Decorating tumblers with the MUTOH 626UF UV printer

UV printing is becoming popular in the printing world. The technology behind this printer gives a customer endless opportunities to print start to a substrate. From phone covers, notebooks, trophies, and other promotional items. The printer lays the ink down and the UV light that follows dries the ink instantly. When the print is finished, the ink is dry and ready to be handled. The MUTOH 626 UF is a UV printer that has a 23.3” by 19” flatbed and can print an item to 5.9 inches. The 626 UF comes in CMYK plus White and Varnish. The white ink gives the chance to print on colored items. The printer can lay down a layer of white ink and print a full-color image over it. When you print on a colored item, the colors will shift.

The 626 UF can print on round items using the rotary unit. You can use the rotary unit to print cylinder items, like a cup or jars. While it will do cups, you cannot print on cups with a handle. The rotary unit will roll the cup around and a handle will either be in the way of the print head or keep the cup from moving freely. The other issue you can come across is tumbler like a Yeti. The top of the tumbler is wider than the bottom. The tumbler needs to lay flat on the unit, and this type of cup will tip over. There are ways to help keep the cup straight and we will talk about them in a bit.

The rotary unit cannot just be placed in the printer, it could break the printer or unit if not properly installed. In the menu, select Menu 5 – Option, and select the rotary unit. You can say yes or no to execute the menu for installation, which will walk you through step-by-step instructions. The menu will tell you when to place the unit, to loosen and tighten the thumbscrews and set the height of the table. When printing on a flat-surfaced item, the printer will feed the media and set the flatbed to the correct placement using a laser. When the rotary unit is installed, the laser will be covered, and you place the height. Here are images of setting the rotary unit into the printer.

You can use a caliper or a ruler to get the diameter of your item. The printer reads in metric, it would be best to use a measuring tool with metric units. If the item is curved or slightly changes width, use the widest point. Keep in mind that when the printhead is not of ideal height, your print could be out of focus. When the item is placed in the printer, it will be landscape. The print should reflect this, you may have to rotate the print to correctly print on your item.

At SIGNWarehouse, when printing on an item, we like to run test prints. If you are not ready to commit to a print or you would like to see the placement of a graphic, use paper application tape. Once the item is printed on, it takes some elbow grease and may not fully come off. The tape will show if the height is not correct or if you like the placement on the item. It will save time and items if you test run before committing to it.

Once you are happy with the placement, take the item and clean it with rubbing alcohol. This will remove any debris or fingerprints. The worst thing would be spending all the time to print, and a fingerprint ends up in the middle of your print and ruins your hard work.

Now the 626 UF has white and varnish inks. These inks can be used in different ways. The image shows how the white ink handles the different settings. The settings are Under Color, Fill Color, Substrate, Variable under Color, and Fill-Substrate. The way this sample was done is to print in White, no CMYK or varnish. How to change the white/varnish ink options is through the driver options. These screenshots show how to change the spot colors. We have a document that has descriptions of the five options. These options work for both white and varnish. The way for the varnish to be printed over CMYK is the layering option. In Layer Printing, you can change how the printer lays the white, varnish, and color down. The Layer Printing can be found in the driver settings.

 Remember the tips that were mentioned earlier? Here they are. Remember, you cannot use mugs or cups that have a handle. The cup will need the ability to roll freely and the handle will make it stop moving or hit the printer head. That could break the printer and be costly in the end. Also, a cup that has rigid would not be good for printing, the cup should be smooth. It can be tough to do a cup that has a slight curve or a Yeti type. One way we kept the cup from tipping over was to up a roll of tape on the bottom. You may have to remove some tape to make it even with the cup. The downside to this is you won’t be able to use that roll of tape. There is a customer, Joe Esparza from Alpine Printco has come up with a great idea and we are jealous that we didn’t think of it first! Joe had some Legos and used them to build his own little holder. There is a spot on the rotary unit where he can place base pieces then uses single pieces to build up to the cup. This way he can change it to fit the cup and can remove it when it is not needed.

If using an uneven surface, try to stay within the widest part of the cup. If you print outside of the area, the print could become out of focus because the print head will be too far. Another tip is using a type of anti-static, also called Staticide. It can help clean and shine your surfaces as well as cut down on the static. We used a product called Novus, which can be found on Amazon. Make sure the item is dry and clean before printing.

The MUTOH 626 UF printer would be a great addition to your shop. Instead of printing the vinyl and contour cutting, you can print directly to your items. The rotary unit is an attachment that doesn’t come with the UV printer. It will need to be purchase separately, but you can make your money back in no time!