Looking for a printer that can handle 14 pt coated cardstock and 80#gloss cover

Discussion in '11 x 17 Color Laser Printers' started by opie, Jun 22, 2021.

  1. opie

    opie New Member

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    Jun 2021
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    Location:
    USA
    I'm looking for a printer that can handle 14 pt coated cardstock and 80#gloss cover and 80# gloss text

    I need to make custom boxes, and the print shop I've been using for the last 5 years has finally driven me to the point of taking this portion of my business in house as I can't keep suffering misprints, miscuts, and wrong templates on a continuous basis.

    Printing quantity would be roughly 75-150 boxes per month, using tabloid (11x17) sized cardstock for most boxes, and some 8.5x11 for inserts.

    I would prefer to not lease a printer. Budget is between $1500 and $2000

    Any suggestions would be great!
     
  2. jwheeler

    jwheeler Member

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    Apr 2019
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    Location:
    CA
    I used to sell production level digital copiers/printers, so I can offer some insight.

    Toner based printers (which is what just about every commercial printer or quick copy shop uses, and is necessary for the types of paper you mention) base their paper handling ability on GSM, which stands for grams per square meter. This measures the density of the paper. This is important to note because it requires a higher charge to make the toner particles adhere to a higher density paper. Depending on the paper brand, 14pt is around 270gsm, and 80# cover is around 216gsm.

    A printer in your price range does not exist that can reliably handle 270gsm paper, especially 14pt which is extremely stiff paper due to the clay coating. You may find some desktop printers that say they can handle 110lb cover (297gsm) and may even be able to pass it through the printer, but it will not have a consistent, even image. You'll have banding, faded colors, etc. And running this thick of paper consistently through a budget printer will destroy it's inner parts. Additionally, budget printers in this range do not have features to make sure each page is aligned consistently in the same position. You will end up regretting spending the $2,000 after only a few months. Furthermore, without a service plan, you will have to buy your own toners, drums, fusers, etc, which you will go through quite rapidly using the heavier stocks you mentioned, and it will cost you significantly more in the long run. The type of printer you need starts around $15-20k on the low end. You may be able to pick one up used in the $5k-10k range, but that is always risky as you don't know what kind of shape it's in, and you'll still need to pay for parts and supplies.

    Your best bet is to find a different printing company who can produce more reliable prints.
     
  3. opie

    opie New Member

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    Jun 2021
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    Location:
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    Thanks for the reply. You raise a lot of valid points that I forgot to consider, and you also reminded me of how much I hate printers.

    I also started coming to the conclusion that no "home" printer would be able to accommodate my needs. Even the higher end ones that support 110lb seemed iffy to me for the reasons you mentioned. Guess it's time to look for a new print shop. Thanks again!
     
    jwheeler likes this.
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