Comparing Fractureme Glass & Bumblejax Acrylic Prints
What Are The Differences Between Fractureme.com Glass Prints & Bumblejax Acrylic Prints (Face Mounted)
Sometimes we get questions from customers asking if we print to actual glass and the answer is no we don't. There are a few companies who do with the most well known likely being Fractureme.com. I think the confusion lies in the fact that acrylic prints look like glass and even those that know it's acrylic and not glass are searching for "acrylic glass prints" and such. Further complicating matters is that companies selling acrylic are actually calling them acrylic glass prints or simply glass prints which can be confusing.
There are some big differences between actual glass prints and the acrylic prints we sell here. We thought we'd highlight the differences so you can make an informed decision. The Fractureme prints are a really novel idea and the company was one of the first to offer true glass prints, but there are some disadvantages compared to an acrylic face mounted print that you should be aware of. Below is a simple table to get a quick read on the differences and we'll discuss below in more detail.
|Large Sizes?||Yes - max long side 96"||No - max long side 28.8"|
|Thickness||1/8", 1/4", 1/2" and 1"||Very thin about 1/16"|
|Color Profiles||sRGB, Adobe, ProPhoto||only sRGB|
|Printer||Inkjet - Pigment Ink||UV|
|Ok In Heat / Moisture?||No||No|
|Support||Typically within 30 min - email, phone & live chat||24-48 hours - email only|
|Made In USA|
Before we get into the details of each comparison above, it's important to note the big difference in how a true glass print is produced vs an acrylic glass print (using the face mount method). Without getting into too much detail in this article, it became possible a few years ago to print to any material directly with a UV printer which cures the ink to the substrate using ultra-violet light. It opened up a lot of opportunities to print to just about anything (including glass) which is great but you do give up color accuracy and vibrancy when compared to printing with pigment inkjet ink to high grade photo paper. In addition the longevity ratings won't match that of pigment inkjet prints, but should last a very long time. The UV prints are relatively new and very little testing has been done to determine how long they will last. It should be noted that UV printers are getting better and some very high end models are getting closer to fine art quality.
Glass Prints - Very unique not many companies doing this in US (Fractureme, MasterPix). UV printer cures ink to glass.
Acrylic Prints (Direct) - Many many companies doing this including companies producing these in China & India so be careful with these. UV printer cures ink to acrylic. Similar benefits and disadvantages to the Fractureme glass prints.
Bumblejax Acrylic Prints (Face Mounted) - Very few companies in US doing this process with consistent gallery quality results (probably less than 5 companies) Inkjet pigment ink on high-end photo paper and reverse mounted so that you're looking through the acrylic at your print. Acrylic is unique in that light refracts within the acrylic creating an illuminating effect whereas light simply passes through glass. A closeup shot explains our product best.
Let's get into the differences of our acrylic face mounted prints and direct to glass prints like those from Fractureme.
Custom Sizes, Large Sizes & Thickness. We can do any custom size down to the 1/4" all the way up to a massive 96x48". Fractureme has just 8 sizes with the largest at roughly 22x29. If your photo doesn't match any of these sizes you'll be forced to crop the photo. We also offer various thickness of acrylic including 1/8", 1/4", 1/2" and 1". Fractureme glass is very thin at just a bit thicker than 1/16" (2mm)
Color Profile, Vibrancy, Accuracy. It doesn't matter what substrate a UV printer prints to it just won't match the color accuracy of printing to professional grade photo paper using a wider color gamut such as Adobe 1998 or ProPhoto. With a wider color gamut comes better accuracy and more vibrancy, but the acrylic itself enhances the print further due to the unique way light refracts within the acrylic. With good overhead lighting and even good natural light, the acrylic will illuminate the image since light bounces back at you. This effect is more pronounced as you go thicker with the acrylic using a metallic paper. With glass, light simply passes through.
Breakable, Scratching, Heat/Moisture, Longevity?. Glass, as you know, can break far easier than acrylic so more prone to damage in shipping or dropping. Both acrylic and glass can scratch, but glass is probably a bit more resistant to that. You do have to be very careful with our standard acrylic but there is a product called Novus which can remove fine scratching in acrylic. It works really well. We also offer a premium TruLife acrylic that offers scratch resistant coating. For most people, this won't be an issue since you'll put the print up on the wall and be careful if moving it. You have to be careful with both Bumblejax and Fractureme prints with regard to heat and moisture. Both companies don't recommend outdoor use or use in areas of high heat and humidity although well ventilated bathrooms are probably ok. Longevity, in this case, refers to how long the print will last without fading. Pigment inkjet ink printed to photo paper will outlast any other medium and that includes UV prints on glass, c-prints and dye sublimation prints (think metal prints). That's not to say that glass prints using a UV printer can't last a long time but the rigorous testing hasn't been done yet with this new technology and nobody really knows.
Support, Outsourced, Made In USA? Here at Bumblejax we pride ourselves on providing industry leading customer support and keeping every aspect of the process in house in Seattle. It appears based on reviews that Fractureme also makes customer support a priority with a strong guarantee with in house production in the US. However, there does not appear to be an option for phone or live chat support and email response time is 24-48 hrs according to their website.
Price. Fractureme definitely offers a lower price point for their glass prints vs our face mounted acrylic prints. All direct to substrate products will be considerably cheaper since the photo mounting part of the equation is removed which leads to fewer redos and far less difficulty. For comparison their largest square print at 23x23" is $120 while our price at that size begins at $239 and goes up depending on the options you choose. If you'd like to compare our acrylic print to a glass print we have some nice first order discounting (sign up form at lower left of page).
Are You A Reseller? If so we can take 50% off your first order and discounting of 15-20% off every order thereafter. We can also blind dropship and even add customized labeling for your orders. You can see all that we offer for resellers here.
Hopefully, this report has provided you with the necessary details to understand the differences photos on glass and our face mounted acrylic prints to make an informed decision. If you want to explore the world of acrylic prints further we recommend reviewing our detailed acrylic prints buyers guide as well. If you have any questions at all give us a shout! We hope to have the opportunity to make you an acrylic print one day.