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Here is another installment in my ongoing series of Instructables in which I use equipment that the average reader probably can not afford.

With that stated, I am going to show you how to print magnets using the Roland SP-540V large format printer.

Step 1: Prepare Yourself.

First off, if you are going to print magnets using the Roland SP-540V you are going to need thin magnet sheeting. Make sure that it is at least 1' wide by 2' long. The printer will be unhappy if you try to feed it anything less.

Next prepare your images using Photoshop, Illustrator or Gimp. If you are using Photoshop or Gimp make sure that you are using an image resolution that is at least 300 dpi. However, the closer you get to 720 dpi, the better your image will most likely print.

To maximize your usage of the magnet sheeting, it is recommended that you space out your different magnets in your image editing software as closely as possible. This will save you the headache of spacing it later and trying to make things fit in all the unused spaces. This file should be nearly as wide as your magnet sheeting since you will always be printing all the way across the length of the magnet. However, allow 1.5" - 2" margins on both ends of its width (see sample below).

Save your final print file as an TIFF (or EPS if you are using Illustrator).

Step 2: Load Your Magnet Sheeting Into the Printer.

Once your print file is complete, load the magnet sheeting in the back of the printer (making sure that the rollers are up first).

A note on the rollers:

The rollers should only ever be positioned under the silver markings visible on the printer (see secondary image). In addition, you should only have rollers placed in position over your print media. Basically, you want a roller under every silver marking that is within the length of the print media.

So position the rollers and then align the magnetic sheeting with one of the scoring troughs on the printer bed (it must be self-aligned!). Also, align it to the roller and arm furthest to the right (see secondary picture).

As soon as your alignment is good and you have double-checked the rollers, you have to lower them onto the print media by pulling down the handle on the front left-hand side of the printer (see secondary image).

Turn on the printer, wait for it to position the print media on its own and then using the back arrow, send the magnetic sheeting back as close to the rollers as it will let you position it.

Step 3: Prepare to Print.

Open Roland VersaWorks.

Select "File ---> Add Job to Queue A"

Choose your TIFF file (or EPS if you are using Illustrator).

Double click on your file in the queue.

On the left hand menu bar:

- Under "Layout" make sure that your image file is less than the usable print space.

- Under "Quality" select for your media type, "Matte Calendared Vinyl (MCVP)" and then choose "Standard" for the print quality. This will set your dpi to 720. You don't want to go much greater than that.

- Under "Printer Controls" make sure that "Cut Sheet after Output" is deselected.

When the controls are set, hit "OK" on the bottom.

Step 4: Print.

To print first look at the bottom icon menu and select the gear icon to "Rip" your image.

When the "Rip" is done processing, select the icon on its right which looks like a picture of an upside down "A" in a microwave. This will print your image.

Step 5: Slice Your Magnets Up.

When your magnets are done printing, get a straight edge and a razor blade and slice them up into individual magnets. Magnets are easy to cut, but even so, do not worry about slicing them all the way through. If you merely score them with the razor blade, you should be able to bend or rip them apart cleanly and easily.

Step 6: Stick Them to Something.

Go stick them to something. It is strangely rewarding.
Does anyone know a printer that would print on the 30mil magnetic material?<br />
I happen to have a Roland SP-540V sitting behind me right now... The tech guy who helped us set up this printer told me that although some people do print magnets on it, the magnetic material is so heavy that it really strains the motor, which can damage the printer. If you want to try this, it would be wise to cut a piece to size (+4" in the back so there's enough material for the rollers to grab!) before loading into the printer so that the printer has to do the bare minimum of heavy lifting. You should probably use the lighter 20mil or 15mil magnetic material, too, not the heavy 30mil car magnet stuff. You can get 20mil stuff from Feller's that is intended for cars and has as much magnetic grip as the 30mil. Also, I think cutting with the plotter should be fine. I've done this on a Gerber plotter, and the idea is that you set the pressure just high enough to score the material and go through the white top layer. The black bottom layer can then be ripped cleanly by hand. I'd guess a pressure of about 75 would be good for scoring magnetic on the SP-540V.
Oddly enough I have access to a Roland 540v and magnetic material. However I was under the impression that magnet couldn't be run through the printer. Maybe I can convince my boss to let me try it out. I've had to print vinyl stickers and mount them on the magnet, this will save me so much time
It can print them, but trying to cut them with the printer is a bad idea.
I searched the printer, and found that it is $17,000. Is that right? If it is, do you own it?
I can't even afford to buy replacement ink cartridges.
How much are they?

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Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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