Know that you can turn your own printer
Into a colour (CMYK) ceramic printer
I was able to make changes to a colour laser printer so that it was able to print coloured ceramic decals in my studio. And you can too, for about 20% of the cost of buying the least expensive "turnkey" system that the most popular company in North America will sell you.
There is one important caveat for doing it the way I did: The humidity in the space where the printer is kept must never be allowed to go above 40% RH. I have actually exceeded that relative humidity in my studio during the first summer but I didn’t detect any problems. However, if it does the remedy is easy — simply put the toner (with the cartridge into a warming tank for 3-5 hours and keep it within the range 32 to 42 degrees Celsius.
Ricoh colour laser printers are recommended by most toner manufacturer companies. They are durable, heavy, and expensive, and worth the investment if your studio prints an extremely large number of decals. The most affordable, lighter but still very durable printer which can produce equally high quality prints is the Xerox Phaser 6510 printer. The Xerox 6510 is widely available in North American and Europe and is ideal for studio use. It is much larger and heavier (52 pounds) than most desktop printers and especially the more familiar inkjet printers, but can be fit into all but the smallest of studios. All that follows is about converting the Xerox Phaser 6510 into a colour (CMYK) ceramic printer.
The least expensive way to get all the toners and supplies you need for the Xerox 6510 is to contact Jessica, the sales person at Chuangjie, where they manufacture coloured ceramic toner and developer for Fuji Xerox and other printers.
Jessica is extremely knowledgeable. She will sell you the ceramic toner and ceramic developer that you need to print the decals. The one charge of ceramic developer will likely never need replacing. The toner will need to be replaced in a year or two, depending on amount of production. Jessica will not try to sell you a "turnkey" system because she understands the shipping costs from China are prohibitive.
Jessica will also advise you on Chuangjie paper and lamination supplies you can use to make the decals. In addition, she can provide answers to the technical issues that arise.
I assure you the quality of the Chuangjie materials and supplies are the least expensive, even after shipping, that you can buy anywhere on the planet. I have used them for one and one-half years and both I and many other potters in Ottawa are very happy with the decals they can produce.
While Jessica includes video instructions on how to exchange the cartridge contents of the Fuji Xerox products available in Asia she cannot do so for the Xerox office printers available in North America and Europe.
Jessica’s contact information is on the bottom of all Chuangjie web site pages.
(In case you missed the links above, the Chuangjie Website is http://www.cjlaserceramictoner.com
The Do-It-Yourself Part
I have been unable to find any company in North America or Europe that will tell you how to change a colour laser printer into a ceramic laser printer. And only one voluntarily suggested that you can convert a printer yourself. One company salesman actually told me it was the company’s trade secret.
If you go it alone, as I and others have done you must figure out how to exchange the contents of the Xerox printer toner cartridges and developer cartridges with the ceramic powders you buy from Chuangjie or elsewhere.
Alpine Clayworks Assistance
However, if you want, for a reasonable fee that will save you much time, considerable effort, and perhaps grief, Alpine Clayworks Studio can help you convert the XEROX 6510 Laser Colour Printer.
Depending on your choice (increasing the cost to reduce your effort) Alpine Clayworks Studio will:
- Provide you with instructions and photos (PDF) to convert the printer. ($60)
- Sell you all the materials, instructions, and provide technical support to help you convert a Xerox Phaser 6510 that you purchase yourself. ($1200)
- Sell you a used, colour-calibrated, studio ceramic printer with fully charged toner cartridges installed. ($1500)
In addition Alpine Clayworks can:
- Provide waterslide paper and lamination paper, ceramic toner supplies.
- Provide you with replacement toner cartridges and chips, and developer cartridges (without the developer cartridge rollers) and chips.