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Melissa's Fleet of Printers for Silhouette CAMEO


Hi Guys! If you're looking for the best printer for Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait you came to the right spot. I get asked about printers a lot - everything from "Do you need a printer for Silhouette CAMEO 4?" to "What goes into printing sublimation from Silhouette on Mac?

I have five different printers in my craft room - all of which do something different. Of course you don't need all of them (and the likelihood anyone who doesn't run an educational hobby craft and small business website would have a need all of them is close to zero)...but I want you to pick the best printer or printers for your hobby or small business! 

Here's a look at all of the printers that I have. You can click each one to find out more and check out the information below for additional details. 

What Is the Best Printer for Silhouette CAMEO?  

Inkjet Printer: Best for printing on paper, sticker paper, inkjet printable heat transfer, waterslide paper, tattoo paper, printable foil papers, kraft paper, inkjet printable adhesive vinyl  

  • Pros: Low cost, relatively inexpensive ink, easy to maintain, prints a wide variety of easy-to-find material, can print directly from Silhouette Studio
  • Cons: Limited uses and quality for apparel and permanent, washable surfaces

Wide Format Printer: Same uses as standard inkjet printer, but wider giving the user more printable space including a larger print and cut area. Works great with all size Silhouette CAMEO 4 machines to maximize print and cut space 

  • Pros: Low cost, relatively inexpensive ink, easy to maintain, prints a wide variety of easy-to-find material, can print directly from Silhouette Studio, allows for an expand printing area up to 13" wide taking full advantage of a wider print and cut area when used with all Silhouette CAMEO 2/3/4 machines including the 15" CAMEO Plus and 24" CAMEO Pro
  • Cons: Limited uses and quality for apparel and permanent, washable surfaces

Sublimation: Best for light color sublimation-ready hard goods and and fabrics with at least 65% polyester count 

  • Pros: Stunning, vibrant colors, professional results, ink is permanent on hard and soft goods, prints directly from Silhouette Studio, easy to use, Mac and PC compatible
  • Cons: Must be kept plugged in to cycle the printer and prevent ink from drying in the lines, replacement ink cartridges are expensive, can not be used with dark surfaces, can not be used on 100% cotton, requires at least 65% polyester blend on fabrics or polyester coating on hard goods, requires a heat press, at least a $500 start up (if you already have a heat press)

Direct to Garment (DTG): Best for printing directly onto light color fabrics with at least 50% cotton count  

  • Pros: Prints directly onto fabric making it a fast, easy process, prints on cotton, includes finishing/pressing oven (therefore does not requires separate heat press), easy to use, can be uesd on darker colors as long as the ink is darker than the fabric (ie black ink on red fabric), small footprint for home use, free extremely easy to use software, software for Mac and PC
  • Cons: Only prints on fabrics, not hard goods; does not print white (can not print onto black fabric), about $3600 initial investment, A4 size max, does not print directly from Silhouette Studio, but will open PNG, JPEG and other file types that can be easily exported from Silhouette Studio or opened directly, software is very basic

White Toner Printer: 5-in-1 printer that can print white ink making it ideal for dark colored fabrics and hard goods; can also be used to print on standard paper, sublimation, and toner printing   
  • Pros: Most versatile printer - CMYK+W; prints professional quality transfers and heat transfers, prints white and colors in a single pass allowing for use with dark and light colored hard and soft goods of many material types, toner ink allows cartridges to be swapped out with ease, toner does not dry up, minimal maintenance due to toner, small footprint makes it perfect for home use, high volume printing per cartridge (about 7k sheets)
  • Cons: Definite learning curve, not MAC compatible (without emulator), requires high quality heat press, at least a $3700 start up (if you already have a heat press), expensive speciality ink cartridges (sublimation toner, florescent toner) all sold separately, printable materials can be pricing, multi step process

Which Printer Should I Get..Next? 

Most Silhouette crafters already have an inkjet printer when they start out with their Silhouette allowing them to print and cut immediately.  The "need" for another printer comes later when you realize just how much MORE you can do when you add a(nother) printer.


7 comments

  1. I purchased a white toner printer and am having a love/hate relationship with it. It is not the brand and model that you mentioned in your post. What are your thoughts on the Roland BN-20? How does it compare to the white toner and sublimation methods?

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  2. This is exactly what I'm looking for! I was wondering how the "big guys" do their garments like this. I also received a mug with white lettering as a gift and wondered how that was done. I'm interested in sublimation and was going to get the SG1000. I'm a starting out with that for now but will keep this on my radar! Thanks Melissa!

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  3. My Uninet IColor 560 is coming in today. I'm excited, anxious, and scared...LOL!!! Quick question. I can use my design directly from the Silhouette screen (Yes, I have the business version) just by saving as a PNG file to my hardrive, then open it in the new software?

    P.S.
    I wish you had tutorials up already or a digital book like you do for the Silhouette...those were lifesavers when starting up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bobbie! Melissa hosts 1:1 Q&A and Special members only Q&As over at SilhouetteU https://silhouetteu.com/. This would be a great way to get further Uninet questions answered!

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  4. I borrowed $ from my dad, convinced him this t-shirt company would take off!!! I got a OKI DATA C711 WT unfortunately I have not found any training vides out there!!!!! help is there anywhere in NH where I can learn how to use the darn machine?

    sincerely

    LOST IN SPACE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a full playlist for DTG and White Toner printers: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLT9hB3BOKb_gJ95t5kwSFF2GvfrtCppGv

      Delete

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