HP Designjet 450c and printing costs

Discussion in 'Large Format Inkjet Printers' started by leanham, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. leanham

    leanham New Member

    Jun 2009
    durham, England
    Hello all,
    I am an artist from Durham England and have been painting for a number of years. I am now looking to explore the possibilities of transfering my images onto canvas via a printer.

    My knowledge on printers is pretty limited, hence me coming her for a little advice. I have earmarked a few large scale printers on ebay (hp deignjet 450c and 1050c and also the encajet-750) prices are varying between £500-1500. Are these machines capable of producing high quality prints onto canvas?
    Also, are these printers expensive to maintain and operate? Does anybody have any ideas on how much ink they use and how often they need to be changed over. My Image sizes will vary between 30x24 inches and 48x36 inches, how much ink would be required to print at this scale and at how much cost?

    Any information is greatly received!

  2. Jeff

    Jeff Senior Member

    Jul 2006
    The designjet 450c will not produce what I'd call an acceptable art print nowadays. I had a 350c back in 1996 and still have a designjet 750c + that is still printing 10 years after I purchased it. I really like the construction of these old designjets - they keep going and going. But they were really designed as cad printers that just happened to be very capable for their era. The good things about this generation plotter are that the nozzles are on the ink cartridges, so buying refurbished or used you don't end up with worn out nozzles that cost a fortune to replace as with some other inkjets - and the ink was quite inexpensive by today's scale - probably $0.25 to $0.40 per square foot for heavy coverage if you shop for ink a bit (lots of remanufactured black cartridges and expired but still fine color cartridges.)

    However the downsides of this generation of plotter were the resolution was very limited compared to today's plotters -- the 450c and my 750c have only 300 dpi colors and 600 dpi addressable black (great for sharp cad lines but not used for photographic screens.) When printing raster images the screen is quite visible. Remember what 300 dpi 1-bit laser printer screens looked like compared to today's smooth output. This is what the designjet output of that era looks like - you can see the screen with your naked eye. For posters and banners that people look at from a couple feet away it's perfectly fine -- and quite an economical way to print these since the ink is quite cheap now. But for art prints where someone is going to look up close, not a fine enough screen now. Further, the OEM ink for these old designjet plotters was dye based and you'll find the colors will start to fade within 6 months in sunshine (if unprotected). Yellows start to fade first, and blues then shift to purple.

    The 1050c is at least better with 600 dpi, but still CMYK won't hold a candle to a current 8- or 12- color inkjet.

    Now of course one downside to the current epson, canon, and hp pigment 8- and 12- color printers is that the pigment ink is expensive and they use more of it in my experience (because instead of a few dots of dark cyan for example they use many more of light cyan to create a continuous appearance, but that's more ml of ink being used.) With the current generation you're looking at $0.40 to $0.75 per square foot. But the output is nice and tight and the inks won't fade for a long long time.