If there is one question anyone at EnMart dreads, at least when it comes to sublimation or ChromaBlast, it’s the question about how many prints can be gotten from a cartridge of ink. It would be lovely if we could reel off a number and have that number be accurate, but that’s not how it works. The number of prints that can be gotten from a set of cartridges is dependent on a wide variety of factors, from how large the design is, to how the printer releases ink, to the settings that are programmed into the software. There are any number of variables that can impact how many transfers a set of cartridges can print, and so it is next to impossible to quote a number that would have any sort of accuracy.
Still, we do understand why this is something that people want to know. Determining how many prints you can get from a set of cartridges will help you determine how much you’ll be paying per print and thus how much to charge your customers for a finished item. While we can’t tell you how many prints you will get from your cartridges, we can give you some estimate, however broad, of what those prints will cost. Sawgrass has handy charts for the Ricoh sublimation systems and the Epson sublimation systems. They also offer comparisons for ChromaBlast with a Ricoh printer and ChromaBlast with an Epson printer. While these comparisons offer estimates only, they will at least give you a place to start from until you begin working with your own printer and discover what your individual yields will be.
Another thing that could impact how many prints you get is the type of substrate you’re using. A soft substrate, like a shirt, takes much less ink to decorate than does a hard substrate, like a tile. Harder substrates require more ink and different software settings to get the vibrant colors that you want. You may also need to choose the High Quality settings in your PowerDriver software, which leads to higher saturation of your substrate, but which may also require more ink output. So, when you’re making an attempt at estimating how many prints you can get from a set of ink, keep in mind that the item on which you’re printing can impact ink output as well.
The easiest way to calculate the price of your sublimated goods is probably to use Sawgrass’ price calculator. This calculator is designed to include all the items that could influence the cost of creating a sublimated good. It is a great tool and a great way to help ensure that you are charging enough for the items you create.