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Discussion Starter #1
Please can some of you more experienced people out there tell (explain) to me the pros and cons of Inkjet vs laser printers for heat transfers on cotton tees. I have read alot thru searches on this site (learned alot) but there doesn't seem to be clear information about the difference in these to processes. So other than price, what are the main differences in these two- like color, brigtness, durability, washability. If a customer had a choice knowing their shirt was processed thru inkjet vs a laser which would they prefer and why. Thanks in advance.
 

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if you look at the info at alphasupply.com I thik you will find the info you need
bjg4999

Unless I'm missing something, the referenced site doesn't address the question of laser vs inkjet at all. If the site does have the requested information, please post a link directly to it, as it is certainly not obvious (at least to me) where it might be.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, it is on Alpha's home page, click on 'T-Shirt Basics' left hand column. But after surfing the Alpha site a little, it seems like thats all they sell is inkjet supply, not laser. Are they giving a fair comparison or just trying to sell product? They say the biggest differnce in inkjet vs laser is the laser washes out faster....let me tell you that most posts on this site say just the opposite. Sorry but I am still confused. I also had a long conversation with a rep at coastal today and they eventually said they couldn't give me a good answer. There has to be some people out there that have experience with both processes that would like to share...isn't there?
Thanks
 

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Excellent thread. The same thought was going through my mind yesterday.Search turned up nothing comparing the two. I'm currently using an inkjetbut was considering an upgrade if it's better quality. I'll be watching this thread.
MIKE
 

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I started with inkjet transfers, but only used it for a very short time because of the unacceptable results that I'm getting. When I tried laser transfers printed on a CLC, I switched right away. Of course, there will always be inferior transfer papers for both inkjet and lasers, but IMHO, if you compare the best inkjet transfer paper to the best laser transfer paper, the laser transfers will always have the advantage when it comes to 1) print quality, 2) durability 3) speed 4) cost 5) ease of use. This good old PDF from Hixcorp, in my opinion, still hold true when it comes to laser & inkjet transfers. http://www.hixcorp.com/pdfs/digital%20info.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Byron, Thanks for the link...very intresting, they cover alot of info there. Sounds like from their perspective that both types of printers have their pros and cons, but the laser is for use more in the idustry and the inkjet more for home hobby. I would continue to encourage members to voice their experiences here...especially as helpful as Byrons link is, it seems it may have been written with the technology from 7 years ago. So please share any of your opinions here and it might help to include if you do your transfers for a hobby or business. Thanks again, Joe
 

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This is something I've always been interested in myself. Most opinions I read here in the forum, don't come from both sides, where someone has used both. A long time ago I had a laser transfer done at Kinkos and I rememebr it being nice and soft. I believe it did fade after the first wash. I think the thing I have read the most here is a bout costs. lasers cost more in the initial set-up, but run cheaper in the long run. The good thing, is that the prices on lasers are always coming down.
 

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um......no, not a hobbyist here :p i use inkjet. it's what i have, it does beautiful work, but i have a friend who's recently branched out and bought a color laser - we printed the same image, side by side, and i gotta tell ya - my colors were better. i'm using ultrachrome inks - and get almost no fading. and yes, it's more expensive, but i'm not trying to compete with bulk producers pricing, so the difference hasn't been a real issue for me.
 

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um......no, not a hobbyist here :p i use inkjet. it's what i have, it does beautiful work, but i have a friend who's recently branched out and bought a color laser - we printed the same image, side by side, and i gotta tell ya - my colors were better. i'm using ultrachrome inks - and get almost no fading. and yes, it's more expensive, but i'm not trying to compete with bulk producers pricing, so the difference hasn't been a real issue for me.
Keep in mind though, that this doesn't necessarily mean that inkjet produces better results than laser. It may be true in this specific case, but perhaps a different laser printer and different laser transfer paper would produce superior results.

There are many factors including the printer, ink, transfer paper, and press, and it's nearly impossible to isolate one element and judge it against another without taking into account the specifics of each situation.
 

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we printed the same image, side by side, and i gotta tell ya - my colors were better. i'm using ultrachrome inks - and get almost no fading.
I'll have to acknowledge this, as I also noticed some initial fading on laser transfers on the first wash. My number 1 criteria though is in durability, and very close number 2 is cost, and that is where I think the laser transfers have an advantage, at least for me, or at least for the inkjet and laser transfer papers available to me.
 

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I gues one of the biggest problems with comparisons is that you would need to go out and buy a bunch of machines and paper and test all the combinations. You would also need to have a set of criteria in judging as well. Where is Consumer Reports on this one?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If all things were equal (best performing Trans paper, application technics, etc.) would it be fair to say Inkjet - More vibrant colors but wash and fade quicker / Laser - Duller Colors but less fading after washing.
Also what size format do you do your transfers on, (NOT for the home hobiest) will 8 1/2 x 11 take care of alot of customer needs (even if it needs to be done in several separte pcs.)?
Thanks Joe
 

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If all things were equal (best performing Trans paper, application technics, etc.) would it be fair to say Inkjet - More vibrant colors but wash and fade quicker / Laser - Duller Colors but less fading after washing.
inkjet-more vibrant color, cracks quicker
laser-some fading after first wash, lasts longer than inkjet

Also what size format do you do your transfers on, (NOT for the home hobiest) will 8 1/2 x 11 take care of alot of customer needs (even if it needs to be done in several separte pcs.)
Yep, 8.5x11 most of the time, but A3 or 11x17 size laser transfer papers are the cheapest on the market, and cheaper to print on "click charge" CLC's.
 

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I have used both Inkjet and laser, I MUCH prefer the laser over inkjet, I had enough of blocked nozzles on the inkjet, and the stiffness of the transfer (using transjetII paper) , ok granted it does wear off after a few washings. I use an Oki c5800 and MagicTouch TTC 3.1, Duracotton HT and ImageClip paper, no problems at all, washings are excellent, very minimal fading, softness is great (the TTC paper gives a slight rubbery feeling similar to plastisol transfers which is what I was looking for). Since I tried the Laser, I haven't used the inkjet again, too much grief.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Dave thats helpful. Do you have many customer that complain about the fading? The Oki you have is an 8 1/5" x 11" if I'm not mistaken, do you have problems doing larger images or larger shirts with it?
 

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hi there...i too was confused abt the difference. but today i spent a great deal of time experimenting with both inkjet and laser. my experience has shown: 1) laser has fewer options, so there's less to experiment with. most papers are made for inkjet, so you can keep noodling around until you come up with something that works for your specific equipment. 2) inkjet color quality seems to be better since it's real ink that's being transfered (rather than dry toner powder that's been fused to a piece of paper). 3) laser image quality might be crisper. if you're doing very detailed prints, perhaps laser would work better. most inkjets don't have the precision to print in very refined ways. but on a tshirt, this effect is mitigated because the cloth can't really accept all of the detail anyway.

HOWEVER...that imageclip paper rocks the kasbah. It's SOOO much easier than having to trim the image and there's no "box effect."

i tried the everlast/ironALL paper (because everyone on this forum spoke so highly of it), but i was disappointed that it felt "hard" and there was a big box around my graphic.

btw...i tested on a Canon inkjet and Xerox Phaser 7750 using a Mighty Press heat press.

hope this info is helpful. if anyone has suggestions on how to get a softer hand with the Everlast papers, please let me know!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks JKI540, and yes your comments do help. I am aware that there is not a large variety of supplies for the laser, but if I can give my customer a good quality product with sharp colors, that doesn't fade or crack right away and I don't have to trim the transfer, then I don't think I need the variety. The information I have been gathering from this forum and other places tells me that the laser is the way to go. I am a little concerned about the small paper format, I am not ready to invest in a large format laser printer just yet... Large format Inkjet would not have been a problem, but inkjets I fear are more work, poorer long term results and more maintanence. Guess I'll have to cut and paste small format lasers for now.
 

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JMD,

No, no one has ever said anything about the fading, it is only minimal, and as far as i'm aware only after the first washing, after that they are fine. I have T-Shirts done for myself and family that are still fine after 2-3 years (with my previous laser printer Epson C900) and my inkjet with TJII and Magic Mix inks, they both have survived very well with no special care in the wash.
OK, yes, you are correct, it is 8.5 x 11 (or A4 as it is here in England!), the way I get round this for larger images (11 x 17 / A3) is i use a poster printing program, there are many different ones available on the internet for a small amount of $, well worth the money, These work fine as long as you line the two pieces of paper up correctly!, and tape together with heat proof tape... but it's easy enough. I can't comment on presing with a small press, as the one I use is 16 x 20, and presses the whole transfer in one go. Works fine for me.

Hope this helps

Dave
 
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