Lazer Printer for Cotton Paper

Hi everyone, just wondering if anyone has experience with a lazer printer for cotton paper, I need to put variable data on 110lb paper before going on the press. I know I can use an inkjet, I currently do it on an epson 4400 - just looking for a cheaper option.

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Good luck registering it with your print.
It’s also worth noting the laser printer will heat and put a slight ‘curl’ in your stock, so you better check the stock by testing it once before you assume you can do the whole job this way; if you were printing on a cylinder press and the stock curled the same direction it would around the cylinder, this wouldn’t be a huge concern- but on a platen press you are asking for a bit of a pain in the ass to work with badly curled stock, grippers or not.

The most important thing is to research the paper. Many papers popular for letterpress do not work well with laser printers because the toner can’t fuse properly, particularly on soft/toothy papers. There are some papers advertised as “digital” such as Lettra Digital which claims is HP Certified for digital printing so I’m not sure if that’s implying that it would work with most laser printers, or just with presses like the HP Indigo, which doesn’t use the same type of toner as a normal laser printer.

Note- this is a digression.

Actually, Indigo printers don’t really use toner at all. They use an ‘ink’ (Isopar suspension vehicle which contains very finely ground pigment particles. I believe they are plastic but do not function like toner/are in a liquid vehicle.)
A voltage-repelling image carrier plate sort of has this liquid sprayed at it; the liquid ‘ink’ only sticks to the parts without voltage traveling through them. As I understand it (and it gets a little fuzzy here), this plate then contacts a blanket, similar to an offset printing blanket, and then that blanket transfers the image to the paper.
A number of plate/blanket/impression units are inline and the piece of paper goes through the press and has as many contacts as there are colors to put down. It works like a multi-color offset press in this way. Another neat part is that you can mix the ink to be any color you wish- unlike conventional inkjet printers. They also work pretty rapidly in comparison.

The ink holds an LPI not different to that of offset and is most similar to it.

But here’s where it’s not a laser printer; it’s kind of different from toner really because toner is actually sprayed at a cylinder- which is affected by a laser to carry an image/attract the toner to the ‘image areas’- and then DIRECTLY transferred to a sheet of paper, then fused to the paper with a heated roller that sets what remains on the paper- the image.
Toner is direct, whereas indigo is an indirect process…
HP does certify certain papers to be compatible with indigo but the process can be used on a variety of stocks regardless of certification because of it’s liquid properties etc..

Toner is a bit pickier because the stock really needs to be able to take a powder particle during the impression portion, which means it shouldn’t be toothy or too textured (as mentioned)- Indigo actually gives a slight amount more leeway.

Hi everyone, thanks for all the feedback, sounds like the lazer should be left office paper and star wars..

I will stick with Ink Jet.

I have a local digital printer installing a new press over the next few weeks. We talked briefly about running lettra 110 through it. I will let you know how this turns out, can not remember the brand but it is similar to the indigo. I will post the results.

Probably the Konica competition to the indigo?

@Paul Cheney
This is a late comment but might help someone else.

We use a xerox ColorQube 9200 on Crane’s Lettra 110lbs and does not curl. It’s not laser but prints similar to one and the the image is really nice. Than we take it to the windmill and everything goes as expected.

Hope it helps.