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Author Topic: Dye Sublimation - 4 inks vs. 8 inks  (Read 2192 times)
mcpix
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« on: February 09, 2014, 11:10:14 AM »
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I've begun looking for a new printer for Chromaluxe prints. I've been thinking about starting with a used 4880 as I don't see myself getting a bigger press than 16x20 for now.

While searching, I found a used Epson 7700 at a good price. My only concern is that it uses 4 inks (CMYK) instead of the 8 inks on the 4880. Since the new Epson Dye Sub printers also use only 4 inks, I'm wondering if it matters. Anyone have any experience with this?
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2014, 11:22:54 AM »
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Yes, the extra inks matter. Light ink versions go along way toads eliminating visible dots on both aqueous and dye-sublimation inks. I'm shocked that Epson chose a 4 color inkset of the Surecolor FJ pritners and my clients that have bought them have decided to continue with 3rd party ink solutions in older aqueous printers for this very reason.

The light inks make such a difference - output from a 7 color CMYKcmk inkset is vastly superior to 4 color inksets.... I'm surprised that more solvent, latex and UV curable inksets aren't based on these 7 inks plus the occasional white or metallic silver....
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mcpix
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2014, 01:00:14 PM »
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Thanks Scott. That's what I thought, but I appreciate the real world feedback. So, it looks like I'll try to find either a 4880 or maybe a 7880/7980.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2014, 01:10:06 PM »
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Thanks Scott. That's what I thought, but I appreciate the real world feedback. So, it looks like I'll try to find either a 4880 or maybe a 7880/7980.

IF you can live with 13x19 max sheet size, consider the 3880. It's been far more reliable for me than my 4900.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2014, 02:26:13 PM »
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IF you can live with 13x19 max sheet size, consider the 3880. It's been far more reliable for me than my 4900.

It won't really matter with dye sub inks.  They tend to burn out heads much faster.  12-18 months with high quality third party ink sets.  As little as 3-6 months with poor quality.  Of course some do better if you have good maintenance regimes etc.

Like anything, just comparing the number of inks doesn't tell the story.  It depends on what you want to do with the machines and it depends on what they (and the RIPs) can get out of the colours they're using.
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mcpix
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2014, 04:02:31 PM »
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I wish I could use the 3880, but Sawgrass doesn't supply dye sub inks for that model.

I'm currently only doing mugs and mouse pads, so my 4 color Ricoh dye sub printer works fine. However, my goal is to offer high quality Chromaluxe prints, so I think the 8 color inks are the way to go.

I'm a little surprised at the short head life. How much to replace the head on an Epson 4880?
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Some Guy
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2014, 04:24:50 PM »
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I wish I could use the 3880, but Sawgrass doesn't supply dye sub inks for that model.

I'm currently only doing mugs and mouse pads, so my 4 color Ricoh dye sub printer works fine. However, my goal is to offer high quality Chromaluxe prints, so I think the 8 color inks are the way to go.

I'm a little surprised at the short head life. How much to replace the head on an Epson 4880?

Sawgrass may not offer dye sub ink for the 3880, but Conde.com has some K3 dye sub bulk inks in 220ml (About $55 each I think?) that might work in the 3880 as it is the same ink as used in the 4880.  They had 2-3 different brands when I last looked.

Try this link http://www.dyetrans.com/products.php?webmaincat=sub_inks&websubcat=refillable&websubcat2=4880 and hit "Learn more" for each color to buy them separately.  You can get the refillable carts off eBay (Hong Kong for ~$75) or Cone for maybe $130.  Need the chips off the old carts though.

SG
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2014, 05:47:14 PM »
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Sawgrass may not offer dye sub ink for the 3880, but Conde.com has some K3 dye sub bulk inks in 220ml (About $55 each I think?) that might work in the 3880 as it is the same ink as used in the 4880.  They had 2-3 different brands when I last looked.

Try this link http://www.dyetrans.com/products.php?webmaincat=sub_inks&websubcat=refillable&websubcat2=4880 and hit "Learn more" for each color to buy them separately.  You can get the refillable carts off eBay (Hong Kong for ~$75) or Cone for maybe $130.  Need the chips off the old carts though.

SG



Sorry I will try to clean things up a little.
Conde did a major redo to the site and prices and descriptions are all screwed up.
The $55.00 you reference is for 220 ml empty carts for the 4880.
The 1 liter bottles of ink shown are actually $250.00 not $55.00
You reference K3 dye sub inks. K3 is an Epson pigment ink.
I buy a ton of stuff from Conde and intend to call them first thing in the morning.
They have a lot of straightening out to do.

Sawgrass does not support the Epson 3880 for dye sublimation which means no power driver to run it.
Sawgrass owns the patents on the inks thus the monopoly. (Only until Sept. 2014)

To the op I might be selling my dye sub 4880 but not sure about shipping it across the country
The 9890 is the printer I am looking at to replace it with. J-teck inks run with the Wasatch rip.

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mcpix
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2014, 06:13:53 PM »
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Thanks Dan for the clarifications.

I think trying to send the 4880 across country would be problematic, so I'm going to keep looking locally. I actually ran across a used 7890, although he wants close to new price for it. Any thoughts of 7890 vs. 4880? I don't see myself doing anything larger than 16x20 for the time being, and I think single cut dye transfer paper would be easier than a big roll. On the other hand, the ink would be cheaper with the 7890, and I could potentially use it for larger sizes if I found an inexpensive large press.

I'm surprised that no one has come up with a relatively inexpensive large format heat press. The George Knight 32"x42" Maxi press lists for almost $9000!

I had a couple more customers ask me about metal prints. I don't know if they would all be paying customers, but there certainly seems to be a "buzz" about it right now. I also had another lab tell me that they would send me work if I got the equipment.

As an aside, I always am impressed with how nice your business looks on your website.
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2014, 07:04:22 PM »
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Well thank you.
The j-teck inks are .16 a ml for printers over 42"
Sawgrass inks are pretty much all over $1.00 a ml.
I am selling the 4880 to get out from underneath Sawgrass.
The 9890 I can get for $3195 and am eligible for the cheaper j-teck inks.
The 7890 is like $2695 and you cannot buy j-tech inks for it.
If you google Sawgrass and J-teck you can read up on the contract they negotiated.

I saw a used 7900 selling for $1750.00 and that's all that 7890 should be worth.
If it has been running k3 inks it may be more trouble then it is worth to flush it and convert it to dye sub.
At $1500 then that's a deal
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mcpix
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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 01:35:16 PM »
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One more quick question…

I'm looking at both the George Knight DK20s and the DK25S. The DK25S is about double the price ($2,800 vs. $1,400) and gives you the ability to print 16x24 full frame. Is it worth the price difference?
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 02:03:45 PM »
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Probably not but I bought one anyway the DK25sp air model.
I struggled with the same decision.
Moving from the 20 to 25 model enables you to only do 1 larger size the 16x24.
You can also do the 16x16 and 16x20 in the larger press as they are both too close to the edge of the plate in the smaller unit.
If you get the smaller press you can buy a 15 1/2 x 18 3/4 Chromaluxe panel that is as close to 16x20 as you can get.
I guess I justified it because I plan on getting a maxxi press and keeping the new 25sp for small to mid size work.
It takes a fair amount of electric to bring these things up to operating temperature so having a smaller press makes sense for all that work.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 02:17:33 PM by Dan Berg » Logged

Some Guy
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 02:05:43 PM »
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One more quick question…

I'm looking at both the George Knight DK20s and the DK25S. The DK25S is about double the price ($2,800 vs. $1,400) and gives you the ability to print 16x24 full frame. Is it worth the price difference?

I'd prefer to go with a 17" printer and go 2:3 ratio format which makes it close to a 17x25 inch print for a dye sub.  But I see that the GK DK25S also weighs a lot with the base (375 pounds and 420 shipping!).  Not exactly a DK20S table unit.  I'm not fond of the old 8x10 & 16x20 sizes as they are too squarish from the film age.

Someone long ago made a portable dry mount heat press that used a very thin film heater element between two thin aluminum plates.  Total heater plate thickness was maybe only 1/4 inch at max.  Had a one inch metal plate on risers above the heater unit, a long handle at each end to grab onto, and a black knob for setting the temperature under one handle.  Maybe 16x20 and weighed maybe 15 pounds - and you could stand on it for additional weight in dry mounting.  Had some large cloth slip-on cover for the heater core.  I owned one, but sold it and wish I hadn't as I cannot find who made the thing or if they are even still around?

Add:

Thinking of my sold portable dry mount press above, maybe Dan with his furniture operation could come up with a wooden base and maybe a hinged aluminum flat plate with a flat film heater in it for a lot less and in a large size too?  Heaters are here: http://www.minco.com/~/media/WWW/Resource%20Library/Minco_HeaterDesignGuide.ashx  Something that doesn't weigh 350 pounds and could be slipped behind a cabinet or under a bed or sofa when not needed?  The linked outfit makes thin heaters, some with temp sensors in them, out to 8 feet in length.


SG
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 02:25:00 PM by Some Guy » Logged
mcpix
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2014, 10:54:51 AM »
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Well, I found a like new Epson 4880 locally, but now I see what you mean about the ink prices. A 110 ml Artanium UV+ ink cartridge is $140! Do you know how much ink you actually use on different sizes (8x12, 12x18, etc.)?

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Dan Berg
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2014, 12:01:19 PM »
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It is not a whole lot different then my K3 printers.
About 1.5 ml per square foot.
You can just do the math based on your print sq. footage.
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dseelig
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« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2014, 12:06:16 PM »
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One correction the 3880 is a 17 inch wide printer not a 13 inch
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2014, 10:48:32 AM »
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I'm a little surprised at the short head life. How much to replace the head on an Epson 4880?

Although I've seen tons of issues with head life on newer model Epson's and Canon's with the OEM ink, all of my customers with dye sublimation inks have been running their machines sometimes for over 5 years without a single incident. The x880's and x890's have proven excellent for sublimation work, I'd say, and they're preferred over Epson's new Surecolor F series and their dissapointing 4 color inkset (which is OK for textile printing but not anything else, IMO).
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« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2014, 04:06:50 PM »
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5 years on dye sub inks without a single head replacement or problem?  That's pretty much unheard of.

As for a preference over the new F-Series, well, given it's only been out for a very short time I wonder how a preference is really formed?

Certainly if you feel the need for more than CMYK there's no contest, but again it's not just the number of inks that go into making a good output.
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2014, 04:22:28 PM »
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5 years on dye sub inks without a single head replacement or problem?  That's pretty much unheard of.

Yep, I've seen that in several places.

As for a preference over the new F-Series, well, given it's only been out for a very short time I wonder how a preference is really formed?

Without saying too much that would get me in trouble, there are places where Surecolor F Series printers have been running side by side with a bunch of x880 and x890 printers for almost 2 years now.

Certainly if you feel the need for more than CMYK there's no contest, but again it's not just the number of inks that go into making a good output.

Oh I know (believe me), but the lack of lk, lc, and lm really translates into dotty prints. If you care about print quality at close range that's a deal breaker. It's not as important when you're printing onto fabric though...
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« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2014, 04:40:55 PM »
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Is there a particular brand of ink and/or usage/maintenance profile of these very long performing machines?  It would be really interesting to know this - they must be doing something right!

2 years implies beta (or before) machines, obviously, and a limited exposure and I respect your decision not to disclose anything further.  It's useful, but I wouldn't read the whole market into it.  For anything you or I or someone else might know early on, we all know that restrictions mean others could be having different experiences and we'd never know!  :-)

I don't doubt that it's going to be a case of suiting some and not others - hopefully it's a sign of more to come, though.

Fabric seems both more finicky and more forgiving at the same time.
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