Wooden sign making with a colour printer

Here's a random question that you wonderful people just might know the answer to :-)
I need to make a sign. I've made the physical sign itself out of plywood, and it's as yet unfinished. I need to mount a sheet of paper from a colour printer on the sign. I'd like it to be permanently mounted, and waterproof in case it has to sit out in the rain.
The sign is 2.5' X 3' and the sheet of paper is 11"X17"
I can configure a hard drive in under ten minutes but wouldn't have a clue where to start here. Or is there any other relatively inexpensive way to get an image from a computer onto a piece of wood?
Thanks :-)
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On Fri, 23 Jul 2004 04:07:49 GMT, "Experienced but Undocumented"

well... ummmm....
the paper isn't going to last, no matter what you do to it. computer printer ink will fade quickly in sunlight and even if you use acid free archival paper and coat it with plastic the paper will break down in a few months.
so use the paper as a pattern and cut the design directly into the wood. then fill the cut areas with paint.
what you use to make the cut will depend on what tools you have access to and how fancy the typeface is....
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What if it's laser printed and not ink?
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On Fri, 23 Jul 2004 05:45:05 GMT, Experienced but Undocumented

The paper is still going to degrade in the sunlight...unless you're planning on putting the plywood through the laser printer. Might get tricky though, with all those rollers.
I don't think it's a viable option. We put some computer-printed stick-on decals onto one of our firetrucks 2 years ago, and it's already badly faded - this for a truck that gets outside a couple times a month (small rural department). So even with a good substrate, with inks made for outside, it's still not so good.
I think paint is the answer here, friend.
Dave Hinz
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For some strange reason, I can see three responses, but not the original post.
If the guy wants to use it printed on paper, I think his best bet would be print it, glue it down, then go over it with paint - something like a paint-by-numbers, then a protective finish of some type, over that.
Of course, on the other hand, I've never tried leaving paper out there exposed to the sun, and all, even protected, so his idea may work after all. But, I somehow doubt it - billboards are made to be outside, and even they seem to fade after awhile - they do replace them.
JOAT Every thing that happens stays happened. - Death waxes philosophical
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On Fri, 23 Jul 2004 05:45:05 GMT, "Experienced but Undocumented"

it's still on paper.
there are different types of paper, laser toner and inkjet ink with different properties, but none of them are meant for making permanent outdoor signs. they are intended for *office* use....
promotional posters and lost dog signs are appropriate use of paper outdoors. the information on them expires quickly, and you want the paper to break down and go away after the event happens or the dog either turns up or doesn't.
using a computer to design the sign makes a lot of sense. using a printed page to get that design to the plywood makes a lot of sense. using plywood, assuming it's outdoor ply, makes a lot of sense.
expecting a printed page of paper to withstand the weather does *not* make a lot of sense.
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On Fri, 23 Jul 2004 04:07:49 GMT, "Experienced but Undocumented"

Do I understand you correctly: You want a printed piece of paper on a painted plywood backer to be your sign?

Print one out on a single sheet and use clear epoxy to mount and seal it, then see if you really want to do that. (Betcha don't!)
Then take your drawing on disc to a sign printer and have them print it on vinyl and transfer it to the plywood which has been painted with epoxy paint to make it waterproof. Some of the quick printers with vinyl cutters will do it cheaply, maybe $50. Call around.
--------------------------------------------------- I drive way too fast to worry about my cholesterol. --------------------------------------------------- http://www.diversify.com Refreshing Graphic Design
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Your best option for outdoor longevity would be to have a sign company print it for you on a uv stable substrate using outdoor-rated inks. This will be more fade-resistant than even pigment inkjet inks (Epson). Even still, it'll fade noticeably in a year or two.
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