It’s coming! It’s coming! Only four more days! The WOW coffee table book, The World According to Wonder, will be available on Amazon, February 5. Can you feel the excitement? Here it is, at the printers, looking all deliciously pre-book-like and whatnot. I love looking at pictures like this. I love watching the process. The books are being printed in Northern California, so none of us have been up to oversee the process. Instead, we’ve all been poring over these pics, oohing and ahhing and getting all tingly. I decided to call the publisher Mark Ellis to get the skinny on what’s going on here. Mimaki. Mimaki is a Japanese printer manufacturer that truly specializes on wide-format printers. The company’s printers are not for entry-level users but are rather for professionals, such as artists and photographers who want to create their own printouts. The mimaki uv printers brand of printers is also known in their versatility in that the models can use almost any kind of printer ink without displaying a lot of problems. As a service company, we love when you call us for printer service. It is an opportunity to help you in a moment of need, but too often the needs we see are a crisis that shouldn’t have happened. I personally find it amazing that people often spend more for a piece of equipment that makes them money than they spend on their car which costs them money, but they take far better care of their car. Not only does this apply to the cosmetics, where people put solvent rags and splash ink all over their printer, but also even more importantly, the mechanics, the heart and soul of the printer. Do you drive your car 20,000 between oil changes and wait until it breaks, or do you change your oil at regular intervals? The good news, is maybe you can’t perform the full preventive maintenance program your printer may need, but you can do your own “oil changes” between major service intervals, often stretching that interval out further. Like your car, your printer has fluids and fluid systems that need to be clean for optimum life and performance. Though each printer has its own maintenance routine, there are a number of things that apply to pretty much anything out there, whether by Mimaki, Mutoh, HP, Roland, or other manufactur.
If you plan not to use your printer for a while, say for longer than a month or more, we suggest that you have your system flushed. There are right and wrong ways to flush a printer, so don’t hesitate to call us for help.
Working with our manufacturers, we have developed some excellent maintenance fluids that are not overly volatile, and are formulated to help to keep print heads from drying out on you. Please call us for details.
That’s the simple version for the money making part of your printer, so let’s talk for a minute about keeping it good looking as well as productive. Don’t put solvent rags on your printer – if plastic, it will melt, and if paint, it may mottle the paint. If you splash ink on your printer, wipe it off – quickly! Don’t use a blade across the heater platen on your printer. No different than your car, no one wants a scratched up or scarred printer, even a used one, and if you may sell it someday, it will be worth more.
These are a few basics of solvent printer care. If you take care of your printer, it will take care of you, and last longer as a result. Sometimes with even the best and most fastidious care your printer will break down, just like your car. When that happens, we are ready to help, just call us.
James St James: Ring ring! Is this Mark Ellis from Almaden press?
Mark: Yes it is.
Well, hello! I wanted to talk a little bit about the making of the WOW book. First of all, tell me a little bit about Almaden.
Well, we are a printing/publishing company…
And what kinds of things do you usually do?
Mostly technical applications, tech books and whatnot.
Not many coffee table books, though, right?
It’s not our mainstay, no.
Walk me through the process of making a book this size.
(I immediately regretted the question as Mark then launched into a lengthy monolgue about hi-rez files and offset presses and 16-page signatures and color punching applications, and try as I might, I was unable to take notes fast enough, so when I looked my the legal pad later, nothing made a lick of sense. It was all just monkey scrawl. You’re gonna have to trust me on this one, the world has changed since Gutenberg set up his first printing press. Making a book like this is raaaaaather complicated.)
I heard there was a bit of drama with the shipment.
Oh, yes. With the boxes. It was just awful. The wettest storm in a decade. The rain was coming down in buckets. In a rush to get the boxes out, we had the pallets on the dock, ready to ship. There was an awning over them, to protect them, of course, but during the course of the storm it fell…
OH. MY. GOD.
Exactly. They were exposed to the rain, and the cardboard boxes acted as sponges, ruining two full pallets, almost two thousand boxes…
And the books? ALL RUINED?
No, no, the books were wrapped in plastic and casing. It was the just the pallet of boxes to ship the books in that got wet, thank god. The books were fine, we rescued them. But their slip boxes were completely destroyed and we had to make them all over. Almost missed our deadline. That’s never happened before.
That must have been TERRIBLE.
We watched our money turn to garbage…
I’m so sorry.
Well, it all worked out in the end.
It IS a lovely book!
There were problems with cover, too.
I didn’t know! What happened?
(And here, again, my notes trail off into jibberish. I’m not a technical person, you know, so this may or may not be what he said. Who the hell knows.)
We had planned to use 14-color hexachrome ink, which is really vibrant and really resonant, but costs a lot more and is a lot more work. Unfortunately, there’s so much wax in it that we couldn’t put the laminate on it. When we tried to laminate the backside, it couldn’t handle the production. It cracked. It looked like a five-year-old book. It was terrible. We had already printed up a full run of covers, 2,500 of them, and when we went to fold them they just went CRACK!
How horrible! I imagine it didn’t go over too well when you told the boys back here what was going on…
Ha! There was a slight panic, but ultimately we found a solution that didn’t mean going back to square one. Instead of throwing away the entire run, we put it through the press again, and added MORE laminate and MORE varnish. We were basically able to rescue the cover and deliver it to you the way it was designed.
Thank GOD. Well, it looks wonderful.
We’re happy with it.
We are too. Well, it was delightful talking to you. Thank you for your time.
Thank you. *Click*