Any Laser Printers that don't crack?

Discussion in 'Tools of the Trade' started by ScottWashburn, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. ScottWashburn

    ScottWashburn New Member

    I had heard rumors that the pigment from some laser printers would crack when folded. I just had the chance to try that out on a Xerox Phaser 7400 and it is defintely true. Make a fold and there is a ragged white line through the pigment. As a manufacturer and seller of paper models, this is an unacceptable defect in spite of the fact it would speed my printing by a factor of about five over my old inkjet.

    Is this defect true of all brands of laserjet printers?
  2. rickstef

    rickstef Guest


    Toner as the medium which Laser and wax printers use, will tend to flake off when scored and folded.

    there have been some suggestions to use a clear coat spray varnish/sealer to soften the toner and allow some of it to "seep" into the paper.

    depending on the paper and settings on an inkjet, I still feel those are the most striking prints one can print out.

  3. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    I like my inkjet the best as well.

    As Rick suggested try using a fixative to spray them first - you can find them in the scrapbooking section of stores :)
  4. B-Manic

    B-Manic Peripheral Visionary

    I tried a high-end HP colour laser at work. I got very nice prints using matte brochure paper. These prints did not crack however, large areas of black appeared shiney and it had trouble producing consistent outputs when printing large areas of brown.

    I use a HP inkjet (Photosmart C3100 series) all-in-one at home. Print outs are not as good as my old Epson but it is less frustrating when it comes to ink issues.
  5. ScottWashburn

    ScottWashburn New Member

    Hmmm, sadly, spraying isn't really a viable option when I want to print out hundreds of sheets to sell. And I can hardly ask my customers to do it for me, either. Guess I'm stuck with inkjets :(
  6. MOS95B

    MOS95B Member

  7. BARX2

    BARX2 Member

    Scott, my experience has been the same as yours. Even when I sprayed my laser prints heavily with Krylon clear acrylic - to the point where it soaked the paper - the ink still cracked where I scored it. The problem is that the laser ink sits on the surface of the paper and doesn't sink in as ink jet ink does. No matter how much you coat your laser prints, the ink still remains on the surface. I've had to become content with my ink jet prints. Perhaps there's another solution for you besides ink jet or laser printing. I don't know anything about the other methods, but I've heard of offset printing. Maybe send your designs to a shop to be printed?
  8. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    Thanks Barx! This topic has come up many times and i have been doubtful of the fixative but no one ever said it didnt work for them. I have yet to try it myself but now I am more wary.
  9. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    I used to print at work on a $3000 HP 4550 and several of its cousins. I've never experienced any of the cracking prints. In fact this entire phenomenon is a mystery to me. I bought myself a $300 Okidata 5150 color laser printer and my results are exactly the same; never an issue with the color peeling or cracking. I do score most of my folds, but even on 65lb stock, I am completely unaware of any cracking unless I'm rolling a ridiculously tight tube, I'm talking paper lolipop stick, in which case I use regular 20lb paper and then I have no cracking again.
  10. ScottWashburn

    ScottWashburn New Member

    With some further experimentation, I'm finding the problem less severe than I first thought and I'll probably be able to use a laser printer for some of my lighter products. But there is no doubt the cracking occurs. With an inkjet, I could fold a piece completely back on itself and there would be no change in appearance. With the laser jet any fold much beyond 90 degrees and a faint white line appears where the pigment is cracking. It's nothing huge, but if the printing is dark, it is quite noticable. Of course if the the fold line is scored, the white will show through in any case.
  11. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    Maybe that's why I don't notice it. I almost exclusively score my fold lines and color them in. On the rare occasion I don't score, I usually lean my fold on a straight edge. this gives a very clean fold line and I imagine evens the pressure of the fold so I don't experience the cracking.

    What I have noticed about laser printing is that the color is far more durable. I have models left in the sun for years with no noticeable fading. Inkjet models do not last a year. Even the Sharpie markers that I use for the scores fades, but the Laserjet ink does not.
  12. -Jim G

    -Jim G Member

    I print out my models at work also and I have found definite differences between the various laser printers. The HP 4600 is the one that I use that does not have the toner cracking and peeling issue.

    I print on 110# paper.
  13. murphyaa

    murphyaa Designer

    I have a Konica Minolta 2300DL I paid $300 for.

    I use 65lb paper and have the paper setting set to heavy media. It holds the paper a little longer under the heater bar, so the toner sets into the paper better. Thus, I don't have cracking issues.

    Of course if I use 110lb paper, it has feed issues, and there is some light cracking. Can't win everything.
  14. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    good point on the paper setting, I always use the heavy paper setting as well. I thought that had to do with the feed system, but it makes sense that it effects the heating cycle. Now that you mention it, the paper does come out very hot with the 65lb paper.
  15. jdmcomp

    jdmcomp New Member

    I have had some luck by carefully setting the print settings to inform the printer that I was printing on card stock. Apparently it heats up the rollers a bit more to make the ink adhere better. Allow time for the heat to rise. May not apply to all printers but seem to work with office type color printers from HP.
  16. rowiac

    rowiac Member

    I just wanted to echo what the others have said here about making sure you set the laser printer to heavy paper or cardstock in the print setup. On the HP 4550 that I've used, the pure red toner areas would flake off very easily until I started using the proper paper settings. I've used mostly 110lb [199g/m2] in that printer, which is the thickest paper I use, and it has worked well.

    Sometimes I'll coat the prints with clear spray, but it's really not necessary in most cases. The Yamaha motorcycles, for example, came out well with no clear coat.

  17. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Backside Scoring

    Hi all,

    I haven´t really tried so many laser-printed builds yet but I have a U-Don Lunar Module going, where I do´nt experience the flaking problem yet.
    I have another model, though, which is laser-printed on Canford silver paper. I haven´t tried folding or scoring that one yet but I will now, to check whether it cracks or flakes.

    Lately, I have come to do much more backside scoring. If the card or paper is not too thick, this leaves a much nicer fold, which doesn´t crack up so much and leaves the white line that have to be colored.

    Bengt :thumb:

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