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Hardware Thread, Solid Ink Printers in Technical; Does anyone have any experience - good or bad - of the Xerox solid ink / Colourstix printers? We're considering ...
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    enjay's Avatar
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    Solid Ink Printers

    Does anyone have any experience - good or bad - of the Xerox solid ink / Colourstix printers? We're considering one here, as the running costs appear to be incredible (1p/page!) so I'd be keen to hear from anyone who has one.

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    Paul_L's Avatar
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    Only problem I have found with them is that you can't laminate anything that you have printed off from it.

    So if you are going to replace and use it as your main printer just bear this in mind.

    Paul

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_L View Post
    Only problem I have found with them is that you can't laminate anything that you have printed off from it.
    Why can't you laminate the printing?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    Why can't you laminate the printing?
    My guess would be that the printers work by melting the solid ink onto the page, and by putting it through a laminator, you melt the ink again causing it to lose it's original form?

    You may also wish to look at the advantages/disadvantages lists here: Solid ink - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    The ink melts again.

    We have one here, costs aren't really any better than our old Oki colour laser, and 1p isn't anywhere near the true cost (it's MUCH higher for us as it's for Art).

    The output is however excellent.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    You may also wish to look at the advantages/disadvantages lists here: Solid ink - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I had seen that, although don't really want to base a decision (and stake my professional reputation) on the say-so of a page on Wikipedia! For example, that page slates poor energy consumption, however according to Xerox, the printer idles at 34W. Of course, Xerox are more biased than matey-boy on Wiki, however I do at least know that they've seen one of these printers...

    Now if I knew for definite that the author owned a solid ink printer, or they cited any sources for their claims, I might be more inclined to believe them.

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Oh, for energy, they do use a lot of power and ideally they should never be turned off as it wastes a lot of the ink.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy View Post
    1p isn't anywhere near the true cost (it's MUCH higher for us as it's for Art).
    I would expect that - the 1p is based on 5% coverage, which is considerably less than your Art Department will be running at. Page coverage in our IT Suites is 9-11%, this printer would be going in the Staff Room so would be less still.

    What is the quality like? I know they can't be laminated (not a biggie, really), but what about it rubbing off (remember, how photocopies used to be?!) or highlighting/writing over it?

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy View Post
    Oh, for energy, they do use a lot of power and ideally they should never be turned off as it wastes a lot of the ink.
    Do you know how much? The manufacturer's web site say 34W idling, 250ish when printing. If those are true, they are much lower than our current colour lasers which, even on "energy save" draw about 80-100W and peak at around 1KW when printing a big run.

    The power off question isn't really an issue - the printer is for our Staff Room, and we never turn those off anyway. I suspect, to be honest, that very few of our printers ever get turned off. Presumably a quick off-and-on-again (which as we know is the best printer fix out there!) is okay?

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    My guess would be that the printers work by melting the solid ink onto the page, and by putting it through a laminator, you melt the ink again causing it to lose it's original form?

    You may also wish to look at the advantages/disadvantages lists here: Solid ink - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Yep spot on

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    Netman's Avatar
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    We've had 10 Xerox 8400N here for the last 3 years...
    On the + side:
    Top quality prints (other than the laminating problem and you can get around that if you've got a low heat laminator)
    Excellent reliability - 30,000 prints a year each and only two gone funny out of the original 10. I can't remember a single paper jam in all the time we've had them!
    On the - side:
    Quite expensive on inks - I don't have exact figures, but our Kyocera C5025 is much cheaper to run (even if it does jam all the time!)
    Overall, I would never buy anything else if running costs were better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickJones View Post
    Does anyone have any experience - good or bad - of the Xerox solid ink / Colourstix printers? We're considering one here, as the running costs appear to be incredible (1p/page!) so I'd be keen to hear from anyone who has one.
    The one in our Prep IT room was running great - as others have pointed out it never jammed, was always reliable, etc. We mostly seemed to use it for printing photos (our school seems big on photos), which made it a bit more expensive than 1p a sheet to run (100% coverage, after all), but it did actually produce nice glossy photo prints.

    For some reason, though, colour quality suddenly went all screwy and I couldn't figure out quite why. I tried applying a colour profile to the printer item in Windows but this promptly crashed out with an error. I didn't really have any more time to fiddle with it so the printer is currently sitting in my cupboard, waiting for some fine, sunny day when I can actually use it. It did also start getting nozzles blocked up. These are, it seems, pretty hard to unblock, although you can set the print driver to use other nozzles instead (the printing technology is completely different from inkjet, seemingly you have a hundred or more nozzles, so having a few knocked out isn't a big deal).

    It could very well be that after a lifetime of printing 100% coverage photos our printer was simply knackered, and our "print server" is actually the cook's old Windows XP machine pressed into service. A new print server is now being set up, so I'll see if I can get that to work any better with it.

    --
    David Hicks

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    I've seen plenty of the Xerox 8500s

    Output quality is very good and the ink isn't ink, it's a wax. Therefore it sits on the paper rather than sinking in, so the colour is nice and bright even on poor quality paper, but it can be scraped off.

    Big tip..never move one that has been on recently, the melted wax is stored in pots, move the printer and it will spill all over the innards and kill it very dead. You have to switch them down, not just flick them off.

    They are more expensive to run but in a way they become a victim of their own success as when they see the quality everybody prints off stuff they would have taken to the film developers.Don't forget to factor in the cost of renewing the the fixer roller too.

    I know one guy who is using copy refills but I wouldn't recommend it, they look a different colour and if they don't melt at the right temp will screw the thing up properly, and your warranty.
    Last edited by conehead; 13th October 2008 at 08:22 PM.

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