T-Shirt Forums banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to see how many others are making Chroma Luxe photo panels and what do you think of them.

I have been making some and i love the look of a good photo imprinted onto the metal gloss panels.
But the quality of the panels is so inconsistant from one to the next.

I have a good eye for this and see it right away even my wife sees it after a good look.

So far every single one i have has little problems in the surface of the panel.

I am also a photographer and i am used to high quality photo lab prints.
If i get a print with a problem in the surface we call the lab and they make a new one and sends it out next day shipping to us.

I want to sell a lot of metal prints to my customers but every metal panel has one or more of.

  • Dings or small dents in it.
  • Scratches in the surface you can see even before imprinting and after it shows even more.
  • Small flakes of the white area that have come off and you can see the metal so that area will not imprint. You end up with a photo with a small metal flake showing in your image.
So how do you give a product like this to your customers?
What do you tell them when they say i love the metal print but can you make us one with out the dings in it.

This is also the same for the wood prints.
The wood shows a almost banding effect that is in the wood texture and some of the wood ones i have done have dirt flakes or something that will not wipe off that show in the photos. This is under the peal back layer.
I did a 11x14 last night and part of the panel would not even take the imprint it looks like the coating was not put on right all the way across the wood.

As for photos i can buy what is called matallic prints from my photo lab that look just like the metal prints and they will be ding free.
But i want to make my own prints and people do like the metal and i can make them for less myself.

I guess this comes down to that we have never gave our customers a photo product that had any surface problem before.
What should we tell our customers.

It is metal and will not be as smooth as a normal print and may have dings and other problems in it.

I showed a 11x14 to a lady today and she did not see the ding but that was only a quick look and it was not her photo so she was not looking at it like if it was her photo she just paid for..

What do you do if your customers start sending them back and want it fixed?.

I have the customers so we can maybe sell around 100 11x14s and a lot of 8x10 and some of the other sizes but i need to know how to tell my customers what to expect.
We sell a lot online so i will have to have some kind of disclamer on the website but that will make them not want to buy them then.

When i show them in person i will have to show them the little problems so they know in advance what to expect.
We just found a store front to rent today and we move in on the 15th of next month and i will be making a lot of 11x14 and 8x10s to hang on the walls to show and sell but they will be hanging next to photo lab prints that have no dings.

I think this will be a big seller for high school seniors if i can get past how to sell it.

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,512 Posts
A photographer will look at a picture/print much differently then a consumer. Heck how many people have even looked at a print in the last year? Everything is moved to electronic media which is very poor quality in comparison.

I would guess 99% of your clients will not have any issues with a small blemish even if they notice it. For that 1% - heck they will never be happy. A small disclaimer will protect you in the rare case someone comes back at you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
431 Posts
Quality issues like this are the reason I don't sell Unisub products anymore. Their boxes are the worst. I have found sustitutes for most of their items or simply don't sell them. You might check into selling plaques with subbed aluminum plates, not quite the same but you don't have to look away when you sell them to customers.

When I brought up the quality issues to Unisub at a show they simply said nobody else has a problem, if you aren't happy send them back to your supplier. So I did and now buy from other places to save time and trouble. It's too bad their quality still hasn't improved, but apparently people just absorb the cost by throwing the unusable items away instead of returning and complaining about them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
We sold over $40.000 in prints last year so people are still looking at them and hanging them on the wall. 11x14 and up are on the wall and they see them every day.

I also right now have two other photographers that want me to make metal and other sub products for them to sell. I can make them for less then the few photo labs that sell metal prints.

I need to give a few metal 8x10 samples out next week to them to show customers.

Would like to move up to a large format printer and a 30x40 press at some point so i can make larger 20x24 and 24x36 metal prints to sell to my customers and to other photographers to sell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
It dose seem to be a quality control problem as most of the surface is very good but they let little things like dust get under the white sub coat and then you have the little dings in the image.

The sad part is i got into dye sub for the first main reason for making the metal and wood panels for my customers.

I have some of the dye sub clip boards and they have a better surface on them then the Chroma Luxe panels the clip boards so far have been ding free.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
431 Posts
They seem to have a major problem with any metal that they are blanking out to a specific size or shape. Their license plates used to have a mark from an apparent stripper bolt problem, the exact same place every time (30 years of sheet metal work makes these things obvious). If the dings are random they are getting dirt under the aluminum when they blank the parts or damage from handling, thin aluminum is easy to damage. I have never had a problem with their metal sheets but I haven't used them in a few years so the quality of them may have suffered lately.

Sinced your quantity is high enough why don't you just have a local woodworker make up some backings and cut your own aluminum from sheet stock for the sizes with straight edges? The curved top designs could be worked out with a machine shop or tool maker and your quality issues are over and you can make your own designs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
I have had constant trouble with many of the 'clear aluminum' panels flaking on the edges. This really ticks me off because I really like the look the panel gives some photos. Can't sell em though because who the hell wants a panel with small 'voids' on the edges because of flaking. I think Unisub has turned a deaf ear to end-users. I take great care in handling these panels and they still flake. This aint my first rodeo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
And here I thought it was just me having these problems... Not sure if I should be happy that I'm not the only one, or sad that Unisub just doesn't care...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
What about the white coating and the gloss dye sub coating how would i do that??

They seem to have a major problem with any metal that they are blanking out to a specific size or shape. Their license plates used to have a mark from an apparent stripper bolt problem, the exact same place every time (30 years of sheet metal work makes these things obvious). If the dings are random they are getting dirt under the aluminum when they blank the parts or damage from handling, thin aluminum is easy to damage. I have never had a problem with their metal sheets but I haven't used them in a few years so the quality of them may have suffered lately.

Sinced your quantity is high enough why don't you just have a local woodworker make up some backings and cut your own aluminum from sheet stock for the sizes with straight edges? The curved top designs could be worked out with a machine shop or tool maker and your quality issues are over and you can make your own designs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Is their not a product for this that is any good.

Looking for Metal 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 and it would be great to have a 12x14 or 15 all with rounded corners.

I am going to still try and use the CL panels (That is why i got into this) that and the t shirts but i will have to send back all the bad ones for now on it cost to much not to. But that can mean i send back maybe 5 out of 6 just to get one that is not to bad to use.

I have a lot of the wood 5x7 panels and some 8x10s the more i make the more i do not like them. The samples i looked at when i first got into this did not have the wood grain lines and problems in the finish in them like what i was sent for my orders.

Going to buy some pre cut 11x14 boards and see about making dye sub canvas prints that i then mount (Glue) to the board. But that is a lot of extra work.

I think if i would of known the panels are so bad i may not of spent all the money on all this equipment and went another way for other items i make. I was going to do screen printing at first but loved the metal and wood photo panel samples and this is what sold me.
Now i can not seem to get that quality of a panel to use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
431 Posts
Coating your own items is a tough way to go from what I understand, but if you are interested here is a link to the latest stuff on the market.Sublimation Coatings: Transfer Supplies USA
This is from the same person who started Artanium ink so he has been doing this for a while but how well this works I couldn't tell you.

Most of the suppilers will sell you cut sheets of whatever size you want if you don't have your own shear and they can round the corners. Conde has a silver with a decorative border that adds a nice touch precut to 5 X 7 not sure about other sizes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
Have you printed on hardboard? I've printed a few coasters made from hardboard and they turn out great. I'm also a photographer and am thinking of printing some photos with the appearance of a mat and frame, all in one. This way, the customer doesn't have the additional expense of mounting, matting and framing. I just need to find the best way to hang them, and figure out my printer problem. Here is an example:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
That looks good only if you can make sure you get it centered right every time.
I find that a little hard to do.
More easy with metal face down on the paper.

I do have some on hard board that look better then the CL panels but you need to use a thick board i did some on a thiner board and the board curves some like the bottom of a drink tray board.

What is not to bad is using a message board they do not bend and have rounded corners.
They are the same as a clip board with out the clip part.

The metal looks so good i am not going to give up on it even if i have to have it custom cut from a place that makes the surface better.
I do think i could sell a lot of metal prints.

What i like the most about the metal other then the look is how easy it is to make them.
Face done on the paper is just so much easyer then working with wood or other items face up


Have you printed on hardboard? I've printed a few coasters made from hardboard and they turn out great. I'm also a photographer and am thinking of printing some photos with the appearance of a mat and frame, all in one. This way, the customer doesn't have the additional expense of mounting, matting and framing. I just need to find the best way to hang them, and figure out my printer problem. Here is an example:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
Now that I think about it, I do think it would be easier to cut the board first. That's what I do for my coasters. If I cut the board to the correct size first, centering the photo won't be an issue due to the board and print being the exact same size. I'll be using my table saw. I'll have to remember to prep the hardboard prior to printing so I don't have curling issues.

It costs me $45-$50 to have an 8" X 12" photo professionally printed, matted, mounted and framed with plexiglass. Actually, I do the framing myself with metal frames. My cost for dye subbing on hardboard with the appearance of a 16" X 20" frame with matting is just $12. I just think it might open a new avenue for selling prints. It will have a different look and will sell for much less than an actual print.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
That is a good idea

I can not print a 16x20 size but i could print a size to fit into a 16x20 size with the white around it.

I will have to give that a try and see how it comes out
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top