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· Just another modeller
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QUOTE (dwb @ 31 Dec 2007, 08:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>This is the same process you find in some of the post card sized (4 x 6 inch) printers which are targeted specifically at the digital photo market. The dye is in solid form and is carried on a transparent film. When the dye is required for printing, the heater elements in the print head switch on and the dye is converted directly from the solid state to the gaseous state. Some may recall their chemistry classes where this process is known as sublimation. The dye panels are usually just larger than the printable area with a set of three or four panels being stored successively on the film. Thus each print required either 18 or 24 inches of carrier film to pass over the print head.

The Alps printer (if I am thinking of the right one) was targeted at a different market and the dye was stored individually in separate cartridges. The film was about 1/6th of inch wide. This tape was used in much the same way as an old typewriter or Dymo labelling machine. A wide range of tapes are/were available including gold and silver as it is/was intendied for making greetings cards and things like that. There is a strong tradition in Japan of sending personalised greetings cards at New Year and other special occasions.

It would be a shame for us railway modellers if Alps have stopped making this printer model as I don't think there are any other print engines on the market which print with such thin strips or have such a wide range of dyes available.


***Alps actually stopped making them some time ago unfortunately. Of the several models in the range, for some strange reason only two of them actually worked with the white cartridges, and these go for silly prices now on Ebay (the MD1000 and the MD5000).

Cartridges are also exxy.

I have the MD4000 series which doesn't acknowledge white, however the printer reads a barcode on the cartridge to decide what it is, so I "fool" it by adding the barcode off a black cartridge to the white cartridge, so it will print white for me. This has the advantage that I can simply type a name in black and print it white, which is much easier than working in the "negative".


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