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Hello to all!!... Sublimation newbie here. I've spent hours upon hours researching and reading forums on which printer/ink is best for sublimation. My products are going to be printed on poly/nylon/spandex garments. I have come across multiple threads that are against Sawgrass due to pricing and quality. I'm also not sure which printer I should go for :confused: I've seen many pros and cons for both Ricoh & Epson ink jets. Feeling a little overwhelmed with information. I can only afford a desktop printer at the moment so I'm in search for the best bang for my buck. Please PM me if you know of any inks other than Sawgrass, as I have noticed that no one speaks about that publicly :) And any information/tips in regards to the best desktop printer would be SO SO SO appreciated. THANK YOU!!!
 

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It depends on where you live in the world (which you haven't stated) as to what good inks are readily available, although generally, in the US there is Cobra and J-Tech, and in UK/Europe InkTec are brands to be searching for.
If wanting to go for non-Sawgrass inks, then you're best sticking with Epson printers, as the Ricohs use a slightly different ink ... I tried InkTec's sublimation ink in a Ricoh and the prints were blotchy/streaky.
 

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Hi Hergarden, I was going to post this up as a new topic but since your title is quite catchy I’ll put it here and hope we can all rub minds and help each other.

I have got an Epson 4880 Stylus Pro 8-colour printer which runs OEM inks at the moment, but i want to run dye sublimation inks through it to print on polyester, coated metal, ceramics and coated wood products.

Herein lies my dilemma; INK! After doing some extensive reading and finding out about Sawgrasses stronghold on an exclusive licence i began to think twice about getting their 220ml SUBLIJET IQ inks which in my opinion are very expensive. The fact that they licence a formulation to INKTEC with the stipulation to only brand it as ink for wide format printers {42" and above} also got me thinking. Also INKTEC have cleverly slipped subliminal info into their brochures about SUBLINOVA inks being compatible with piezo head Epson printers including those with DX5 print-heads which my Epson 4880 stylus Pro printer has. I know that the SUBLINOVA SMART DTI will work in my printer and i don't think clogging will be an issue.

I got in touch with a couple digital printers and suppliers to get their views on my thought process and a lot of them said that to avoid Sawgrass inks in my Epson 4880 printer, and avoid using a RIP, then I would need to use the ink colours that the printer expects – CMYK, LC, LM, LK and LLK, otherwise a standard ICC profiling would not work. Replacing the LK and LLK with SUBLINOVAS ORANGE and BLUE to complement the CMYK LC & LM would require a RIP to control the inks/colours along with a more sophisticated ICC profile.

I guess sticking to colours the printer expects is the way to go with the Epson 4880.
I'll opt for the bulk/litre(s) SUBLINOVA SMART CMYK LC LM LK + the bulk/litre SAWGRASS ARTANIUM UV+ LLK ink and then get a custom ICC profile developed for me.

If I had an EPSON 1500w/Artsan 1430 6-colour printer then I wouldn’t really bother about extra black inks.

Since I’ll be having a custom ICC profile anyway, the mixture of different manufacturers of ink in the same printer is not a problem. I’m in the UK so INKTEC is what I’ll opt for, I hear JTECH and COBRA cover the U.S and i'm guess it's the same concept everywhere

{I hope someone more versed in all things sublimation will shed more light on this issue}
 

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I bought a brother printer from cobra ink with their high temp inks and xlarge refillable cartridges. I've had it for 4 months now and had 0 problems. I print about 3 times a week or do 3 head cleanings a week. Can't remember complete cost but I think its about 400$ to get up and running. I use the sublimation paper they sell and it works great for iphone covers and t-shirts. Their customer support is also outstanding.
 

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We've been using an Epson 4880 with Sawgrass inks for five years now. I have not had a problem with Sawgrass, and the few I've had, they've taken care of. I have more of an issue with Epson telling me the cartridge is empty and there is still ink in it, and you are stuck because of the chips on the cartridges. Sawgrass said they overfill the cartridges, which is why there is ink left (to avoid air getting in the ink line). The ink is liquid gold when you look at the total cost of the cartridges. I waste more ink doing head cleans than I like, but all in all, I have no complaints. Everyone will have an opinion, and I doubt many will be on the fence. Love or hate
 

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You have a 4880, a professional printer, and are still putting Sawgrass consumer inks in it? Seems such a mismatch really

You could get a set of refillable cartridges for the 4880 (along with a chip resetter which is normally included) and some proper professional bulk litre inks. You can then say goodbye to Sawgrass' consumer inks, and extortionate pricing model. No longer will you be stuck with sets of carts with ink left in them, and no longer will you think of ink as liquid gold!
 

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Ok, fill me in. Who is the maker and/or supplier? Also, is there certainty that these inks don't play havoc with the Epson heads. I have a friend who repairs Epsons who claims that 95% of the printers he sees with bad heads have been a result of 2nd part inks. I understand Sawgrass is 2nd party, but it seems to some degree they have Epson's blessing. Always open to suggestions.
 

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Ok, fill me in. Who is the maker and/or supplier? Also, is there certainty that these inks don't play havoc with the Epson heads. I have a friend who repairs Epsons who claims that 95% of the printers he sees with bad heads have been a result of 2nd part inks. I understand Sawgrass is 2nd party, but it seems to some degree they have Epson's blessing. Always open to suggestions.
Ummm ... a supplier was already suggested, just read the posts. ;)
 

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Most sublimation inks are made specifically for Epson print heads. We've been using our ink manufacturer for sublimation and pigment inks since summer 2011 and have not had problems. (This is after ditching Sawgrass' inks where we did have problems!)

If you use any non-Epson ink in an Epson printer then these are 3rd party inks. Now, on the whole when someone uses non-Epson inks in their home printer, more than likely they are wanting to find cheaper inks than Epson's own, and so will buy any old crap that is cheap, and this is where the problems start.
There is a big difference between cheap 3rd party dye and pigment inks for home printers, compared to professional inks from big ink companies.

I don't think that I've seen anywhere that Sawgrass as any degree of blessing from Epson.

There is a page on Sawgrass' website with a list of ink manufacturers worldwide who are licensed to produce/sell sublimation inks, this list is a good starting point for finding good quality and well priced inks.
Aside from that, if you're in USA then J-Tech and Cobra are good bets on sublimation ink (or hi-temp inks if you're buying from Cobra) and in the UK/Europe InkTec are widely available.
 
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