Small UV Printer: The Complete Guide

printing machine
Small UV Printer

Are you tired of your small UV printer? Do you struggle with cleaning and maintenance or getting rid of the stubborn stains from spilled inks? Do you spend plenty of time and money operating the device?

Are you unsure what mini UV printer to get as a first-time buyer? If your answer is yes, this piece is the perfect solution for you.

In today’s guide, you are going to learn about every aspect of a small UV printer, ranging from the basic definition to the machine’s components and operating technologies.

You will also get a buyer’s guide to aid you in navigating the diverse market and ensure you purchase a device suitable for your printing demands. 

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Still curious? Click here to find out UV Printer: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

Guess what? By the end of this guide, you will be a small UV printer’s expert able to enjoy its benefits fully and communicate your knowledge to your peers dealing with the same struggles. 

Let’s get started on this informative journey into the world of a compact UV printer.

What Is a Small UV Printer?

white printer on white table

A small UV printer is an ergonomic machine designed to operate using ultraviolet (UV) technology. This UV printing technology incorporates special curing properties that let the ink drops dry almost as soon as they hit the substrates.

The device features print heads that place the ink on a surface, and a specially designed UV light immediately follows to cure the ink instantly. As a result, you obtain dry and smudge-free images within seconds, making it a suitable option for commercial and individual applications. 

Originally, the mini UV printing machine’s primary purpose was to dry gel nail polish during women’s manicures. Artists used it to speed up the curing process in manicure salons to enhance comfort for clients and efficiency in business.

The rapidly drying print technology soon got people thinking that it could be very useful in industrial and commercial applications. Soon after such considerations, the rest was history since engineers modified them to develop the UV printers, addressing the needs within the sign and print industries.    

Benefits of a Small UV Printer

black canon printer on brown wooden table

You may initially think that a small UV printer has limited advantages due to its size. However, it integrates premium technology and construction to generate efficient performance with high-resolution prints. Despite its dimensions, a compact UV printer offers several benefits that enhance convenience for personal and commercial use. 

Efficient Performance 

A small UV printer uses UV technology that delivers higher speeds than other traditional printers. The integrated LED systems instantly cure the ink to give you complete prints without time lost waiting for the drops to dry. In addition, the lamps switch on and off promptly without any intensity degradation.

This quality means you do not experience delay for shutter motion. You do not have to deal with warm-up issues associated with traditional machines, resulting in efficient operations and higher productivity. 

Durable with Convenient Operation 

The digital mini UV printer incorporates high-quality construction using sturdy materials that facilitate long-term utility without damages. It has LED components with a 10,000-hour lifespan, enabling you to access reliable printing for up to five years.

Besides this, the device features a quality self-developed motherboard that enhances stability to let you work continuously for 24 hours. 

The printer also promotes convenient operations since it has an ergonomic guardrail that runs silently. You can depend on this quality to work at home or office without concerns about distracting your neighbors. The small UV printer also integrates several functions that make it more comfortable to operate. 

For instance, it has a color function that lets you add light blue and light red base colors to create a more delicate printing effect. It supports color and white varnish to produce a high-end and glossy effect. The machine also has adjustable lamps, allowing you to modify the intensity for optimal performance. 

Easy to Use

woman in black long sleeve shirt holding white printer paper

You can easily use the small UV printer since manufacturers include a user manual in the package. For example, you can find printed instructions and a video guide showing proper steps to operate and maintain the device.

These accessories ensure you can safely navigate the printer, even as a first-time user, without accidentally damaging the product. 

Aside from this, the machine has compact dimensions to make it easier to handle and store. The printer is ideal for small offices such as schools, law firms, or homes. You can comfortably place the desktop mini UV printer on your table or corner desk without creating clutter. 

The small UV printing machine has an automatic spray function that cleans your print heads regularly. This system enhances convenience during maintenance since you do not need to disassemble your machine frequently. 

Supports a Broader Scope of Applications

This machine has a wider platform that lets you place objects of different shapes and sizes. For example, you can print on flat surfaces like paper and cylindrical items like bottles. This flexibility increases convenience since your business can meet the demands and preferences of various clients.

The small UV printer also uses LED lamps with minimal heat output, making them cool to the touch. For this reason, they are compatible with a wide selection of materials to support multiple applications. You can rely on the machine to work on various substrates such as plastic, glass, metal, wood board, leather, and ceramic. 

Applications of Small UV Printers

A small UV printer delivers high-resolution images to suit professional and private utility. The UV ink is compatible with almost all material types, enabling you to print on multiple applications. These include:

  1. Advertising 
man in red and black hoodie wearing black cap

Small UV printers are popular in the advertising industry since it is among the sectors that rely heavily on prints.

The machine can print on fabric or film designed for backlit effects, helping your signage stand out. You can also achieve moisture and fade-resistant results via premium UV ink. This application is ideal for billboards, posters, wall art, and menus. 

  1. Labels and Packaging
printer label

The machine can print on challenging materials like metal and glass. Traditional printers may not work on these substrates, but a compact digital UV printing device’s fast curing ink accomplishes the task. Hence, the ink dries instantly on glass surfaces without dripping down the sides.

Plus, the UV printer’s minimal heat output facilitates hassle-free application on metals despite their heat conducting properties.   

This quality makes it ideal to use the UV printer for labeling products and packages like bottles. It can print (Universal Product Code) UPC or (Quick Response) QR codes onto the items to make subsequent scanning easier. You can also use it to create office accessories such as plaques, nametags, or company signage. 

  1. Fashion
gree fashion clothes

The fashion industry uses UV printing quality on different materials, such as leather. Although many people often personalize leather via traditional means, modern technology offers a unique and efficient option. You can use a UV printer to create stylish designs on your leather items, including shoes and small bags. 

  1. Home Décor 
beige puppy lying on brown textile

A small UV printer can produce creative paintings and designs that you can incorporate on your wallpaper and ceramic tiles. You can also use it to produce artful details on wood board, adding it to your ceiling to complete the unique interior décor for your home or office.  

  1. Customizing Phone Cases
four assorted-color iPhone X cases

Customizing phone cases is among the most common applications of small UV printers. Statistics show that there are over 6 billion smartphone users globally.

This quantity makes it a rich market for personalized phone cases. The machine ensures that you can efficiently create unique designs to meet time and client demands. 

Besides, its efficient performance makes it ideal for commercial applications, conveniently enabling you to meet your market’s delivery dates.

You can use the small UV printer in various industries, including advertising, screen-printing, home decorating, and sign industries. The machine is also popular in the glass, exhibition display, tile production, and cardboard packaging sectors. You can apply it if your business deals with mobile phone and notebook covers, leather, and textile, or gift box processing. 

Basic Small UV Printer Terminologies

Leonardo da Vinci once said that learning never exhausts the mind. You can better understand and manage your mini UV printer when you know its glossary. Here are a few basic terminologies concerning the printing device to aid you in improving your machine comprehension:  

  1. UV Coating – Environmentally friendly laminate bonded and cured by ultraviolet light.
  2. Up – Printing three or two up refers to printing several copies of the same picture on the same sheet. 
  3. Vignette – Single-dot patterns that can begin at 50% dot and progressively reduce to around 5% in smooth graduation. 
  4. Automatic Spray Function – A cleaning system in the machine that automatically sprays your print heads. It aids in regular maintenance since it removes ink from the heads, preventing them from drying and compromising your print quality.  
  5. Varnishing – It refers to the application of synthetic, water, oil, cellulose, or spirit varnish to printed substances. The clear matter gives the final image a glossy appearance that enhances its quality while boosting durability.  
  6. Cleanroom-certified Swabs – Special swabs used to clean a UV printing device safely. They let you sufficiently wipe your machine without accidentally damaging sensitive components such as print heads. 
  7. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) – A group of compounds used in litho printing that evaporate at low temperatures, like isopropyl alcohol (IPA). VOC functions as an additive to water to facilitate oil and water separation. They also contribute to the production of greenhouse gases.
  8. Picture Feathering – It refers to the process of giving an image a softer edge to deliver high-resolution pictures. Feathering around the prints helps you highlight a certain object or seamlessly merge images. The mini ultraviolet printer incorporates an ergonomic function that automatically feathers your pictures.  
  9. Ink Drop Technology – An automatic system that modifies three different sizes of ink drops to enhance contrast and clarity. It also boosts color saturation to generate a clearer and more realistic printing effect. 
  10. Impression – The pressure produced by the blanket or plate during contact with a substrate. 

Parts of a Small UV Printer

Like most machines, a small UV printer incorporates several components to deliver high-quality results. Perfect synchronization is essential when operating this device since UV technology relies on precision for error-free performance.

For instance, if your axle malfunctions, your print head might drop inks too slowly on the substrate. This delay can cause huge gaps in the printed image, resulting in poor clarity and wastage of time and resources. 

Thus, it is necessary to know the primary components of a small digital UV printer. This knowledge can help you operate and maintain each part to ensure correct and optimal performance. The major components of a small UV printer are:

  1. Print Head

The print head is among the essential parts of a small UV printer since it determines the picture quality you create. A print head features multiple minuscule nozzles that strategically place ink drops, forming your desired image. Hence, it is vital to keep these nozzles clean and free from dust and dried ink. 

  1. Platform

A mini UV printing machine incorporates a platform where you place your substrates for printing. Different models offer different platform sizes to increase the shapes and object dimensions you can handle. An updated compact printer features a wider application area measuring 33cm by 66cm. This model lets you work on various flat and cylindrical items to meet the needs of multiple industries. 

  1. Dual UV Lamps

The small printing device integrates two imported UV lamps into its design to make curing faster and firmer. In addition, the lamps have an adjustable setting, allowing you to modify the intensity to an optimal level depending on your requirements.  

  1. Self-developed Motherboard

The self-developed motherboard incorporates several functions to facilitate efficient and reliable performance. It includes a feathering function that automatically enhances your printing effect for a high-definition and no-brush outcome. The motherboard can also complete high-end finishes such as transparent varnish relief. 

You can comfortably work on your prints without concerns about deadlines since it features an auto-jump function that saves printing time. Notably, the self-developed motherboard promotes stability, enabling you to operate the machine continuously for 24 hours. 

Small UV Printer Working Principle 

A small UV printer requires certain conditions to ensure you can efficiently run the machine. These factors also enable you to increase safety for operators while simultaneously extending the desktop small UV printer’s lifespan. The working principles of the printing device concern two aspects: technological and operational. 

Technology Factors

A small UV printer’s working principle lies in the ultraviolet technology it uses. The UV technology gives the device its identity and is available in two primary types:

  • LED Technology

LED technology is a small UV printer’s backbone, using ultraviolet curing to dry ink drops instantly. The consistent and efficient results provide excellent prints with a better surface appeal. So, how does LED technology work in your printer?

The built-in LED lamps closely follow the print heads and immediately cure the ink drops on a substrate via photochemical drying.

These ink drops instantly harden under the high-intensity UV light. Thus, you can get high-resolution images as soon as your sheets exit the printer and keep at bay concerns about accidental smudges.  

  • Inkjet Technology

A small UV inkjet printer can print onto a 2D or 3D substrate via inkjet technology. This technology relies on an internal ink-delivery system to drop ink onto a surface.

The process starts when you send an online image to the machine using a computer, and the technology recreates the exact digital representation. Afterward, the ink-delivery system signals to the color components to ensure the print heads lay down the ink drops in a specific order. 

Inkjet technology can work on two kinds of printing systems. The first is the single-pass system that lets the technology determine a picture format in one flow.

Consequently, the print head’s resolution limits the image quality by reducing clarity and overall flexibility. Nonetheless, the single-pass process enhances efficiency and productivity by enabling higher printing speeds.

The second system is the multi-pass system, where the inkjet printing distinguishes the image format in several flows.

You can achieve higher picture quality since the print heads do not limit the printing quality. Unlike the single-step system, this option requires more time to improve clarity, leaving you with reduced productivity.  

Operation Factors

It is also necessary to examine different factors for effective and efficient machine operation. These include:

  • Productivity 

A small UV printer has high sealing capabilities, with certain models producing around 10 sets to 1,200 cans at a time. If you intend to use it for small-scale printing, you can choose a manual option that delivers one can per cycle. You can consider buying an automatic model with faster speeds if your business has high demands.  

  • Number of Print Heads

The small UV printer incorporates three print heads that deliver faster operations and boost productivity. However, you can find some models featuring two print heads that may be cheaper but reduce the performance time. 

  • Color Requirements

It is vital to consider the colors needed to deliver your preferred printing quality. You want to check whether the UV printer supports white and clear ink. In addition, you want to establish if it requires the subtractive color model of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (CMYK). 

  • Available Space

You want to have enough room on your desk to place the UV printer without creating clutter. Sufficient space also lets employees operate the machine safely and comfortably. 

Key Considerations when Buying a Small UV Printer

Whether you intend to use the small UV printer for private or professional use, knowing the factors to weigh before heading to the store is necessary.

This market is full of various printer models and styles that confuse you. A quality buying guide can help you understand the machines and market and avoid a stressful experience as a first-time buyer. The list below presents the main aspects you should consider to find and purchase the right compact UV printer for your needs. 

  1. Reason for Purchase

Typically, you can have two reasons for seeking a new UV printer. You want to replace a worn-out machine or add another model to your existing production line.

The first reason requires you to consider getting a small UV printer from the same brand or trying a new manufacturer. If your reason is the second one, you need to buy a machine that complements the brands and devices you already own. 

Moreover, it is critical to examine the software available in the new models. You want the software to match your existing ones. You may compromise your workflow if you buy and operate several brands and models. 

  1. Cost

A crucial aspect to weigh before venturing into the market is the price of a small UV printer. Generally, the machines cost anywhere between $4,500 and $6,000, and you want to prepare your budget appropriately.

You also need to include additional printing accessories in your plans, such as costs of inks and cleaning supplies. 

The printers incorporate different components, and thus you require thorough research to find the suitable option for your requirements. For example, some mini UV printers use bulk inks, whereas others utilize cartridges.

These styles also influence the ink and printing costs since you have to calculate the liter costs of UV inks required in cartridges. 

  1. Quality of Prints

It is essential to consider printing quality when choosing a small UV printer. You want to check the materials compatible with your desired model to ensure a wide application.

It is best to find a model specifically made for your preferred substrates despite the machine’s compatibility with flat and cylindrical objects. This precision lets you achieve the highest printing results. 

  1. Style and Design

Like many appliances, a small UV printer comes in various sizes, colors, and shapes, letting you select a style that best suits your tastes. For example, you can find some options in a standard grey steel shade and others in brighter hues of yellow or green. The variety allows you to get a printer that reflects your personality and preferences. 

You also want to verify the materials used in the construction. Desktop small UV printers feature premium and sturdy designs using stainless steel. These components deliver longevity, helping you avoid extra expenses on frequent repairs and replacements. 

  1. After-Sale Service and Credibility

Buying a small UV printer is never a one-time engagement but a long-term investment. Thus, you want to find a proven service provider that remains available throughout your machine usage. A quality provider assists you during installation, operation, and training initiatives, enabling you to form credibility and a long-run partnership. You also want to check the after-sale services to ensure you get timely assistance when in need. 

  1. Condition of Work Space

It is best to examine your working space to know the perfect compact LED UV printer to purchase. Even though these machines come in a compact size, you still need to ensure sufficient storage room.

You want to check that your home or small office has a section prepared to accommodate it. This preparation lets you operate the machine safely without creating a bulky appearance in your room. 

In addition, you want to pick and maintain a clean environment since the UV printer operates in a dust-free space. A dusty room means you expose your print heads to blockage by the airborne particle, leading to interrupted ink flow and poor image quality. 

  1. Quality Standards

Quality standards are critical in ensuring you have the right product that meets operational and environmental regulations. They aid you in creating the ideal working conditions to enhance health and safety standards.

The standards also help you form a setting suitable for productivity and premium services, turning prospects into loyal customers.

You want to ascertain that the product adheres to Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliance and certifications such as Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) and International Organization for Standard (ISO). It is also necessary to get the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) certification, applying to several electrical systems to minimize hazards. 

  1. Distributor

Lastly, you want to find a trustworthy distributor who fully understands the UV printing market and your desired models.

This factor is especially important for a first-time buyer since the expert can guide you in making a suitable decision and selection for your professional needs.

A quality distributor can also help you save future expenses by providing additional options should your requirements change in the future. Looking at this piece, you can better comprehend a small UV printer and its components.

This guide also helps you understand how the machine’s technology and components function to deliver high-quality results. You can depend on this information to enhance the printer’s utility to improve productivity and safety. In addition, you can comfortably maneuver the busy printing markets as a first-time buyer and get the appropriate small UV printing option for your preferences and needs. 

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YOSUN has 10 years experience in UV flatbed printer & rotary UV printer development, manufacturing and service.

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