View Full Version : LARGE digital prints???

Gary Albertson
11-Oct-2001, 09:38
I've been asked by an owner of a large city mall to come up with possibilities o f printing extremely large archival prints for a lobby. Five at 48"X 96" and one at 48"X168", all from 4X5's. I have somewhat worked out the mounting issues, but the companys who own the larger printers are all over the p lace, all claiming different data about inks, paper and size. I realize length is less of an issue then depth, som e max at 60", some at 48", some at 44", Epson, Hewlett Packard, Lamda(sp?)....Epson is quoting their 200 year ar chivability, others say that's impossible. Any suggestions? Additionally, these prints will affixed to the wall only 3 feet off the floor, allowing all kinds of evil hands to scrape, gouge, poke their expression on whatever is u sed to protect the print surface. Hopefully the job can be accomplished without too much custom-only work.

Gary Albertson
11-Oct-2001, 09:42
Sorry, forgot to also mention, the mall would truly like these to hang for many years, reconfirming my challenge to go about this project in a very archival manner in all aspects. Thanks again

Bill Jefferson
11-Oct-2001, 11:31

Have you looked into lazer scans that size?

John Hennessy
11-Oct-2001, 13:29


Calypso can scan, make Lightjet prints and mount to your specifications up to 48x96. I don't know about 48x168.

Ellis Vener
11-Oct-2001, 14:05
I had some similar width prints made up a while back to be used as "set dressing for a movie. The originals were made on 4x5 RDPIII Quickload sheets and the printing was done via the Durst Lamda process. i was astonished at the quality. The lab was Houston Photo Imaging in Houston, Texas ((713) 666-0287, ask for Steven Hogan (the owner) and please mention me)). I suggest plexiglass sheeting to protect the print.

11-Oct-2001, 14:57
Gary, we do some of this kind of thing in regards to exhibit production in our museum. In the past, we've made alot of cibachrome murals, c-print murals for short term use, and recently we did a large canvas inkjet print. You may be able to get a 48x96 inch mural cibachrome in one piece, the larger one would have to be done in 2 pieces and seamed together. Cibas are time tested for standing up under a variety of display conditions...as for mounting, if it's going to be in a high-use area, we usually go for first-surface mounting. This is where the front of the print is mounted to a sheet of plexiglass. It's a very clean, durable mounting style (as long as nobody gouges the plex), and if the corners of the plex are rounded off as well (I recommend), it's about the best way to treat exhibit prints...another good option would be mounting the print to a sheet of Sintra (compressed PVC in 4x8 sheets), and getting a "lustre laminate" over the surface...this will offer good protection from scuffs, fingerprints etc. This is the way we do most of our murals, especially the ones that hang right where visitors can (and will, believe me) run their hands over everything. With backlit transp. like cibatrans, you can also first surface mount and then mount to a frosted plex back, for the lightbox. We have a half dozen or so, large murals (2-3 pieces seamed) in a gallery that have been up for almost 7 yrs. straight this way, backlit for 8-10 hr days avg/6 days a week.

For the inkjet we had done, this was a 1:1 repro of a painting that is hanging in our legislature building. We shot it on 4x5, had a drum scan done, and it was output on a very heavy canvas material using outdoor inks that were rated around 15 yrs. or so....which I think is a more "realistic" rating than some of the other manufacturers. We have a complete exhibit production shop here & do silkscreen as well (although this was output by a local service bureau), but we took the canvas and stretched it onto a frame like it was a painting itself...and then put it in our spray booth & gave it a protective coating. It measured about 5'x9' or so, and the reason it was done this way was because we originally wanted to do a cibachrome, but we needed it in one piece--not tiled--so this was the answer. It hangs in a lobby area in partial sunlight, and really comes close to looking like the original piece. If & when it fades out, we'll just redo it. The total cost of this was also alot cheaper than a cibachrome, but all the production stuff like mounting, framing etc. was done in-house by our shop.

Drop me a line if you're looking for labs on the east coast, we use one down in Atlanta & have for years, and they give excellent turnkey service...we've done some unique murals in the past...like ones that were mounted to inner walls of a circular room, that sort of thing and they did a great job helping us with these. There are other mounting options as well, such as wrapping the corners of a print around a sheet of aluminum for example, this is a very durable mounting method. Lastly, 3M and Scotch make a ton of exhibit display materials, that may be worth looking into, including digital output vinyl like the kind of stuff billboards are made of now, or what you see on the side of buses & trucks for advertisements....we've used a bit of this in outdoor signage & it really holds up. I suggest you try to find an exhibit production or tradeshow production design shop for some help if you're curious. Good luck.

BTW, I wouldn't obsess over an "archival" print for this use...if it's going to be displayed it WILL fade, if people can touch it it CAN be ruined , it doesn't matter what the material is...never show one-of-a-kinds for a long period of time, save your film....chances are the mall won't be around in 200 yrs. either.

11-Oct-2001, 15:15
Oh. yeah...Lambda's, as Ellis said are nice as well....we have a large exhibit up right now that has all the primary signage ouput as Lambda prints...text, photos etc...all output at around 20x24 or so and the graphic is mounted to a thick piece of MDF, and routed out. So, it's like a one inch thick sign. We got a laminate coating over these as well, and the sign is mounted to the walls, environments etc. by way of a large "cleat" fixed to the back...they're really hanging there for the most part, but they're very heavy, so they stay in place. Lambda prints are pretty common now used this way in alot of exhibits. It's alot more durable than an inkjet print as far as signage goes. Just about the only thing that can absolutely ruin this (besides fading out), is vandalism, or an "accident"...say someone decides to carve their intials on the sign, or key it...This can happen with plex too, but sometimes you can buff it out. Another option with all this stuff is getting into profile cuts, and making the entire thing look more three-dimensional and become part of the environment. If you're looking for vendors, try to find a copy of "Exhibit Builder" magazine, it's sorta an trade mag for this line of work. Once again...good luck.

15-Oct-2001, 19:43

I use a company in Brisbane, Australia, called fstoponline (http://www.fstoponline.com.au/) who print out on a lambda printer. Their maximum size prints are 120cm x 30m, you can send your files by FTP or CD, and they charge AU$60 per square metre of print (that's about US$30!). I get all of my images printed there.

Regards, Graeme