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For Flatbeds Only: Rigid Substrates

More than 25 companies offering rigid media.

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Say "flatbed" and one of the first benefits that comes to mind is that it can print directly onto flat, rigid media. Your sales staff sells that idea of versatility to prospective clients, and those same customers typically will come up with all sorts of projects that require different and wide-ranging media. You’ll be asked to output onto a variety of surfaces-from a score of composites, cardboard, glass, and wood, to plastic, metal, tile, carpet, and much more.

Taking on specialty and even unusual printing jobs can indeed help your shop carve out a new and lucrative line of products. But finding sources of a variety of printable rigid media can sometimes prove difficult, and flatbed owners can’t afford to have their machine sitting idle simply due to hard-to-find media.

To help you in your search for rigid media, we have done some of the legwork for you. On the following pages, you’ll find more than 25 companies offering print-ready rigid media at least 24-in. wide. We’ve provided brief descriptions of each company’s rigid offerings, as well as the company’s website, so you can follow-up for more information.

In addition, you may want to keep these points in mind as you shop around for rigid products:

* Before you purchase the all-wood 4-ft door or the 5 x 10-ft glass panel to print upon, be sure you take a look at your machine’s specs. Check how thick materials can be and how heavy a payload the printer can handle. Some are designed to accommodate very thick and very heavy substrates, but many are not.

* In addition to the resources that follow, you might consider using smaller-format pieces-such as pretreated glass, foamboard, or tiles. Since most flatbeds allow the ganging of smaller items onto the bed, users could print an image onto a bed of smaller pieces to make a mural.

* Since flatbeds can print onto virtually any flat surface, you may be able to find local distributors of these and other uncoated products. Test first, however, to see if your printer can print directly onto a sample piece.