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I've been looking around at various printers to use on-site for photo printing and one of the printers I came across was the Ricoh 3110DN and while I'm normally pretty good with this stuff, something confused me about the specs as on a couple of sites it is listed as being "sublimation ready" but then goes on to discuss the gel ink system it has.

It has inks listed for it that are sublimation inks.

What does 'sublimation ready' actually mean in this context? Is this some kind of marketing guff to try to pass of an inkjet as a dye-sub or is it some weird hybrid?

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Considering the Ricoh website and manual for this model do not mention Dye Sublimation at all, it seems just like a marketing gimmick from the non-Ricoh website you are looking at. –  dpollitt Jul 11 '13 at 14:06
    
@dpollitt - that's what I thought, but I've seen it on a number of sites in sections dedicated to dye-sub printers alongside Sublijet-R ink so I'm curious to find out what's going on... –  James Snell Jul 11 '13 at 14:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Certain Ricoh GelJet Printers (the e3300N, e3110DN, e7700N, GX7000 and GX5050) have micro-piezo printheads, which make them perfect for the dye sublimation decorating market.

In this case, the dye-sub is in the sublimation inks, which are used, then the printed paper is heat pressed to a polyester or poly coated item which accepts the dye-sub ink dye.

Sawgrass Gel Sublimation Inks (SubliJet-R) have been created in cartridges that fit the specific Ricoh printers. The ink lines would not work if the OEM inks were fed into the printer, so what your ad means is that no ink is in the lines and the printers are therefore "Sublimation Ready".

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Do you work for CondeTV or Conde? Can you disclose that? –  dpollitt Jul 12 '13 at 18:58

In this context, it generally refers to printers that can accept sublimation inks (for heat transfers to tee shirts, etc) rather than to dye-sublimation printing.

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Sublimation refers to moving from solid straight to gas. In a dye-sub printer, the heat transfers the ink via a gaseous state. It is possible that they are using a print head that heats the ink to sublimate it, though I would question the reliability of such a print system since inkjet print heads are not positioned at the correct distance to use sublimation techniques. Perhaps it can reposition the head for it though (that, plus the heating ability on the heads may be what sublimation ready means.) The advantage of sublimation over inkjet is that you end up with less "soak" and can apply variable amounts of ink rather than a fixed dot of a fixed color so in theory it should be more continuous tone.

I've personally heard of a sublijet though so I'm not sure how well it would work or what the limitations might be.

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