A close-up of a USB stick with the Roland DG logo
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How to Print Branded USB Sticks on a UV Flatbed Printer

Printing large runs, especially irregularly shaped items, is much easier if you have a jig to hold them in place on your UV flatbed printer. They keep the object you are printing to level with the print head, improving accuracy and helping you maximise your output quality and speed.

You can add value to all sorts of promotional items and products with a UV flatbed printer, providing you and your personalisation business plenty of opportunities to expand your product range.

This article is part of a series of how-to guides focusing on flatbed UV printing. Here, we'll show you how we printed a company logo onto multiple USB sticks, along with some hints and tips to help you get the most out of your device.

Equipment Used:

The Artwork

The Roland DG logo file open in Illustrator
The Roland DG logo file open in Illustrator
  1. Our first step was to come up with a suitable design to print onto the USB sticks. This kind of object is an ideal promotional giveaway for any business as they are small, cost-effective, and easy to customise. This being the case, we decided to keep it corporate and print the Roland DG logo. We used two versions, the full-colour logo that would be printed on the silver metal surface and a white version for the coloured surfaces.
  2. Next, we measured the area of the USB stick we would be printing on to set up our design file in Adobe Illustrator. Design programs provide much the same functionality, so feel free to use what you are most familiar with.
  3. We set the artboard at 100% of the measured size so that it would print the design at its actual size. Our artwork was made up of simple vector shapes and text, which makes it easy to generate white or gloss ink layers in Versaworks. You can also add the layers in Versaworks itself.
  4. To add gloss or white ink to your design, just ensure that you load the VersaWorks spot colour libraries containing RDG_WHITE or RDG_GLOSS and colour the areas appropriately.

Preparing and Loading the Jig

A collage of the steps we took making a jig
A collage of the steps we took making a jig

A jig can be as simple as a ball of putty that will hold your object in place. However, as this project involved multiple items, our jig was custom-made for these specific USB sticks. We used our art file and a laser cutter to create an accurate template to fit the USB sticks. Here’s a quick rundown of the process:

  1. We created a file in Adobe Illustrator that outlined the USB sticks in 8 rows and 18 columns. The outlines were in white so they could be seen clearly.
  2. We made the base of the jig from a 10 mm board of MDF. To make the top layer, we used a 3 mm MDF board, loaded it into a CO2 laser-cutter and sent the file to it using the print outlines.
NB – The jig doesn’t have to be made of one big section. Our laser cutter was a bit small to do it in one, so we cut it into smaller pieces.

  1. We temporarily attached some of the shape offcuts with double-sided tape to help us align the second board with the jig, then used an accelerator and wood glue to glue the two sections together in a matter of seconds.
  2. The jig's surface was printed with black ink to help reduce the reflection from the UV light.
  3. We loaded the jig with the USB sticks, making sure that they all fit firmly in place and were lined up correctly. The sticks we were printing white logos on were grouped together at the top of the jig to make it easier to order our design file. Once the jig was full, we loaded it onto the MO-240’s flatbed. There are holes on the flatbed to help align the jig quickly and easily. For extra stability, you can secure the jig with screws if needed.

Preparing the Print and Printing

VersaWorks with the Roland DG logo open
VersaWorks with the Roland DG logo open
  1. Once the jig was properly aligned, we closed the cover and used the control panel on the MO-240 to configure the settings, including setting the zero-point, width of print and height of the objects.
  2. We were confident that we had aligned everything correctly and that the print would be accurate thanks to some pre-testing. We also performed a test print to ensure that all the ink nozzles were firing correctly.

To populate our jigs with the correct artwork, we used Roland DG PrintAutoMate, a program that allows us to automatically map files to related jigs and output devices. This is particularly useful for printing high volumes of items.

  1. We built our Jig Layout using the exact dimensions of our jig. We began by making an Object, a box that would match the one that our USB stick would fit in on the jig. We added an Image Box to the Object and imported our full-colour logo to it.
  2. We used the “Multiple Objects” tool to add the correct number of objects and the size of the margins to the layout so that it would correspond perfectly with our jig and pressed Add to populate the objects to the jig layout.
  3. We assigned the Jig Layout to a new Print Layout by inputting the printable dimensions and the zero point area of our device and adding the Jig Layout to it before saving it. We created another Jig Layout for the white logo stick by repeating this process and adding it to our Print Layout.
  4. PrintAutoMate adds a Printer Setting File in VersaWorks 6, the RIP software available with all Roland DG printers.

NB – While Roland machines are compatible with many popular RIPs, it’s usually best to use the software specifically designed for your device.

  1. Next, we made sure that the Job Settings in the RIP were correct. In Quality Settings, we chose the “High Quality” option, then we ensured the printer could see the white ink layer under Special Items in Document Information.
  2. When we were happy with our settings, we pressed Print and waited for the print to be completed.
  3. The final USB sticks looked great, the logos perfectly placed and the print sharp. And because they were printed using UV technology, the ink was dry instantly and the sticks were ready to be used straight away.
A close-up of our printed USB stick
A close-up of our printed USB stick


There are lots of options when it comes to customising corporate promotional merchandise with a UV flatbed printer. The wide colour gamut even when printing with CMYK means you have a great chance of matching even tricky corporate greens or oranges.

A jig is an excellent addition to your print setup and, while simple ones can be very effective, it’s good to be able to produce custom jigs for repeated or more complex jobs.

If you’d like more information on anything mentioned in this article, please contact your Roland DG representative, or talk to an expert.

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