Photo printer at Makerspace?


Do we have a photo quality printer at makerspace? Do we need to bring our own paper?

Any info would be a great help.


We don’t have one right now. We will once the expansion is finished.


Cool! Thanks for the update.


Isn’t the dye sub printer considered a ‘photo’ printer. I realize it is not a large format printer like the Epson printers and/or their future replacement, but I didn’t read a requirement which indicated that the dye sub wouldn’t be a good fit…

I’ve a boat guy, with an IT addiction; so if I’m way off-topic- please disregard, but I think we may presently own the device which this member is looking for…




The printer is capable of photo quality prints. But the ink in it is made for dye sublimation so is dedicated to just that. If I recall correctly from training, the printer is required to always remain “ON” because the ink cartridges require it due to periodic cleaning cycles or some such arcane magic.

To do photo printing would require a separate set if inks. The Dye Sub inks cost about as much as a printer without ink.


You are correct that Dye Submilation consumable cost is excessive compared to most every type of printer; however instead of printing dots of CMYK, the print head heats the ‘gels’ and releases a gas so that each dot becomes a dye, thus you have no halftone pattern and a more photorealistic image.

To my knowledge there is only one type of consumable for our printer; however there are normally two types of paper: normal dye sub paper, which looks like photographic paper or sub sub transfer paper which is used to transfer the image to a shirt, mug, etc.

As long as the correct paper is used, the dye sub printer should be the best printer we have for images, but the paper has to have that special emulsion which is designed to allow the dyes to mix properly. My old dye sub printer, a 10-pack of paper was about $30. The member would still likely need to pay a consumable cost, as the sub dye rolls inside the printer are still being used. Unlike an ink jet printer which uses very little ink on an also empty sheet, dye subs are going to use the same amount per sheet for complete coverage or for a small piece of black text.

It’s been almost a year since I sat in on that class, but I understood that we had both types of paper. In no scenario, does this type of printer ever print on ‘normal’ paper- or at least that’s my understanding. The heat from the print head, the gas released for the gels/ ribbon/ roll and the paper are designed closely to work together.

If you need something 8x10 and photo quality, these can be awesome printers, but the cost is insane compared to most every other printer technology on the market, so it should only be used when those characteristics justify the cost.

At the space, I would assume part of the issue is having users actually pay appropiately for use; thus your suggestion to bring in your own paper and film- which I’m guessing is $60 for ten sheets (the is about the same cost as the paper), if you can locate quantities that low.

I use to have a friend with an art gallery which used dye sub printers to reproduce art. Prior to the vast improvement in modern ink jets, these used to be the only thing they could use.

I’m guessing the John Gorman or Nichole could answer this question off the top of their heads…


That is a bit subjective. I have been happy with the results of the color laser printer for a few art photos and projects. It really depends on your needs and audience.

We are looking for a legit wide format printer and photo printer.

You know so much more than I do about this. I would page my expert @CaryF300 for answers.


Gotcha, I was actually looking for a high quality printer. I was pretty happy with the EPSON we had, but in this case it did not have to be large format. I ended up just going to Alpha graphics down the street. I had originally thought there was a plan to fix the large format with the clogged jets. Something about the new room being an issue for them? I’ll just keep my ear to the ground. Thank you all for the help.