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Author Topic: Epson 3880 Costing  (Read 2253 times)
tsapiano
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« on: May 13, 2013, 12:41:18 PM »
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In another thread I was looking for some advice surrounding using newer papers with my old 2200, and one of the suggestions was to look at the 3880.  While I don't particularly need a new printer, it would solve a lot of the complexities than I'm dealing with, give me some new capacities and given the old one is pushing 11 years now it'd be nice to have a refresh so I'm considering it.  Given the current rebates, the amount of ink included with the printer and the lower operating costs the price for doing so isn't huge.  There are a lot of posts on this topic here, but those just cover the broad strokes as they're typically either comparing it to the purchase of a modern 13" or upgrading from a recent model (which still has some residual value to resell and recoup part of the cost), both of which are an easier case to make.  On that account, I was hoping to get a better idea of the numbers related to this printer.

The first aspect that I've found a little confusing was how much ink you get when you buy the printer.  Many reviews state that it has full 80mL tanks, but a lot of postings made since then note it only comes with 60mL starter cartridges - I'm guessing that was probably a change made since the original release to get the price down?  Further, as I understand it the printer needs to take 15mL of each colour to prime the lines during the first use?  As you can't print with empty cartridges, that ink is effectively lost so it doesn't really contribute to the final value (it gets used, but will always be replaced as that is done).  As such, if my understanding is correct that would effectively result in an effective volume of 45mLx9 or about ~$330 (the 80mL carts go for $65CDN around here).  Naturally, if the 60mL value already takes the priming ink into account that changes to $440 but I haven't seen an official specification on that so it's hard for me to tell.  Also, I'm a bit unclear how the two black inks work with this printer.  Is 15mL of ink taken from both of the black tanks to prime the system or is it just from one of them (ie there are two lines and the switching valve is in the head, or just one with the valve near the carts)?


The other aspect that I'm trying to wrap my head around is the running costs of the printer.  From a per-mL basis, the difference isn't huge - I pay $14 for the 2200 carts, and as I understand it they hold about 15mL each.  The 3880 carts cost $65 each for 80mL, so that's a direct savings of about 13%.  Naturally, that doesn't tell the whole story as the smaller carts probably waste more of that ink (eg when a cart is low and cleaning is necessary, you need to replace them prematurely).  From this article on the main site, it would appear that the savings would be more significant than those basic estimates (closer to 20-22% looking at my numbers) although that's the older 3800 model and he was doing more volume than I am, so I'd probably lose more to maintenance purposes.  This is certainly difficult to pin down exactly as there are a lot of variables, but I'd appreciate any ideas on how much it is costing you guys to use this printer on an aggregate basis (ie including maintenance losses)?

For anyone who has had both printers, I was wondering about how much relative maintenance you've found is necessary for these two printers?  I've been pretty lucky with the 2200 that I haven't had any serious head clogs as of yet (knock on wood), but it does need cleaning periodically and doing so consumes a not-insignificant amount of ink.  I tend to print roughly 50-75 sheets a year, so it's pretty light volume, although that's distributed relatively well so it doesn't really go long periods without printing (although that does periodically happen).  I've read some good things about the 3880 being less susceptible to this than other printers, but I'm not sure if that's in comparison to the smaller printers or the bigger high-volume ones?  Given the long ink lines, I am a bit concerned that that might be more of an issue compared to printers where the carts are right over the heads.  Part of my hesitance in switching to bigger printers is that they are designed for higher volumes than I'm likely looking at.


It's still a bit of a long shot at this point, but there are some compelling arguments to make the upgrade and I'd like to get a better idea of how much the move would effectively cost and how much it would save me in the long run.  I bought the 2200 when it was first released, so it's nearly 11 years old at this juncture and has definitely given me my money's worth out of the hardware.  Eventually that maintenance tank is going to get filled up (it has no way to monitor that as far as I can tell), and as it's not replaceable in that model I'm going to have no choice but to replace it at that point.  Now might be a good opportunity for that, but I'd like to have a better handle on the specifics to quantify the costs and benefits.
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Atlex.com
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2013, 02:30:29 PM »
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Truthfully, since it does come with a full set of 80ml, the printer upon starting and initializing the heads would probably use about 15% of the ink.  However, since there are tubes from the ink set to the print head, the ink showing on the amount is not completely correct.  You still have the ink in the tubes to account for (probably 5% of that used ink).  This will look weird at first until you start getting replacements where it will show more correctly since the ink is in the tubes to print with.

Also, we carry those inks at a better cost than your local places do.

If you would like to see the details between the different models with cost for the ink broken down, feel free to email me and I can provide them to you.
cwood@atlex.com

The 3880 does save more money per print than the smaller models do.
Atlex.com
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tsapiano
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2013, 04:18:59 PM »
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Truthfully, since it does come with a full set of 80ml, the printer upon starting and initializing the heads would probably use about 15% of the ink.

Hmm, with full sized cartridges than that certainly makes it a more attractive proposition.  Further, if it's only consuming 15% of that (12 vs 15mL/cart) then that makes the numbers a bit better as well.

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However, since there are tubes from the ink set to the print head, the ink showing on the amount is not completely correct.  You still have the ink in the tubes to account for (probably 5% of that used ink).  This will look weird at first until you start getting replacements where it will show more correctly since the ink is in the tubes to print with.

As I understood it (may be wrong?), the printer will stop printing the moment that the cartridge itself is empty (ie the printer will never drain the line), so there isn't really a way to use it.  Naturally, when you print that particular ink will be consumed, but the printer will be replacing it from the cartridge.  That is, if there is 65mL in the cart and 3mL in the line, once I put 65mL of ink on paper I will have to buy a new cartridge.  When I replace that cartridge, I can then put another 80mL down and I have to buy another, etc., etc.  When it ultimately comes time to decommission the printer, I will have no choice but to throw away that volume of ink.

With that said, that's mostly a theoretical argument as it's unlikely that anyone would actually be able to manage perfectly synchronizing their ink use to run a printer completely dry anyway.  I certainly wouldn't want the printer to actually drain the lines in normal use, as it'd have to waste a whole lot more ink getting the air out the next time.  Chances are the printer will either get sold or break down at the end of it's life, so a good amount of ink will ultimately be lost even without the material left in the lines.

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Also, we carry those inks at a better cost than your local places do.

Thanks, I'll take a look.  Mail order never really made sense with $14 carts (shipping always killed any savings), but for the more expensive 3880 ones it may be a viable option.

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If you would like to see the details between the different models with cost for the ink broken down, feel free to email me and I can provide them to you.
cwood@atlex.com

Most appreciated - message sent!
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chez
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2013, 06:00:01 PM »
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Truthfully, since it does come with a full set of 80ml, the printer upon starting and initializing the heads would probably use about 15% of the ink.  However, since there are tubes from the ink set to the print head, the ink showing on the amount is not completely correct.  You still have the ink in the tubes to account for (probably 5% of that used ink).  This will look weird at first until you start getting replacements where it will show more correctly since the ink is in the tubes to print with.

Also, we carry those inks at a better cost than your local places do.

If you would like to see the details between the different models with cost for the ink broken down, feel free to email me and I can provide them to you.
cwood@atlex.com

The 3880 does save more money per print than the smaller models do.
Atlex.com

I don't know about other people, but I am starting to get a little tired of commercial promotion on this site. Your statement of carrying the inks at a lower cost than the competition does not belong here. Period.
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 06:57:14 PM »
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You should check out B&H.  They're cheaper for Epson 3880 carts and shipping is free.

The carts that came with my 3880 lasted 3 years, the heads never clogged or needed cleaning even though I left the printer unused for very long periods of time.  You won't have to worry about ink for a while unless you print in high volume.

Sal
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tsapiano
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2013, 07:19:18 PM »
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You should check out B&H.  They're cheaper for Epson 3880 carts and shipping is free.

Unfortunately I'm in Canada and it doesn't look like B&H will ship Epson stuff up here.  I have purchased some stuff from them in the past, but I guess that Epson's US distributor is pressuring them to keep their stuff in the country.

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The carts that came with my 3880 lasted 3 years, the heads never clogged or needed cleaning even though I left the printer unused for very long periods of time.  You won't have to worry about ink for a while unless you print in high volume.

That's very good to hear.  The 2200 has been pretty good, but it's nowhere near that level.

Thanks for the feedback!
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chez
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2013, 08:04:30 PM »
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As a side note, if you do decide to upgrade your printer, convert your 2200 to piezography inks. Amazing B&W results on my 2200.
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hugowolf
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 08:24:35 PM »
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When it ultimately comes time to decommission the printer, I will have no choice but to throw away that volume of ink.
Actually, on average, you will be thowing away 50% of the cartridge volume when the printer dies. But I still think, on the long run, a 3880 is a better buy than than a smaller format printer.

Brian A
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mfryd
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 05:14:09 PM »
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The Epson 3880 comes with nine 80ml cartridges (720ml total). My experience, is that about 137ml is used in the initial charging of the print engine. This leaves you with about 583ml available for printing.

I am not aware of Epson ever shipping 3880 cartridges containing less than 80ml of ink.

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tsapiano
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2013, 03:48:06 PM »
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But I still think, on the long run, a 3880 is a better buy than than a smaller format printer.

Buying both new, I have no doubt on that accord - but buying the 3880 versus keeping an already paid for printer was a bit more complicated.  With the current rebate it's a heck of a deal though!

The Epson 3880 comes with nine 80ml cartridges (720ml total). My experience, is that about 137ml is used in the initial charging of the print engine. This leaves you with about 583ml available for printing.

That's definitely good to hear and makes it a lot easier case to make (~$474 worth of ink assuming $65/cart).  Not sure where I saw the 60mL comment, but it must have simply been a typo.

Either way, I ended up ordering the printer yesterday and it should be in in a couple of days.  With the inks factored it, the unit itself ended up being under $500 and while I'm not sure how much it will save, it offered enough added features to push me over the edge.

Epson really should be paying you guys commission on this.  Looking back on the posts here, this forum has moved quite a few people into buying this thing Wink


As a side note, if you do decide to upgrade your printer, convert your 2200 to piezography inks. Amazing B&W results on my 2200.

I don't know that I can really drive enough volume to reliably keep two inkjet printers around without clogging up.  I certainly like the idea of having a couple of specialized machines around, but the last thing that I want is the 2200 to die of an irreversible head clog because I didn't use it enough.

Still have to figure out what I want to do on that matter, but will certainly give that option some consideration.  The resale values on the 2200 aren't great, so if I can find a way to make it work for something else it is an attractive choice.


Either way, I sincerely appreciate all of the help that you guys provided on this matter!
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Dale_Cotton2
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2013, 08:13:33 PM »
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You shouldn't be paying $60 per cartridge in Canada:

http://ccbc-club.com/products.asp?man=31&cat=68

I can also recommend Inkpress Luster as an excellent Epson Premium Luster (or whatever they call it du jour) clone. Very inexpensive from CCBC. You'll find the Epson Luster profile that ships with the printer will give you flawless results, including soft-proofing, with this paper. Unfortunately, CCBC doesn't sell the Moab Entrada I mentioned previously, but if you happen to buy that paper for your matte printing project, again you can use the relevant Epson profile (Enhanced Matte), no problem.

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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2013, 10:02:46 PM »
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I don't know about other people, but I am starting to get a little tired of commercial promotion on this site. Your statement of carrying the inks at a lower cost than the competition does not belong here. Period.

Agreed! Atlex, Desist or face a longer ban
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Christopher Sanderson
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tsapiano
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2013, 02:26:12 PM »
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You shouldn't be paying $60 per cartridge in Canada:

http://ccbc-club.com/products.asp?man=31&cat=68

Thanks - hadn't heard of them before, but I'll definitely drop by and check them out!  They're a bit more of a drive than Vistek or Henry's, but given the size of these carts it shouldn't be too difficult to synchronize with another trip downtown when one of them starts to get low.

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I can also recommend Inkpress Luster as an excellent Epson Premium Luster (or whatever they call it du jour) clone. Very inexpensive from CCBC. You'll find the Epson Luster profile that ships with the printer will give you flawless results, including soft-proofing, with this paper. Unfortunately, CCBC doesn't sell the Moab Entrada I mentioned previously, but if you happen to buy that paper for your matte printing project, again you can use the relevant Epson profile (Enhanced Matte), no problem.

Thanks, I'll take a look at those options.  In the short term I'm going to hold off on that project for a while so I can get a feel for the characteristics of the new printer on the paper that I already have experience with, once I figure out it's nuances then I'll get back to that and play around with the different papers.  Don't want to be fiddling around with too many variables at the same time Wink  The one thing that's going to take a bit of getting used to is the more square aspect ratio of the big pages - just wish that more paper companies would make 17x25" sheets.


One other quick question while I've got you guys.  With the 3880, do you have to switch it off whenever not in use like the older printers or is it smart enough to cap the heads when not actively printing?  With the networking capacity of the printer, it'd be handy to put it in another room and just leave it on so I can send jobs as necessary but I don't want to do that if it's going to leave the heads exposed.  Still waiting for delivery, so I've been reading through the manual and it doesn't have a lot of details on this sort of thing.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2013, 03:06:41 PM »
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+1 Chris!! Not only that, but Mr. At Lex has given bad advice more than once on this forum, including his latest post. You can NEVER recover the amount of ink that is used to fill the ink lines. When you get the printer, they are empty. When an ink will not print because the cartridge is out, the lines are still full. The amount of ink in the ink lines is a 'sacrificial lamb' that is always left when the printer will no longer print. I know every post on this forum is not closely monitored but maybe if a few of us complain we can get rid of this clown. And if Atlex wants to post, with non-commercial posts, at least use your real name so we know who to call when he/she needs a lesson with respect to inkjet printing.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2013, 01:03:12 PM »
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I hope folks aren't tired of this topic because reading this and related threads has me thinking of buying a 3880 before the deals expire in June.  I have a Canon i9900, vintage fall 2004, and think better inks and printers might produce better prints...and the old Canon is a orphan in terms of profiles.  I always assumed I'd upgrade to a new Canon, but reading this thread suggests that for price, print size, reliability, and capability the 3880 is a great choice.  But I live in Tempe, AZ, where the relative humidity often remains in the single digits.  Can anyone using this printer in similarly dry conditions tell me how it performs and what extra care it might need?

Thanks and best wishes,

Ed
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hugowolf
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« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2013, 04:33:59 PM »
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But I live in Tempe, AZ, where the relative humidity often remains in the single digits.  Can anyone using this printer in similarly dry conditions tell me how it performs and what extra care it might need?
I live in Virginia, which is very humid in summer, but the humidity can be very low in winter. My Epson 3880 will sometimes go for several weeks without printing and has yet to have a clog in the three years it has been running. The Epson 9890, which sits in the same room, prints every week day, and still suffers an ocasional clog.

Still, in AZ, I would consider getting a room humidifer.

Brian A
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tsapiano
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2013, 03:31:02 PM »
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Hmm, still waiting for the shop to get my order into stock (more than a week now).  Called around a few other places and they're all back-ordered and haven't seen a delivery in a while either.

Any chance that this unit is being replaced with a newer model?
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tsapiano
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2013, 08:35:03 PM »
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Did a bit more digging and found a Henry's that had one in stock and picked it up.  No time to set it up tonight, but definitely looking forward to it tomorrow Wink

Either way, thanks again for all your help on this topic!
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