Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

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TogaTony
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Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by TogaTony » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:55 pm

Note: This reply was originally posted in response to watchdaride's inquiry on why he/she should buy a used Summa DC3 Plus Printer. I thought it best to post this for general discussion.

SUMMA THERMAL PRINTERS: PRO's and CON's

Summa thermal ribbon printers are an affordable and extremely reliable alternative for the small sign shop and/or graphics studio. And a welcome add-on to the larger print shop. Summa printers are not speed demons. They work and work well. These printers do exactly what they are designed to do and do it better than any other printer in the field.

PROS:
1. No odor, no fumes, no outgassing, no mess!
2. No ink-jets to clog
___Printer can stand idle for hours on end.
___Can leave unit powered-down and in the garage for weeks at a time!
3. Wide temp production window
___Prints great from 55F to 80F! --I've done it.
___...Just run 'LINE FEED CALIBRATION' first, then run 'Print-n-Cut', and you're good to go!
4. No dry time.
___Print is completely dry-to-touch immediately after completion.
___Prints can be overlaminated or set immediately.
5. Ribbons colorfast for 3-5 years without lamination, no problem.
___Summa Scratchguard is excellent for added UV-protection on-the-fly.
___Also, Daige Rollaguard liquid laminate is excellent! Comes in Gloss and Satin.
___Rollaguard can be applied AFTER contour cutting & punching! A real plus!
___(Avail. at Hyatt's Supply 800-234-9288 Buffalo NY)
6. FLEXI-CUT feature punches out individual stickers after contour cutting!
___(Summa exclusive...Nobody does that.)
7. DC3 Plus and later models feature Summa's OptiPrint (a/k/a Opti-Clean) System.
___According to Summa: Delivers optimal print quality. Removes dust and debris in a unique process the cleans the media immediately before the color pass is printed. Dust is a thing of the past.
8. DC3/4 prints on almost any glossy vinyl from Avery to Oracal.
___Prints on variety of Color Vinyls including reflective
___(See compatibility listing in this forum.)
8a. PRINTS SPOT WHITE!
___Great for Static Cling Vinyl window decals.
8b. PRINTS MIRROR-GOLD and MIRROR-SILVER (Chrome)!
___Great for security/parking lot permit stickers for vehicles.
9. DC3 is a great 36 inch machine. You rarely need more.
___36" is way wider than necessary for vehicle wraps.
___For control purposes and material handling, 24"-30" prints are probably ideal.
___The DC4-SX prints up to 30" and is a good buy for the money.
___DC4 is the Rolls-Royce of the biz--prints on 24", 30", 40" and 54" rolls.
10. Summa Color Control is a great CMY RIP.
___No need for CMYK. Really. Save a ribbon, use Scratchguard instead of black.
11. FREE TECH SUPPORT FROM SUMMA! (this is really worth it)
___SUMMA TECH: 800-323-9766
12. This forum.
___DIGITAL GRAPHICA is better than any other forum out there.
13. Great specialty ribbons
___Mirror Gold, Mirror Silver, M-Red, M-Blue, Hot colors and WHITE!
14. Summa technology used by U-HAUL and US GOV'T.
___You'll never look at U-Haul graphics the same way again!
15. Summa's Ribbon Color Guide is a MUST!
___Need one? Call Summa Sales: 800-527-7778
16. Color Control comes close to Pantone Color Match numbers in CMY mode.
17. Color Control has Hi-Res option
___For excellent gradients, choose hi-res and double dot in Color Control!
18. Summa Color Control is the best, cheapest RIP and WORKS GREAT!
19. Print Perforated Window Graphics for vehicles!
___Color Control's VisionPrint imitates perforation on clear films.
___VisionPrint can print to calendared vinyl -- save money!
___VisionPrint works even better on high performance & opti-clear films.
20. ECONOMICAL & VERSATILE Printer
___DC4 SX is a bargain. DC3 Plus on eBay is rediculously cheap.
___AND-- Any cheap Windows laptop can drive the printers!
___These printers print on a huge-variety of vinyl films.
21. Free firmware updates (call SUMMA tech)
22. VERY LOW CARBON FOOTPRINT.
___Ribbons are highly efficient. Low energy consumption vs. UV & other systems.
___Run 3" x 24" color tests before printing. Catch errors--Save Vinyl! Save money!
___No need to worry about being obsolete. The DC3 & 4's are state of the art.
___Thermal ribbon technology has been perfected (unlike inkjets).
___Your printer will last for years and years. A good investment.
23. Summa DC Series better for short run jobs than inkjets
___No need to clean jets, calibrate color each time. Very little waste.
24. Summa DC Series is like a Gerber Edge on steroids.
___Ha-ha-ha...
25. One last thingy: It's made in BELGIUM, EU! (not Communist China)

Did I miss anything, Muts??


CONS:
1. Machine weighs 650 lbs.

___...Might be an issue depending on your location.
2. No built-in surge protection -- go get a battery backup unit.
3. Hard drive sometimes quirky. (delete your old saved files for max-headroom)
4. No native Macintosh OSX Color Control RIP.
___Important to some considering the popularity of Macs in the art & design field.
5. Ribbons work best up to 75% usage.
___Remove 25% of ribbon to finish roll or ribbon might wrinkle.
6. No metallic matte-gold or metallic matte-silver (yet)
7. No Pantone Color Match numbers for spot ribbons.
8. Ribbon cost is too high for spot colors.
___CMYK should be $100 each and spots, $150 each.
9. Ribbon carts way too high at $89 each!
___Summa should give 1 cart free with every '3-pack.'
10. CMY Output averages almost $3/sqft including media.
___... too high for banners but OK for wraps and other stuff like magnets.
___AND at 2-3 times the cost for output of cheap inkjets, it's not best for everything.
___but keep in mind that for what it does, it does better than most!
11. Ribbon cassettes clumsy
___It's a pain in the butt to change ribbons all the time.
___Have at least 10 cassettes on hand.
12. Summa brand media too expensive for high performance vinyls
13. Head guarantee too short.
___Should be based on usage, not on time (it's only 90 days).
14. Fatal errors on DC3 should have built-in work-around.
___Machine should pause, let you fix problem and resume but NO!
___Very Windows-like. The obviously learned from Microsoft, not Apple. Ugh!
15. Summa DC Series not economical choice for long runs because of material cost.
___If Summa discounted ribbons 25%, it would be a no-brainer!
16. DC3 limited to 40" rolls.
___DC3 Cannot use 24" or 30" vinyl as does the DC4 series.
___The new DC4 series more than adequately address this minor shortcoming...

Did I miss anything guys?
Feel free to add-on.

later,

Tony :-)
Last edited by TogaTony on Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:34 pm, edited 13 times in total.
Summa DC3+, Ledco Digital 42, Versatec E-Stat, Allen Datagraph & Gerber cutters. Apps: Freehand, Illustrator, Photoshop on Mac, ColorControl on PC.

Muts
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Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by Muts » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:07 pm

Many thanks Tony...excellent post...

~Muts

Did I miss anything, Muts??
and 1 dedicated forum... that's a PRO I think...:mrgreen:

TogaTony
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:50 pm
Location: Upstate NY, USA

Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by TogaTony » Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:23 pm

We're on Facebook!
facebook-logo.jpg
facebook-logo.jpg (6.42 KiB) Viewed 28238 times
Check it out:
http://tiny.cc/2qOhq" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

original link:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gansevoor ... 0046612612" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yes, we wholesale flags to the trade.
Also, find Summa-made stickers at:
http://www.spinelliart.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
(It's a family thing...)

Tony :-)
Last edited by TogaTony on Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Summa DC3+, Ledco Digital 42, Versatec E-Stat, Allen Datagraph & Gerber cutters. Apps: Freehand, Illustrator, Photoshop on Mac, ColorControl on PC.

Rodi
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Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:24 pm

Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by Rodi » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:14 pm

Ok,
I have a few questions…

What is the difference between DC3 and DC3 Plus?

With these machines can I do a 12 color job, say CMYK, and 8 spots?

Can I do a 6 color job CMYK, WHITE and Gold?

Does it have Optiprint like the DC4 and DC4sx?

I'm waiting for the right machine at the right time, but I really have liked the Summas over Gerbers, especially since size matters.

How is it at straight vinyl cutting?


Will a 2 GHZ P4 with 768 MB Ram be a good enough RIP station? I beleive it has USB 1.1. I would of course design in either Freehand (8 Mac, 9 PC, MX Mac) (with Photoshop) or LXI for vinyl.

Because I do not have a ton to run, I think this machine would be great for me.

TogaTony
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:50 pm
Location: Upstate NY, USA

Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by TogaTony » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:36 pm

To answer your questions:

1) What is the difference between DC3 and DC3 Plus?
DC3 Plus includes the Summa OptiPrint (Opti-Clean) Roller installed on the printer carriage.

2) can I do a 12 color job, say CMYK, and 8 spots?
Yes and no. It's not practical.
Use CMY and make all spots process.
12 color will cost you over $7/sqft in ribbons alone.


3) Can I do a 6 color job CMYK, WHITE and Gold?
Again -- YES but use CMY not CMYK with white & gold.

4) Does it have Optiprint like the DC4 and DC4sx?
YES but you cannot use RED for opti-track color.

5) Get DC3 Plus off eBay for under $4k.
New DC4-SX is best bet but is $12k.
BUT--Wait for DC4 ribbon bundle special from Summa.

6) How is it at straight vinyl cutting?
Excellent but DO NOT USE as stand-alone vinyl cutter.
It is optimized for contour cutting & punch thru (flexcut) for printed decals.
Get a cheap (used) cutter if you need a stand alone cutter.

We have an Allen Datatgraph (2 actually). They are made in USA & the best.
They do not have OPUS. No need for it if you have the DC3.



7) Will a 2 GHZ P4 with 768 MB Ram be a good enough RIP station?
YES. Just get USB update/driver from Summa.

8) I would of course design in either Freehand (8 Mac, 9 PC, MX Mac) (with Photoshop) or LXI for vinyl.
FINE. Just export files as EPS (vector with contour cutting) or PDF (raster only with not contour cutting -- all Photoshop RGB process files).

9) Because I do not have a ton to run, I think this machine would be great for me.
YES. Our DC3 is only used once a week. All we need to do is run the Line-Feed calibration & off we go! It's way faster than a Gerber Edge but a snail next to inkjets. But hey--there's no waste, no smelly ink, no problem -- once you get the hang of it. If you can think like a t-shirt screen printer, you're set. We do most all our prep in Freehand-10 on the Mac and move files (via sneaker-net) using old ZIP-100 discs to a Compaq laptop (which is NOT on the net, so no virus probs).

Good luck!

Tony :-)
Last edited by TogaTony on Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Summa DC3+, Ledco Digital 42, Versatec E-Stat, Allen Datagraph & Gerber cutters. Apps: Freehand, Illustrator, Photoshop on Mac, ColorControl on PC.

Rodi
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:24 pm

Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by Rodi » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:11 pm

OK,
How do I tell the difference between a DC3 and a DC3 Plus? I see one I may be interested in, but I don't know how to tell.

Thanks,

Rodi

TogaTony
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:50 pm
Location: Upstate NY, USA

Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by TogaTony » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:08 pm

How to identify DC3 vs. DC3 Plus:

1) ask the seller
2) See if opti-clean roller (Summa OptiPrint System) is installed on front of print carriage.
OptiPrint System.gif
OptiPrint System.gif (66.81 KiB) Viewed 28257 times
Note: Opti-Clean is a generic name for Summa's OptiPrint System.
You will find it used interchangeably in this forum.

Good luck!

Tony
Summa DC3+, Ledco Digital 42, Versatec E-Stat, Allen Datagraph & Gerber cutters. Apps: Freehand, Illustrator, Photoshop on Mac, ColorControl on PC.

Rodi
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:24 pm

Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by Rodi » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:43 pm

Thanks,

That helps a bunch!

Rodi

G-Artist
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Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:57 pm

Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by G-Artist » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:18 pm

Can the machine print on anything smaller than 24"? For instance, say I have a 12" wide scrap and need to print a 5" decal - can I slip it in and use it or not?

One seller (in Canada) stated it can be used for screen printing film positives. Anyone know what sort of density I could expect (in value number)?

Any dealers in the Florida area or in the S.E. USA?

Thanks.

FS15
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Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by FS15 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:41 am

I found this on Signwarehouse, Maybe this will help someone decide between Thermal or Ink-Jet. The Ribbons might be high for a Summa, but look at the repair bills on an Ink-Jet! And if the print head takes a dump on a Summa you can change it yourself. New or Used Thermal? I purchased a USED DC4.

Used or New… Which is the best buy?

By jbarrax

As we move from the recession towards a recovery, sign makers interested in entering the digital print market have the option of buying a new outdoor printer or picking up a used printer on the cheap. Used printers have always been around.

A few years ago, growing sign shops had the option of buy a new ecosolvent printer or a used Gerber Edge or ColorCamm. Today’s buyers are finding used ValueJETs, VersaCamms and JV3s lying around in the wake of the Great Recession.

This poses the question: Is it better to buy a new printer or try to save some money and get a so-called slightly used one?


As with most used hardware purchases, you have to look beyond the price to fully weigh the risks and benefits. That mint condition 3 year old Chrysler Caravan may not be such a good deal after a visit to the transmission shop. Likewise that “barely used” ValueJET may not be a good investment after you find out what it costs to get it back to print ready condition. Let’s take a look at some cases from our tech support files. Our senior color technician Ron Adams forwarded me these numbers from a support ticket generated by one of our customers who took the bait and bought a used printer. At only $5,000, it looked like a great deal…at first.

Because the previous owner had fallen on hard times, the printer had not been maintained well. It sat idle for many months. So, it needed a refurbished ink kit and six new ink lines, which cost $960.00. Once those parts were replaced, they discovered he needed a new set of O-rings and nut set, which cost an additional $69.00. No big deal. But then, as they tried to get the old machine running properly, he found it also needed a new main board; price tag, $1,500.00. After all this work was done, the customer wised up and realized he had purchased a money pit. He decided to invest his money more wisely and bought a new PrismJET VJ48. Had he done so initially, he could have saved himself about $7,500 and several weeks of lost productivity.

Another customer recently bought a used ValueJET that looked like it was in good condition. But, because it too had been sitting idle for about six months, the inks were clogged in the printer, requiring the installation of a new maintenance assembly, dampers, and a new print head. If you paid $5,000 for a printer that needed this level of attention to revive it, your costs would look like this.

• Used printer: $5,000
• Ink and cleaning cartridges: $407.96
• 8 new dampers @ $51.00each: $408.00
• New Maintenance assembly: $497.00
• New Mutoh VJ print head: $1,635.00
• On-site service required for print head installation: $995.00 – $2,000*
Suddenly, that “great deal” on a used printer has cost $9,947.96. At this point you may want to slap your forehead and say, “Wow! I could have had a new VJ48!”

Our PrismJET VJ48 can be purchased brand new with FlexiSign Pro 8.6 graphic design and RIP software, a one year on-site warranty, inks and cleaning cartridges, and factory fresh reliability; all for just under $10,000. We understand that other dealers’ prices are much higher.

But with SignWarehouse providing such outstanding values to the sign and graphics industry, there’s no reason to settle for used equipment. Save yourself the wasted money and endless aggravation of trying to fix someone else’s problems. Get yourself a new VJ48!

*Print head installation cannot be performed by the end user and requires on-site service by a Mutoh certified technician. Depending on your location, this can cost up to $2,000.
DC4, T75, Signlab 8

G-Artist
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Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by G-Artist » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:35 pm

At Signs 101 there is currently a thread about Sign Warehouse. They don't discount the quality of merchandise but do everything else.

I was tempted to make a VJ48 purchase from them due to price as well as what a solvent printer can do. I am currently in the market for a Summa because due to our shop conditions we couldn't keep any inkjet-type printer running. No heat, no AC, doors and windows always open when we work, etc.

JR's
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Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by JR's » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:17 am

Thanks real good stuff.

zlmark
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Location: Frisco, Colorado
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Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by zlmark » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:55 am

This was a real good post. This could have been about a Value Jet
or most any other inkjet. Bottom line, if you let your inkjet sit
you will have problems. Mine sits a lot. I knew that from the start.
And so what. It's ready to go anytime. Didn't want the brain damage
of inkjet technology and smell would not be acceptable.
I made the right decision.

Mark

All Color Signs
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Re: Looking to buy a Summa DC3-4? READ THIS!

Post by All Color Signs » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:18 am

Such a perfect discussion title for me. Want a DC4 and this confirms my desire. I am a relatively small shop and started in the sign business virtually by accident about 10 years ago. About one and a half years ago, I dug my sign hole deeper by shifting from cut vinyl only to being able to offer full color decals and such. I purchased a Gerber Edge 2, an Envision plotter, and an Eclipse (Summa) 64T plotter. Business is crazy at times, but then things can get real quiet. I want the DC4 so it can sit patiently, or provide full color of the highest durability (being thermal) without needing the laminating. Also, I do not want to deal with the fumes. After doing a couple billboards on the Edge, and having to panel more than I care, I need to get a wider format to compliment the Edge. If someone can help me find one of these, I would sincerely appreciate it. I would prefer to find a used unit and would be willing to deal with all shipping and, if required, import issues. I live in Manitoba. My e-mail is allcolorsigns@hotmail.com

Thanks

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