Encad NovaJet 880 printer with flatbed capabilities.

Encad 880 Novajet at ISA 2002
Encad 880 at ISA tradeshow

Encad NovaJet 880 offers features not available on any Canon, HP, ColorSpan, Epson, or Mutoh, namely the ability to print on material up to half an inch thick. We have a Mimaki JV4 which can print fabulously directly onto foamcore, but we would like to be able to print onto doors, window shutters, and other architectural features. At both universities where FLAAR has an evaluation facility we are physically adjacent to that university’s architecture department. Indeed at BGSU we share the same building and are under the auspices of the same Dean.

18 other printers have been sent by their manufacturers for evaluation, but no Encad, so we are left to depend on what end users tell us. One packaging shop hired FLAAR as a consultant to visit their print shop to help them select which wide format printer to buy. Since they needed to print on thick material, we suggested the Encad NovaJet 880. But they said the local Encad dealer did test prints for them which were awful (they were poor quality, we have samples). But printer dealers often don’t make much effort to render a stunning print sample. They only wake up if they feel someone is about to buy. But this print shop was ready to buy, and they went and bought an HP or ColorSpan instead!

Too bad, since if we had had an Encad Nova Jet 880 in our own facility, we could have demonstrated how to coax outstanding output from it. We are told of HP and ColorSpan dealers that produce lousy samples for prospective buyers too (they are not willing to tweak the settings to achieve great output). But we have five HP printers and two ColorSpans. We use them every day and know precisely how to produce award winning museum quality prints. That’s why we are so enthusiastic about these printers, because we know them from years of experience. In distinction, we have not had an Encad since 1997.

The Encad 880 has a dryer. No such feature is available on most piezo printers nor on Canon. ColorSpan have dryers on their top models; we have two of these in our facility at the university and like this feature. HP 5500 has a dryer-like feature, but it is not yet fully integrated.

In late December 2005 we visited a sign franchise that bought an Encad NovaJet 880. His sign franchise had recommended it. The printer turned out to be a headache and he got rid of it. He turned around and bought a Zund UVjet 215. We have written up our interview where he describes his experience with the Encad NovaJet 880 and with the Zund UV-curable inkjet printer.

The need for direct printing onto thick and rigid material is a real bonus for sign shops. Currently printer manufacturers are scrambling to produce printers to serve these needs. The average flatbed printer costs about $ 275,000! If you wish more information on flatbed printers in general, just look for the FLAAR Report on printers for thick and rigid materials.

Thus to be able to acquire a dual-use printer which includes flatbed capabilities, for under $20,000, seems like a good investment.But the Encad 880 somehow never became very popular.

Hahnemuehle makes a fine art giclée art board. International Paper, Nielsen and Bainbridge and other companies make foamcore coated for inkjet printing.c

But the idea I like the best is the ability to paint inkjet coating material on other objects, such as wood, and then printing onto them. I especially want to print onto glass. Nicholas Hellmuth’s report on flatbed printers lists the products which you can, yourself, coat any object, stone, wood, even toilet seats! Several spray-on inkjet receptor coatings are readily available.

The FLAAR printing facility at the university is directly adjacent to the Department of Art. They have glass making, textiles, and every kind of art production you can imagine, including metal. Imagine how the faculty and students could print onto things such as aluminum on the Encad NovaJet 880 which then could be subsequently bent into any shape desired by the artist.

FLAAR review editors are very picky about ad claims. We find the advertising for the Encad NovaJet 880 acceptable overall and honorable in restraint. We are not able to certify any features because we don’t have this printer in-house, but compared with other ads for other products the Encad brochure appears reasonable. Visit our page on the NovaJet 1000i.

EncadNovaJet and other model names are registered trademarks of Encad-A Kodak Company.


Most recently updated Jan. 5, 2006.
Previous updates: September 8, 2003, Jan 6, 2003, August 12, 2002.