View Full Version : So I'm looking at dye-sub...

Chip Peterson
09-10-2008, 10:54 AM
So while at the show in Indy last weekend (minding my own business and looking at laser related stuff), I found my interest in dye-sub increasing. Truth be told, Mrs. Peterson told me that my interest should increase! Like so many things, the options are dizzying, and the opinions vary widely.

My initial question to my fellow Creekers is about printers. I'm considering jumping in with both feet and going with an Epson 4880 yet I hear there may be some concerns and future driver updates coming for that printer to handle those concerns. Since the 4880 might actually be overkill for my immediate needs, I'm also looking at the Epson 1800/1900 printer.

Should I consider other options in this size range? Would you please share with me your thoughts about each of those options?

I understand that:

ink is expensive - bulk systems can help
you have to use the printer often to keep it from clogging
Heat press size is really the product size limiting factor
I need help, and a better sales force (me) to sell stuff!
Thanks in advance to All!

Mike Null
09-10-2008, 3:37 PM
I gave up on doing my own dye sub, threw my printer in the trash and gave away my remaining inks. Didn't like the substrates, excessive rejects and ink cost.

I now own a refurbished HP laserjet and do laser sub in black only. I've made more on it in 4 months than on dye sub in two years.

If I want dye sub I farm out the printing to somebody who likes doing it.

Chip Peterson
09-10-2008, 4:03 PM
Thanks Mike. I read that you had done that as I was doing my SMC research. I'd be happy to help you with any dye-sub work you need after I get up and running with it! :rolleyes:

Stephen Beckham
09-16-2008, 5:01 PM
Chip - I too get frustrated with my Epson sometimes, but mostly my fault.

I went with the 1400. Largest I've printed is 11X17 and I can go up to 13X19... But honestly - very limited items between 11X17 and 22" roll. So if I needed I would get a box of the 13X19. For the most part, I tell everyone that 11X17 is the largest I can do for practical reasons more than ability.

I considered the 4800 when I started out, but decided to save the money. You get 22" capability and you'll need 23" heat press ability...

On the inks and the clogging - well, honestly, my epson at the house cost me $45 to refill the black and high $50's to replace the color cartridge. Less ink in there than half or 1/3rd of a bag that costs $130. SO - not really too much difference - just buying in larger quantity bag.

I use the printer daily now, but before I was printing once or twice a week. I only had (knock on wood) one major clog - took six cleanings to get it out. But now that I use it daily, a simple print test usually keeps her running.

The issue I have is drops or leftovers getting on the edges - if not caught, the smallest of drops will make a huge impression where it's not supposed to be.

Overall - I'm glad I jumped into it. I will again second Mike's opinion - and add to it - color match is horrible between substrates. Test a color on scrap fiberglass and it works, then put it on a ceramic mug - and it changes just enough to throw things out. I always verify a customer's expectations of percise color match - will make one sample now - if it doesn't come out - I give the wave-off... You can spend all day and several items adjusting the color one at a time. Print color bar?!?!? Sure did that too - when I picked the level I wanted and took the rest off, it changed again. It seems like the more or less color you have in the rest of the image can affect a target color. ICC profiles matching an all...

Good luck with your purchase - the only other thing to note would be the four color printer versus the six color printers... Not sure of pro's and con's - but I like the six because that's what I got...

If you have any questions - I'm far from an expert, but will be willing to try and help any way possible...


Chip Peterson
09-17-2008, 8:28 PM
Steve, thank you so much for your reply. I think we decided upon the 1400. I think we will pull the trigger before the week is over. Any extra work? :)

Thanks again.

Neal Schlee
09-18-2008, 12:39 PM

We've done Dys Sub for 10 years. I'd go with the 1400. I have an 1800, tried it for sub, PITA. I've found you don't need an eight ink printer for sub, more clogging problems and ink issues. At the time we went with a 1280 and it is still printing, we use the bulk system and Sawgrass Inks.
The 4800 is a good printer but spendy.

Neal Schlee
Lasertech Alaska