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Bulk Ink Systems
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Bulk ink systems
are the most cost efficient method to use in sublimation printing. The reasons
and concepts are simple.
Using just cartridges
is very expensive because they hold very little ink and when that is used
up, you throw the cartridge away and replace it with a new one.
A bulk ink system
is like having a big “transfusion” of ink and the cartridge
is never thrown away. A line of surgical tubing is attached to each cartridge
in the printer.
ach line runs out
of the printer and attaches to a separate color bag of ink (110 mil or 220
As you print, each
cartridge draws ink from its respective bag and refills itself. When the
bag gets empty, you detach that bag, throw it away and replace it with a
new bag. However, you do not throw the cartridge away.
This is because
the little chips in the cartridge (unlike the ones that Epson makes) reset
every time you turn the printer on and off. Neat! And it really helps save
UniSub® tile mural in frame
Each bulk ink system
is sent with the physical bulk ink apparatus, the correct number of bags
of ink (depending upon how many colors the printer uses), the correct ICC
color management profile and a hundred sheet box of True Pix HD sublimation
The exception to
a bag bulk ink system is the Epson 4800. The cartridges
for that printer are just as big as the bags (110 mil and 220 mil) so they
are just as cost effective.
We have spent so
much time teaching that you may be getting a little impatient wanting to
know cost. We’re not trying to hide it. If you like, click
here and you can go to our starter deals page and review your options.
Or, at anytime, just click on “Starter Deals”
on the bottom links, to the left of this page.
Page Cost, Using ArTainium UV+ Inks
asks the question, “How many prints can you get out of a set of inks?”
We don’t know. Anyone who says that they do know is just pulling numbers
out of thin air and doesn’t know what they are talking about.
The reason why is
very simple. Print quantity depends totally upon picture size and the color
of the ink (purple, for example, uses a lot more ink than pink). A much
more relevant question is “How much does each print cost”. We
can give a good answer to that: about $1.50 per 8x10 page.
Here’s how we got the answer.
picture to the right is an 8x10 composite picture, using 4 separate 4x5
pictures. We constructed this composite because the total 8x10 print uses
about the same amount of each color of ink.
We weighed the bags
of ink before we started printing, on an accurate postage meter. We then
printed 200 prints.
We then disconnected the bags of ink and weighed them again. The rest was
We took the difference
between the two weights, multiplied that by the per milliliter cost and
divided that by 200.
Within a few pennies, the answer was a buck and a half.
Using simple math
and rounding up also gives us a good estimate of about 2 cents a square
inch. This means that something as small as a coffee cup only uses about
30 cents in ink.
We have gone into
this in detail because it is also a handy benchmark to use in calculating
cost when you start sublimating.
For sublimation, an excellent heat press is a blessing. The most useful (for maximum ability), is a swing-away style heat press.
This is because this type of heat press closes, by moving straight down. This eliminates the torque, produced by clamshell type presses.
The Next Page teaches you about our six top-ranked swing-away heat presses.
If you already have a good press, you can Skip The Heat Press page and learn about very useful template programs.
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