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Recommendations to buy a new A3 colour inkjet printer around £150

Discussion in 'Everything Else InkJet Printer Related' started by Joao Sobral, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Mar 10, 2017
    Joao Sobral

    Joao Sobral Printing Apprentice

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    Hello everybody. I've been reading several threads on this forum hoping to get more knowledgable about inkjet printing but it's easy to get lost and I often end up even more confused...

    I'm sorry if this thread is too long, but I just want to give you as many details as possible about my problem. So here it goes:


    I'm based in the UK, I'm an artist who prints fanzines / small publications (16–32 pages) in runs of 80-120 copies. I'm now starting to plan some projects where I'll need produce print runs of 300 copies. I've been using a Brother MFC-J6720DW and it amazed me because honestly I wasn't expecting it to be so good when I got it. Other people that make similar publications are often surprised when I tell them I print mine at home. Specially with one I made in full colour. And I got surprised too when I printed that one!

    So I was all happy with the printer until it started messing with the colours. Because I was only printing black at the time I just kept postponing dealing with the colour problem. Eventually I needed to use colour and the problem I was having was that whenever I printed in colour, I could see some very thin blank lines in the images. A couples of cleaning cycles (I've read about it afterwards and a lot of people say it's not really recommended to run those cleaning cycles...) and it would be a bit better but not perfect. And making a quality print test, I would see some blue on the yellow and magenta dots. I just kept printing projects in black and white but the situation got worse – I started seeing green (!) in the quality print tests in every colour, including black! And the black prints started to come out with irregular smudges of ink... At this point, a couple cleaning cycles would allow me to print black again but only temporarily. After some prints, the smudges were back!

    I was using refillable cartridges and what I thought was that I had messed up in the refilling process or something and that a proper clean would solve it. So I bought a "print head cleaning kit" I found online, where you inject a cleaning solution on the printer through the lower nozzles of the cartridge chamber. And I bought new cartridges because I thought that maybe there was mixed ink in the cartridges as well. I was trying to cover all possibilities... So I made the cleaning following the rules I was given but at the end I saw no results... I decided to make an overnight cleaning with the same product (maybe the regular cleaning wasn't enough) and I also decided to try and buy a continuous ink system because I though that would be less messy than refilling the cartridges.

    Well, after all that, the printer is not printing. I mean, it "prints" just fine, there's no errors displayed on the printer and the print head just does its business as if it was printing, but there's no ink on the paper when it comes out!

    After reading a bit more, I realise now that the problem (maybe from the beginning) is probably in the print head... I feel that I've spent a lot of money trying to solve this just to make it worse and I'm going to need a printer pretty soon to continue my projects. So at this point I'm just thinking about buying a new printer. I don't want to spend more money on this one even if it can be fixed and then being afraid that it will give me problems again in the near future and that I will have to spend even more money on it.

    I'm feeling a bit stupid now because of how I tried to deal with this, I think I just made it worse. That's why I'm just thinking of buying a new printer, starting again, and being more careful this time.

    First I thought I'll just buy another one of this model because I'm already used to it but I have a sense that Brother hardware in inferior to Canon, HP, and Epson. (Is it?) So I'm looking for new possibilities. The price of a new Brother MFC-J6720DW here in the UK is around £150 and that's how much I'm willing to spend in a new printer – something between £120 and £200. I think most of you are based in the USA and prices may be different but is there any recommendations you could make? And also some tips on how to take care of this new printer a bit better than the other one?
     
  2. Mar 10, 2017
    The Hat

    The Hat Printer VIP Moderator

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    @Joao Sobal, if you were so happy with the Brother printer then it would make perfect sense to get another, you did have a bit of trouble towards the end but maybe it was the purge unit that needed cleaning and not the print head.

    99% of output print problems are caused by the cartridges but when your output starts to get sloppy then you should look to the purge unit and just give that a good all over cleaning and that usually fixes the problem.

    When you use any inkjet printer you need to print on it at least once a week and that’s all the colours and not just the black, the only printer that I could recommend to do the job for you better, would be a Canon Pro 100, it can be run on 3rd party inks and will last for years, but like all printer they do need a little bit of maintenance from you...
     
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  3. Mar 10, 2017
    Roy Sletcher

    Roy Sletcher Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    Hi Joao and welcome to the site.

    The Hat has already commented and you can take his advice to the bank. He has already forgotten more than I will ever know about inkjet printing.

    However, I would like to add a few comments for your consideration. I have a Canon Pro 100 with nearly 4,000 sheets printed relatively trouble free over the past four years so have some experience with this excellent printer.

    First: It is not exactly a speed demon and despite its bulk and weight, not exactly an industrial strength product. Taking your highest quantity of 32 pages 300 copies - assuming A4 pages printed on an A3 sheet, you will be faced with a print run of 2,400 sheets per issue. You do not indicate the frequency of your publications. Because the Pro 100 does not print duplex this will mean 4,800 impressions per issue. That is going to take a long time to produce and take a fair amount of ink. Assuming one machine. The cartridges hold a gnat's pee of ink. Around 12-15ml, and with Canon CISS is not an option no matter what the ads on eBay say.

    TWO: Substrate choice is an important quality factor with dye inks, more than Pigment inks. If image quality is a factor you may find you need expensive paper to achieve the reproduction quality you desire. Using cheap bond paper I would rate the black typematter quality as POOR at best. My wife's $50.00 AIO with a pigment black gives better black type-matter reproduction.

    Other points come to mind, but this is sufficient to chew on right now. With the quantities you mention this is probably some sort of commercial venture, and if so, I wish you well, but also research operating and consumable costs. Frequently the deal is cheap printer - expensive consumables.

    Roy Sletcher
     
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  4. Mar 10, 2017
    Joao Sobral

    Joao Sobral Printing Apprentice

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    Hey! Wow! Thanks a lot for your quick replies!

    What exactly is the purge unit and how should I clean it?
    Also when you say the problems are caused by the cartridges that means that just changing them will solve the problem in most of those situations?


    Ok! Good to know! I had no idea... In a case of a long holiday is there anything else I should do?


    I had already seen the Canon Pro 100 recommended in other threads here and I had a look at it. It seems great but it's over my budget at the moment. Another down to that model is that it doesn't have scanner. I forgot to mention that, I need a scanner, ideally included in the printer, for space-management reasons. It's a good model to have in mind though if I need to upgrade in the future!


    @The Hat, after your reply I'm now more inclined to buy another Brother... Now that I see the conclusion to be drawn here is that I wasn't very good regarding the maintenance of the printer. What else do you suggest apart from printing all colours every week at least once, and keeping an eye on the purge unit?



    The frequency is one publication every 2 months. Although most of them are between 80-100 copies. And some are printed on a laser mono printer I have. 300 copies is for a new project I'll be starting hopefully next month. But I don't usually print all the copies at once, I can print some and start distributing them and then I print more when I have time. I work with very loose deadlines so there's no need to have a massive amount of work done in a short period of time. But that might be an issue if I do look into the Canon Pro 100 in the future when I'm looking for an upgrade, maybe then I'll need a faster production... So thanks for your warning!


    I haven't had any issue with the dye inks and the paper I've been using regarding print quality. As I said I was surprised with the results I was having before it all went down. I care about quality but I'm not really obsessed with it. I often use cheap papers but the results I was getting were good enough for me. I don't want it to be poorly printed but I'm more interested in getting interesting (sorry, I can't find a better word in english to describe what I mean) results even if they are not great in print quality standards. One thing I wonder though (because I've read it in some places) is: using cheap paper can damage the printer? Or cheap paper is just as threatening to the printer as 3rd party inks?


    Cheap printer and expensive consumables... I'll take that advice into consideration!

    The refillable cartridges and the ink I was using were giving me satisfactory results... I considered changing to 3rd party cartridges (not refillable) after I get a new printer because I suspected that my messiness had been the cause for the poor quality output I suddenly had. But now I see that it was probably the purge unit and refillable cartridges make it a lot cheaper indeed! So I guess it will be ok to just keep using refillable?

    Also what do you have to say about refillable cartridges vs continuous systems?
     
  5. Mar 11, 2017
    The Hat

    The Hat Printer VIP Moderator

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    The purge unit is the place where the print head sits when your printer is ideal (Not in use) it can be accessed by pulling the power plug when the print head is in motion, and the head can then be manually pushed to the right side out of your way...
    https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/pro-100-no-low-warning-when-pm-was-pretty-much-empty.10648/page-4#post-91401

    Here are some posts showing and dealing with the same subject, all be it a Canon printer but the same in most printers.

    If you only work in A4 size then a Maxify printer would be right up your ally, its fast and has a high duty cycle with all the bells and whistles you’d ever wanted, it has Duplex, Scan, Copy, and ADF and it prints from Ethernet, USB, Stick and Wi-Fi.
     
  6. Mar 16, 2017
    CakeHole

    CakeHole Printer Guru

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    If you still want to buy a new printer and it must be an A3 capable model for £150 or less then these may be worth a look...

    HP Officejet 7110
    Brother MFC-J5330DW (plus numerous others in the 5xxx - 6xxx range)
    Epson Workforce WF-7110DTW
    EPSON Expression Premium XP-900
    Brother MFC-J5730DW
    ^^^^ Those will typically cost £100-£120

    If you can afford a little more than take a look at...

    Canon Pixma iX6850
    HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 (ive no idea about performance but design wise for a large printer i particularly like the look of it)
    Epson Workforce WF-7620DTWF
    ^^^ Those will typically cost a bit more, around £180.

    If you want a bargain at the minute, Currys and PC World have limited stocks of the...
    HP Officejet 7510 All-in-One
    Down from £150 RRP to just £75 with a further £20 cashback (cashback ends end of April.. total cost once claimed £55 :ep)
    http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/compu...-a3-inkjet-printer-with-fax-10147153-pdt.html
    Be quick though as it seems a legit offer, a very quick google results in me not being able to find it less than £90 from elsewhere. (to give an idea as i type its £103.20 on Amazon).
     
  7. Mar 16, 2017
    Joao Sobral

    Joao Sobral Printing Apprentice

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    Hey @CakeHole, thanks a lot for your reply!

    I've ended up buying a Brother MFC-J6520DW which is basically the same I had before (MFC-J6720DW). The only difference being that it only has one paper tray instead of two, which is actually ok because I don't really need two and it makes the printer smaller and lighter. All the other specifications are exactly the same.

    And I actually got it from Currys PC World, it was on sale as well!
     
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  8. Mar 16, 2017
    The Hat

    The Hat Printer VIP Moderator

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    @CakeHole, that’s all very well buying any of those Cheap printers, but about the consumables, it’s better to save your money up first and wait to get a higher quality printer, one you know that can be refilled and won’t bleed you dry purchasing OEM inks...
    My two cent worth...:hide
     
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  9. Mar 16, 2017
    CakeHole

    CakeHole Printer Guru

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    Nice :) all you need now if you havent got them already is a set of refillable LC123/129 carts :D

    The Brother he has purchased and basically all the J5xxx and J6xxx Range of brothers you can buy refillable carts for :) Most of them are fine with decent but cheap dye ink.

    The HP 7510 which i mentioned on offer likewise uses HP 932 carts, NON OEM (aftermarket versions but with a brand name) of those you can buy from about £5 a cart. You can also buy refillable sets like https://www.amazon.co.uk/Refillable...91048&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=hp+932+refillable as an example (they seem similar in design to some type of carts some Epsons use). Octopus also do a refil nipple (oooerr) thing also https://www.octopus-office.de/info/...p-933-cartridges-with-qu-filltm-syringe-caps/ I imagine it could be done without it, and it just makes life easier.

    Ive actually considered picking one of them up at the £55 it ends up being right bargain in the end, not sure i would print enough A3 or bigger than A4 in general though. :confused:
     
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  10. Mar 16, 2017
    The Hat

    The Hat Printer VIP Moderator

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    90% of the work I do now on any of my A3+ printers are A4 size or smaller...:hide
     

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