Caliper’s latest project is a flatbed inkjet printer consisting of an Epson Stylus P20000 with a printing area of 160 x 300cm.
The printer is unique in the way that it allows the user to over print the same surface many times, thanks to a precise encoded registration system we have implemented. Overprinting with varying opacities in separate layers allows for a wider tonal range than commercially available printers, as well as higher resolution and colour accuracy than a typical UV flatbed printer system.
When used in conjunction with a 3D Scanner and CNC router, the printer is able print directly onto relief surfaces of up to 3mm in height.
The development took place over 4 months, carried out by the CALIPER team in collaboration with the Factum Arte. Starting as a standard plotter, the machine is then largely dismounted, modifying much of the existing functionality to make it compatible with the flatbed printing format. The internal workings of the machine, source code and command priorities are not made publicly available by the manufacturer, so every function must be thoroughly tested before changes are implemented and tested.
Manual control in the paper feed direction allows the user to return the plotter to a predetermined 0 position in the printing area where a print can be launched in registration with the print medium or a previous layer. The system also allows for the entire plotter to be moved in the Z direction over the print bed to accommodate for materials of varying thicknesses or reliefs. With a print head resolution of up to 2400 x 1200 dpi, the machine is capable of producing incredibly high resolution outputs with precise colour accuracy.
As the second iteration of this printing system we have worked on, the project was developed with support of Factum Arte and Dwight Perry and installed in Austria in October 2021.
Team: Carlos Sanjuan, Quinner Baird, Aitor Goenaga Photos: Oak Taylor-Smith