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Dye Sublimation Photo Printer Consumables Dye Sublimation Printers only have two consumables: A ribbon and Paper. Full details below.
Dye Sublimation Media
The main advantages of Dye Sublimation Photo Printers, are their low running costs and ability for you to know exactly how many prints you will get.
A Media pack contains the ribbon and paper, and you always get a fixed number of prints in the pack. This enables you to know exactly how much each print costs; something that is almost impossible with inkjet printers.
Unlike many inkjet printers, where a large number of consumables are required, Dye Sublimation Printers only require one consumable pack, which contains everything you need.
The number of images in each pack varies with the manufacturer and type of media pack. Some manufacturers do sell the ribbon and paper separately, but most sell both items together in one pack. Either way it is only the Ribbon and Paper that are needed to print and you always know how many prints you will get for a given cost.
Glossy or Matte Finish
The type of finish is usually dictated by the ribbon used; to this end it is possible to buy the media packs in either Gloss or Matt. It is possible to change the ribbon half way through, but changing the ribbon once started on some printers is not advisable. The paper used is nearly always the same regardless of the type of ribbon used.
The only exception to this is Hi-Touch, who only sell one type of media but change the print method slightly to obtain a matt type print. Hi-Touch printers are based on a cassette system, making it much easier to change the ribbon and can be done in seconds.
Matte prints on any Dye Sub are similiar to those produced by a lab; and we can offer samples to anyone interested in producing Matte prints.
Changing Dye Sublimation Media On the Hi-Touch Printers the Ribbon is in a cassette and loading and unloading takes seconds: (watch video 1.9mb). Each ribbon comes in a resealable bag, so that you can change paper sizes part way through a ribbon if you wish. The Paper Tray is adjustable for all sizes of paper: 6x4, 7x5 & 8x6. Additional paper trays can be purchased if required to facilitate a quick change of media.
The Kodak 1400 and Mitsubishi CP3020DE use a ribbon that comes on two spools and fits into a ribbon holder that then fits into the printer. Additional cassettes are available should you wish to change the ribbon part way through a print run. Whilst it is technically possible to change the ribbon before it is exhausted, it does take a few minutes to remove the ribbon , which then needs to be stored carefully. It is worth noting that dropping a ribbon may cause the remaining unused portion to "unspool" resulting in a possible spoilt ribbon.
Like the Kodak 1400 and CP3020, the Mitsubishi CP9550DW also uses a two spool ribbon that fits into a tray. This then slides into the printer. The main advantage with the 9550DW is the large number of prints contained on a ribbon.Again, like the CP3020 and Kodak 1400 the ribbon can be changed part way through but care must be taken not to drop the ribbon for the same reasons mentioned above!
Paper on the CP9500DW / CP9550DW comes on a large roll which is easily loaded into the printer. The roll contains more paper than is needed to facilitate the number of sheets "lost" when the paper is loaded / re-loaded and two or three sheets are ejected from the printer to ensure "untouched" paper is used for printing photos.
Whilst Dye Sublimation paper is not delicate in anyway, it can be marked BEFORE printing by oily finger marks and these may manifest themsleves on the final print. Once printed however, the prints are VERY durable and will not fingermark.