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Banners on the Cheap: Potential quality Map Printing, Review in progress.

robert4818

Registered User
Validated User
Sometimes we just like large quality printed maps, these are great for campaign level maps. I've found a potential solution that isn't bad.

http://www.bannersonthecheap.com/

I've done vinyl printing before, but it was through the local UPS store on a home-made boardgame. I can tell you from that experience, that vinyl itself is a great material to work with. Its strong, durable, and holds in well. But going through the UPS store was a bit of a pain, and not cheap. Hence why I'm trying the site above.

Last nights attempt was not using a Campaign Cartographer map of Khorvaire from the DnD setting of Eberron on a 3x2 piece of vinyl.

http://sancus.off.net/Eberron_Khorvaire_Map_1.3.pdf

That being said, I can give a review of the process, at the moment Its fairly simple and straight forward.

The site itself is easy to use. The custom section is accessed by a blue button that says "Start now" right below the discount pricing. Before you click it, you have the option of setting your banner size. It starts at 2x2, and has a variety of options from there. Sadly, 4x4 and 6x4 are not options for banner size. (Though 4x8 is.) This means that once you figure you map out, You'll have to find your best fit vinyl banner size for your printing, print to size, and then trim the excess.

Once you click start now, you'll have a small pop up that offers you the ability to enter text, clip art, or upload an image. The third one is what we want.

This takes you to a spot where you can re-size your image and place it where you need it on the banner (You can add extra text, images, or clipart from here as well). Fairly simple, with one Caveat.

  • At this time there's no guide on this tool that lets you do exact measuerments. I'm unsure, right now, if the importer will put the image at the exact same scale as it was saved as. There's some hint that it does, as pictures you upload are not expanded to fit the banner size, but I cannot verify that a 6" square will be a 6" square.

Once done positioning your image/map on the vinyl you click save and continue, to move on to pricing.

Here you are offered Material (Vinyl was my only option, but that might be due to the size I chose), another size option (I think these are simple sclaes of your original size choice), and whether or not you want it "double sided". Choosing double sided doesn't give you the option to customize the other side, so I expect this is an option to print the same thing on both sides.

At the bottom you'll see the finishing price for the print. In the case of the above, it was a bit over $12.00 (US). Keep in mind this was not the final price.

Once you click "add to cart" you'll be taken to another screen that adds estimated shipping, and quantity, and allows you to "proceed to checkout" and enter your shipping information.

Here is where you can adjust your final price based on turnaround time.

The site offers various turnaround times with increased pricing. The cheapest is a 15 day turnaround for around $7.41 and scales up to 1-2 Business days at $122.00.

After that the order is placed and you are good to go.


As I placed my order last night, I haven't recieved it yet. It'll come in around the middle of next month, and then I'll be able to comment on the quality of the print, as well as any other qualities (such as whether it is water-safe, how it deals with water soluable markers, etc.)

Until then, Adeiu!

UPDATE: 2/28/12 Recieved an update. They have finished and shipped my order. This is a plus because I had chosen the 15 day turnaround and was not expecting it until the 19th. I'm now expecting it by end of day tomorrow. Bonuses on fast turn around!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

robert4818

Registered User
Validated User
Sometimes we just like large quality printed maps, these are great for campaign level maps. I've found a potential solution that isn't bad.

http://www.bannersonthecheap.com/

I've done vinyl printing before, but it was through the local UPS store on a home-made boardgame. I can tell you from that experience, that vinyl itself is a great material to work with. Its strong, durable, and holds in well. But going through the UPS store was a bit of a pain, and not cheap. Hence why I'm trying the site above.

Last nights attempt was not using a Campaign Cartographer map of Khorvaire from the DnD setting of Eberron on a 3x2 piece of vinyl.

http://sancus.off.net/Eberron_Khorvaire_Map_1.3.pdf

That being said, I can give a review of the process, at the moment Its fairly simple and straight forward.

The site itself is easy to use. The custom section is accessed by a blue button that says "Start now" right below the discount pricing. Before you click it, you have the option of setting your banner size. It starts at 2x2, and has a variety of options from there. Sadly, 4x4 and 6x4 are not options for banner size. (Though 4x8 is.) This means that once you figure you map out, You'll have to find your best fit vinyl banner size for your printing, print to size, and then trim the excess.

Once you click start now, you'll have a small pop up that offers you the ability to enter text, clip art, or upload an image. The third one is what we want.

This takes you to a spot where you can re-size your image and place it where you need it on the banner (You can add extra text, images, or clipart from here as well). Fairly simple, with one Caveat.

  • At this time there's no guide on this tool that lets you do exact measuerments. I'm unsure, right now, if the importer will put the image at the exact same scale as it was saved as. There's some hint that it does, as pictures you upload are not expanded to fit the banner size, but I cannot verify that a 6" square will be a 6" square.

Once done positioning your image/map on the vinyl you click save and continue, to move on to pricing.

Here you are offered Material (Vinyl was my only option, but that might be due to the size I chose), another size option (I think these are simple sclaes of your original size choice), and whether or not you want it "double sided". Choosing double sided doesn't give you the option to customize the other side, so I expect this is an option to print the same thing on both sides.

At the bottom you'll see the finishing price for the print. In the case of the above, it was a bit over $12.00 (US). Keep in mind this was not the final price.

Once you click "add to cart" you'll be taken to another screen that adds estimated shipping, and quantity, and allows you to "proceed to checkout" and enter your shipping information.

Here is where you can adjust your final price based on turnaround time.

The site offers various turnaround times with increased pricing. The cheapest is a 15 day turnaround for around $7.41 and scales up to 1-2 Business days at $122.00.

After that the order is placed and you are good to go.


As I placed my order last night, I haven't recieved it yet. It'll come in around the middle of next month, and then I'll be able to comment on the quality of the print, as well as any other qualities (such as whether it is water-safe, how it deals with water soluable markers, etc.)

Until then, Adeiu!


UPDATE: 2/28/12 Recieved an update. They have finished and shipped my order. This is a plus because I had chosen the 15 day turnaround and was not expecting it until the 19th. I'm now expecting it by end of day tomorrow. Bonuses on fast turn around!
UPDATE: 2/29/12 The map came in today. I have a very mixed opinion of it.

Good:
Water resistant. Water will not smear the print job.
I don't have the right wet erase pens, I think. They come off, but they are not what I'm used to. I'll give it a tenative Thumbs up for Wet Erase Pens.
Tough
Flexible

Bad:
Dry erase Pens. These do not come off easily, this is no surprise given the pens are designed for specific surfaces.
Resolution. This is a big one. I gave myself maximum amount of resolution. My letters, even on the smaller stuff should not be fuzzy. Yet there is an over-all fuzzyness on the map. I have a feeling this is due to their printer resolution. They are designed to print banners seen from a distance, not maps. From a distance, my map looks great. As you get close, smaller things like city names are fuzzy and some are un-readable.

Over-all recomendation: Conditional Thumbs up.

This is a buyer beware product. From this map print I have to say that its usefulness is dependent on what you want to do with it. I think I would avoid printing another detailed map on it like I just did. Though one without as much minor details would work just fine. If you want a wargame map, it should work quite well. It may work with D&D 4e maps, but there is risk that the grid lines would become fuzzy. I do believe that specific squares would still be purely visible though.
 

Ace_Fortune

Registered User
Validated User
Yeah, another vote for a picture of the finished product. This sounds like it could be a great resource for us.
 

robert4818

Registered User
Validated User
Yeah, another vote for a picture of the finished product. This sounds like it could be a great resource for us.
I might be able to get one this weekend. Its over at my gaming place (friends house). So I have to remember to take a camera, or get the map back.
 
Quick question: what was the total resolution of your image? I work with large format printers like this (and I do quite a bit of printing onto vinyl), and the resolution of the original images matters more than the resolution that the printer can print. Most large format printers can at least do 300dpi, and most newer models can do 600dpi, which should be pretty clear. But, these printers are basically giant inkjet printers, and so are spraying ink onto the vinyl, which might be where the fuzziness came from.

I'd love to see a comparison from the original image that was submitted, and the final print. But, I do have to say that their prices are much more reasonable than I have found elsewhere. $20+ for a 3'x5' vinyl banner is pretty good.
 

robert4818

Registered User
Validated User
Quick question: what was the total resolution of your image? I work with large format printers like this (and I do quite a bit of printing onto vinyl), and the resolution of the original images matters more than the resolution that the printer can print. Most large format printers can at least do 300dpi, and most newer models can do 600dpi, which should be pretty clear. But, these printers are basically giant inkjet printers, and so are spraying ink onto the vinyl, which might be where the fuzziness came from.

I'd love to see a comparison from the original image that was submitted, and the final print. But, I do have to say that their prices are much more reasonable than I have found elsewhere. $20+ for a 3'x5' vinyl banner is pretty good.
Honestly, I don't remember. Someone told me my resolution was too small.

However, there is a distinct difference between the quality of the image at the zoom level I was looking at, and the print quality at that same size.

However, like I said in the review, if you aren't looking at "small" details on the map, then its a great thing to have.

Small being letters around 1/4" tall on a map 36" tall.
 
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