How Do You Use An Ultraviolet Printer To Create Stainless Steel Signage?

Grand-format UV printing is a great method for creating durable signage on nearly every material. These printers use a special type of ink that cures almost instantaneously when exposed to the strong ultraviolet light coming from the printer. If you're creating signs for small businesses, one of the best materials you can use is stainless steel. Unlike laser engraving, which simply etches out holes in the plate, UV printing is capable of applying high-resolution images to the sign you're creating. If you're interested in printing on stainless steel, you'll need to prepare it first. To learn how you can prepare a stainless steel plate for grand-format ultraviolet printing, read on.

Scrub and Sand the Surface

When you get a thin stainless steel plate from the factory to make a sign with, it typically comes covered in a bit of stray oil and carbon dust. Both of these contaminants will stop the ink from properly adhering, so you'll need to remove them before you can print on it. Dilute some sodium triphosphate in water, wet a dishcloth with it, and scrub the plate vigorously to remove all of the residue from the manufacturing process.

Afterward, you'll need to sand the surface down using fine-grit sandpaper to roughen it up. This improves the ink's ability to adhere to the steel plate, so you'll get a long-lasting sign for your client once the ultraviolet light cures it.

Apply Adhesion Promoter

If you want the longest-lasting color possible, it's important to use an adhesion promoter when you're printing on stainless steel. An adhesion promoter grabs onto the ink that the printer applies to the plate, preventing it from moving around and potentially causing the sign to become blurry.

Print Your Plate on Stainless Steel Mode

Set your UV printer to stainless steel so that it knows to use a low ink density across multiple printing passes, then start it up. If the surface of the plate is properly cleaned and you've applied adhesion promoter to it, the ink will stick to it effortlessly. Once your printer engages its ultraviolet light curing mode, it'll set the ink onto the plate, creating a very durable and colorful sign.

Overall, good preparation is the most important step to making sure your stainless steel print jobs will last a long time. Removing all of the residue from manufacturing and applying an adhesion primer will ensure all of the ink bonds to the surface and settles before it's cured by the ultraviolet light from the printer. With great preparation, you'll be able to quickly create beautiful stainless steel signs for your clients with your grand-format flatbed printer.

For more information about UV flatbed printers, reach out to a local supplier.