As we move from the recession towards a recovery, sign makers interested in entering the digital print market have the option of buying a new outdoor printer or picking up a used printer on the cheap. Used printers have always been around. A few years ago, growing sign shops had the option of buy a new ecosolvent printer or a used Gerber Edge or ColorCamm. Today’s buyers are finding used ValueJETs, VersaCamms and JV3s lying around in the wake of the Great Recession.

This poses the question: Is it better to buy a new printer or try to save some money and get a so-called slightly used one?

As with most used hardware purchases, you have to look beyond the price to fully weigh the risks and benefits. That mint condition 3 year old Chrysler Caravan may not be such a good deal after a visit to the transmission shop. Likewise that “barely used” ValueJET may not be a good investment after you find out what it costs to get it back to print ready condition. Let’s take a look at some cases from our tech support files. Our senior color technician Ron Adams forwarded me these numbers from a support ticket generated by one of our customers who took the bait and bought a used printer. At only $5,000, it looked like a great deal…at first. Because the previous owner had fallen on hard times, the printer had not been maintained well. It sat idle for many months. So, it needed a refurbished ink kit and six new ink lines, which cost $960.00. Once those parts were replaced, they discovered he needed a new set of O-rings and nut set, which cost an additional $69.00. No big deal. But then, as they tried to get the old machine running properly, he found it also needed a new main board; price tag, $1,500.00. After all this work was done, the customer wised up and realized he had purchased a money pit. He decided to invest his money more wisely and bought a new PrismJET VJ48.

Had he done so initially, he could have saved himself about $7,500 and several weeks of lost productivity. Another customer recently bought a used ValueJET that looked like it was in good condition. But, because it too had been sitting idle for about six months, the inks were clogged in the printer, requiring the installation of a new maintenance assembly, dampers, and a new print head. If you paid $5,000 for a printer that needed this level of attention to revive it, your costs would look like this.

    • • Used printer: $5,000
    • • Ink and cleaning cartridges: $407.96
    • • 8 new dampers @ $51.00each: $408.00
    • • New Maintenance assembly: $497.00
    • • New Mutoh VJ print head: $1,635.00
    • On-site service required for print head installation: $995.00 - $2,000*

Suddenly, that “great deal” on a used printer has cost $9,947.96. At this point you may want to slap your forehead and say, “Wow! I could have had a new VJ48!” Our PrismJET VJ48 can be purchased brand new with FlexiSign Pro 8.6 graphic design and RIP software, a one year on-site warranty, inks and cleaning cartridges, and factory fresh reliability; all for just under $10,000.

We understand that other dealers’ prices are much higher. But with SignWarehouse providing such outstanding values to the sign and graphics industry, there’s no reason to settle for used equipment.

Save yourself the wasted money and endless aggravation of trying to fix someone else’s problems. Get yourself a new VJ48! *Print head installation cannot be performed by the end user and requires on-site service by a Mutoh certified technician. Depending on your location, this can cost up to $2,000.