I have been following the Solid Ink system for a while now. Since Xerox started shipping printers in 2002 (the tech goes way back to the 80s). It seemed like the best of both the Ink and Laser world. The quality of ink crossed with the maintenance schedule and availability of Laser. My interest in this has intensified as my Ricoh laser printer entered it’s twilight years. I’ve been shopping around for a while now and when I found a great printer at a great price, I ordered it. I selected the ColorQube 8580.
My Ricoh was a pretty good printer. It has over 12,000 prints on it and it came up on needing another set of color toner ($250 for that machine). Ironically, it was in exactly this condition when I had originally acquired this printer over 5 years ago. At the time, I was flipping ink printers every year.
I loathe the maintenance of ink printers. For many years I sent out custom holiday cards to my friends and family that I printed from my Epson Ink Jet. Every year I would go to Frys for ink and come home with a new printer. It was cheaper at first, but with ink you are forced to go through an endless myriad of rites and rituals like head cleaning and alignment to get it printing again. All this costs ink which costs money. So much waste. That all changes here.
The Solid Ink System is basically blocks of crayon like wax. There is no plastic, no case, no waste. In fact, you can load more then one block of each color into this printer. Another amazing feature is that 2400 dpi printing is possible on any media. Plain paper, card stock, all full resolution images printed without the expense and annoyance of photo paper.
So far the the printing has been fantastic. The photo printing is not nearly as good as high end ink, but it is above and beyond anything that a laser could do. The ColorQube does have a warm up period that slows down the initial print (about 40 seconds), but after that it shoots them out at up to 50 pages per minute. With the latest firmware update, it even has AirPrint for our mobile devices.