As good as the iColor 500 LED Laser printer is, we’ve just made it better. The UniNet Color 500 is our most-affordable white toner solution. In addition to being affordable, the iColor 500 is extremely versatile because of its unique toner options including its standard CMYK plus fluorescent White configuration and available fluorescent Cyan, Magenta and Yellow upgrades. The CMYK-FW configuration is a two-pass system that has a few downsides. Printing one sheet of paper twice adds time and complexity to the workflow.
For those who want something simpler, this is Good News Day. We’ve just added the iColor TransferRIP software upgrade. iColor TransferRIP is an add-on application that converts the iColor 500 into a four color single pass printer using a CMY-FW cartridge set. Unlike other laser printers, the iColor 500 and TransferRIP solution allows you to arrange the cartridges in different positions. This enables white toner printing for heat transfer and for standard print applications like flyers and transparencies. How does it work, why should you buy it, and how much does all this added utility cost?
iColor TransferRIP Overview
Before we talk about how the iColor TransferRIP software upgrade works and how it excels, let’s cover the basics. The iColor TransferRIP is a standalone software application that includes drivers for the UniNet iColor 500. It adds a unique color mapping function that allows you to convert an iColor 500 from its default five-toner CMYK-FWhite configuration to a four color CMY-FW printer. The RIP manages the position of cartridges so you can print with white over color for heat transfer or white under color for standard print applications (FIG 1).
The color mapping function requires differently-chipped toner cartridges. The starter cartridges shipped with the iColor 500 aren’t chipped. So if you start with a basic package, you won’t need to think about this until you order your first replacement cartridges. When you do, you’ll order the B versions of Cyan and Flourescent White. To retain the iColor 500’s fluorescent toner option, a B-Configuration fluorescent Cyan toner cartridge is also available.
In addition to the color mapping feature that simplifies the design and print process, TransferRIP software includes a screening option that converts solid layers of toner to half tones patterns. This gives the applied transfer a much softer hand and reduces toner cost. Speaking of which, the TransferRIP upgrade also
includes drivers for the Oki 711WT and OKI PRO 920WT. These printers don’t support color mapping, so the advantage of using TransferRIP with the OKI WT printers is limited to the screening options.
TransferRIP works with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10 and requires a PC with a dual core processor, 2GB of RAM, and an open USB port for the dongle key.
iColor TransferRIP Benefits &Advantages
There are lots of advantages to using the iColor TransferRIP upgrade. Here are the top seven.
• Color Mapping. As noted above, the Color Mapping tool allows you print Fluorescent White over CMY to support dark garment decoration, or print CMY over Fluorescent White for prints that don’t need to be heat applied. Boutique style flyers on black or colored card stock are a breeze. Just replace the Black toner cartridge with white, keep the standard toner positions and run your prints. This preserves the iCOLOR 500’s full range of print and heat transfer applications.
• Simpler Printing: Using TransferRIP simplifies white toner printing by eliminating the possibility the CMYK and White layers may not align perfectly. Single pass printing removes this worry and produces perfect alignment of white and color for professional quality transfers every time. This makes the print process faster and easier.
• Simpler Design: Two-pass printing requires careful preparation of the art. It’s not complicated but requires a few essential steps. TransferRIP simplifies things by adding the white layer for you. So you don’t need to create it in your design application. You don’t have to determine how much smaller the white layer should be in order to achieve correct CMYK-to-white registration. Just create your image with a transparent background. TransferRIP adds the white layer for you. This benefit alone can save you hours in design time.
• More Graphic Design Possibilities. FlexiSIGN and Vinyl Express LXi don’t work well with two-pass printing. Printing directly from either application causes a noticeable shift on the second pass when the white layer is printed over the CMYK layer. Using TransferRIP eliminates that problem. You can design your image in LXi Master Plus or any version of FlexiSIGN or FlexiDESIGNER. When printed from TransferRIP, you’ll have a perfectly registered CMYW print ready for the heat press.
• White Layer Opacity & Choke Control. The 4th Step in the TransferRIP workflow is the spot channel control. The RIP’s default spot color setting is designed to save money by adding White only where it’s needed to support bright colors in the design. But TransferRIP also allows you to increase the white layer opacity up to 400% for super opaque white and vivid color (FIG2). It also includes a choke tool for shrinking the white layer for optimal image quality.
• Color management tools. Select and replace colors, control saturation, and increase or reduce color by channel. The color management tools allow you to optimize customer-supplied artwork upstream of the printer.
• Softer Transfers & Lower Toner Costs. The final step includes a Screen option that converts the image from solid layers of toner to halftones. There are presets engineered for use with light and dark apparel. Each includes several options for dot sizes patterns, highlights and shadows. The use of the halftone features makes the final transfer softer by placing toner only where it’s needed. This feature adds gives the applied transfer a softer hand and reduces toner cost by up to 40%.
iColor TransferRIP Process
So how does TransferRIP work its magic? Does it require a full day training seminar or a PhD in Transferology? On the contrary, it’s an easy, five-step process. To make it even more user-friendly, the entire workflow is outlined in the user’s manual which is included on the setup disc. Here’s a quick summary.
1) Select a Profile & Color Mapping combination. Custom iColor 500 ICC profiles are included on the setup disc. Start by choosing one of two direct image profiles. There’s one for CMYW and one for CMYK printing. Activate color mapping and indicate the placement of your White and Cyan cartridges.
2) Load your image file and select the paper size.
3) Make any color adjustments if desired: Increase or decrease saturation, replace a color or range of colors, or adjust any of the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow or Black channels.
4) Preview the Spot Color layer and make any desired adjustments to white toner opacity and choke
5) Choose printer settings. Select the appropriate media type, set your mirror, and screening options, and click Print.
Price and Packages
Now we come to the $64,000 question. Or in this case, the $649.00 question. And that’s the answer. That’s the SignWarehouse price for all this garment decoration goodness. Considering the TransferRIP advantages, it’s an excellent value. If you already have an iColor 500 printer and would like to simplify your workflow and soften your prints, you can order it by phone. Give us a call at 800-899-5655. If you don’t have a laser transfer printer yet, you can get an iColor 500 TransferRIP starter package with all the fixin’s with some package savings baked in. Package prices start at $3,595.00. It’s still the most affordable white toner option on the market. But now you get the added benefits of simpler design, single-pass printing, color management, White toner opacity control, plus an elegant screening option to reduce cost and soften transfers.