I am adding printing to my cake business. Any opinions on printers and printing sheets?
Check out all the threads on Edible image printers by doing a search in the serach field..Lots of information.
Icing sheets: There are three types, rice, potato and sugar. Rice and potato cost less but people usually peel them off prior to eating the cake as they are chewy. Sugar paper runs about $28 for $25 sheets and they taste much better and merge into the frosting if the frosting is moist enough. There are several types of icing sheets out there. There is Lucks which is what you see in the grocery stores on Edible Images. This can be purchased from Bakery Crafts, Icing Images and many other icing sheet suppliers. There is a thinner type out there sold by KopyKake and Icing Images House/Economy brand. Some people like this brand because it is thin and if they have a dryer icing it merges better, but the cons are that it doesnt do well out in the air for long as it will dry and crack especially in the winter months. In the summer times, it tends to be harder to get off the backing sheets due to the humidity. A lot will depend on your enviornment as well. The third type is a newer type, it is the Premium Icing Sheets which are a bit thicker. Some people dont like it if their icing is dryer as it wont merge in well. But if your icing is moister or if you spray a bit of water on your cake prior to adhering it, it will do very well. This icing sheet has a larger printable area has a more icing like taste, comes in two flavors, chocolate and standard, and it withstands the humidity/dryness better. You wont have the humidty or dry problems of cracking. All three types of icing sheets come in many different sizes/shapes for you to choose from.
Printers/Ink: There are two types to choose from, Canon and Epson. Some people love and some people hate both of them. Alot depends on the model that they are using as well as the ink. Environment can play a factor as well as if it is always very dry or very humid this can effect the print flow. This will account for the wide variety of love/hate relationships with the printer. Usage can also effect the love/hate relationship with a printer. If someone does not regularly use their printer, they will not like it all that much. Like a majic marker, the cartridge can dry up, especially if it uses a sponge within the cartridge without regular use. Canon advantage is that it has a removable printhead which is replacable. Epson does not. So if you get a clog you cant get out...then you are out the printer. So, alot comes down to the ink and cartridge design. There are two types of cartridges on the market, as sponged and a spongeless. The spongeless is new to the market. The spongeless cartrdige gives you more ink per cartridge, giving you more prints. These cartridges can usually be refilled right in the printer making refilling easier and less messy. We have found that the spongeless cartridges clog less for some reason..could be the ink used, so when there is a problem it ususally is with flow which is easily remedied. With sponged cartridge, if there is a clog, you have to figure out if the problem is in the cartridge or in the printhead and then work from there. So, why sponged? The technology has not caught up to all the manufactuerers yet. So you will find older models still have the sponged technology. You can get spongeless in Epsons and Canons.
Company: This is probably one of your most important choices. There is probably only one bad company out there, and I have rarely heard him mentioned on CC. All others are fine as long as they meet your needs. Be sure when choosing a company that they take care of you and your business, afterall, taking care of the end product, (your customer) is the main objective here. Your customers happiness. Be sure the company you choose will keep that in mind and really serves you. So when choosing a product, look here at CC first, then call around and see who you like the best, how quickly can you get the products. Pricing is about the same all around, all the companies vary within a few dollars of eachother on different items so there really isnt a bargain priced company out there.
I hope this info has been useful to you. There are a lot of postings already on this subject as well as articles so there is a ton of info here on CC. Good Luck to you! I can assure you that you will have a blast printing. The sky is the limit with edible printing as anything you can get in to your computer, you can print out! You can put images on anything that has a smooth damp surface so placing it on fondant, SugarVeil, gumpaste, chocolate, candy....anything really!
Fantastic information Deb...Thankyou so much!!!