Today's inkjet disc printers have made huge strides when compared to the printers of just a few years ago. Resolutions range from 600 to 4800 dots-per-inch (DPI), so nowadays you can get some serious print quality with a simple setup. No more complex hardware or complex software that require degrees in engineering and computer science. Today's inkjet disc printers are simple, powerful, AND easy to use.
One major factor to consider when purchasing a new inkjet DVD/CD printer is the cost of consumables, such as inkjet print cartridges and printable CD or DVD media. Cartridges are all measured in the approximate number of prints at a certain percentage of coverage, which will vary according to your print jobs. So the question I get asked the most is: So how do I get the most out of my cartridges? These tips should help you on your way to savings.
1. Control Your Coverage
The amount of pictures, text, and graphics you print on a disc affects the lifespan of the cartridge dramatically. A project with a few lines of text and small pictures will yield more discs from a set of cartridges than a project that has the disc covered in a solid color. Design with efficiency in mind and save in the long run. Remember the old saying "Less is more."
2. Exact Colors
Thinking back to high school art class, you may remember the concept of the Color Wheel, where different primary colors are mixed to create other colors. This is very similar to how an ink cartridge works. The primary colors in inkjet printing are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. You can guess what happens when you go to print 100 discs with a solid blue background, you will soon run out of Cyan and you'll have to replace the entire color cartridge. The really sad part is that the cartridge still contains almost 100% the other primary colors Magenta and Yellow. As an example, I was involved in creating a promotional disc where we had a beautiful woman in a red dress and some black text. The idea was posed that if we changed the color of the woman's dress we could print 3 times as many discs with a color cartridge. So with a little Photoshop magic we now have the same beautiful woman in a red dress, a blue dress, and a yellow dress … and guess what, we get 3 times as many discs by just planning our artwork, a huge increase in production.
3. Align and Test
After installing a new set of cartridges, be sure to run the alignment and test prints before starting any jobs. A properly aligned cartridge will help avoid bad prints. Less bad prints saves time and money.
4. Keep It Genuine
While do-it-yourself refill kits and "compatible" cartridges can save money in the short run, they may void your warranty or cause issues when printing. Be cautious and use your best judgment when purchasing or installing any sort of third-party hardware with your printer.
5. Follow Storage Instructions
Inkjet cartridges are sensitive to things like moisture and temperature, and should be stored according to the manufacturer's instructions, a cool dry place. You should also leave cartridges in their sealed wrappers until it is time to use them. Exposure to the air accelerates the drying process of the pigments, which causes poor quality prints.
6. Clean Up Your Act
Inkjet cartridges may require cleaning from time to time. Ink can build up on the cartridge nozzles and print heads, leading to reduced quality. Check with the manufacturer first, but most cartridges can be safely cleaned with a swab or lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol. Special cleaning kits may be available for certain printers.
7. Use Draft Mode
Most printers allow the user to adjust the print quality within the driver settings. Try the Draft mode when checking the layout and proofing your artwork.
8. Less is More
Inkjet disc printers allow you to control the ink density (or the amount of ink used). Try setting the density to its lowest level and then work your way up until you get acceptable results. Why use 100% density if 20% will do? As always math rules the day, at 20% density your cartridges will last nearly 5 times as long.
These tips will help you get the most out of your inkjet disc printer. Just imagine the money you'll save, combining these tips can yield up to 15 times the number of discs. So now you know, and as they say "Knowing is half the battle" … or something like that!?