) cardstock, using my home printer.
I print on the best/finest setting.
Cover pages and Instruction pages are printed on 25lb paper.
The entire kit is packaged in a mylar Letter size bag.

To ship, I try to use a padded envelope.
And a stiff card must be included.
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Old 05-17-2021, 02:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prabal276 View Post
I recently completed designing my first locomotive and decided to sell them as "booklets" just like many polish paper model companies.
From my very little experience, especially about sold kits, I think that the booklet is an extra cost, probably small for large quantities. I recently bought some kit from Edu-craft Diversion: they ship enrolled sheets in a plastic bag inside a cardboard box filled with some padding. It's cheaper and it's sufficient to keep under weight some days to re-flatten them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prabal276 View Post
What puzzles me, however, is the type of printing they use...
I have built a few of them, and they are somewhat glossy, yet not laser printed. When the parts are folded/ creased, the ink does not 'crack' as in the case of laser printers. The Prints behave more like Inkjet-Printed pages.
In the past I had the opportunity to print some kits with a HP Color LaserJet MFP M477fdw; the templates never cracked even with thicker paper (220 gsm), having the foresight to use the right print settings.
The inkjet printers are definitely cheaper, but I find the print result more delicate. In the future I will have to use a spray coat after printing.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 05-17-2021, 12:54 PM
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prabal276 prabal276 is offline
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Thank you so much sirs!

Quote:
I don't ship kits any more...unless a customer is willing to pay for it.
I take my printed kits to model shows and other sales events, and sell them in person.
I really like this idea, and true to what you said, the costs of packaging and shipping are actually making the price of the kits unreasonable...

What I can do is have the models up on ecardmodels and supply printed kits if someone demand them...

Quote:
In the past I had the opportunity to print some kits with a HP Color LaserJet MFP M477fdw
Sir, unfortunately we don't get that printer in India and somehow, with all the laser printers I tried, a crack would always form... I messed around with the print settings but to no avail... I think I will stick to my trusty little HP Inktank inkjet printer...

Regards,
Prabal
__________________
Modeling Indian Railways in Paper...
Currently working on: WDM2, WDM3D, BNR 'N' Class Garratt and 747-8i/f
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCro...-w2CvteWbPGJ-A
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