I looking to buy a Edible Cake Printer system and I would like some ideas about what work the best, brands and overall prices...
I appreciate some ideas...
There are several different types of companies that sell systems. If you are looking for copywritten materials then you have to go the decopac or bakery craft route. They can only work with retail stores. If you are looking to make custom images of people, then there are about 3-4 other companies out there. The first thing you have to look at is they type of machine you need.
Printing edible pictures is just like printing "regular" pictures except you are using a printer that uses edible inks and edible papers. So, obviously you have a PC because you are on Cake central. Then you can save money by purchasing a system that uses a PC rather than a standalone system that does not use a PC. You can use an existing scanner if you have one already, even if it is part of another printer. This helps to save money and not purchase redundant equipment.
I have the most experience with Canon printer...10+ years. They have a removeable printhead which allows for cleaning and replacment which extends the life of your printer. I have only dabbled with Epsons only because the Gold Label inks were so good with the Canons that I thought it worth trying the Epsons. I did this only because I never liked the wide format printing with a Canon. The printers were always finicky and a pain to use. The Epson passed the test, but only so far with the wide format printing. I have been testing smaller printers and they are kind of a pain so far. So what does that all mean to you. Well, if you are are satisfied with printing from 1.25" circles up to 8.5x14" (which nicely fits a half sheet cake) then I recommend Canon, the IP3600 printer to be exact. If you dont have a scanner, go for the Canon mp560. If you really need the largest size available with a printing area of 11x16.5" then You should go with the Epson Workforce 1100.
Next question is do you purchase from a company or piece meal it together. The advantage of purchasing from a company is depending on the company you purchase, you can get excellent help. For example, if your printer is down, what kind of service do you get. Some companies will actually print for you and ship to you when your printer is down. How long is the warranty and how do they service you. Are they really there for you when there is a problem? Though it is more costly to purchase from an edible printing company, if the company stands behind you...it is worth the extra money. But if cost is really a concern starting out, you may want to purchase the items seperately. Be sure though that you find out before you buy a printer if it is compatable with edible inks.
Speaking of edible inks...that is very important as it is the heart of your printing. The edible inks determine the quality of the print and the amount of problems that you may or may not have. With any printer, edible or not, it is important that you use it...print with it...regularly at least once per week. Printers like to print. So, what about the inks. Ask for samples if you dont get good recommednations. There are two types of edible ink cartridges on the market. One has a sponge in the cartridge, one doesnt. The one with a sponge, I feel through my experience, cause more problems them spongeless cartridges. Plus you get to use all the ink that is in the cartridge. They are more easily refilled as well saving you lots of money.
Icing Sheets. Three basic types out there. Kopykake and Photoforst and Icing Images house brand are the thinnest out there and seem to crack the quickest in the dry air. In the humid areas, they tend to have peeling issues. Lucks is the most well known as they are the famous Edible Image company so most people have seen them. They are the second thickest and work much better in the dry and humid conditions. Icing Images Premium brand is the newest brand and is the thickest, still merges well, but the fewest problems with cracking and peeling. They also give you the largest printable area available on the market and come in chocolate. All three merge well and merging is basically dependant on the dampness of your icing more then the icing sheet. Moisture is what causes them to merge.
What now? Call a few companies, talk to the people from the company. Who do you like? Who is the most competent and easiest to talk to? Ask for samples and compare the colors and vibrancy. Ask CC'ers like you are doing. But experiences can vary based upon envirnoment and amount of use.
Edible printing is really a lot of fun. You can do so much with it and the sky is the limit. From printing patterns to sonograms, you can do almost anything with it. It is the one thing in your decorating tools that will pay for itself in about 50 uses and that is if you purchase from an edible printing company! The cost per print is anywhere from $1.19-$2.12 per print depending on refilling and people charge anywhere from $6.00 to $23.00 for an image over and above the cost of the cake.
Please feel free to call or email me with questions, I will be glad to help.
WOW! Thank you so much for your help...
I saw your web site...(Icing Images) and I'm very interested on your recommendation (canon IP3600).
I'm new on Cake decoration and my biggest interest buying this is to print photos and etc.
Love the ip3600. It is an inexpensive tough little printer!
I know I'm still waiting to buy my new printer system from icingimages also, I've always been impressed with their customer service.
Thanks everyone. Its our customers that make our company...we just try our best to serve them!