UV Printer: Everything You Need to Know!

If you run a print shop, you need to know about the latest and greatest printers being offered today. But, it can be overwhelming to know which one is better than the other when you’re wading through a sea of options.

When you’re at it there’s always one printer that pops up — a UV Printer!

So, if you’ve always been curious to know what this thing is, how it works, and how it’s different from other offerings in the market… then read on… you’ll get answers to these questions on this page.

What is a UV Printer?

So, the BIG question is, what is a UV printer? To some (perhaps you, too), it may sound complicated. But, before you tell yourself ‘’this isn’t for me’’, know this:

The greatest significant difference between a UV printer and any other printer is found in the combination of ultraviolet light (UV) and specialized fast-drying inks.

This duo, UV light, and UV-curable ink work together to produce a completely clear image on a dry sheet.

We’re learning something today! Let’s keep the momentum going and talk about the different types of UV printers next.

What is a Flatbed UV Printer?

As previously mentioned, there are different types of UV printers, for different purposes and projects. Let’s talk about flatbed UV printers first, then rotary UV printers, and then move our conversation toward inkjet UV printers.

That being said: what is a flatbed UV printer?

In short, it’s a machine that prints on flat materials. Think travertine tiles, canvas, signs, or anything else that is flat enough to work on.

What’s interesting about this piece of equipment is that it can be further divided into three unique categories; flatbed laser printers, flatbed screen printers, and flatbed inkjet printers.

Pretty wordy, right? In reality, the goal of these printers is the same, to help you make digital prints from the comfort of your home or office — faster, cheaper, and better!

But there’s one more printer to tell you about — rotary UV printers.

What is a Rotary UV Printer?

It’s not always that you’ll need to print on flat materials. For fun or to mix things up, you may want to print on cylindrical or curved shapes. And that’s where a rotary UV printer comes in handy!

What you can create with it are things like candles, plastic tubing, glassware, or drinkware. Things of that nature fit like a glove together with a rotary UV printer.

It’s all thanks to the UV printer’s 360-degree coverage. As the name implies, it ‘’hugs’’ your blank from all sides ensuring that the end result is nothing less than perfect.

Pretty cool, right? If you liked this, we think you’ll love what’s up next.

What is a Inkjet UV Printer?

The UV inkjet printer, lets users apply a 2D image to a 3D object. How it works is pretty simple: using a printer’s component called a printhead, which you’ll read more about in a second, lays down tiny droplets of ink onto the material’s surface.

The continuation of this process ultimately results in a final product that’s ready to be sold to a customer.

Now that you have the basics down, let’s look at the four main components of a UV printer.

What are the Main Components of a UV Printer?

It goes without saying that each and every UV printer is different in the way it’s engineered.

One is simpler, the other one is much more complicated. But, under the hood, you’ll find a few similarities between two (or more) otherwise unique printers.

Let’s just go down the list here, shall we?

Motherboard or Board Card

Number one on the list is the motherboard. You’ve probably heard about this component, even if you haven’t seen it.

It’s widely used in all types of electronics, from laptops and printers to home entertainment systems.

The motherboard is the ‘’brain’’ that ties the printer’s components together at one spot and allows them to communicate with each other.

But, we’ve got more components to cover, so let’s go ahead and talk about printheads next.


The next under-the-hood component is a printhead. It’s a part of a UV printer that transfers the ink onto your blank product through tiny nozzles.

And keeping them clean is of paramount importance too. Over time, ink injectors get clogged potentially causing unwanted effects such as gaps in the print, reduced flow of the ink, or fades.

So, make sure to regularly clean them.

But enough about that, we’ve got more components to talk about.

Guide Rail

As the name implies, the guide rail is the guide and support part of the back-and-forth motion of the machine. It works to transfer your digital image onto the surface of your material. Therefore, it is incredibly smooth, precise and rapid in its operation.

Let’s move on to the next component, the curing system.

Curing System

This one is self-explanatory. UV curing systems offer accurate, consistent and near-instant ink curing,

In other words, UV ink dries faster than on any other printer.

What Can You Print On With a UV Printer?

A better question is: what CAN’T you print on with a UV printer? No, but really, it is so versatile you can decorate so many different items, like, paper, plastic, slate or canvas.

It doesn’t stop there though, the use extends beyond that to other materials such as textile, metal, wood, canvas, leather and driftwood.

For more delicate materials, like ceramic or glass, a higher-end printer is required.

What Is a Primer? (Adhesion Promoter)?

To speed up the drying process and help paint adhere to the surface better, make sure you use primer first.

What Are the Capabilities of UV Inkjet Printers?

Overall, the UV inkjet printer has a full range of capabilities. This means you can use it for personal or commercial jobs.

There are some practical uses to mention; you can easily print photos, logos, illustrations, diagrams, signs, texts, and other images on a wide range of surfaces and materials.

And with all that, you’ll be pleased to know that inkjet printer produces remarkably durable and UV resistant finishes. 

Something other printers simply can’t do.

What Are a UV Inkjet Printer’s Limitations?

At first it kind of seems you can do everything with the UV inkjet printer. But no system is perfect, each has it’s own limitations — and this system is no different.

For starters, it uses a special fast-drying UV-curing ink. It’s a blessing and a curse: meaning, ink cannot dry without being cured with UV light first.

Secondly, compared to pad printing or screen printing, the inkjet speed may be a little slower. But, it makes up for it with laser-like accuracy.

Last but not least, consumables. Often they’re more expensive than their traditional counterparts.

What Are the Types of Technologies for UV Printers?

UV printers are packed with all the bells and whistles you could want — two of the technologies that stand out from the rest, though, are inkjet and LED technology.

If it’s the first time you hear about them… then know that one distributes color to transfer the images, while the other cures the ink with UV light.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a UV Printer?

If you are planning on purchasing a UV printer, you should have some idea of what you’re after. Is it the form factor, the size, or the best deal, in terms of price?

When you consider this along with the available space in your workplace, it becomes a lot easier to pin down the printer that would suit your needs and requirements.

So take time to sit down and write out what you are looking for in a new printer. Writing this down helps clarify your own thinking about it.

How Do UV Printers Compare to Sublimation Printers?

Now you face a curious question…how is UV printer different from a sublimation printer? It’s a question worth asking because the difference between the two are quite significant.

Namely, the biggest difference is found in efficiency, speed and performance — thanks to its inner workings and engineering nuances, UV printers can perform a simultaneous multilayer printing. 

What this means is you can produce graphics almost twice as fast!

It’s not something we can say about traditional sublimation printers. Having their own pros such as startup costs and price of consumables, they still rely on a single-layer printing process.

Which Industries Use UV Printers?

In closing, there is one more important thing to say, and that is, UV printers are a useful and versatile machine to have around!

These printers can be used for just about anything you can think of like advertising, home decoration, glass, textile, industrial and manufacturing industries. 

The list of possible applications is nearly endless.

So, all in all, it’s a great all-rounder. And this is why it’s so appealing to so many different industries and verticals.

If you feel the same way, be sure to check out the selection of UV printers and supplies we offer here at our online shop.

For one-on-one information simply call 800-891-1094 or live chat with one of our pros!



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