It’s the time of year when a lot of people are making their lists and checking them twice, trying to figure out what to buy this year and what to buy next year. If you’re thinking of adding sublimated goods to the products you offer, or if you already do sublimation but are thinking of upgrading your system, you might be wondering which printer is right for you. I thought today would be a good day to discuss each printer and point out some features of each. Hopefully, this information will be helpful to those of you making a decision about which system to purchase.
If you’re just starting out, and aren’t really sure what size your particular market will be, the temptation may be to start out with a really inexpensive printer. EnMart does carry the Workforce 30 printer, at a cost of under one hundred dollars, but we don’t recommend that printer for anyone but those people who are creating sublimated goods as a hobby. The Workforce 30 is a decent printer, but it’s not really designed for sustained production.
An alternative would be to purchase a Ricoh GX e3300N as part of our QuickStartR package. The Ricoh GX e3300N is a great basic printer. The biggest limitation that the printer has is the fact that it cannot print paper bigger than 8.5 x 14. The Ricoh printers tend to be less temperamental than the Epson printers, so this is a great printer for someone who is just starting out and not printing every day. The QuickStartR package also makes starting out quite affordable. For under $500 (adding in shipping costs) you can get everything you need to create a sublimation transfer. Add some sublimation blanks and a heat press and you’re in business.
If you know you’re going to be wanting to print on larger size paper, you may want to consider our Epson Workforce 1100 sublimation package. This printer allows you to print 13 x 19 paper right out of the box. Improved technology over previous entry level Epsons, faster printing speeds, HUGE 13 x 19 prints, and efficient, economical printing with a much improved Quick Connect CISS bulk system all combine to make this entry-level system a great choice for those looking to enter the sublimation market. This package is also a great option for those people who are currently using a C84, C86, C88, C100, or C120 sublimation system with a bulk feed. You can upgrade to a Workforce 1100 and use the same Cyan, Magenta and Yellow refill bags you are currently using.
For those looking for a mid-range sublimation printer, the Epson Stylus Photo 1400 is an excellent choice. This is a 6 cartridge printer, and can print up to 13 x 19 prints. If you’re a photographer who prints a lot of pictures of people, or if you create a lot of artwork with pastel prints, this printer may be exactly what you need.
Finally, we have the printers for the shops that are creating sublimated items, and lots of them, on a daily basis. If you create a wide variety of items and print sublimation transfers in a variety of sizes, then you may want to consider purchasing either a Ricoh GX 7000 or an Epson 4880. Both these printers can print larger prints, and offer faster print speeds. These systems are designed to be fast and efficient.
Because the Epson 4880 is an 8 color printer, it can also be used as a hybrid printer, with Sublijet ink in one side and ChromaBlast ink in the other side. This may be an ideal option for those who print equal amounts of sublimation and ChromaBlast transfers. It is not ideal for those who print more of one kind of transfer than the other, because the printer will deplete both kinds of ink when you run cleanings. If you tend to print more of one than the other, you may be better off purchasing a QuickStart R package and a ChromaBlast package and using one printer for each ink.