What's the difference between Pad Printing vs UV Printing?

(Image via Unsplash)

Some of you have been asking, so we’re finally going to talk about printing for customised lego minifigures! 

There are mainly two kinds of printing for lego minifigures: pad printing or UV printing. (There are also hand painted minifigures but the name explains the process pretty well so we don’t need to go into that.) You’ve probably seen these two terms appearing in the details of the products on the Loot A Brick website. So, maybe you’ve been wondering what’s the difference between pad printing and UV printing and which is better?

Well, read on to find out more and we’ll let you decide for yourself.

(Image via Unsplash)

With pad printing, an inked design is taken by the silicone press of the pad printing machine and transferred onto the lego part. 

Basically, it’s like using a giant stamp to print a design and it’s a more traditional way of printing.

One of the great things about pad printing is that because the press is made of silicone it moulds to the shape of the object and would give a cleaner print to curved surfaces. But one of the downsides is that you can only print colour at a time with pad printing. You’ve also got to factor in drying time before the next layer is printed.

This means that pad printing is a more costly process compared to UV printing. It's also woth noting that Official Lego products are pad printed, so if you want a more "authentic looking" minifigure then you should definitely opt for pad printing on your minifigures. 

UV (ultraviolet) printing is a form of digital printing where a special type of ink is used and dried with UV lights. And becayse UV light is used to dry the ink and multiple colours can be applied at the same time, the process is relatively quick and costs less than pad printing.

However, one of the downsides of UV printing that many lego collectors and creators have voiced out is that you can feel the "layer" of UV printing on the lego part compared to the smooth finish of pad printed designs. But then again, there are others who argue that the differences between the two are minuscule and barely noticeable.

(Image via Unsplash)

Of course, this is ultimately dependent on the quality of inks and printers used and both can give you great quality prints on your lego parts! It's just a matter of preference.