LARGE FORMAT PRINTERS

When looking for a large format printer for sublimation transfer you need to be aware that not all printers are suitable. We get asked many times by people "Can I use my HP Plotter or Can I use my Encad" and the simple answer is "no you can't" The reason for this is that "any" sublimation inks will only work through certain types of print heads namely those which have "Piezo Electric" heads. The printers that utilize these print heads are Mutoh Roland Epson and Mimaki. All other printers use thermal print heads which will not work with dye sublimation inks.

Before deciding on which printer is right for you please read the following information which should aid you in choosing the right printer for your needs.

The 4 main points to consider when buying a printer are:

1-  Width

Generally speaking large format printers are anywhere from 36 inches wide to the larger models such as the Mimaki JV 4 at 72 inches wide.

2-  Speed

This criteria is often the most misrepresented by printer distributors to entice you to purchase a printer from them so please study this carefully it could save you a lot of money. A lot of companies when quoting you print speeds will always quote you the top speed of the printer which in our opinion is wrong for instance. A couple of years back we came across a company that was quoting the print speed of a Mutoh Falcon at 60 feet per hour, we told the potential customer that this was incorrect and the true print speed was more like 20-25 because the print speed they were being quoted from our competitor was at low resolution draft mode 360 dpi black only. You do not purchase a high resolution full color printing system to print 1 color low res black. You purchase the system to produce eye catching full color photo realistic transfers so you will find that with any printer most of the time you will end up printing in the mid range of the printers quoted speed.

Lesson 1

Don't be mislead by our competitors claims of higher print speeds it's False.

Another misconception propagated by our competitors is that the faster you print the cheaper the per square foot print costs will be. This is also totally false. No matter which type of printer you buy, Mutoh Epson Roland or Mimaki your per square foot print costs will be the same, yes a faster print will produce more print for you to sell but, the amount of ink laid down on the paper with a good ICC profile will be the same no matter what speed you are running at.

Lesson 2

Faster Print Speeds Do Not Mean Cheaper Per Square Foot Print Costs

3- Reliability & Warranty

Most of the printers that are available today are reliable. We use on a daily basis all the printers that we sell and 98% of the time they work but, now and again like all electronic devices they can break down as parts wear out. The parts that are of most concern on printers are the print heads as no matter which inks you use in your printer as soon as you put a none OEM ink in it the printer manufacturer will void your warranty on The Print Head Only your warranty is not void on everything else on the printer.

Our competitor takes great delight in implying that unless you take out an extortionate $2000.00 head replacement contract your printer warranty is null and void. This is utter rubbish. At Tropical Graphics we do not go in for this type of behavior and we guarantee that if our inks are found to damage your print heads we will replace your print heads free of charge after all they only cost $70.00 from National Parts Depot.

Lesson 3

Do Not Fall For The Head Replacement Scam On Smaller Printers

4- Price

Price is generally related to width X print speed. The faster and wider you go the more expensive your printer. There are really 3 price categories The Mutohs and the Epson printers can set you back around 9-14k including RIP software. The Rolands are anywhere from 18-23k including take up reel and finally the Mimakis which are the fastest printers go from around 22k up to about 30k

* Prices on this page are in US$. For more information on the individual printers please Call: 416-368-1141