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I'm a newbie and have a question concerning sublimation inks, pigment inks, and printers.

I am interested in creating articles using both the sublimation method and heat transfer method. Will I need two separate printers for this or is it possible to just switch out inks? Also, in your honest opinions, what has proved to be the most reliable Epson printer thus far?

I have my press, but deciding on a printer has truly been the most daunting task for me. Based on what I would like to do I know I would need to invest in a printer that would allow me to sublimate, but I need to know if I should invest in two printers or one at the present, since I'm just starting my business.
 

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Switching out inks is not advised. Sublimation isn't very profitable unless using a bulk fed system on the epsons. Carts generally contain about 10 milliliters of ink, and I believe they generally cost around $20 each ($2/milliliter). Sublimation ink in bulk is generally about $120 for 110 milliliters, roughly about a buck a milliliter, half the cost. Now you might be saying "I can just mark my product up a bit more", but the problem is, the two inks, Pigment and Sublimation, are not really compatible with each other. You will need an ICC profile for sublimation ink to get it to work right, as well as messing around with the print driver (switching default paper types, mirror'ing the image, etc). You would also need to purge the head of any leftover ink of the other kind in order to get a good print, which will require a cleaning cycle or two, which generally goes through quite a bit of ink itself.

My solution a few years ago was to buy two epson C88's. One with bulk Sublimation inks, and the other as a backup running pigment inks when the sublimation printer died. I used the pigment C88 for a little while in printing, but ended up using some other printers instead of it (I bought an R1800 and a canon MP830), and kept the C88 on standby as my sublimation backup. About a year ago it finally kicked the bucket, so I brought out the backup and hooked my lines into it. Been working great since. I chose the C88 for multiple reasons. One, it was a cheap printer, I knew I could replace it, and I wouldn't be out much. Two, it only has four color cartridges, that means my initial investment in inks was also fairly minor, only needed to buy 4 bags instead of 7 or 8, I don't think my print quality has suffered much if at all either.

If I was shopping for a sublimation printer currently, I'd probably be investigating the Ricoh setups. I've heard a lot of positives about their printers, heard it uses less ink, and the gel based inks cause a lot less problems. I think modified Epson's are kind of being pushed out of the market. Epson is making them harder to modify and the older models are being discontinued and such, Epson generally makes money off of the inks and not the printers, so they don't really want to have their printers being used for other inks.
 

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Switching out inks is not advised. Sublimation isn't very profitable unless using a bulk fed system on the epsons. Carts generally contain about 10 milliliters of ink, and I believe they generally cost around $20 each ($2/milliliter). Sublimation ink in bulk is generally about $120 for 110 milliliters, roughly about a buck a milliliter, half the cost. Now you might be saying "I can just mark my product up a bit more", but the problem is, the two inks, Pigment and Sublimation, are not really compatible with each other. You will need an ICC profile for sublimation ink to get it to work right, as well as messing around with the print driver (switching default paper types, mirror'ing the image, etc). You would also need to purge the head of any leftover ink of the other kind in order to get a good print, which will require a cleaning cycle or two, which generally goes through quite a bit of ink itself.

My solution a few years ago was to buy two epson C88's. One with bulk Sublimation inks, and the other as a backup running pigment inks when the sublimation printer died. I used the pigment C88 for a little while in printing, but ended up using some other printers instead of it (I bought an R1800 and a canon MP830), and kept the C88 on standby as my sublimation backup. About a year ago it finally kicked the bucket, so I brought out the backup and hooked my lines into it. Been working great since. I chose the C88 for multiple reasons. One, it was a cheap printer, I knew I could replace it, and I wouldn't be out much. Two, it only has four color cartridges, that means my initial investment in inks was also fairly minor, only needed to buy 4 bags instead of 7 or 8, I don't think my print quality has suffered much if at all either.

If I was shopping for a sublimation printer currently, I'd probably be investigating the Ricoh setups. I've heard a lot of positives about their printers, heard it uses less ink, and the gel based inks cause a lot less problems. I think modified Epson's are kind of being pushed out of the market. Epson is making them harder to modify and the older models are being discontinued and such, Epson generally makes money off of the inks and not the printers, so they don't really want to have their printers being used for other inks.
hi........a yr. ago i started using pigment inks in hp photosmart b8850. i reduced the amt. of ink on transfers which helped but not enuf. off the top of my head it sounds like peeps ARE using pigmented inks. maybe it's the photo aspect that makes it dark. any suggestions??? i think i need a new printer but really can't afford one now. thanks. joan
 

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hi........a yr. ago i started using pigment inks in hp photosmart b8850. i reduced the amt. of ink on transfers which helped but not enuf. off the top of my head it sounds like peeps ARE using pigmented inks. maybe it's the photo aspect that makes it dark. any suggestions??? i think i need a new printer but really can't afford one now. thanks. joan
If you're using a 3rd party ink, check and see if there are color profiles for that ink. If you were using a different setup before, say a 3rd party dye system and are now using a 3rd party pigment system, it might be best to reinstall the printer driver and start from scratch (to ensure you disable any old profiles and such). About profiling: sometimes ink manufacturers will try to match the original inks in how much ink makes up a certain color, but a lot of times a color profile is needed to help balance the colors properly generally because the new ink is brighter or darker than the manufacturer's ink, and it may be that they have a darker black and a brighter blue, which would totally through your colors off without a profile to override say "hey, to make navy blue I'm going to need this amount of blue and this amount of black, not what you're saying".

Choosing a proper paper type can help a lot too. I know some transfer manufacturers have their own paper types available for download (generally they just set default options like mirroring, paper weights, and print quality, to cover the individual's butt in the event they forget to set them). I think the majority recommend using Matte paper though which usually increases the amount of ink on the paper. All else fails, there's fiddling in Photoshop, but part of good production is not having to print multiple times because something "doesn't look right".
 

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Switching out inks is not advised. Sublimation isn't very profitable unless using a bulk fed system on the epsons. Carts generally contain about 10 milliliters of ink, and I believe they generally cost around $20 each ($2/milliliter). Sublimation ink in bulk is generally about $120 for 110 milliliters, roughly about a buck a milliliter, half the cost. Now you might be saying "I can just mark my product up a bit more", but the problem is, the two inks, Pigment and Sublimation, are not really compatible with each other. You will need an ICC profile for sublimation ink to get it to work right, as well as messing around with the print driver (switching default paper types, mirror'ing the image, etc). You would also need to purge the head of any leftover ink of the other kind in order to get a good print, which will require a cleaning cycle or two, which generally goes through quite a bit of ink itself.

My solution a few years ago was to buy two epson C88's. One with bulk Sublimation inks, and the other as a backup running pigment inks when the sublimation printer died. I used the pigment C88 for a little while in printing, but ended up using some other printers instead of it (I bought an R1800 and a canon MP830), and kept the C88 on standby as my sublimation backup. About a year ago it finally kicked the bucket, so I brought out the backup and hooked my lines into it. Been working great since. I chose the C88 for multiple reasons. One, it was a cheap printer, I knew I could replace it, and I wouldn't be out much. Two, it only has four color cartridges, that means my initial investment in inks was also fairly minor, only needed to buy 4 bags instead of 7 or 8, I don't think my print quality has suffered much if at all either.

If I was shopping for a sublimation printer currently, I'd probably be investigating the Ricoh setups. I've heard a lot of positives about their printers, heard it uses less ink, and the gel based inks cause a lot less problems. I think modified Epson's are kind of being pushed out of the market. Epson is making them harder to modify and the older models are being discontinued and such, Epson generally makes money off of the inks and not the printers, so they don't really want to have their printers being used for other inks.

wow a c88 is cheap.....$88.....

Does it come with the pigment color cartridges or do those need to be purchased separate?
 

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wow a c88 is cheap.....$88.....

Does it come with the pigment color cartridges or do those need to be purchased separate?
Epson's carts that come with the C88 are part of their "Durabrite ultra" inks which are pigment inks. The carts may seem inexpensive, but they are frequently replaced due to their small size. I'd suggest running OEM for a little while, try and get the printer and inks paid for, then if you notice the ink is becoming too much of a liability try adding a bulk system to it.

The backup C88 I refered to earlier was a Newegg open box. I believe I paid about $45+$6 shipping for it a few years ago, haven't had any issues with it (it's currently my dye sub printer since the other died). Newegg still offers open boxed versions of it, but they want like $66+$13 shipping, so it's probably better to just buy new.

I just ordered a pigment bulk feed system for my R1800 that's due in early next week. I primarily use that printer for printing Wedding/Quincenera invitations and anything of wide/awkward size/shape. I'll post how the transition goes. Since I've done my dye sub mod, as well as own various bigger printers (GT541 and an SP300) which commonly require my love, I shouldn't have any issues installing it.
 

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Epson's carts that come with the C88 are part of their "Durabrite ultra" inks which are pigment inks. The carts may seem inexpensive, but they are frequently replaced due to their small size. I'd suggest running OEM for a little while, try and get the printer and inks paid for, then if you notice the ink is becoming too much of a liability try adding a bulk system to it.

The backup C88 I refered to earlier was a Newegg open box. I believe I paid about $45+$6 shipping for it a few years ago, haven't had any issues with it (it's currently my dye sub printer since the other died). Newegg still offers open boxed versions of it, but they want like $66+$13 shipping, so it's probably better to just buy new.

I just ordered a pigment bulk feed system for my R1800 that's due in early next week. I primarily use that printer for printing Wedding/Quincenera invitations and anything of wide/awkward size/shape. I'll post how the transition goes. Since I've done my dye sub mod, as well as own various bigger printers (GT541 and an SP300) which commonly require my love, I shouldn't have any issues installing it.
sorry forgive my ignorance but whats oem?
 

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sorry forgive my ignorance but whats oem?
OEM=Original Equipment Manufacturer. Meaning parts directly from the original manufacturer of the equipment. In automotive, it means an exact replacement part from the maker, as opposed to "aftermarket" which would be a company that either rebuilds, or makes a similar product that does the same job. The computing world sometimes stretches the meaning of OEM a bit. I.E. An OEM hard drive or OEM "Software" for example is generally without cables, books, and retail boxing, it's just the product and nothing more, these were designed more for computer repair people, or computer builders who would not need a box or instructions and the price is usually quite a bit less.

In this case though, I'm talking about running Epson's branded inks in the Epson printer. If you were to google "Epson C88 cartridges", you'll see a huge price variation per cart (anywhere from $2 to $15). Anything less than $10 per cart is usually a "remanufactured" "refilled" "generic" "compatible" or "third party" ink, and is not really Epson's ink. If you don't do your homework, running some of these can destroy your printer, or waste your time and money. Always read up on whom you're dealing with if you choose to not use Epson's inks.
 

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We went with the Ricoh GX7000. Superb printer, not a single problem. Highly recommended. It is a bit of a beast in size though.
 

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Well, got around to installing the bulk Pigment system on my R1800 over the weekend.

I had a bit of an issue with the heads, also scratched my head trying to figure out the mounting system. I ordered from inkjetcarts.us, they had a pretty positive reputation for support and product, most everything bad that I've read Ross had turned good. Their instructions that came with the product were pretty vague "go to the website and watch the video, or call for support". I went to the website, it was a bit of a mess, found some videos that weren't too helpful, so I just google'd and got either inkjetrepublic or inkjetfly's installation. It was a 3 minute video and showed me everything I needed to know. I'm used to the sublimation setup, where you just replace the whole bag when it's done, instead, I got a set of ink jars, and a bunch of empty bottles, and had to transfer from the jar to the bottle. There wasn't any issue in doing so, just added a bit more labor that I wasn't expecting.

Time breakdown:
Total time took me probably about 3 hours.

About 30 minutes to unpack/inventory/scratch head.

20 minutes spent listening/half watching to inkjetcarts video while sorting various components and getting system ready to install.

5 minutes to find/watch the other video.

About 1 hour to install: Transferred the inks to the bottles, cleared off desk space for acrylic holder, attached hoses to bottles, inserted "ink chips", primed system+inserted carts. I also printed off nifty little stickers for the ink bottles, was surprised they didn't come with any. Seeing the color variations in the ink its pretty clear what they are, but I don't ever want to be stuck in a situation where someone else may be using my equipment and possibly having to order supplies for it and not knowing the difference between Blue and Cyan.

About 15 minutes to do waste ink line install, didn't want to bother with inkjetcarts site again, so googled "R1800 waste ink replace" and got a video from inkjetrepublic, watched how to take off side panel and route tubes. I just drilled two holes in the caps of one of my ink jars for the waste ink.

About one hour for troubleshooting/post install diagnostics. After install+waste ink reroute, I was ready to test print. I ran a couple of cleans for good measure and to make sure the system wasn't going to do anything flakey. First test print came out uglier than crap and the printhead jammed on the side, probably getting tangled. I reset, adjusted lines to make sure there was proper clearance, but not so much they'd cause issues and cleaned a couple more times. About 4 colors were missing 1/4th of the nozzles, and my cyan and black were missing a crapload. So I reprimed the cyan and black, cleaned a couple more times. Looked good except the 4 colors were still missing 1/4th of the nozzles, so I just attributed it to the head possibly having a clog and used the windex solution. Let it soak for a few hours, came back, head test printed, beautiful. Printed a graphic, got some banding, ran another test print, and nozzles clogged, cleaned, head test printed again, seemed fine. Pretty sure everything's all set now.

Overall:
If it doesn't have any starvation issues, then I will be really happy I made the switch. The photo I've included shows you how much ink I've wasted in my various cleans to try to get the thing going good. I'd say roughly about 30 milliliters, which is $4 of the new ink (or roughly $45 of the old). A jar costs $14 for 110 milliliters, an Epson certified cart which I've ran for about 3 years now is $15 for 10 milliliters, and oftentimes I would have to clean after switching carts, so you can see why I would switch.

I wish inkjetcarts site was a lot easier to navigate. My primary reason for choosing them was the positive backing I've read, but the fact that I had to go find competitors videos to expedite my install was a bit disheartening. My product all came intact, although I did have a needle for transferring the ink that was kinda fubar'ed, the needle was practically encased in the plastic instead of sitting on top for easy removal. I had to cut around it, I know they weren't responsible for the needle manufacturing though. I did not get a chance to utilize their support directly, which is both good and bad, since that is where I've heard they strive I missed out on that opportunity, but likewise, I don't like talking to people if I don't have to, and the system worked after the kinks were gotten out. I will still be ordering my supplies from inkjetcarts.

Timewise I could've probably been quite a bit faster, but this is only my second bulk ink installation, and my dye sub setup is quite a bit different. I want things to work, so I try not to rush, part of the reason of me doing it on Saturday was simply that I would have no other distractions around.

Anyways, here's a photo of it post installation. Flat surfaces and me don't get along too well, I always have full desks, so you'll notice some clutter on the sides.
 

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Just got a Ricoh 3300n. Smaller format (8.5 x 14 max sz) but man is it a nice printer. I sublimated some photos on to some Dyetrans aluminum sheet and I was absolutely blown away with the colors. My first experience with sublimation also. I asked Conde about switch hitting on inks between sublimation and Chromablast and they absolutely advised against it. I looked at the Epsons too, but I went with the Ricoh as a starter system.
David Gross from Conde called me and personally set up my driver and profile, took about 5 minutes. Their support so far has been great. I realized after I got the printer that I didn't have the profile, I e-mailed David and it was on my computer within 3 minutes, unreal! So, I can definitely recommend both the printer and Conde as the supplier.
 
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