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ColorSpan fine art drum-style printers for giclée Print E-mail

The ColorSpan giclée PrintMaker is their second generation (their DesignWinder being the original model). The ColorSpan giclée printer is targeted at the heart of the Iris giclée print market.

ColorSpan giclee fine art printer reviews ColorSpan offers several different printers, each of which are of a quality that they can both be used to produce fine art prints.

The ColorSpan giclée PrintMaker operates on the same kind of drum system as the Iris Gprint (giclée printer version of the Iris 3047) and Ixia. The drum model of ColorSpan has not been updated and is no longer manufactured. However used units are available. ColorSpan itself has a policy of providing tech support and spare parts for all their former models. In this regard ColorSpan has one of the best policies in the market. HP, for example, cuts off owners of some of its older printers, so parts for the HP 650 are reportedly no longer available from HP. Spare parts and tech support are also available even for these older ColorSpan models.

I have not had an opportunity to print my own images on a ColorSpan giclée PrintMaker so I am unable to report upon its features, longevity, or abilities. Some people loved this printer and still use it in production. Other people preferred an Iris (or regular non-drum inkjet printer)..

FLAAR does not accept stock photos for evaluating equipment; we need to see the actual printer, at work, with our own images before we can take on the responsibility of recommending any costly item of digital hardware.

In the meantime I can definitely report that ColorSpan is a major player in the wide format market and their roll-fed printers such as Mach 12 and X12+ were considered as significant printers during their heyday, 2000-2004. Their major competitors were Iris, Roland, Mimaki JV4, HP 5000ps, HP 5500 and increasingly the Epson 7800 and 9800. Today the trend is to the Roland Pro III, Roland AJ-1000, HP 9000s, or Mimaki JV5. ColorSpan has its DisplayMaker printers still available but they are not being updated.

The main advantage of the Iris, Ixia and ColorSpan over the normal roll-fed manner of printing is that with a drum arrangement you can use thicker material. Actually the ColorSpan Esprit (a roll-fed system, but with a special facility for allowing thick material) also allows thick art material to be utilized, even stiff material since it has a straight-through paper path.

Iris no longer manufacturers their giclée printer (they still make basic proofers but not the giclée version). Thus if you need an Iris printer you need to consider either the ColorSpan PrintMaker or the Ixia. Price of the ColorSpan printer was $22,995. We have a ColorSpan XII and Mach 12 and were content with both during their heyday. For a drum printer we have the Ixia version of the Iris 3047 giclée printer. Like 90% of the people who had this Iris printer, we abandoned it when the quality of an Epson became as good if not better than an Iris. Besides, the ink for an Iris is dye, and fades within a few years.

Of course both the Ixia and Iris are totally obsolete today. A few older giclee ateliers use them out of tradition’s sake and because they occasionally need to match old prints. But starting a new giclee business today, few artists or print masters would consider antiquated and quirky technology.

Today MacDermid ColorSpan focuses on UV-cured Inkjet Printers. You can print directly onto pre-stretched canvas with a UV printer, so giclee and decor businesses might want to learn more about these: We cover their various models:


Most recently updated August 1, 2007.
Previously updated Dec. 4, 2006, Jan. 16, 2004, November 8, 2003. Jan. 7, 2003, updated Aug. 12, 2001 NMH.

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