Recommendations for an ALPS printer

Greetings friends, I have been doing research on making my own decals. I am now to the point where I know that I need an ALPS printer. I saw the ALPS boxes when they
first came out and dye/ink sublimation was new. Unfortunately, I didn't pay any attention to which model was which as my interest at that time was in printing papers for graduate school. I realize further, that ALPS has been out of business for quite some time, but there are still a few used machines that can be had, along with expensive but available spare/replacement parts. My question is, which ALPS printer should I be looking for. I have not been able to find out whether win XP pro supports ALPS printers, better to go usb or parallel. I thought perhaps someone in the group might have an ALPS box, or at some time owned on and could help me with a recommendation or other suggestions that would help me track down and purchase the best bang for the bucks. Many thanks for you time and assistance. Regards, Bruce IPMS #44200
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Bruce Apple wrote:

Bruce,
There is an active users group for Alps printer owners in Yahoo groups with advice, resource information, drivers and other downloads. It's free to join and worth checking out before you invest in a used Alps printer.
Steve
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On 26 Oct 2005 12:22:11 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Alps/
There's also one specifically dealing with making decals using Alps printers.
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alpsdecal/
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wrote:

Unless you need to print foils (shiny gold and silver) the MD-1000 would be just fine. The MD-1300 does decals just as well but its dye-sub feature (which can't be used with decal paper) makes it more expensive, and even an old MD-2010 will do the job if you don't mind 'tricking' it into printing white.

Yes, it does and parallel port is the way to go for an Alps on XP.
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Bruce
I second what Al says!
I have an alps md1000 and it can do most of what a md5000 does.
AFAIK:
XP drivers were released, but they won't work with USB ports. (which stinks as my new computer doesnt have the parallel port)
Also dye sublimation was said on the snipped-for-privacy@yahoogroups.com list to melt the carrier, so don't count on it to work (that said, I don't know how Pyn UP decals does theirs, but more on that later...)
Also beware of the used Alps printer market, as many people have broken printers and they sell them, as the repair cost at the Alps depot was something close to $300. (and I don't know whether Alps still offer the service!)
Also it used to be you could get a new MD5000 re-badged by Oki from Europe or Austrailia, but the cost was close to $700.
If I were you, and you just wanted the occasional decal, look for a used 1000 or 5000 with some kind of guarantee that it works. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As far as alternatives are concerned, there are a couple of companies out there that are making decals with a printer.
As I mentioned before, Pyn Up looks to use them as the resolution is so great, but I don't know if in fact they use a printer, what brand etc....
F-Dcal http://www.f-dcal.net/ makes a whole range of decals on the printer, but it is not an alps printer because the decals don't have white on the sheets afaik. They used to use a laser as was stated on thier site, but now have moved on to something else - and what it is they don't say!!!!
I don't know much about color laser printers and whether the ink is waterproof, but there is besides an Alps one other resin ink.
Xerox makes the Phaser line for offices, and I have been watching the model line up for the past few years and it seems to be a stable technology (whereas alps wasn't too successful), and prices have come down to a point where it may even be cheaper than getting a new Oki/Alps from overseas:
http://www.office.xerox.com/solidink/index.html
The impressive thing about the phaser series is that they brag about duty cycles of tens of thousands of sheets per year. Alps have been known to break after a few uses....
So that's my next printer, a Xerox Phaser, it is solid ink like the Alps, it supports usb xp drivers, and I won't have to coddle it.
Of course it doesn't print white or foils, and I have yet to print onto a decal sheet with it, but I think it will work if lasers work (which really print HOT!)
In the meantime Bruce, if you have any artwork you want on a decal sheet, email me.
Keith Walker
Al Superczynski wrote:

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you can buy a parallel port card cheap and they work well with xp. newegg or tiger direct should have them.

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Bruce
I second what Al says!
I have an alps md1000 and it can do most of what a md5000 does.
AFAIK:
XP drivers were released, but they won't work with USB ports. (which stinks as my new computer doesnt have the parallel port)
Also dye sublimation was said on the snipped-for-privacy@yahoogroups.com list to melt the carrier, so don't count on it to work (that said, I don't know how Pyn UP decals does theirs, but more on that later...)
Also beware of the used Alps printer market, as many people have broken printers and they sell them, as the repair cost at the Alps depot was something close to $300. (and I don't know whether Alps still offer the service!)
Also it used to be you could get a new MD5000 re-badged by Oki from Europe or Austrailia, but the cost was close to $700.
If I were you, and you just wanted the occasional decal, look for a used 1000 or 5000 with some kind of guarantee that it works. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As far as alternatives are concerned, there are a couple of companies out there that are making decals with a printer.
As I mentioned before, Pyn Up looks to use them as the resolution is so great, but I don't know if in fact they use a printer, what brand etc....
F-Dcal http://www.f-dcal.net/ makes a whole range of decals on the printer, but it is not an alps printer because the decals don't have white on the sheets afaik. They used to use a laser as was stated on thier site, but now have moved on to something else - and what it is they don't say!!!!
I don't know much about color laser printers and whether the ink is waterproof, but there is besides an Alps one other resin ink.
Xerox makes the Phaser line for offices, and I have been watching the model line up for the past few years and it seems to be a stable technology (whereas alps wasn't too successful), and prices have come down to a point where it may even be cheaper than getting a new Oki/Alps from overseas:
http://www.office.xerox.com/solidink/index.html
The impressive thing about the phaser series is that they brag about duty cycles of tens of thousands of sheets per year. Alps have been known to break after a few uses....
So that's my next printer, a Xerox Phaser, it is solid ink like the Alps, it supports usb xp drivers, and I won't have to coddle it.
Of course it doesn't print white or foils, and I have yet to print onto a decal sheet with it, but I think it will work if lasers work (which really print HOT!)
In the meantime Bruce, if you have any artwork you want on a decal sheet, email me.
Keith Walker
Al Superczynski wrote:

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Bruce
I second what Al says!
I have an alps md1000 and it can do most of what a md5000 does.
AFAIK:
XP drivers were released, but they won't work with USB ports. (which stinks as my new computer doesnt have the parallel port)
Also dye sublimation was said on the snipped-for-privacy@yahoogroups.com list to melt the carrier, so don't count on it to work (that said, I don't know how Pyn UP decals does theirs, but more on that later...)
Also beware of the used Alps printer market, as many people have broken printers and they sell them, as the repair cost at the Alps depot was something close to $300. (and I don't know whether Alps still offer the service!)
Also it used to be you could get a new MD5000 re-badged by Oki from Europe or Austrailia, but the cost was close to $700.
If I were you, and you just wanted the occasional decal, look for a used 1000 or 5000 with some kind of guarantee that it works. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As far as alternatives are concerned, there are a couple of companies out there that are making decals with a printer.
As I mentioned before, Pyn Up looks to use them as the resolution is so great, but I don't know if in fact they use a printer, what brand etc....
F-Dcal http://www.f-dcal.net/ makes a whole range of decals on the printer, but it is not an alps printer because the decals don't have white on the sheets afaik. They used to use a laser as was stated on thier site, but now have moved on to something else - and what it is they don't say!!!!
I don't know much about color laser printers and whether the ink is waterproof, but there is besides an Alps one other resin ink.
Xerox makes the Phaser line for offices, and I have been watching the model line up for the past few years and it seems to be a stable technology (whereas alps wasn't too successful), and prices have come down to a point where it may even be cheaper than getting a new Oki/Alps from overseas:
http://www.office.xerox.com/solidink/index.html
The impressive thing about the phaser series is that they brag about duty cycles of tens of thousands of sheets per year. Alps have been known to break after a few uses....
So that's my next printer, a Xerox Phaser, it is solid ink like the Alps, it supports usb xp drivers, and I won't have to coddle it.
Of course it doesn't print white or foils, and I have yet to print onto a decal sheet with it, but I think it will work if lasers work (which really print HOT!)
In the meantime Bruce, if you have any artwork you want on a decal sheet, email me.
Keith Walker
Al Superczynski wrote:

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I have several Phaser printers here at work, and they do indeed make excellent color prints. They are "delicate" as unimodeler described. Our printers are in no way under heavy use, yet we had two die on us with fewer than 100K pages printed (not much, really). The cleaning cartridges do have a timer on them, but you can ignore the "it's dead! Get a new one!" warning - at least with some of them.
Pluses for the Xerox Phasers:
Beautiful color prints, with dither patterns that are almost invisible. Prints nicely on decal paper.
Minuses:
** EXTREMELY ** expensive printers. A year's supply of wax sticks (at least for us - about 5 for CMY and 10 for black) runs around $800. The maintenance cartridge is about the same. Not a reasonable cost for most people.
The printed wax is slightly translucent (but not as bad as an inkjet printer), and you may need to either print on white decal paper or double up the decal to keep the underlying color from showing through.
The decals must be overcoated to protect the wax (same with inkjet or Alps).
The cyan heads tend to mix with the other wax colors, so with time, blues turn murky - almost gray or even greenish. Cleaning helps a bit.
The printers are delicate and when they go, the repair costs are often close to the replacement cost of the printer.
Xerox seems to like to change either the wax formulation, the wax cartridge shape or both, because wax from a previous model almost certainly won't work with a newer printer. You bought $800 worth of wax and now it won't work with the new printer (the replacement for a prematurely dead printer)? Too bad.
It won't print white or metallic colors.
There are fairly cheap color toner printers that are probably better for home decal printing, and probably produce decals that are as good as Alps (without whites and metallics, of course). They're also faster than Alps printers and cheaper to operate.
I have an MD5000 and hate it - it's just too temperamental a printer - but it's the only printer that'll print white, so I'll keep it.
Frank
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Frank,
You didn't mention the extremely high heat that the Phaser needs to melt that crayon. I can't imagine the decal paper holding up to all that heat. I replaced the Phaser with an Okidata C9000. It is a truly amazing color laser. Colors are true, bright, and sharp. I can print everything possible including tabloid size 11 x 17 edge to edge. The cost per page is the lowest of any color laser on the market today. It's out of reach for home use. I am lucky to have it available for my decal printing.
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It's actually not much higher than laser printer toner fuser temps - at least by the time it gets onto the paper. You can run laser printer safe transparencies through it. The decal paper I used (made by Tango Papa) goes through nicely.

It's good to know that - we replaced an old Apple color laser printer that was a pain to operate - with the Phasers. I'm getting tired of their lack of reliability and the very expensive operating costs, so I've been thinking of getting some nice color laser printers for work.
I use a small Minolta/QMS B&W laser printer to print heat transfer films for photoetch work, and for $75, it's been a great deal. I haven't looked at the output in detail, but there are some fairly nice toner based color laser printers for the home/small office that are not too expensive; if they're at all as trouble free as my B&W printer, they may be an option as well.
Frank
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Hi It sounds loke a nice printer. One question. Does it print white?
Thanks

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While the Alps is the best printer for making decals, 'cause you can print white and metallic colors, it is not the ONLY printer that can be used for decals.
There ARE inkjet papers now. And, color lasers are now as cheap as Alps printers. With a color laser you can print decals on regular decal paper, no need to use inkjet paper, which is a bit pricier (though still cheap compared to cost of store-bought decals. I don't have a color laser, only a black and white, so I make only black decals with that. I take inkjet printout on regular paper, plus decal paper, to copy shop that copies them with a color copier (same as color laser printer). Costs me an extra 80 cents, but still cheaper than storebought decals, plus I can make whatever designs I want.
Incidently, even the laser printer or copy shop decals STILL need to be overcoated with a clear coat. Otherwise they are EXTREMELY fragile.
If you DO need to make decals with white in them, what I do is use white paper, then print the white areas on a background as close as I can match to the paint I will be using on model. Then I trim decal as well as I can, but that still leaves some "background" color. If it is an easy to match color, that works pretty well.
Bruce Apple wrote:

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My 2 cents. DON'T BUT THE XEROX PHASER. It's ink is like a crayon. It is nothing like the ALPS ink. I can scrape it off with my finger nail. I bought one at work, used it only lightly and it had major damage in less than a year. I retired it as it wasn't worth fixing. The replacement "crayons" are extremely expensive and even if you are printing black, it uses colors in the process. Plus it needs a cleaning kit (about$150) twice a year. There is a built in timer that won't let you print unless you install the cleaning kit no matter how little you use the printer. In short, it just plain sucks.
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unimodeler wrote:

Have you tried scratching Alps inks? They come right off - at least off of decal papers.

Sounds like my Alps. BTW, you can't even use the thing as a regular printer for stuff like envelopes or cardstock. It's *paper only*, so you still need another printer.

At least the Alps uses a separate black cartridge, but all of the Alps cartridges are expensive and, if you look at how they're used, they're stupendously wasteful. FWIW, I've got a dead MD5000 sitting on the corner of my desk. -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; didn't enjoy it)
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C.R. Krieger wrote:

Wasteful? I think not. Once ink is deposited, that part of the ribbon cannot be reused.
In most print modes, Alps only uses the ribbons on the areas which need the colors (plus a bit extra). To me, that is not wasteful usage.
But in some modes (like VPhoto), it does waste the ribbons.
Peteski
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wrote:

Huh? I print on decal paper with my various Alps machines all the time. They will also print on envelopes, card stock, and even thin plastic sheet with no problem at all.

Not if 100% black is specified in the decal artwork, printed as a spot color.

I'd be more than happy to repay you for the expense of shipping it to me... ;)
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Al Superczynski wrote:

With that, I had no problem. I couldn't get anything thicker to work.

Misquoted. I didn't say that. I know there is a black cartridge that can be specified.

Thanks. I know I can always *give* it away. I'm hoping to recoup just a small fraction of the ~$500 I had wrapped up in it and all the spare cartridges I've got. Either that or actually manage to print decals again for under an additional $350. >:^( -- C.R. Krieger
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Bruce, yes ther are surprisingly many Alps owners and users in the modeling world. I became one about 2 years ago.
While Alps printers are no longer being sold in the retail market, Alps company is far from being out of business. They have been around for decades and they mainly manufacture electronic components (like potentiometers, switches and transducers) for the OEM market. Alps printers was a very small side business for them.
And, at least for now, they still make new MD-5000 which they give out in their printer exchange/repair program. Although the rumor is that we have only one more year of this.
Also, you might be confusing DyeSub with the standard thermal ink transfer. MD-5000 is capable of both. DyeSub process is totally incompatible with decal paper. But since the standard thermal ink transfer is decal compatible, and all Alps MD series printers are capable of doing that, you will be ok owning any MD series printer.
If you are interested, I would recommend that you join the Alps and alpsdecal Yahoo groups and thoroughly scan through their Files and Links sections and old messages. You should find answers to all your questions and more... That is how I learned all I know about Alps.
And you'll even find info about similar printers which are still being made.
Peteski
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Thanks to all for their most valuable input. I was miss-informed, ALPS is still in business. Their parent company, I am told is OKI data, ALPS was simply their US printer group. I was aware of the distinction between the thermal and dye/sub units, but since as has been pointed out, the MD series supports both modes, the point is moot. I did not know however that dye sublimation is not compatible with decal paper. My thanks again to those who helped put me on to good information and new sources available to educate myself on decal printing. I will by all means check out the yahoo groups as suggested. The group has saved me a lot of money and frustration by freely sharing information. I'm glad to be a part of such a cool group of people. Best Wishes, Bruce Apple

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