Need advice - Ink Jet Printer

Greg Stanton's picture

I make handmade books. I make the paper and do all the binding by hand. I do not do this professionally, and I have figured out ways around investing in expensive equipment to letter the spines. I need advice on purchasing an inkjet printer so I can print, mostly text and line illustrations, on my handmade paper. I will be printing PDF files, so as I understand it, crisp text will not be a problem with higher-resolution (1200 dpi) printers. I don't want to use a laser printer because ink lasts longer.

Here are my requirements:

1200 dpi or higher
Reasonably high-quality text
Decent speed (1 or 2 pages a minute is fine)
Prints on custom paper sizes up to 11x17 (or 12x18)
Prints on art/handmade paper
Prints 4-color, though I will mostly be printing black or brown text, and some secondary colors (like red or green)
Costs under $500 (but will spend more if someone thinks it is necessary or worth it to do so)

Thanks for any advice you can give!

Greg Stanton's picture

Oh, and I need to be able to print on both sizes of the paper. Not simultaneously, of course, but I need to be able to line up both sides.

Thanks!

Paul Cutler's picture

You will never get both sides perfectly aligned with an ink jet unless you get lucky.

pbc

Thomas Phinney's picture

I strongly suspect that you'll have great difficulty finding any inkjet printer that can handle art/handmade paper (though probably easier than finding a laser printer to do the same). IF you could find one, you'd find that the absorbency characteristics of art/handmade paper would be truly awful for inkjet printing - the bleed would be just enormous.

Now, if you *want* an overinked letterpress look to your printing, maybe you won't mind that last point. But I suspect you wouldn't find the particular style of ink spread very lovable (major "wicking" along fibers of the paper). But in any case I'll bet you won't find an inkjet that can physically handle such paper, anyway.

Of course, I could be wrong, and it may very well be that there is/are some specialty inkjets just for this purpose. I just haven't heard of them.

Cheers,

T

jupiterboy's picture

I'm still using an Epson 3000, and have run rolls of Illuminata paper through. If you get a paper that has been treated to work on inkjet the problems Thomas mentions will be minimized if not eliminated. If I tell my rip what paper I'm using and set my profiles right the text is not far off a coated paper.

What I was never able to overcome was the tendency of the printer to distort the length of the document. Something about the thickness of the paper and weight would throw the printers ability to correctly gauge how much paper to pull through off. A 21" deep document might come out at 20.25" etc. That problem might not be an issue with sheets.

Greg Stanton's picture

I sometimes add sizing to my paper, which solves the bleed issue. I know that many ink jet printers have an "art paper" setting -- I assume this is to compensate for excessive bleed? It's ok if the final product is a little rustic -- it's the look I'm after.

Also, I've been able to line up my pages fairly closely (not exactly) on other printers, and this is fine -- it lends to the handmade impression.

Most inkjets seem to emphasize their "photo" capabilities, which I could care less about. I cannot find any models that currently tout any of the qualities I'm looking for.

I'll check out the 3000. If anyone has recommendations for specific brands/models, I'd be grateful.

jupiterboy's picture

It is an old printer with problems, but it will run 17" rolls of paper. Look at the low end of the wide format for other options.

You will need something like this

http://www.iproofsystems.com/powerrip_x.htm

to get the stylus color 3000 to work most likely, which would take it out of your budget.

pattyfab's picture

Is Powerrip any good these days? I had bought an early version, for my first Epson and it gave me awful results. That was 5 or 6 years ago, hopefully it's better now.

jupiterboy's picture

I had a pretty good workflow going until I upgraded to CS3 and 10.4. PowerRip X was part of it, but it was the only way I had found to get Postscript to the printer. I was using the PowerRip profiles and all seps were in the the RIP. It was pretty good. I like the roll paper for big boxes and page spreads. IDK what I'm going to replace it with.

Greg Stanton's picture

I've had no problem making PDFs and sending them to our inkjets at work. Why is PowerRip necessary?

jupiterboy's picture

It is a problem when the printer manufacturer stops supporting the current operating system and you can only get postscript output with a third party RIP. There was an Epson StylusRIP software that was not supported as the Mac OS evolved.

pattyfab's picture

I don't like having to go the extra step of making pdfs in order to print.

But my Epson lets me print straight from Quark and InDesign docs. I don't need the PowerRip anymore.

Paul Cutler's picture

I ran my wedding invitations through an Epson 1280 - they were a very coarse paper with rough edges. It was hell - I would say that under 50% of the time feeding one side was successful. It's not something you want to do as a workflow.

I used to have the RIP problem before printing from Quark - but that was back when I had a 1280. Ink jets have come a long way in that respect.

pbc

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