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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to start a small sublimation business. Unfortunately, funds are a bit low. $2.5k-$3k is all I can afford to spend for initial equipment and merchandise. The 3880 caught my eyes because of it 17 inch wide printing and a $900 cheaper than the 4880(which I've heard has the same printing quality).

But before I make a final decision I'd like to ask a few questions. I see a lot of info on the 4880, but not so much on the 3880.

1) What is your experience with the printer when it comes to sublimation. I understand not using it may cause clogging, but I do intend on using it every day, or at least running print cycles when not using it.

2-1) It has quite a few slots for ink. So I was wondering what do you recommend (I've heard good things about Cobra inks). I've heard people use 2 sets of standard CYMK ink. Do sub ink makers provide extra non-standard CYMK colors (if so, does it improve quality?)?

2-2) While I've heard people with the 4880 can actually use 2 sets of inks to make a hybrid, can the same be done with the 3880? I would love to also be able to print posters with it. If it can, would it be worth it? Would a standard set of CYMK ink be good enough for posters? If quality suffers noticeably on both sides due to hybridizing, I might prefer to keep it dedicated for sublimation.

2-3) I'm sure prices differ based on what inks you get. But could you ballpark the cost of getting full set of inks?

I apologize for asking so many question. And I appreciate any answers or input. Thanks for your time.
 

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$2.5k-$3k is alot for a startup, but not enough if you wanna go pro.

My suggestion is to start with a ricoh printer with sawgrass ink and spell your money well on a good quality heatpress.

Yes, the ricoh /sawgrass will give you quite high costs on inks and papers, but its easy to use and works great out of the box, so you can spend more time printing rather than looking for ICC profiles and other hazzle.

Once you make money with the equipment and you take the decision to step up to a wide format you will make more money, and already have a great press to proceed to make money.

Just my opinion.

Good luck.
 

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I want to start a small sublimation business. Unfortunately, funds are a bit low. $2.5k-$3k is all I can afford to spend for initial equipment and merchandise. The 3880 caught my eyes because of it 17 inch wide printing and a $900 cheaper than the 4880(which I've heard has the same printing quality).

But before I make a final decision I'd like to ask a few questions. I see a lot of info on the 4880, but not so much on the 3880.

1) What is your experience with the printer when it comes to sublimation. I understand not using it may cause clogging, but I do intend on using it every day, or at least running print cycles when not using it.

Then you should be OK. Epson you need to either print frequently, or manually do a nozzle check or a small CMYK file every 3 days or so, or get Harveys Head Cleaner and that can do that for you automatically as long as you keep the printer and PC on. A Ricoh does the trickle ink trick,so as long as the printer is plugged in and on then it keeps a bit of ink flow at timed intervals to keep the heads clear.

2-1) It has quite a few slots for ink. So I was wondering what do you recommend (I've heard good things about Cobra inks). I've heard people use 2 sets of standard CYMK ink. Do sub ink makers provide extra non-standard CYMK colors (if so, does it improve quality?)?

I use Cobra, I don't have the 3880 but they should have the 8 color set as they do for the other 8 color printers, the K3 inks are universal among Epson 8 color printers. I didn't see the profile for that model so you should have to call them first, they have their own ICC equipment and they have carts for the 3880 and the other Epsons are all supported with sublimation ICC profiles.

You shouldn't have to pay an arm and a leg just to get inks with a sublimation profile and support.


2-2) While I've heard people with the 4880 can actually use 2 sets of inks to make a hybrid, can the same be done with the 3880? I would love to also be able to print posters with it. If it can, would it be worth it? Would a standard set of CYMK ink be good enough for posters? If quality suffers noticeably on both sides due to hybridizing, I might prefer to keep it dedicated for sublimation.

I haven't seen hybrid support for the 3880, but for the 4880 Multi-Rip you can use it or contact them if they cover or plan to cover the 3880.

MultiRIP: RIP for dtg printers, screen printing and hybrid printers

4 colors vs. 8 colors. On some substrates typically high gloss there is a noticed difference, but that is not to say you cannot have very high quality with 4 colors. If you are pushing the envelope and need the absolute best ink gamut then more colors can be show better smoother gradients and smoother flesh tones.

I have a 4880 with pigments and on hardcopy specialty photo paper there is a difference comparing to other papers, not so match on less glossy paper or matte papers. So the benefit on hard surface sublimation items will be more noticeable on glossy hard goods. A trained eye can see subtle differences in matte hard good items. Just depends on who you sell to, for example photographers and artists.



2-3) I'm sure prices differ based on what inks you get. But could you ballpark the cost of getting full set of inks?

You cannot get 3880 inks from Sawgrass, if you plan to use the 3880 suggest Cobra. Conde and others have SG carts for the 4880 as does Cobra.

SubliJet IQ Sublimation Inks for the Epson 4880 - 110ml - DyeTrans.com

I recall at one Conde had refill 4880 and was offering bulk sublimation inks, I didn't see it on the website but I though they mention using the Sublime SG inks which are cheaper than Sublijet (SG) inks. But you would have to call them
.

Figure $155 x 8 (125 ml x 8) for SG inks on the 4880 for Sublijet. Cobra gonna run you 1/5 or so from that price but you would need to buy a set of 8 refillable carts.

On the 3880 doubt you can get Hybrid without an appropriate RIP. Having said that you might look into costing out 2 printers, one for your posters and one for sublimation. You also need to determine if your sublimation items will need up to 17 inches wide or not.

Ricohs only go to 11 x 17 or 13 x 19 if you get the optional tray for an upcharge. Besides the $1500 cost of the larger Ricohs if you are printing at that size you will get hammered on the inks. As I mentioned you shouldn't have to pay an arm and a leg just to get inks with a sublimation profile and support.


I apologize for asking so many question. And I appreciate any answers or input. Thanks for your time.
I marked up in your questions above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh wow. Thanks so much for all the help, Mike. You've definitely cleared up quite a few things for me.

I'll definitely be using it just for sublimation, then. Even if slight, I'm sure customers would be happier with a better print. Also saves me the headache of finding and paying a pretty penny for a RIP program ($500 is nothing to sneeze at for me right now.). Even if Cobra doesn't have ICC profiles for the 3880, looks like they can make them for me for a very reasonable price.
 

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Oh wow. Thanks so much for all the help, Mike. You've definitely cleared up quite a few things for me.

I'll definitely be using it just for sublimation, then. Even if slight, I'm sure customers would be happier with a better print. Also saves me the headache of finding and paying a pretty penny for a RIP program ($500 is nothing to sneeze at for me right now.). Even if Cobra doesn't have ICC profiles for the 3880, looks like they can make them for me for a very reasonable price.
I would think that they would make them for free if you bought their inks.
 

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I'll make sure to ask. Do you recommend any transfer paper in particular. They seem to only carry some sizes. I'll probably be needing a few sizes and I'd prefer all of them being from the same brand.
They have 2 paper types for sublimation, one for general purpose (dyetrans) which is actually Conde's brand they resell, and also TexPrint HR which is mostly for fabics, HR stands for high release.

The general purpose dyetrans paper works for most everything, the TexPrint HR would be for some fabric which might need more release or for sublimation glass that is coated white and backprints. The glass needs a more saturated image.

On some items the TexPrint HR paper might gice too much saturation.

My inks from them have profiles from them for both papers.

.:: Cobra Ink Systems::. This is where the term CIS began

The papers go up to 13 wide and they also have dyetrans in rolls. For a larger width like 17 inchs you would need to get that elsewhere or call them to see if they will carry some.
 

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Since someone pointed you in the way of cobra, look into an epson workforce 7010, they can handle 13x19 papers and have been profiled.

I am actually selling a "like new" unit with a cobra CIS kit. PM me if interested. I am in Los Angeles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Since someone pointed you in the way of cobra, look into an epson workforce 7010, they can handle 13x19 papers and have been profiled.

I am actually selling a "like new" unit with a cobra CIS kit. PM me if interested. I am in Los Angeles.
Something like that was actually my first choice. But since my intended heat press of choice will likely be the Gecko GK103 16x24, I would like to take advantage of the size. With the 3880 I could print up to 16x22. Doesn't sound like much of a difference from 13x19, but that's a 42% surface area increase. Seems like it's worth the extra investment.
 

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I have the 3880 and purchased the refillable cartridges from Cobra and just love the entire set up. It is easy to use, and so far ( more than a year) I have not had any clogs. I will go two weeks or more in between using this printer. The folks at Cobra are fantastic and go the extra mile in helping out. I recommend them highly.

Julia
 

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Archaga,

Did you end up purchasing this? I plan on purchasing one soon. Just wondering how it turned out?
Just my 2 cents, I purchased a 3800, got the refillable carts, swapped chips from OEM carts, bought Cobraink's sublimation ink and sold it all about 3mos. later. What started the ball rolling downhill was the fact I had to use the 3000 profiles which I was told would work but didn't and never got those 3800/3880 profiles that were "in the works". Also mine didn't like the flimsy TexPrintXP-HR sub paper after say 10 sheets. I always had to cancel and restart jobs due to misfeeds. Thicker sub papers like True Pix feed good but that's not my preferred sub paper. So that 3800 had to go. Also factor ink costs. It won't be cheap. I saved a few bucks by changing the chips around when the matte black got empty instead of changing over to photo black cart, which purges ink at your expense.
 

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Consider getting the next one up. The 4880.

It can take roll paper, which, if you are doing any volume will reduce your costs and pay for the difference in the two printers.
I looked at this one as well because it was also a 17" printer but epson.com says it's a discontinued item.

They currently have 3880 under $1000 until the end of march. I'm looking to upgrade to a 17" printer and this is the only one I see at epson.
 

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I looked at this one as well because it was also a 17" printer but epson.com says it's a discontinued item.

They currently have 3880 under $1000 until the end of march. I'm looking to upgrade to a 17" printer and this is the only one I see at epson.
It's discontinued becuase it was replaced with the 4900.

Give Cobra a call and ask them about the printer.

The roll paper can aslo be adhesive which is supposed to help. I can't say for certain, I am just learning myself.
 
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