Roland VersaStudio BN20 review with pictures

I recently had the opportunity to install 2 of the new Roland BN20 VersaStudio desktop printer / cutters. There have been many inquiries and requests for information and a “real” assessment of how well these units perform and if it is really a viable solution to different problems they have been facing. I will admit that when I first heard about the VersaStudio, I did not think it would do well and it would not meet the needs of most shops. After getting some time with both the machine and a couple of shops, I can honestly say that I have to eat a bit of crow on my stance. There is a very large need for this type of technology in the apparel industry and the shops that are using right now have had great results.

Front view of Roland Versastudio BN20

The machine is pretty small compared to all of the other VersaCAMM units out there and can easily fit onto a standard folding table or a desktop. The unit was easy to unpack and the documentation is very clear on how to install everything. There is a step by step guide similar to most desktop printers that leads the end user through installation of the software first and connecting the printer to your computer second. Once the software is installed, you simply plug the USB cable in and it identifies the printer and installs the drivers. Next the software leads the user through the initial setup of the printer and performs a flushing sequence to ensure it is clean. Next there is an installation of the ink cartridges and a final step of calibrations that is completely software driven and gives the user a visual guide to ensure that everything is easy to follow. In all it took less than an hour to get the machine unpacked, software installed, and calibrations done. Now on to the fun stuff, printing! The printing is slow compared to what I am used to at 10 SQFT an hour.

Software installation on the Roland BN20

Both of the shops I installed for were very pleased with the speed and did not seemed to be concerned at all. We ran through heat transfer and decal media and applied finished products to garments and other items. As I walked each of the shops through the process, they came up with application after application and would tell me of customers that they were going to utilize the versatility of this type of equipment for. One of the shops was a small at home business that already had embroidery andĀ DTG. They were looking to use the VersaStudio for dark garments, decals, posters, banners and a ton of other applications that they currently had to outsource. The second shop was a well established business that had embroidery, heat transfer and a CAMMs machine for rhinestones. They were looking to bring their heat transfers in shop and be able to complete low run orders or one offs with the VersaStudio. Both shops were looking at the VersaStudio as a way to get into the market on these projects and stop outsourcing while having better control on production times, color control and most importantly, profit margin! They both expressed that this could take off for them and in the future they may upgrade to a larger faster unit to handle the bigger jobs.

Roland Versastudio BN20 print

I know that in the short time since i have done the installations, both shops have produced several jobs for customers and are very pleased with the machinery and the results they have gotten. I will say that I feel this new printer cutter has a great spot in our industry. I am hearing fromĀ DTG users that want to add this to their shop to make up for the gaps there and to bring a larger list of products they can offer to their customers in shop. I am very impressed with the VersaStudio and am happy to recommend it to anyone that has been considering it for their shop. If you would like more information or to see other pictures than the ones in this article, please let me know and I will be happy to send you what I have. I will have one of these at the class I teach this week and hope to have one permanently here for teaching classes in the future.

71 Responses to “Roland VersaStudio BN20 review with pictures”

  1. I am very interested in this machine and found one locally, the salesman said I have to run it every day or the heads will clog. I am a very small business and this machine could sit for a while, should this be something to be concerned about.

    • Administrator says:

      I think he may be misleading you a bit. The Versacamm and VersaStudio models from Roland will start themselves up once a day and run a check on the environment, clean the heads, and then shut down. These machines are designed to take care of themselves with minimal interface from the user. I have personally had one left alone for almost a month and when it was started up and run, there were no issues at all.

      Sorry I missed your comment and it took a while to get it responded to. You can email me direct if there is anything I can do to help.

      Thanks!
      Steven Jackson
      steven at imprintables dot com

      • I am a mom at home who sew bags and other things. I will like to personalize my products for my customers. I was wondering if there is any way I can buy this equipment used? How can you help me hook up with someone trying to get rid of theirs. Thanks Edith

        • Administrator says:

          Currently I do not have any used ones but I will keep my eyes open for you.

          • I just got my BN-20 last week and very happy with it. I was concern on the price at first but Bob Robinson at imprintableswarehouse got me to the right people to finance my BN-20. The payment are very reasonable. I would contact Bob at 800-347-0068 x233 and maybe he can get you a new machine, he was great on getting me a machine. He will be back in the office Monday.
            Hope this helps

            Dan
            The Island Gem

    • I really like the machine & my question is can change the metallic inc ink with white OEM ink cartridge? to print undercoat transparent vinyl. Local tech support team is great.

      • Administrator says:

        You cannot change the cartridge over. This machine is not able to do white inks.

        • they have a white ink version available now! Plus a deal on until the 31st.

        • I am very happy with my BN-20, the only mistake I made was that I bought it with cmyk+white configuration, now I see that metallic would be much better for me, anybody knows if there is any way to change it ?

          • Administrator says:

            You can talk to your dealer to see if they will swap it for you but there is not a way once it is setup to change the configuration.

  2. Own-2-BN-20s says:

    I would like to throw my two cents into this discussion because I personally own two Roalnd BN-20′s one is set up metallic the other is not.

    They are HORRIBLE machines and do not function correctly at all. Since I began working with these machines on a daily basis 4-5 months ago, they have been more trouble that not. The nozzle checks fail more than they work. The are missing the controls for the end user to be able to adjust vacuum pressure for the different medias. For instance, just try to print/cut the heat transfer material on them, you’ll be sorely disappointed when they ruin the print and literally shred the material and backing, not to forgot the rubbing against the blade nozzle along your printed works and the shreds of the material rubbing all over the head.

    I would NOT recommend this printer/cutter to my competition let alone a stranger on the street.

    Believe me I used my printers DAILY for 5 months I know what I am talking about.

    Roland Support – HA what a joke, they wanted to blame EVERY issue on me or my staff and were never willing to listen until my sales rep experienced what I was talking about (for which I had to have a service call and get the cap replaced as that was the issue they were sure of initially. *cap at my cost, service call was warranty call*

    Lets talk about the waste container, it filled up MONTHLY, that is a 67$ charge for a replacement, when I finally took one apart and saw that there was VERY LITTLE ink in the actual container I was flabbergasted that I had purchased replacements already.

    Lets talk about printing gradients; good luck on that one, we had it print the gradient once and then the next one it printed it just abruptly stopped mid-gradient and print nothing. What the heck is that all about, the colors were ALWAYS roland colors, because if it wasn’t tech support would blame the color palette as the culprit for the erroneous gradient print.

    The service application for this model is a joke as well, ONLY the sales representative can utilize it and once you close out of it, the settings revert back to the original (we finally got heat transfer working by raising the vacuum up 70% from factory settings and it would sufficiently hold the media down while the plotter blade cut, out of 100+ heat transfer prints, we had only a handful turn out correctly on their first run, and all were when we had access to the service application.

    I can go on about the wasteful practices of this machines ink usage but I think that my point is clear.

    PS – If you do some googling, you will find a brand new, still palleted BN-20 for sale in the SE and from the comments it appears it is a roland exchange that was never set up.

    PSS – Roland has offered to exchange me one of my BN-20s outright and I have to send them the other so they can “attempt to repair/fix”. If that doesn’t tell you something about these machines I do not know what would.

    • I wonder why there was no response to the negative comment? I was all set to buy one of these machines, now I have to question should I bother?

      • Administrator says:

        The previous post was approved and left alone as the poster had some valid points. I could have rebutted some of the statements but feel that in that type of post, they are usually just looking to argue. I have come across the same post from the same person in a few different forums and every time he has continued to be negative regardless of how it was responded to. I know that Roland bent over backward to address the issue and get it resolved but there have been no positive posts to follow up from the OP to show this.

        That being said, I would be glad to answer anything I can for you and help out.

      • So when do you think Roland will come up with some solutions to these issues? I am kind of sitting in limbo right now.

        • Administrator says:

          Dave – sorry for the slow response, I have been out of town for training and missed the reply to me. Roland has worked a vast majority of the bugs out and I believe the bn20 is a stable system at this point. I would not hesitate to recommend it to you.

      • Well, i’ve had one for about 8 months and it’s pretty good. Coming from a VP-540, the lack of controls annoys me a bit and it’s also very very slow in comparison, but the print quality is massively better and for what I do, this is far more economical.

        If you’re doing small prints all the time, this machine is awesome. I print a lot more than I used to on the VP simply because the setup is so much quicker and easier.

        The waste ink cartridge is a valid point however – it gets filled up to about 60% just on the initial clean and $50 a pop to replace is stupid – again, coming from the VP, why they couldn’t just put a container on it that could be emptied is beyond me.

        When it comes down to it, if you’re going to be using it heavily day in day out, get a VS instead (there is a small width model if you don’t want a wide format), but for smaller jobs/less frequent use, the BN-20 is great.

  3. Have you compared the BN-20 to the GO EcoMax using SEPIAX ink? I know that their transfers do not use eco-solvent ink and the entire transfer system is green? I would like to hear comments in comparison to the EcoMax…www.graphicsone.com.

  4. Isasuleahmed says:

    Do you have refurb? let me know.

  5. I own a versacamm and just purchased the BN20. What a pain. It is slow. It refuses to print if I am printing on the Versacamm. While I admit the quality is awesome, I have a feeling it is going to be a long time before I start actually making a profit with this machine. Am having a bit of buyers remorse.

    • Administrator says:

      You will want to make sure in your settings in Versaworks that it is setup to allow for printing on multiple printers at the same time. It is under the preferences menu.

      • Versaworks is set up for multiple printers, but still the bn20 will not print when the versacam is printing. The job just sits there like it doesn’t know what to do. Sometimes the job just disappears. Very frustrating

  6. Does this machine do stickers as well as heat press vynil?

    • Administrator says:

      Yes it does vinyl decals as well as banner, heat transfer, poster, and vinyl cling media among many others

  7. My versaworks is set up for multiple printers, but the bn20 still will not print when the versacamm in printing. The job sits there like it is confused as to what it should do. Other times, the job just terminates. Very frustrating.

    • Administrator says:

      Have you tried to get your dealer to do a remote assist and see what is going on?

    • How could I easily make a silpme sticker/decal though?Like, I would like to make a small shaped decal, from vinyl or something.And I wouldn’t mind if it was just like this matte black electrical tape you know.But it needs to be bigger than that of course, so what should I buy and do with it?

      • Administrator says:

        You can do this type of operation with the BN20 but if oyu are simply cutting vinyl graphics and do not need the printer, a Roland GX24 might be a better choice.

  8. yes, we have done this once. Looks like we will have to do it yet again.

  9. Norma Jean says:

    Ok I’m on the fence. I have a Roland Camm-1 960 for the past 17 years and it has been a great machine. But ya keep with the times and customers want full color. So I went to sublimation, but you are limited to poly and no WHITE. So I am looking again, and started with Roland because of the success I have had with the CAMM-1 960. Looking for the best deal I can get – do you take trade-ins?

    • Administrator says:

      I think there is still a trade in deal going on with Roland – I will check and see if i can find out.

  10. Well …I was going to purchase a BN-20 Roland… but now this whole site has me thinking again.. I was looking at a Roland Versa Camm 300 and a Mimaki CVJ30-130 … I didn’t really want to spend $16,000 dollars … so I was just going to settle on the BN-20.. Now it looks like $8400 dollars would be a waste to spend.. on the BN-20… so I guess I will just sit back and see where this goes to..

    thanks again…

  11. I have a Anajet Printer for printing onto garments. I was looking at the BN-20 to replace it for more option of doing decals, and still be able to print to Tshirts. Reading all this information from others I really don’t know if I would be making the right choice. Just had my machine fully refurbished so it’s like a new printer. Have anyone or dose anyone use it to do T shirts? If so how is it? Do they take trade ins?

  12. winktype says:

    I’m at a loss to understand what the problem is with the BN-20? I’ve been the proud owner of a Roland PC60 for 15 years and yes the print head is not what it was, but it’s still a great plotter. Needing to go forward with colour, I decided to buy a BN-20. It was explained to me that it was a bit slow and that if I chose the metallic, there was no changing to white. I’ve now had the machine for some 4 months and can say it’s the best piece of kit I’ve ever had. It prints and cuts vinyl superbly with chrome like metallic (now I’ve worked out how to set the software!) along with top quality heat applied transfers. No it is not sublimation… durrhh, it never was! To the chap who claims it shreds his substrates my advice would be… get your settings correct!!! It’s really simple to use (once the software is understood) and mine, despite me only producing t-shirt transfers and small vinyl graphics, has almost paid for itself already. Top marks Roland!
    P.S. yes the waste ink is a bit of a fuss, but I simply built the costs into my prices, no brainer what?

  13. sti guy says:

    i too am looking for a vinyl printer/cutter.
    how often does the waste ink fill up when doing t-shirt transfers and small graphic decals?

    • Administrator says:

      The initial fill of the system will get the tank almost to 1/3 full. I found that it took several months after that to get it full and needing a replacement. The second tank I have in is still showing under 1/4 and has been for over 5 months.

  14. please am interested in this BN-20 printer/cutter, can this this machine be use for sublimation?

    • Administrator says:

      Unfortunately it is not able to do sublimation. Maybe that is something Roland is looking into for the future though :)

  15. ok but i ve seen some profit calculatoin, and i want to know if the type of paper or media is factored before getting that profit?

    • Administrator says:

      it is – there are different end calculations for the different medias. For example: a decal media will run you about $0.50 a square foot for cost of media and ink and can be sold at $8 per square foot. Heat transfer media is generally around $3 per square foot cost to you. I have a calculator that I can send to you – email me at steven@imprintables.com and I will send it over. Make sure to let me know that you came from the blog and want the calculator :)

  16. please you ask me to email you for the calculator but i have done that but still no reply, this is my email mrjapangh@yahoo.com.
    still waiting

  17. artaddict says:

    Sir, I am really interested in this machine. I am not too particular about the cutting though. I take it that this is a solvent ink printer, am i right?. What price is it going for ? What is the cost for replacement inks?

    • Administrator says:

      The printer will print and then cut your graphics for you. It can also be used to print, then remove and laminate, and then align back for contour cutting of a laminated graphic.

      Cost of then machine is $8495.00 MSRP and you can usually work a good deal for included ins, media etc. from a reputable dealer. I recommend http://www.imprintables.com/product/roland-versastudio-bn-20,502,98.htm If you contact them they will get you a quote for a complete setup.

      Inks cost about $0.22 per square foot and a new ink cartridge will run you $66.95. It is a solvent based ink (eco solvent ink).

      I hope this helps!

  18. Hi i found this roland bn2o on line with different prices could you please tellme how is possible that some company offering this for 3077.00 doolar vs 8694.00 from roland the site 0ffering for 3077.00 is adik thanks.

    • Administrator says:

      ADIK is a foreign company that has MANY complaints against it. They are notorious for taking money and never shipping the product out. The cost on there does not include the international freight, duties and taxes. I would not recommend trying to buy from them. Roland is aware of them and cannot stop them as it resides in a foreign country where they have no control.

      If you compare dealers in the US, you will see it listed at near the same price on all $8495.00

  19. sir can i used the BN 20 printer to print decals with metallic ink, but during printing of t shirts,i will just use CMYK?

  20. bob martin says:

    Are you able to sell th BN-20 in Florida. I heard Roland is restricting the areas for the dealers.

    • Steven Jackson says:

      We do not sell into Florida at this time. We are working on getting a regional tech in that area to be able and support the units and then we will be bale to sell down there. Sorry!

  21. bob martin says:

    Do you have a time frame as to when this might happen?

  22. Josephine Meyer says:

    Hi is there a BN-20 dealer in Georgia? I live in Naples Fl and I am very interested purchasing.

    • Steven Jackson says:

      I would contact Mike Koval at Imprintables Warehouse. He should be able to assist you – 800-347-0068 ext 240

  23. I recently bought a BN-20..
    Love this machine! It works just like it should!
    It’s user friendly, I was able to bring it home plug it in and print stickers and shirt transfers immediately with no problems at all.. I went with metallic and am glad I did, it not only prints silver, but you can print any color metallic also. I trained for a day with this machine and it was very appreciated and worth the time. I have no idea what the negative posts above are about because it works wonderfully for me. It is slower but the quality is the same as a big Roland. Actually I think it’s the same print head. Prints are not expensive to do and the program shows how much ink you use each time.

  24. I have had a BN-20 for 3 months and whilst over all it has done a fantastic job, it has had many problems which as yet have not been solved.

    The main problem is the media jams for no apparent reason. It then buckles up & the print head then smears ink where it hits. It’s also caused the head to hit the right hand media guide which had to be replaced at my cost. The supplier told me to clean under the guides which I did but it still randomly does the same thing.

    The 2nd problem is it will just stop in the middle of a job with no notification in the software that anything is wrong. If I wait the staus will keep saying it is printing & when it gets to 100% printed (even though it’s not doing anything) it will then cut the completed print & some of the non completed prints. Sometimes if I have 8 to print it will print & cut 4 for no apparent reason.

    I hope someone here knows what’s going on cause I’m baffled.

    • Steven Jackson says:

      I would contact your rep that sold the machine to you and make sure you have the latest firmware and software. There may be connectivity issues from that. Also, make sure your que is relatively clean. Do not allow all of the jobs to sit in the que as it will take up system resources and cause the issue you are seeing in the printing.

      For the jams etc. what media is jamming?

  25. Rafael Reis says:

    Hi, Steven,

    I would know if with a Roland BN-20 I can start a small business using heat transfers on garments, just for a few orders. I’ve read on T-Shirts Forum posts, that screen printing is better and profitable in bulk orders.

    Best regards.

    • Steven Jackson says:

      Heat transfers from the BN20 work great. You will have to find where it is a better option to go screen printing on a job vs. the BN20. It will depend on the number of colors in the design, quantity of shirts etc.

      As for the metallic ink – it is not recommended for garment applications and for decals etc. it is recommended to laminate to protect the metallic ink from wearing off. The metallic inks sit on the top of the media and do not “bite” into it like other inks do so lamination is recommended. You cannot laminate a shirt!

  26. Rafael Reis says:

    I’m forgot to ask you about the Roland BN-20 metallic ink. Does it last on garment and vinyl stickers? Is it wash resistant? In negative case, waht should I do to make them more resistant?

  27. I would like to open new business of T-shirt printing .. Does Roland bn-20 better than ANAJET or any DTG Printer ..
    What about a quality of what I print after how many time I wash the T-shirt then I lose the Picture ..

    • Steven Jackson says:

      I would say the quality is very comparable in resolution etc. A DTG will print directly on the shirt where the BN20 is onto a vinyl heat transfer media. The DTG is limited to shirts only and the BN20 can print on hundreds of different substrates which will expand your business much more.

      I hope this helps!

  28. Hi
    I am planing to start my t-shirt printing business but I am confused whether should i go for roland BN-20 or Epson T1100 Printer for heat transfers.

    As the price difference is almost double but again I want to deliver quality. My concern is more about feel of the T-shirt after printing.

    Please Advice :)

    Thanks
    Vinnie

    • Steven Jackson says:

      Vinnie,
      Sorry for the slow response! The BN20 is more versatile and will not only do what you are looking for on the t-shirts, but allow you to expand into many more items for your customer. Shoot me an email at steven@imprintables.com and I can help you through the process of selecting the right items for your business model.

  29. Angela Redgkin says:

    I personally own a BN20 & absolutely hate the machine! I use it all day everyday!
    I waste more media & downtown fighting the machine than anything! The slowest printer cutter
    I have ever worked with!! I will set the machine to print & cut decals say 2- it may or may not
    Print & cut the whole images. It may print & cut 1 & get to the 2nd & quit. Causing me to lose money
    everyday! Roland support has been nice. I would never tell anyone to
    Buy this machine! Not to mention the media clamps jam up constantly as well. If you want a very unpredictable, very slow machine buy a BN20. It sounds great & if/when it works it does great. I’ve had
    it for 5-6 months & I’m ready to throw it in the garbage!!

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