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Why do we care so much about the cost of dye sub ink?"

I just joined today, Iwas looking in the Dye Sub category because that is what I do. There are two other Dye Sub Ink Manufacturer's in the U.S., that because their dyes are just "different" enough they can compete against Sawgrass. The best of these at $40.00 per color for 4 ozs is Graphic Digital in Milwaukee, Oregon, their colors "pop" so much brighter than Sawgrass, and need no ICC profile, ask for ThermaBrite Brand when ordering for dye sublimation, the other is J-Teck 3 (Italian Company, US distributor is in Danbury Connecticut.) They sell their dye by the litre at $135.00. You just have to "shop", I was beyond sick of Sawgrass' monopoly, and knew that there had to be someone else out there they hadn't gobbled up or stepped on, so I spent 3 hours searching the web on ever search engine, with multiple search words, and well, these two company's dye's are equl to if not better than Sawgrass. Of course if you have nothingto compare Sawgrass to trust me, these two company's manufacture very good dyes. I do not work for either one, I just know that of the 5 years I have been in business 3 of them have been spent using Graphic Science's Dye's with no problems with clogging, or running... I hope this helps some of you bring your costs down to where they should be.
 

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Michelle , Do you have some web-addresses to go by? And do you think that I could use another printer other than an epson? I think with the info I've been reading I might just get into Dye Sublimation.
Thanks Mike
 

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Michelle,

You are right that there are other manufacturers of sublimation inks. Some of these manufacturers make ink for large format printers (42" and larger) and the ink is much cheaper. For example, J-Teck makes sublimation for large format printers and is one of the companies that has signed a license agreement with Sawgrass to sell their inks. Here is a link to the press release that was made about this license agreement - Sawgrass Technologies & J-Teck 3 SRL Sign License Agreement for Sublimation Technology. I have never heard of Graphic Digital and they might have a similar license or they might not.

It was my understanding that any company that signs the license agreement has agreed to not sell to printers below 42" wide. There is a post on this forum will a user found a cheap 9600 printer and now can save money on the ink he buys because his printer is 44" wide. My understanding could be completely wrong, but this is what I have been told. If there is a company selling to people how own printers below 42"... it might not be the best thing posting their name in this forum as Sawgrass definitely watches all the industry forums and has sent these companies a Cease & Desist letter.

Mark
 

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Well, I use a Epson 1280, it may true that they are not supposed to sell to anyone who uses a smaller printer, no on can tell you WHAT printer you can put the dyes in if you purchase by the litre. I have never been asked what kind of printer I am using, accept of course those times when I have had to buy a new EMPTY bulk ink system. I fill them myself.
 

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Well, I use a Epson 1280, it may true that they are not supposed to sell to anyone who uses a smaller printer, no on can tell you WHAT printer you can put the dyes in if you purchase by the litre. I have never been asked what kind of printer I am using, accept of course those times when I have had to buy a new EMPTY bulk ink system. I fill them myself.
I'd make sure you read your terms and conditions of use on the printer you purchased. It probably states that using any other ink than Epson ink or media will null and void the warranty and is against the terms of service, but then again I'm not an attorney but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night
 

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Way too fuuny! I like that...
Anyway, I have not had a warranty issue with my printer when I brought it in, I have 2 of them no problems. I have been doing dye sub for over 5 years now, stuck with the Epson 1280's because, well, they're just a little workhorse... So as the saying goes stick with what works..
I really did enjoy the "Holiday Inn" comment
 

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Hi Michelle. Sublimation ink is undeniable far too expensive for what it is. You unfortunately have to add these extra costs onto your products, which in turn makes your product less competitive.

DTG will eventually overtake sublimation, which will then be relegated to producing on hard substrates. Its a real shame, as sublimation produces good results.
 

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Yes it's thrue of course because in USA two other Companies have a valid patent for sublimation transfer ink but I do not know the price of their products:
-One is EPSON
- Second is Nu-Kote more known as Pelikan
You can also buy a special disperse dye for direct printing onto hard substrate + a special pre-coat and You can print directly on the hard substrate. This Direct disperse dye is patented but not buy SAWGRASS.
Cost is much cheaper that sublimation transfer ink , only You need a FB printer
 

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As for DTG taking over sublimation, I doubt it. There is no way a DTG can produce the quality and durability on the various products we print on. It will never achieve the "no feel" of the image on all the substrates from tile, metal, glass and fabric. DTG will have a place in the future but it will mostly be in the Tee Shirt business. From what I read in the posts here (and we would like to acquire some equipment) it has a long way to go before the ease of use, machine costs come down, and inks work to meet the expectations of it's users.
 

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As for DTG taking over sublimation, I doubt it. There is no way a DTG can produce the quality and durability on the various products we print on. It will never achieve the "no feel" of the image on all the substrates from tile, metal, glass and fabric. DTG will have a place in the future but it will mostly be in the Tee Shirt business. From what I read in the posts here (and we would like to acquire some equipment) it has a long way to go before the ease of use, machine costs come down, and inks work to meet the expectations of it's users.
I'm not speaking direct printing with solvent ink or with water based pigmented ink. I'm speaking direct printing with disperse dye ink on a special pre-coat. I have some photos of tiles with subli transfer and some with Direct printing and I can tell that You do not see the difference, see photos: 3 are subli, two are direct printing
 

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Sublimation is great, but I too had to buy a large format printer, to be able to buy the inks at a sensible price and not be dictated to by one manufacturer.

The thing that will ultimately kill off sublimation tees however, is the lack of variety in garments. Bit like old Henry Ford, you can have any colour you like as long as its white(ish) or made by Vapor.

Customers are entitled to better choice than that surely?
 

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Will,
Don't be limited only by what is "specified" as sublimation garments. I just look for styles from my regular clothing wholesaler that are polyester. I've been printing on "regular" clothing for a long time with no problems. Even in a pinch, poly tops from walmart or wherever work just fine. In fact, I'd have to say that t-shirts really don't comprise much of my business at all. Since I'm an embroiderer, I do tend to have a greater access to "regular" clothing wholesalers, but just because I deal with so many types of garments. By the way, I'm no lover of Sawgrass either:) but mainly because of their arrogance and lack of service. When you compare the cost of their inks to a regular printer, there really isn't much price difference, we just buy in larger cartridges. I believe my regular Canon cartridges have 13 ml for about $15. My artainium cartridges run about $128 for 110 ml and about $203 for the 220 ml ones. Carried out, that means my artainium cartridges cost me about $1 more than standard ink for my canon in the 110 ml size and is about $51 less for the 220 ml size as compared to standard canon ink. Does it hurt to buy 8 cartridges at that price, you bet, but it seems to be a fact of life right now.
 

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It's somewhat different here in Europe Jim. Bulk inks (pigment or dye) are around $24 per colour, whilst sublimation ink for small formats is about $110 per colour. Yep four times the cost!!! Bulk sublimation ink for the larger format printers is less than half the price of what it is for small format printers.

I have used straightforward polyester shirts for sublimation, but continuity of supply for my stock items can sometimes be a problem.
 

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Will,
Isn't EVERYTHING different in Europe:D I have a close friend in London and I tease her constantly about the differences. Businesses are the same no matter where you live, they are there to make money(I'm no different except that I'm not a greedy about it). Which , of course, is why I'm poor:)
 

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I have a thread about dropping dyesub shirts. We use cotton AAs and others and apply dye subed flock and satin to them. We also use vinyl. As a fashion house we can't sell poly. As for inks if your saw my images I posted earlier we only use 4 colors not eight. We don't use light cyan and light magenta or different blacks. I don't believe you need them to achieve good images. Even on metal you can't tell the difference and you save a lot on your ink purchases. If you are doing medium volume and plan to expand buy a used wide format printer. 7800 or 9800. Their are a ton of them out there because a lot of photographers have upgraded to the newer models. Like the 4000 these can run dual CMYK and don't have to use 8 different inks. They are faster and cheaper to run. We haven't tried the different sub inks out there that people are talking about but as we buy more equipment we will do some tests and check them out.
 

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ALL of my printers are four colour machines. If printing on fabric, four colours still produce photo quality results. The only people that seem to be promoting eight colour machines, are those that sell them.

My vinyl tees dramatically outsell my sublimation tees, as people tend to prefer cotton. Several people on here are currently experimenting with subli flocks and subli vinyl, but are still doing wash tests to assess their viability.
 

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Neal,
You are correct that you only need 4 colors for printing on substrates. You only need 8 if you are printing archival quality photographs. I run the 4800 hybrid system since I do print on cottons too. Dye sub has its place and is great for some things. Choice is what the business is all about and each of us has their niches.
 
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