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jesushero
August 12th, 2012, 03:48 PM
I am trying to figure out how I can print posters and things like that at home for as cheap as possible. I am not talking massive production here, just 100 posters here and 100 posters there. Ideally I would like A3 size, but seeing as it is much more expensive, A4 would do. At present, I've got an HP Photosmart C4280, which has a decent enough quality for what I do, but the ink runs out so fast it's not even funny, and it is not exactly cheap to replace.

I recently saw an HP Officejet K8600, which can do A3 and it is reported to have some of the lowest costs per page on the market.

I am usually printing color, on normal paper.

I was considering going into the world of laser printers, but realized (through internet research) they're actually more expensive (per page) to run.

I've never owned a laser printer. I have no idea what the difference in cost and quality is. The main question is, should I just buy ink for my existing printer and keep on buying new ink when it runs out, or is it better to invest in a printer that can print cheaper, but with decent enough quality?

As a side question, although not terribly important: With inkjets, if you get drops of water on what you've printed, it gets ruined (ink is water soluble). Is it different with lasers?

I really don't mind how fast it is or anything like that. It can be as big as a semi truck and as loud as a fighter jet, as long as it prints cheap, with decent quality, and doesn't break tomorrow. Just a USB or Ethernet connection is fine. I'm not that picky about details. Oh, almost forgot, it DEFINITELY has to work perfect with ubuntu, as this is what I use. Any suggestions?

critin
August 13th, 2012, 11:34 PM
Could you buy the ink and refill the cartridges yourself? Much cheaper.

Bucky Ball
August 13th, 2012, 11:37 PM
Could you buy the ink and refill the cartridges yourself? Much cheaper.

+1. $45 gets us enough ink for three refills (which would cost about $160-70 if we were buying the new cartridges).

kurt18947
August 14th, 2012, 12:37 AM
There are some reasonably priced A3 sized all-in-ones out. I know Brother offers some and I think HP has some as well. I don't know about the water resistance of various manufacturers. I imagine an A3 laser or solid ink machine would be large $$.

Pinoy Tux
August 14th, 2012, 07:52 AM
The main question is, should I just buy ink for my existing printer and keep on buying new ink when it runs out, or is it better to invest in a printer that can print cheaper, but with decent enough quality?
In the long run you are just wasting money buying [original] ink cartridges. You might want to consider buying a DIY refill kit or having your printer converted to a Continuous Ink Supply System.


As a side question, although not terribly important: With inkjets, if you get drops of water on what you've printed, it gets ruined (ink is water soluble). Is it different with lasers?
It depends on the type of ink being used. Pigment inks are water-resistant. What you're referring to are dye-based ink. Laser printers use toner (powder ink).

jesushero
August 15th, 2012, 02:43 PM
In the long run you are just wasting money buying [original] ink cartridges. You might want to consider buying a DIY refill kit or having your printer converted to a Continuous Ink Supply System.

Wow, I didn't even know such a thing existed!! I really like the idea of the CISS!! Thanks for the suggestion!!



It depends on the type of ink being used. Pigment inks are water-resistant. What you're referring to are dye-based ink. Laser printers use toner (powder ink).

Is standard Inkjet ink pigment-based, or dye-based?

Pinoy Tux
August 16th, 2012, 04:52 AM
Is standard Inkjet ink pigment-based, or dye-based?
AFAIK, most inkjet printers use dye ink. There are printers that also use pigment inks, though. You'll have to ask your dealer for more information.

A question that commonly gets asked for CISS/refills is if pigment inks can be used in dye ink-based printers. Short answer: Yes. But, since pigment inks are thicker, chances are good the print head will get clogged.

If you're looking for an official CISS-ready printer, have a look at the Epson L-100. I'm not sure if it's Linux-friendly, though, as it has only been out recently.

I have tried Epson T10, T13 and ME32 printers and had them converted to CISS. They also have Linux drivers via the avasys.jp website.

griffoso
August 19th, 2012, 11:53 AM
I have been a graphic designer for many years and have found that trying to keep the cost low is a never ending battle. If you are printing for your own personal use, that is you are not reselling and can't pass the printing cost to your customer.
Then I suggest to check out printing services at Walmart or other big box stores. My son sent some work to Walmart, and for $5.95 had a poster sized print made that was as good or better than I have seen on any home based printer out on the market.

Merrattic
August 19th, 2012, 12:04 PM
+1 for what giffoso says.

For the numbers you are working with, a print house can probably offer you a much better deal in the long run, especially if you give good repeat business. Their equipment will give much better quality output (you can send your original digitally for them to process) and also they can size up beyond A3.

I have to worry about this at work a lot, and constantly consider the costs of producing print media in house or factoring out. My It guys will insist on buying HP/Epson and only allowing OEM print inks, so it is often a no-brainer.

Find a friendly local printer with a digital printer, most should have one these days.

Bucky Ball
August 19th, 2012, 03:31 PM
Cheap printing at home? 3D or 2D? Sorry, in a funny mood. Hope you work this one out but nice discussion so far. ;)

And +1 for Merrattic. This thread's a bit of a furphy, as we say in Australia, as unless you want to do some major production runs of a couple of thousand (in which case you are spending big money on the hardware to do that anyway and would be wanting to do it on a regular basis or lease the hardware to others) there is no point.

My local print shop (Abbotts for those in Aus) can bang most things out for next to nothing. They've already spent the megabucks on the hardware that I'll never have. A twenty page report, three copies with a couple of colour pages and spring bound for $3 each? Why would I bother trying to do that myself? Good luck. ;)

PS: If you want to print A3 posters on a regular basis do the sums and compare it with what you might pay at the local print shop over, say, a year.

Jay MC
August 20th, 2012, 06:32 PM
I'm siding with those who say just get a pro. If you could find a way of doing it considerably cheaper yourself, it would be probably be worth going into business and selling printing services :)

That's not to say that all pros will be cheaper. I had some lovely poster-sized prints made up (at very short notice) that were just what I needed, but not competitively priced at all (to be fair, I could have probably driven the price down if I hadn't needed them within the hour).

The very worst experience I had was when I wanted a hundred A5 fliers printing (A5 is a European paper size, about half the size of letter paper). I'd heard that my local stationery shop did printouts from USB, so went in and asked if they could do A5. The teenaged clerk said sure. I got a warm feeling when he booted up the terminal because I saw it was Ubuntu.

Sadly, he then quoted me a price of something like 50p a printout. So fifty quid for a hundred A5 fliers! I scanned the prices in surprise, then pointed out that he was charging me for A4 (twice the size of A5).

"Oh, yeah," he said. "It only prints A4. Your image will come out centred on the page."

So basically, he thought I'd be happy to pay fifty pounds for a hundred fliers that I'd then have to manually trim down to size. What a doofus.