Wood printer?

Has anyone seen anything about a hobbyist wood printer. One of our products has just been a bear to manufacture and I can’t figure out a better way to do it. Right now we are using clear stickers to apply the month and graphic and stickers on the weather coins and wood burning the dates and days of the week and hand painting the weekdays strip.

Any ideas about how to do this better?

This does a single color

So I bet something does exist commercially!
EDIT: UV Printers are what some factories and companies use.
Example: http://www.directcolorsystems.com/applications/wood-printing/

Or fake it like Steve Ramsey!

1 Like

I’m sure you could if your printer is big enough and has an oversize feed in the back so it can print without having to bend the stock. I have gotten my inkjet printer to print to various materials before and was sometimes surprised it would work. Big suggestion is to set the printer to photo quality or the highest quality setting and run a couple of test telling it you have various material types. A high quality setup on photo paper will tell the machine to actually apply the least and most precise amount of ink, its a bit inverse to what you would think it does, but I could get more high quality 13x19 prints out of one cartridge setup than draft 8.5x11 prints. If you find the ink bleading try appling a clearcoat to the wood to mimic the surface of photo paper.

Another thing to consider is to transfer a mirror image to the wood, i would think that a smooth surface prep would be key to getting a clean and consistent image.

Inkjet will transfer with Gesso, it will usally give you a more rustic and faded look and can be messy.

Acetone transfer requires a laser printer, so that might or might not be an issue, but its fairly easy

A Side note you could use a v-carve bit to cut the dates and larger lettering.

1 Like

If you google ‘substrate printer’ you will find several…the unfortunate part is they are expensive…

That handheld unit is sweet but it wouldn’t work, but maybe a spin off- I’ll investigate.

@KevinPorter we’ve tried every ink transfer method and ink transfer paper but they are all too time consuming and the results are inconsistent with generally poor quality.

@JeremyHill yeah I know the uv printers are really high. It would be very cool to have one, but it would be huge investment.

Engraving hasn’t worked. Everything is too small except the month titles and engraving them into the MDF doesn’t give enough contrast.

My wife and I have been around and around about these. I’ve never been really happy with the quality and it takes too long, but people keep wanting to buy them and at $100 a calendar it’s hard to decline them. I just prefer making a product that I’m really proud of and that has a great profit margin.

1 Like

Laser it on? At least the non-coloured bit…

Perhaps work with a local screen printing shop? The materials look to be pretty inexpensive, so maybe you could get the screens made, (screen) print the images on the boards, then cut it out?

@DanBrown I don’t have a laser. I’ve considered getting one but it really wouldn’t help much here. It’s pretty cost effective to buy the coins and using number brands with the wood burner to put on the numbers.

@EricMccord we’ve considered this and it may be our only bet.

I would think with the way technology has become cheaper and cheaper, with 3-d printers and cnc now readily available at the hobby-pro level that an option for printing on wood would be accessible as well. But UV printers are still outrageously price. I mean come on, it’s just a slightly special printer, but $10,000 - $15,000 that’s preposterous!

True, if all you’re putting on is a limited number of specific graphics, it’s probably not worth it. Where it really comes into its own is when you need flexibility, to change graphics and text rapidly.

I just know I get a heck of a lot of use out of my laser!

1 Like

You can get companies to do it for you on their UV printer.