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   Partners - Review of InkRepublic Epson R1800 and R800 CIS system

Coughlin-Glaser Photography

The following is a review of my experiences with the Ink Republic Continuous Ink Supply system with my R800 and also how the system migrated to my R1800.

I was very interested in getting a high volume and affordable bulk ink system for my R800. I am a wedding photographer and had decided to print out high quality proof books for all of my clients. The cost in Epson cartridges would cost me close to $80 a book and was keeping me from getting started. I had tried CIS solutions from another company and was getting frustrated with the dampers with sponges, and I made the decision to give my project one more try with the Ink Republic system because of their sponge less dampers.

My kit came with ink, dampers, tubes, clips, tube guides and a CD movie for installation. I'm a bit techie so installation didn't take long, maybe 20 minutes, although I did need to watch the video. For me the hardest part was getting the tubes into the exact right position. If the tubes are too long they can drag and catch on the bottom of the printer, and too short and they will cause the print head to stop. I realized I had a problem right away because when the tubes hit the bottom of the printer my print quality went down.

There are pictures on the Ink Republic web site and reviews which helped me see where other people were running their tubes, and allowed me to fix my problem. On the R800 I have to print with the cover in the open position. I used masking tape to affix the tube guides to the printer until I found the right spot to run the tubes. In fact I never actually permanently affixed the tube guide because I was planning on migrating the system to an R1800 when they became available.

I was printing beautiful prints in an hour. What I found was that any problems I was having were due to my own rush to get things going quickly. I was pretty careless with filling the dampers and knocked over bottles of ink once, so I ended up with air in my tubes and dampers once. Use the box they ship with the unit and you won't knock any ink over. I don't have a lot of room for anything on my desk, but the whole system fit without taking up too much extra room.

Printing with Epson profiles and papers will give most people great results, and if there is a difference in the print colors or density a few tweaks to the printer settings should take care of it. I am picky about color, and I use a lot of different papers, usually not Epson brand. I profile my papers and inks to get the best colors. I found the IR ink had a little less saturation than the OEM ink when using the printer drivers and profiles, but using my own profiles I can match the OEM ink prints with everything except the gloss coat. When printing on Glossy paper the IR gloss optimizer is not as bright and shiny as the OEM. This doesn't bother me though since I don't need that shine, and I print on a lot of matt and semi matt papers. I did find that the IR ink as well as 2 other brands I've tried didn't dry as quickly as the Epson's, but are still dry enough to stack immediately after printing.

I started printing volume right away with at least 100 8x10's a week, and sometimes 100-200 8x10's in a day. I am still excited every time a whip through a huge batch and don't even see my ink levels in the bottles drop. I just wouldn't be able to print this much without this system. I have had very few clogs with the IR ink, in fact I just printed 500 8x10's without a hitch (on my R1800). I haven't calculated this exactly, but I have dropped my ink costs per book from $80 to well under $10.

The chip set that comes with the CIS has a bonus feature that I wasn't expecting. When the ink runs out in the printer software and the ink light flashes all I do is push the ink button twice and the printer resumes printing, and it doesn't cause the printer to go into a cleaning cycle and waste ink, saving time and money.

R800 to R1800 SWITCH OVER...
After a few months with the R800 I received my R1800 which I had been planning to do. Ink republic had told me I could use the same CIS unit in my R1800 as I did in my R800, although I was skeptical, the transfer took me 10 minutes, and worked perfectly. The R1800 is an amazing machine. My books went from being 8.5 x 11 page size to 11x17 (I could go 13x19 but that is just too big for a book) and my clients are amazed.

Because I bough the R1800 almost immediately after it was available Ink Republic still had one bug to work out of the system before it was perfect. The R1800 cartridge housing lid caused a pinching of the ink tubes which got worse over time. This is when dealing with a company with great customer service really pays off. Every time I emailed customer service I get a response back faster than I could have hoped for. This is not true with other printing companies I deal with. Not only did I get a response, but I got results and they shipped me out a cover solution immediately which solved my problem. I already loved my CIS unit but their great customer service gave me the motivation to write this review.

Between IR's customer service and the printing forums there is plenty of support to get anyone up and running making perfect prints with this system.

Coughlin-Glaser Photography
(503) 230-1181

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