Dye Sublimation

So looking for any comments or suggestions on dye sublimation printers. I use to do mugs before and more or less got out of it because of the problems and expense with "Having" to buy Sawgrass inks but I am hearing that there are more distributors coming out with dye sub inks again.

Main do mugs and small items so i do not require a wide format printer. The mug press I had was very old but thinking of the Knight Press but I am hearing from a lot of people that they prefer the wraps (not sure if I want to use them)

For now really looking to get the printer decision made. Like I said I do not wide format and really didnt ever use a bulk system but looking for the best that will allow for minimal head clogging (especially if not used too frequently)

I use to have an Epson bubble jet before (think it was the c88) but not sure

Any comments would be appreciated
 

WildWestDesigns

Major Contributor
I use Epson and haven't had any issue with it at all. I use the Knight press and I like it a lot. I'm not really a fan of the wraps themselves. If I had to do some of the steins and mugs with them that you need wraps only for that might be something different, but I haven't gotten any orders for those at all(so far anyway).

I would suggest though that you have the market to support it. It really just depends on what you mean by "not used too frquently".

I think one of the reasons that I haven't had any issue with mine is the fact that I'm usually doing a lot of work for restaurants and other promotional items that it keeps it fairly hot and printing. I just don't think there is a way around head clogging on any of the printers if you aren't doing something every now and then on with the printers.
 
I would suggest though that you have the market to support it. It really just depends on what you mean by "not used too frquently".
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My Market is there... getting requests all the time - I would say I would use it 1-2 times per week - especially working for the fire service I have a lot of people wanting me to make them mugs. What brand Epson do you have and do you use the Sawgrass inks?
 

jiarby

Major Contributor
+1 on theRicoh, but you are stuck with Sawgrass Gel Ink. $6000+ per Gallon.
 

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I'm still rocking the c88! It never lets me down. Plus I like having a $69 printer with $250 worth of ink in it... Cracks me up!

Using sawgrass air tanium inks now...but I used to use TOG when they were still around since they were like 1/2 price.
 

CES020

Very Active Member
I just don't think there is a way around head clogging on any of the printers if you aren't doing something every now and then on with the printers.

The Ricoh's with the Gel Ink don't clog from lack of use. I've left mine many times and it prints right the first time, every time, no matter if it's been 1 hour or 2 weeks.

Can't say we ever experienced anything like that with our Epson. After using the Ricoh, I'll never go back to the Epson's again.
 

WildWestDesigns

Major Contributor
The Ricoh's with the Gel Ink don't clog from lack of use. I've left mine many times and it prints right the first time, every time, no matter if it's been 1 hour or 2 weeks.

Can't say we ever experienced anything like that with our Epson. After using the Ricoh, I'll never go back to the Epson's again.

I wouldn't call 2 weeks a long time. That's what I meant by it depends on what you mean by long time. To me, long time would be closer to a month plus. It would also depend on what brand of ink you are using as well.

I've left my epson without printing for 2 weeks and haven't had an issue.
 
I am actually looking now at the Ricoh GXe3300N and liking the look of it. I found a starter package online for $449 and it comes with 100 sheets of transfer paper and full set of inks.... plus the $60 per cartridge is not really that bad (Sublijet)
 

CES020

Very Active Member
The Ricoh won't have the clogging issues you have on the Epson, doesn't matter if it's 2 weeks or 2 months.

It's different technology and it's not a fraction of the pain the butt the Epson's are when it comes to clogging and head issues.

I have a Epson sitting on a shelf in storage. It was impossible to use in getting started. You'd clean the heads, it would work fine, you run it a week later, one nozzle is partially clogged. Get that all cleaned up, wasting more and more ink, then print something, it's fine. Come back 4 days later for another job, one nozzle clogged....lather, rinse, repeat........

Since we got the Ricoh, it doesn't matter, it just prints. I've not had a single clogged nozzle issue since we plugged it in. I can't say that about the Epson we have.
 
Since we got the Ricoh, it doesn't matter, it just prints. I've not had a single clogged nozzle issue since we plugged it in. I can't say that about the Epson we have.

Thanks - that was one of the things that frustrated me on the Epson - It seemed as if I was doing head cleaning after head cleaning and wasting a ton of ink.

I think I am sold on the printer - now just to decide on a new press since my old one died a while back
 

WildWestDesigns

Major Contributor
Quick questions... what is the Sawgrass SubliJet Gxe3300N PowerDriver that I have seen coming with some of the packages?

That's what you are going to have to use to print to. Instead of printing to say Epson WF1400, you print to the PowerDrive 1400. You might have to tweak it for Ceramics, fabrics etc, but you want to print to the PowerDriver version of your printer, not the Ricoh or Epson whatever.

CES020 said:
The Ricoh won't have the clogging issues you have on the Epson, doesn't matter if it's 2 weeks or 2 months.

I will say this, I've never had a clogging issue or even a head cleaning issue, but I'm probably the minority, but I did feel the need to list the potential issue that could be there.

I like my Epson, now it could have been Divine Intervention, I don't know, but based on my sole experience I wouldn't hesitate to recommend an Epson. I have heard issues with printers and sublimation in general though.

Personally I like doing sublimation and thankfully, the market is there for me. I wonder if some that had negative things to say just didn't have the market for it and hated the fact that they wasted the expense to get setup in it.
 

CES020

Very Active Member
I wonder if some that had negative things to say just didn't have the market for it and hated the fact that they wasted the expense to get setup in it.

I think you are probably the very first person I've ever seen post that their Epson didn't have clogging problems. I've seen 100's and 100's of posts by people that have. I don't think I'd class any of them as people that were only complaining because of the expense, it is almost always someone saying "Help, I have a job due out now and this #^@& printer has clogged nozzles, can someone help me?".

Like I mentioned, we bought our Epson to dip our toe into the dye sub world and see if we liked it and if we had a market for it. However, we couldn't seem to rely on it, so we got the Ricoh. I like the fact we don't have to have the bulk ink system.

I do agree with you, I really enjoy dye sub work. As we get more of it and that side of our business grows, I'll be happier and happier.

I never understood all the fussing about the cost of Sawgrass inks. It's all in the cost of the job, so what difference does it make? I'm not paying for it, the customer is.
 
I have an Epson Workforce 1100. I use refillable cartridges. I have not had any problems at all with clogging, but I use it every week. I am running Artitanium inks. The 1100 will run a 13x19 sheet which is real handy for doing multiple up on a sheet. Also it is a 4 color printer which helps on cost of inks and I have seen no drop in quality from when I used a 6 color printer.:wavingflag:
 

WildWestDesigns

Major Contributor
I think you are probably the very first person I've ever seen post that their Epson didn't have clogging problems. I've seen 100's and 100's of posts by people that have. I don't think I'd class any of them as people that were only complaining because of the expense, it is almost always someone saying "Help, I have a job due out now and this #^@& printer has clogged nozzles, can someone help me?".

I'm sorry, I think I've given the wrong impression. When I said people were complaining, it was more like: "spent the money to set it up, have very little interested customers so the printer just sits, when "I" do have a sub job the nozzles are clogged, why did I waste this money on this crap".

That's the kind of complaining that I've seemed to have seen.

I like the fact we don't have to have the bulk ink system.

I don't use bulk systems either. They can be more work then they are worth depending on what is being done. I use refillable cartridges.

I do agree with you, I really enjoy dye sub work. As we get more of it and that side of our business grows, I'll be happier and happier.

Wouldn't we all. I have one place that is talking about quite a bit of work in dye sub. I sent a bid right before Christmas, probably a little too close. I would imagine it'll be after the first before I hear back. It isn't pressing as far as time is concerned. One bad thing about doing stuff so close to the holidays.


I never understood all the fussing about the cost of Sawgrass inks. It's all in the cost of the job, so what difference does it make? I'm not paying for it, the customer is.

If the market isn't there, I can understand it, but then that should have been determined before the investment was made.

If you shop around you can get some good quality sub inks for less then that. Just have to use those fingers and the web.
 

jdoug5170

Member
I have done sublimation for many years and have used both the Epson 3000, a small format desktop (can't remember the model) and now the Ricoh. Loving the Ricoh and really do believe that it uses less ink to get the job done.

Never had a clog in the 3000 and I owe it all to humidity. I live in the NW and as we all know, it rains daily here so our humidity is high. If you are in a low humidity area this will cause your printer to clog more.

As for ink costs, I'm one of those that does not mind the cost as my customers are paying the price I place on the product and it is profitable. I have a hunch that if the ink cost came down 99% most of us would not drop the price of our products, just pocket more $$. Have not broke it down, but I suspect I make more profit on a ounce of sub ink than I do the Roland ink....

So, for me, I'd still buy a Ricoh unless I could justify the larger format and then I would go to the Epson 7900 (or whatever the latest one is) from Conde so that I could take advantage of the larger format ink prices.

Doug
 
Thanks for all of the input guys.... gonna call COnde today.

Been out of the mug making for 3 years now and looking forwarding to getting back into it - what are you guys charging for the 11oz and 15oz mugs? Charging more for 2 sided or full wraps?
 
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