ALPS Printers: Is it going to be reissued?

Does anyone know if Alps plans to reissue their line of printers?
Thanks and regards,
Ivan

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Not quite accurate. ALPS Electric is a rather large Japanese firm. They are still very much in business, just not making the MD series printers anymore.
Okidata tried marketing the MD series for a while under their own label, but have apparently ceased doing that. Kodak also markets a rather expensive ($4000!!) printer using ALPs technology called "First Check" Both Okidata and Kodak market MD compatible printer cartridges that will fit the MD series printers with a little fooling around.
Norm
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On 25 Jul 2004 19:12:22 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@uol.com.br (Ivan Pliopas) wrote:

There have been some rumors of them licensing the technology to another company but nothing firm yet. In the meantime there are still a couple of sources for new MD-1000s and Okidata DP5000s but they're not cheap. Contact me direct if you're serious and want more details.
--
Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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Is there a good on-line discount source for the cartridges?
Frank
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In 2002, Okidata bought the ALPS ribbon print technology, promising to maintain production of the ribbons for existing ALPS models. Okidata made no commitment to production of existing ALPS models, and made no mention of developing new models. In 2003, http://www.alpsusa.com was the source for ribbons.
On Thu, 29 Jul 2004 03:48:01 GMT, Al Superczynski

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There are several problems with the ALPS thermal wax transfer printers that make them essentially very expensive decal printers and great advertising copy layout or photo reproduction printers, but little else.
They're either very 'fussy' or very poorly designed and tend to be very sensitive to almost any perceived mechanical or computerized slight. The software is a PITA to get working and the hardware can be a PITA to *keep* working. The automotive equivalent would be a Ferrari.
It's no big secret the 'ink' is expensive. The cartridges are actually ribbons coated with the wax that's transferred to the surface, much like some recent coated plastic tape typewriter ribbons (that transfer 'ink' with impact instead of heat/contact). These are used in a very wasteful manner by the printer. For every pass across a page, you've used that length of ribbon. While I've managed to 'rewind' some of them, you always run the risk of hitting a spot where you really *did* use most of the color and that part will be blank, or you could have negative words showing up in an expanse of solid color. The cartridges are all priced the same *but* the really cool ones (white, metallics, and foils) carry a lot *less* ribbon in them, so they really *are* much more expensive per amount printed. The only slight concession ALPS made to practicality is the 'reusable' black cartridge that's reversible for 5 passes. Unfortunately, the print quality sucks.
While you can do some spectacular printing tricks on supersmooth paper as well as really nice decal work, you can't even print a lousy envelope with the thing and even some 'dual purpose' (inkjet/laser) papers are too *rough* for the ALPS to do a good job. You have to find the smoothest laser paper available (or buy ALPS exorbitantly-priced papers) to get good results. Essentially, this means it does the specialized job(s) you bought it for, but you need a regular everyday printer *in addition to* the ALPS to do most 'normal' printing jobs. -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; done that)
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On 29 Jul 2004 08:26:06 -0700, warp2 snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (C.R. Krieger) wrote:

And this being a model-building newsgroup would probably make their decal-printing utility a fairly big plus here....

I've had absolutely *no* software problems with any of my ALPS printers and they're actually quite reliable if used as intended. That is, as a personal home printer, not for mass commercial production.
<snip rant about expensive cartridges>

For which I use a $50 HP 630C from Wal-Mart, which by the way causes me lots more heartache than any of my ALPS printers ever have. The drivers are a real b*tch to get installed properly, it drinks ink like a redneck drinks cheap beer, and it loves to feed either no sheets or three to four sheets of paper at a time....
--
Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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C.R. Krieger wrote ( in part)

Do you actually own and operate an ALPs Printer or are you just passing on rumors?
I have two, an MD 1000 and an MD 5000P and use them a lot for printing decals. They produce decals that look every bit as good as anything the commercial decal guys make.
I have been running the MD 1000 since ALPs first started selling them with absolutely no problems. The MD 5000 is only a few months old, but so far it is flawless as well.
You refer to the high cost of cartridges. Have you purchased a cartridge for an inkjet lately? I just replaced one for my HP inkjet a little while back and it was about $45. My understanding is that ALL the major printer manufacturers are selling printers at a loss and making big money on the cartridge sales. HP said in an article in the local paper a little while back that 16% of their total sales profit was from printer supplies. When you look at HP's total product line, I suspect printer supplies make up less than 1% of the company, yet they are turning in 16% of the total profit.
I pay a bit under $6.00 for most ALPs cartridges and about $11.00 for some of the "special" ones.
And how well does your printer do on white, silver, gold and clear film? And next time you want a decal that is not available try it without white and on your inkjet. Oh yeah, I know there is decal materials available for your inkjet, but that is expensive and a direct comparison with the results from my inkjet left me feeling like I was looking at something printed on newspaper.
Norm
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(C.R. Krieger)

Al, you've seen me here for years. I *am* a modeler! That's why I bought the ALPS (MD-5000). It's just that the bother and expense of buying and keeping it happy have been a pretty poor investment.

I disagree. Part of my point is that the ALPS isn't even suited to be a personal home printer. It's too expensive and too limited. My ALPS has never been anywhere *but* in my home. I have managed to use it for a half-dozen decal sheets and about three really nice Christmas newsletters (a 'press run' of about 30-40/year). I probably would have been better off taking copy to a shop with a color laser printer. You'd be crazy to print out your TurboTax personal income tax forms with it. As I said, you can't even print an envelope with it, and I'd never risk sending stick-on address labels through there.

Obviously, you paid too much. I've still got my spare 'throwaway' $30 Lexmark waiting for the *previous* $30 'throwaway' Lexmark to fail ... ;^) -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; done that)
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C. R.
You answered my questions when you responded to Al's post.
I think you said it very well in that second post. I wouldn't try running anything but decal stock through my ALPs either, but I do use it almost every day with one decal project or another and I do treat it very carefully. One of these days I will either run out of cartridges, Microsoft will change to yet another operating system that will not support the printer or it will break and there will be no replacement available. But until then I have my own custom decal capability that keeps me and many others here happy.
I thought it interesting that both you and Al are running Lexmark printers. Now in my opinion there is a real problem printer. I have attempted to install three of those things for either friends or neighbors with very poor results. They seem to reflect the cheap printer in their installation and operations but the usual Rolls Royce price common to all inkjet and laser cartridges.
I suspect part of the Lexmark problem is they will not co-operate with Microsoft to obtain "signed" software drivers. But that is another subject for some other newsgroup.
Norm
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Norm wrote:

Just a comment. I use Lexmark units for general junk printing at the office, a lot of estimating backup and documantation for proposals. I can not for the life of me keep other printers (HP. Epson, Canon, etc.) operating long enough to justify the costs for utility printing.
Rick Clark Cheap SOB
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odd, my lexmark expirience has been the opposite. when hp quality went dowm, i tried canon and lexmark. the lexmark produced cleaner pictures. i scan and print many vinyl lp covers to make cd's for music never released on cd and the lexmark has done exceptionally well. i refill the carts and have never had the printer fail. i've owned 4 middle priced lexmark units and installed 7-8 for friends. i really like the quality of the prints. if i ever get an alps for cheap, i will try it. my lexmark use has been wonderfull.
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wrote:

Something got lost in the translation, Norm - I use an HP for routine printing.
--
Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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On 30 Jul 2004 09:29:54 -0700, warp2 snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (C.R. Krieger) wrote:

That depends on how much one values the ability to print one's own unique and high-quality decals in the comfort of home.

It was designed and marketed as a *photo* printer, not a general-use printer. Would you buy an Enzo Ferrari for its fuel economy?

I think I'll pick up my next inkjet at the Salvation Army store or a pawn shop. Should be able to get one for five bucks or so.... ;-p
--
Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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warp2 snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (C.R. Krieger) wrote in message

C.R. I absolutely agree!
Alps is my 2nd printer for special jobs only. It is painfully slow and quite expensive to operate. But it's capabilities, especially with metallic, foils and white inks are incredible. Especially considering its price! I picked up one about a year ago (now I have two) and I wish i discovered it sooner. While they might not be 100% perfect - no printer ever is. After all they are mechanical devices. Still, it rocks!
And for 80 bucks you can get an inkjet printer with much better resolution which can do the grunt of your everyday printing. Maybe even for 60 bucks!
SO, you can have it all and print it too.... :-) Peteski
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