HP DesignJet Z9+ printing a canvasIf you’re in the market for a large format canvas printer, you may be unsure of the best options available to you. Here we take a look into a few things for you to consider before you make that important purchase.

What is the largest size print that you plan to do?

You need to think what is the largest image you plan on printing and work from there. You also need to consider the smallest image that you plan to print too. You need a canvas printer that will be able to fulfil these requirements both now and in the future should your business grow.

Can any Large Format Printer print on Canvas?

Wide format printers are clearly designed in two ranges, so if you want to print onto canvas, you ideally need to select a printer from the Graphics & Photographic ranges. For Canon that is the PRO-Series and for HP it is the Z-Series. These printers are designed to handle heavier media, up to 500gsm; where the CAD ranges are designed to feed paper up to around 280gsm maximum. Canvas tends to come in weights from around 260gsm up to 450gsm so the Graphics models have media settings designed to cope with this and motors capable of feeding the heavier media. 

We often get asked by customers if they can print onto canvas on their CAD model such as the iPF670 or the T520. Unfortunately these models are not designed for this and whilst you may indeed get the media to feed, there will be no canvas media setting on the printer and you risk damaging the motor, and undoubtedly you will experience issues with print quality, UV fade over time, cutter blade damage and possibly printhead strikes.  When using a Graphics printer, there will be generic canvas settings to choose from, this usually disables the rotary cutter to avoid blunting the blade.  Your canvas print will finish with a dotted line for you to manually cut to remove the print from the machine.  This is true of most heavy media such as self-adhesives and vinyl. 

Do I need to choose a printer with special inks to print on Canvas?

Canon PRO-Series Printers with hotswap ink tanksYou will need to select a Large Format Printer that utilises Pigment Inks. Pigment ink is used in all printers that are aimed at the Photographic and Graphic Arts market places as they offer UV stability and are waterproof. This ensures that prints look exactly like they did when they were first printed, but for many years to come. Most people also choose to apply a varnish after printing on canvas to further protect the print and to extend the life of the print even more.

As canvas is most usually printed to be put on display in interiors, ensuring the longevity by using pigment ink is really important- especially when you are selling these prints to your customers. You can expect the print quality from these printers to last upwards of 50 years for a Canvas, longer if it has been treated. Prints behind glass tend to last longer because they are protected from atmosphere, which causes the image to break down over time. You can expect an image behind glass to last upward of 200 years, when printed on appropriate media and stored correctly.

What else do I need to think about when buying a Large Format Canvas printer?

You need to think about the volumes of prints that you will be doing now and what you plan to be doing in the future. You will need a printer that is capable of the workload you expect to throw at it.

A great feature of the Canon PRO-Series printers is the ability to be able to install ink cartridges of different sizes. So for instance if you know you are going to use a lot of Photo Black for instance you can install a 700ml ink tank, if you use Magenta quite a bit, but not as often as Photo Black you can install a 330ml ink tank and if you use Yellow least of all, you might want to install a 160ml ink tank. Having the ability to make a choice like this allows you to make savings on the big ink tanks and also prevent yourself from tying money up in bigger inks if you just don’t use them.

Large Format Canvas Printer - PRO-SeriesOne thing to make sure of is that the printer you select has a user replaceable printhead. Some printers will require an Engineer call-out to replace the printhead. On the Epson models for instance, the printhead themselves can cost thousands on top of the cost of the Engineer call-out. Printers such as the Canon PRO-Series and the HP Z-Series have user replaceable printheads that take just a few minutes to replace and cost in the region of a few hundred pounds.

Using a printer designed for the job you require (printing Canvas for the purpose of this post) is essential. It really is not worth trying your luck choosing a cheaper printer that isn’t exactly designed for the job. Rather than having to retrospectively pay for spares and repairs and costly Engineer call-outs created by overworking your printer, it makes far more sense to invest in a printer designed to print on Canvas in the first place.

What Printers are on the market that I can print my Canvas on?

If you really are looking for a canvas model on a budget, take a look at the Canon iPF6400SE at just £995 ex VAT while stocks last. This 6 colour graphics printer is now at its lowest price ever and will achieve a stunning canvas print up to A1 size even though it doesn’t have a specific canvas setting in the media list. We can tell you just how to use the settings to get the very best from it.

A great buy if budget is key to kick starting your canvas printing business!

FURTHER READING

10 Good Reasons That Canon Photo Printers Are The Best

Canon PRO-2000 Review

Canon PRO-Series Printer Range Information

HP DesignJet Z6 and Z9+ Printer Range Information

If you need any further help in selecting the perfect Canvas printer for your needs we are always here and happy to help.