Awards & Engraving

2012 Sublimation Report

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4000 a speed demon except that its printhead had only 160 nozzles per channel. This translates to a speed range from 123 square feet (quality setting) to 173 square feet (speed setting). The following chart summarizes the speed of printers using their standard drivers and with ICC profile. Ricoh Epson 7700 Epson 7700 Epson 4880 GX7000 Fast Setting Quality Setting 8.5x11 :25 :15 11x17 :44 :28 Image 3 FUEL ECONOMY: COST OF PRINTING At the time of this writing, a SubliJet E CMYK 350ml car- tridge is priced at $250, or about $0.72 per ml with the photo black cleaning cart priced less. Interestingly, normal Epson ink costs $0.52 per ml. This means that sublimation ink carries a relatively small premium of only 28%. Cost of paper varies according to the width and length of the roll, but count on about $0.15 per square ft. In general, a wider and longer roll equates to a lower cost per square foot and greater cost savings when compared to cut sheet. Here are ink costs for printing my standard 8.5"x11" test image: Size Ricoh Epson 4880 Epson 7700 Epson 7700 GX7000 w/ Art Ink HQ Speed 8.5 x 11 $0.49 $0.77 $0.39 $0.35 This translates to a 50% cost savings over an Epson 4880 using ArTainium ink (even more for SubliJet users) and about a 20% cost savings over the Ricoh GX7000. A more traditional way to state costs for these printers is on a per square foot basis, which is about $.69 (speed) to $.75 (high quality) per square ft. (including paper) for full coverage. Since the 7700's pressurized ink system will need far fewer cleanings, I suspect that the actual cost savings will be far more dramatic. I have been running several 7700 and 9700 printers for almost a year, and their nozzle check reliability is superior to that of my Epson 4800/4880 printers. UNDER THE HOOD: A TEN CHANNEL PRINTHEAD MEANS SPEED What makes these printers so fast is a huge ten-channel print- head with 360 nozzles per channel. Each color goes to two chan- nels. This is the same architecture that made the famous Epson 40 :29 :58 1:45 2:48 Please note that these printers achieve maximum speed when printing on the wide paper (interstate driving). Even so, my speed tests on 13" roll paper are pretty impressive. PAPER HANDLING: WHERE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD These printers only use roll paper. Yes, the spec sheet states that you can use cut sheet paper, but it's simply not worth the time and effort to load one sheet at a time. Besides, since there's a built-in paper cutter, printed transfers are conveniently trimmed and dropped into the output chute as if they were cut sheet paper. I recommend either the DyeTrans or TexPrint sublimation paper. The DyeTrans roll paper is available in 8.5", 13", 17", 24" and 44" widths. These familiar widths emulate cut sheet size, resulting in minimal paper waste and an easy transition for the operator. DyeTrans paper is an excellent multi-substrate paper with minimal dot gain (meaning very sharp output with good ink release characteristics). It's my choice for most hard substrates like ceramic, metal and Unisub products. TexPrint XP is my choice for soft substrates like mousepads and fabrics and a few hard substrates such as glass and SubliSlate. One interesting bonus in moving to roll paper is the avail- ability of TexPrint XP Tack Paper. This paper looks and feels like the standard version but has a stealth feature. Instead of using heat tape or Pro Spray adhesive to secure the transfer to the sub- strate, the paper secures itself to the substrate by becoming tacky when heated. This prevents the transfer from moving when the heat press is opened, helping to eliminate ghosting. I still prefer Pro Spray for items such as laptop sleeves because transfers can sometimes shift while the press is being closed. ALL DRIVERS WELCOMED These printers will work in just about any modern Mac or PC environment. Keep in mind that you need adequate horsepower to drive these printers at rated speeds. I recommend at least four gigabytes of RAM to get started. More is better. Newer versions of CorelDRAW handle large files much better than previous versions. We have three ways to drive these printers: Epson Driver with

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