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APPPEXPO, the giant printer and signage expo, opens March 11th in Shanghai

   Posted Feb. 2, 2015

Last year there were more UV-cured printer brands and models at APPPEXPO than at all printer expos in Europe and North America combined.

There were more brands of media and printable substrates than every other printer in the world put together.

Hmmm, maybe this is why six of us will fly to Shanghai to attend this four-day expo, March 11-14.

Plus there are solvent printers, water-based printers, cutters, laminators and coaters. And LED and LCD dynamic digital signage (more than every expo in USA and more than any and every signage and printer expo in all of Europe).

Print shop owners and distributors, if they miss this APPPEXPO 2015, then their competitors (who attend) get a head start. is where you can learn more.

All of us in the industry know this as APPPEXPO, but it is also called Shanghai Int'l Ad & Sign Expo, now co-located with the Shanghai Int'l Lighting Expo.

Remember, for 2015 these co-located expos are nowhere near the former expo center. So be sure to book a new hotel location.

And the dates are MARCH, not any more in hot summer July.



SGI (Sign Middle East) is first international signage expo for 2015

   Updated Jan. 2, 2015, First posted December 19, 2014 

Three of us from FLAAR Reports will fly to beautiful Dubai in early January to attend two co-located events: a best-signage awards event and signage conference (organized by and the 11, 12, 13 January SGI Dubai 2015 event (organized by IEC and shown on their

Dubai is friendly, peaceful, architecturally impressive, and worth visiting (especially if your partner likes to shop; Dubai has more and larger shopping malls than most other cities).

FLAAR has been attending this expo for many years and we look forward to 2015.

In addition to Dr Nicholas, two other evaluators-review editors from FLAAR will attend: Pablo Martinez (inks, media, substrates, cutters) and Maria Renee Ayau (textile inks, printers, RIP software, workflow equipment; T-shirt printers, inks, toner).

If you wish to meet Dr Nicholas plus the staff, consulting opportunities are available, but please reserve in advance by writing FrontDesk "at"

We hope to see you in Dubai in early January.


Lots more reviews of digital imaging equipment to come in 2015

   Posted Jan. 2, 2015

Over a million people around the world know the FLAAR Reports on wide-format inkjet printers, inks, media & substrates, and printer/signage expos. But we also evaluate digital cameras, on our

At printer expos manufacturers and distributors showcase their wide-format printers, but half the time the photos they are printing are inadequate. We at FLAAR are available as photography consultants: Dr Nicholas' photos have been published by National Geographic and by Japanese coffee-table book publishers.

Plus there is an additional FLAAR team which studies Neotropical plants and animals of Guatemala and the rest of Mesoamerica. If you are interested in flowers or birds or jaguars, you will enjoy our and

We raise bees, wasps, butterflies, spiders, and tailless whip-scorpions inside or directly in front of our FLAAR headquarters building at 1500 meters above sea level in Central America.

Our ethnobotanical garden around our office and inside also is a research garden on utilitarian plants of the Maya civilization.


Printer & Signage expo in Shanghai will be so large we are sending six FLAAR staff

   Posted December 19, 2014 

If you wish to learn about wide-format inkjet printers, the trade show which is larger than all Europe + all USA expos put together is the March 2015 expo in Shanghai.

It is larger than FESPA + Serigrafia (in Brazil + all four VISCOM expos.

At least six of us from FLAAR Reports, will fly to beautiful Shanghai in mid-March 2015 for this remarkable exposition.

After-market inks, media, substrates, cutters, laminators, coaters, RIP software, printheads.

Plus traditional signage, plus dynamic digital signage (LED and LCD monitors).

Plus 3D printers (3D rapid prototypers, 3D additive manufacturing systems.

We go mainly for UV-cured printers, textile printers, T-shirt printers, inks and media. But you can also find laminators, coaters, CNC routers, CO2 laser engravers and XY flatbed (digital) cutters.

If you are a print shop owner, you can save enough money from after-market inks to pay the entire airplane ticket and hotel in Shanghai.

We hope to see you in Shanghai during this four day event. To get an attendee pass, sign up and register here:


FLAAR Reports expands into evaluating toner printers

   Posted Nov. 14, 2013 

Although FLAAR is best known for evaluations of inkjet printers (over a dozen different kinds of ink chemistries), everything from CAD and GIS to photo printers, and industrial printers up to 5 meter width.

But we also evaluate toner-based printers, indeed Xerox flew three of us from FLAAR Reports to their iGen factory and demo room already six or seven years ago.

We did test print samples in the Xerox booth at Sign Africa in Johannesburg in July and then attended Print '13 in Chicago.

Since it is too crowded to do print samples actually at the expo we introduced ourselves at the key short-run digital press and office copier company booths, and are now preparing to send samples.

But in the meantime, one distributor flew us to California to do sample printers with their toner-based printer.

Here is the FLAAR staff (mostly university trained graphic designers) studying and indicating which features of which printer were outstanding (and which needed improvement).

All the 11x17" images are from GO Duo (Graphics One, distributor for North America and Latin America of many products) compared with the slightly larger and more expensive Xerox machine.

In essence, the output of the low price GO Duo is equal in all respects (other than size) and beats the Xerox a tad on deep blacks.

We would like to repeat this comparison with Xerox's iGen and in the Xerox demo room, plus naturally Xeikon, Canon, and comparable.

But in the meantime, the Graphics One GO Duo did a professional job (graphic design students are quite picky, as you would also expect for a former research professor in digital imaging.

This web site is now available in 36 languages, thanks to the knowledge and experience of  Eliseo Emmanuel Hurtado Bran, one of  the staff at FLAAR. Our maya ethnozoology web site and our fine art giclee web site are also in multiple languages. By summer our printer web sites will be in languages all over the world.

The Foundation for Latin American Anthropological Research is better known as FLAAR. Our mission includes research, education and outreach of how digital imaging technologies can record our visual links to the past, present and future, especially related to pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica.

FLAAR is beta tester for digital imaging technology (hardware and software). The FLAAR Reports evaluate digital cameras, digital photography software, wide-format inkjet printers, inkjet inks, substrates and media, and the entire workflow including color management and ICC color profiles.

The photograph here is an example of our technological capability: it is a composite digital panoramic scan of the inside of a colonial Spanish church courtyard arcade of Santa Clara, Antigua Guatemala. How many photographs were used for this 120 degree panorama?

This image consists of 29,000 individual photographs (this is not a typo). FLAAR has been a beta-tester for BetterLight since the 1990's and still does innovative panoramic photography with this remarkable large-format digital camera system (just Google BetterLight IR pano Eduardo Sacayon FLAAR and you will see the wonders of fine art digital photography for recording cultural heritage. Click on each of the first five results to see everything.

Nicholas Hellmuth in Obeikan
Nicholas Hellmuth at Obeikan

FLAAR does evaluations around the world, especially in Latin America, Europe, USA, and Asia. Over one million people a year read FLAAR each year.

Our focus has always been on the pre-Columbian anthropology and archaeology of Mesoamerica, especially Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. But our experience and knowledge of digital technology should be used to assist people around the world in cultures beyond Latin America.

After a successful decade of becoming the de facto #1 leader in evaluating digital printing technologies, FLAAR has decided it is time to add coverage of 3D imaging technology. So FLAAR opened a 3D division last year and we are expanding it this year. One of our partners is IB-ProCADD in Ljubljana, Slovenia, with association with the local university there. Students from that university assist as volunteers with FLAAR in Guatemala. We also have volunteers from Ukraine and Russia working with us. This year an archaeology student from South America joined our 3D scanning project in Guatemala.

FLAAR intends to become a leader in evaluation, reviews, publication, lectures, and promotion of 3D scanning, 3D rapid prototypying (3D printers especially, but also selective laser sintering, stereo lithography, fused deposition and laminated object manufacturing: now known as additive manufacturing).

Nicholas Hellmuth 3D scanning archaeological artifact
Nicholas Hellmuth at Museo Cultura Cotzumalhuapa, 3D scanning a precolumbian head sculpture.

FLAAR is also interested in evaluating and writing more about 3D imaging software. Our first project was Geomagic software. We look forward to evaluating more software during 2010 and onward into the future. Our background also includes training and experience in architecture, so we are moving forward in the world of 3D modeling for architectural history (especially preColumbian architecture of the Mayan civilization). The Hellmuth family background is in architecture: Nicholas studied architecture at Harvard, one Hellmuth brother studied architecture at Yale, and the youngest Hellmuth brother studied architecture at Georgia Tech and then the prestigious European technical university, ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. All three were following their following their father, George Hellmuth, the founder of HOK Architects, which is currently the largest architectural company in the world. Architecture seems to be in the family, as their grandfather and great-uncle were founders of the firm of Hellmuth & Hellmuth (about a hundred years ago or so).

So evaluating and writing about 3D rapid prototyping creation of architectural models is a logical assignment for the Hellmuth brothers. Daniel Hellmuth, for example, works in sustainable architecture. Nicholas Hellmuth (founder and president of FLAAR Reports), still works with ancient pyramid-temple, palace, and sacred rubber-ballgame ballcourt architecture of Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Belize. So as soon as we arrange access to 3D printers and other 3D modeling technologies, architects around the world can have reliable evaluations of this exciting technology.

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As of December 2014, Dr Nicholas and FLAAR had 1,308 contacts in LinkedIn (and over half a million readers worldwide on the FLAAR network). Wide Format Inkjet printers, inks, trade shows, consulting. Covers digital imaging, wide-format inkjet, inks, printable materials, digital photography, printer and/or signage trade shows around the world. Maya archaeology, iconography, ethnobotany, ethnozoology, caves (Xibalba), ethnohistory (especially Popol Vuh). Mayan studies
tweets (Iconography, Architectural History, Sports & Games, Ethnohistory, Ethnobotany, Ethnozoology, Geology of Guatemala)

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