InkjetMall Newsletter    11/17/2020
17 November, 2020 by
InkjetMall Newsletter    11/17/2020
Jon Cone


A newsletter has long been forthcoming from us. It has literally been months. My last newsletter was back in March. I know that everyone has been struggling with ordinary life. Somehow, it didn’t seem appropriate to continue marketing at a time when people were simply trying to cope. 

We've always held an annual Black Friday Sale. It's a huge opportunity to stock up on extra inks and kits or to buy big ticket items. We have decided to hold one this year. And we have to use a newsletter to announce it. So, we're giving you the heads up that it is coming next week!

We usually start the sale a day or so early with the best discounts at the beginning. Keep an eye on your emails and I will try to deliver more newsletters between now and then! There really is a lot of news to report on solar plates, our latest high output UV LED research, new printer models, and other bits and pieces that I will write about on our way to our sale.

In the meantime, we’ve been able to maintain a very safe working environment. Everyone here is giving as much respect as possible to the safety of one another.

We’ve not experienced any shortage or delay in chemicals and pigments. This summer for a short period, distilled water had been difficult to get in the quantities we required. Since then all of our ink making has been going smoothly. We're just about stocked up for our sale.

The plastic cartridges that we have manufactured for us are made outside of our country in a factory we have worked exclusively with since 2002. But, that has been another thing altogether. We’ve experienced much greater difficulty because of the trade war between the USA and China. The details of that are pretty ugly. The punitive aspects of working with a China factory have been challenging. And it's happening on both sides of the ocean. Long established trade routes had to be creatively shifted. We're are still maintaining good supplies of our customized cartridges.

Our fulfillment warehouse in Virginia has been especially challenged. Working safely in a fulfillment house during COVID-19 greatly reduces efficiency and that affects timely shipments. But, it’s plugging along.

Because of COVID-19, USPS, FedEX and UPS have all cut off many types of services to destinations outside the USA - and in some cases just cut off locations they would not serve or were not allowed to serve by that destination. This changes sometimes daily. Our website lists options actually being provided by those services. If you can't find the service you were hoping for, contact us and we can see if there is some creative way to get it through our fulfillment house.

Our hopes here at Inkjetmall, and I speak for Cathy, Wells, Walker, Nathanael, Karen, Spencer, and Mike, are that you have not been personally affected by COVID-19 nor have not lost loved ones or friends. Please keep safe!

Jon Cone

Black Friday Sale is Coming!

When? Probably the early hours of the evening on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or in the evening of Thanksgiving Day itself. That's next Wednesday or Thursday. Our best discounts are early on in the sale. So - keep an eye on the webstore. Coupons will not be required. They will most likely be turned off for the sale. All sale prices get marked down directly on the store.



Apple has released it's new OS 'Big Sur'.  Apple has stated that it will “no longer support printer drivers” on Big Sur. We have no idea what that means yet, but we assume they are probably requiring some system/security container for executables that require deep IO integration like print drivers. This eventually may not bode well for QuadTone RIP. 

But, according to Roy Harrington of QuadTone RIP it's okay for now:
"I got Big Sur running today. Installation and setup went just fine. A nice thing about the new file system APFS is that you can create a new volume (used to use partitions) that shares space so you don't have to actually allocate extra. I now have a laptop with 3 volumes -- Mojave, Catalina, BigSur (actually there are quite a few more since there's 2 per system plus Recovery).

Downloading and install Print-Tool and QTR worked fine but you do have to play quite a few security workarounds. It's a must that you read the Installation-Instructions.pdf download on the QTR download page. There are several dire sounding warnings from the system but just keep going and it all should be fine. In the Print system now there are a lot of references to AirPrint which is where its all going. But the old traditional stuff still works -- Epson drivers as well as QTR drivers. You will see message to convert your printers but NO is the answer for now.

Big Sur has quite a new look. I think Catalina was heavy in the updates to the internals and Big Sur is heavy in updates to user interface look. I haven't used it much yet.

New EPSON printers are on the Horizon - and that is not necessarily a good thing.

I promise this Newsletter is going to get more upbeat. But here is the second warning...

We are getting daily questions on the new EPSON SureColor printer replacements. The P700, P900, P7570 and P9570.

These are new printers from EPSON that have particularly strong anti-3rd party mechanisms. EPSON is clearly stating on their website: “These printers (SC-P700, SC-P900, SC-P7570, SC-P9570) are designed for use with EPSON cartridges only, not third-party cartridges or ink.” 

We do not believe any solution for using your choice of inks, or repairing EPSON cartridges for use in these models, or cleaning and repairing these printers internally with PiezoFlush will be available in 2021 nor in 2022. So, keep that in mind as you consider whether to upgrade or repair an existing printer. It may be prudent to source one of the few remaining earlier models that we can still support you with.

And while we warn our customers about this every generation change with EPSON, this new generation is particularly troubling considering the ease with which EPSON has been able to disable their customer's printers with remote firmware updates. While you can buy an EPSON P400 that is unlocked - you can easily, and voluntarily, lock it yourself by updating the firmware when it asks you if you want to. Literally, it will ask you if you want to. Also on their website is a declaration that should you choose to, they will disable the use of 3rd party ink cartridges. Only you can prevent that.

There are some remedies - but they involve installing a 3rd party firmware upgrade that simply turns off the chip readers.

Now, EPSON is apparently delivering the latest generation locked up like Fort Knox, and denying their customers a choice of consumables.

Our understanding is that the China region versions of these printers are unlocked. China vigorously enforces their consumer protection laws. The China region printers must be able to be used with 3rd party consumables. We have imported P807 printers from Hong Kong when we could not use our inks in the P800 printers. But, with the trade war currently going on, a 25% tariff on an already more expensive printer will make this impractical considering the high cost of shipping during COVID.

What we have done at Cone Editions Press since the demise of the EPSON X880 series is to stockpile printers that we believe are essential to our future. We still have five unopened Pro 3880 printers which are perfect for 17” prints, negatives and DTP photogravure. So, these were a great investment for us. We bought them at closeout prices and sold their ink sets to reduce our costs to about $250 per printer. We actually have a few Epson 1430 and 2880s as well.

We also have stored several Epson 7880/9880 printers that we decommissioned with PiezoFlush. These we look more at using for direct to plate or printing on hand made papers sometime in the future (as needed). We have an unopened P9000 printer which we just purchased and stuck away. It was bargain priced and hard to refuse. We also had to move it in with a tractor before our snows come. So a race against their obsolescence and our weather.

Finally, we have an unopened 64” printer which uses non chipped cartridges and is of the type that I used to print the Ashes and Snow Nomadic Museum Exhibition prints for Gregory Colbert back in the early 2000s. We can’t do that type of printing with any other printer made today. So, it's a printer in waiting...

We will more than likely add another P9000 printer to this cache of printers to ensure no matter what happens to EPSON’s plans to continue or not continue making photo printers, or to continue or not continue making printers we can use for alternative processes - that we will have the technology in place and in redundancy to take us well into the next decade. 

If you believe that using 3rd party inks is important to your own work, you need sooner than later to purchase and set aside a backup printer. P400s make great digital negative and Piezography printers and are relatively inexpensive. P600s make prints of the same size but use larger ink tanks. The P600 is a little difficult to find now. The P6000, P7000, P8000 and P9000 printers that are still available, you should be eyeing before they are unavailable. The P800 is just simply gone...

And remember - NEVER - NEVER EVER - NOT EVER EVER EVER - should you upgrade or update the firmware of any printer that you use with non-EPSON materials.

These firmware upgrades are now designed to stop the use of 3rd party cartridges according the EPSON website.

You literally have to volunteer to have your current printer updated to prevent the use of your choice of consumable products. So pay attention!
InkjetMall Newsletter    11/17/2020
Jon Cone
17 November, 2020
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