What if I want to use one printer for both my color prints and screen print films?
You may have already converted the printer to All Black Inks already.
There are a few ways to look at this and they differ depending on the style inkjet you use. Desktop style printers have easy in and easy out drop in cartridges while wide format printer have much larger cartridges that fill supply lines and take more work to flush and exchange inks.
First, before you get involved with your decision consider the frequency of use for both film and color prints. The best solution for your needs may simply be to have two printers one that is used for color and one for films.
These printers such as the Epson 1400, 1430, 1800, 1900 and others other have easy drop in cartridges that can be easily cleaned with one head cleaning so if you need to swap cartridges it's not a big deal.
Wide Format printers:
These printer such as the 4880, 4900, 7880, 9880 and others use large ink tanks that fill supply lines and those lines hold a lot of ink. Changing from one ink system to another takes time and money. Better to dedicate such a printer to a specific important business task.
Dye and Pigment inks in the same printer:
Since screen printers favor the use of Dye ink (aqueous) for film making some think it a good idea to only put the black dye in the a single slot of the a wide format printers. They believe this gives them the flexibility the need to print color and films when needed. The issue is that the stock Epson ink are Pigment style (solvent) and the color accuracy will be off when they introduce black dye ink in the color output process. It won't hurt the printer just the print quality.
Sublimation inks and dye inks in a wide format printer:
There are two different thoughts here. With large format printers most sublimation inks occupy the CMYK slots and that is all so filling the remaining slots with dye ink and using a different RIP such as AccuRIP will work well. So sharing a wide format printer can work out. A concern when using a single printer for two purposes is that if the printer goes down for any reason you lose both processes.
Sublimation inks and dye inks used in a single Desktop printer:
I would not suggest using a desktop printer for a dual purpose. The constant switching in and out of cartridges can lead to a severe clog creating downtime and cost. With the low cost of desktop printers dedicate each printer to a purpose.
Using sublimation inks to make screen print film positives:
You certainly can do this, but at an average cost more than $100.00 per cartridge those will be very expensive films. Get a proper payment from your client.
As with anything regarding your business. Think it through, don't be surprised by things that should have been obvious with a little planning and don't always watch the "pennies". Have business confidence and you'll discover that the right setup will actually make it's own money.
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