The world of digital garment decoration has seen lots of growth in recent years spurred in part by advancements in laser transfer printing and self-weeding papers. We at SignWarehouse are pleased to have been part of that growth by helping to introduce the GO UNO and OKI WT printers. Now we’re taking another big step by adding a unique new laser transfer solution: the UniNet iColor 500 laser transfer printer. The UniNet iColor 500 is a desktop laser printer and paper combination that features a one-of-a kind toner array producing superior color, opacity, and durability while opening exciting new markets for decorators. You want rich color on white garments? Check. You want opaque white on dark apparel? Check. You want transfers that last as long as screen printed shirts? Check. How about upscale print applications like white text on cardstock? Check. How about fluorescent toner for eye-popping blacklight apparel and signage? You want all of that at a starting price under $2,700? Check! How do we get all that functionality out of one printer? Read on.
UniNet iColor 500 Overview
What makes the UniNet iColor 500 such a unique laser transfer solution? Unique toner options, excellent paper, and great economy.
Unique Toner: The iColor 500 differs from all other laser transfer offerings by starting with five toner cartridges instead of four. The basic package includes CMYK plus White. This allows users to get the opaque white necessary for decorating dark garments without sacrificing the vivid color and rich, opaque black of a CMYK printer. And that white toner cartridge does double duty as your first step toward fluorescent color. Fluorescent Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow toner cartridge drums are also available. Adding Fluorescent CMY enables the iColor 500 to create prints and transfers that produce eye-catching effects under ultraviolet light.
Premium Paper: The stength of the iColor 500 laser printer isn’t only its unique toner configuration. UniNet has developed a premium two-step transfer paper for decorating dark garments and substrates that rivals the best in the industry. UniNet Premium paper offers an adhesive layer that adds opacity and durability to the white toner, producing a ‘double-white’ effect. UniNet warrants the Premium paper transfers for 100 washes. That’s roughly three times as durable as other laser transfer papers. If you’ve been waiting for a laser transfer solution as durable as screen print and sublimation, your patience has been rewarded.
Versatility: The iColor 500’s unique toner array and Premium Paper give it a wide variety of possible applications. Part of this versatility comes from the fact that the iColor 500 isn’t a closed box. You can use it with existing laser transfer media. The combination of UniNet printer features with Uninet, EnduraTRANS, and Forever paper supports all kinds of profitable applications. The list includes…
• Vivid color transfers on white and pastel garments
• Opaque, durable white transfers on colored and dark garments
• Light pastel and gradient colors on light garments *
• Vivid color transfers on hard surfaces like ceramic tile, wood, magnetic signs and more.
• White graphics on black and colored card stock- ideal for menus and premium paper design
• “Black light”-visible T-shirt transfers, menus, and more.
Speed and Quality: The advanced single-pass LED print heads produce high resolution 1200 x 600dpi prints at speeds up to 8pages per minute on transfer media and 34ppm on standard papers. You’ll get outstanding quality whether you’re decorating cotton or card stock.
Value: Perhaps the best aspect of othe iColor 500 is its price. You get all of this class-leading quality and versatility for about a grand less than the similarly-sized OKI 711WT. Packages start at only $2,695.00
By special arrangement with Uninet, the iColor 500 is available in the US only from SignWarehouse. So you’ll also receive top quality support and access to a complete line of laser transfer paper and supplies.
iColor 500 Advantages
How does the iColor 500 compare to other T-shirt printing options on the market? Quite favorably. Consider the following iColor advantages.
Opaque white, Rich Black: The unique CMYK+W toner set makes it the only white toner-enabled laser printer that doesn’t sacrifice rich blacks for opaque white. So you can decorate white and pastel shirts just as beautifully as dark shirts. And your full color prints on standard paper won’t look washed out. Advantage, iColor 500.
Superior Durability: The combination of white toner and UniNet Premium Paper produces the most washfast laser transfers on the market. Advantage, iColor 500.
From Fluorescents to Pastels: UniNet’s unique fluoescent toner option produces the only black light laser transfers in the industry. We start you off with fluorescent white in each iColor 500 shipped. A Fluorescent CMY toner set is available as a package upgrade. On the other end of the spectrum, UniNet Premium paper can also be used with white apparel to add a white under-base that supports pastel colors and smooth white -to-color gradients. *These designs don’t work with CMYK laser printers and one-step self-weeding papers because the paper can’t differentiate between low saturation, pastel colors and un-printed paper. Advantage, iColor 500.
CorelDRAW or PhotoShop: OKI WT printers require the use of Adobe Photoshop’s path tools to activate the white toner and define the white layer. The UniNet iColor laser transfer solution is much more flexible. It can be used with other graphic design applications including CorelDRAW. Advantage, iColor 500.
iColor 500 Vs Sublimation: Dye sublimation produces permanent, very soft transfers, but only on white polyester. The iColor 500 solution works on cotton, polyester, cotton-poly blends, and of course dark and colored apparel. Dye sublimation can also be used to decorate hard surfaced items like ceramic tiles. But only if they’re polymer-coated. The iColor 500 can be used to decorate hard surfaces without a polymer coating, including sealed wood and magnetic vinyl. Advantage, iColor 500.
iColor 500 Vs Inkjet transfers: Inkjet transfer papers can be used with inexpensive desktop printers and vinyl cutters to produce opaque transfers on dark garments. But the ink isn’t as washfast as laser transfer and the process requires advanced vinyl cutters and manual weeding of the paper. The iColor 500 uses self-weeding transfer paper which eliminates the need to plot and weed the media before pressing. And the applied transfer has a softer hand. Add the wash rating of 100 cycles vs 25 or 30, plus the non-apparel applications for signs, mugs, magnets and more. Advantage, iColor 500.
iColor 500 Vs screen print: Screen printing is ideal for long runs and can be used to decorate shirts, signs, and more. But it requires manual color separation, exposing screens, handling messy ink and lots of cleanup. Custom and short-run jobs are often lost opportunities for screen printers. Because it’s a digital process, laser transfer is profitable for one-off and short run orders. No smelly chemicals, no messy inks, no washing screens. Just design it, print it, and press it. Advantage, iColor 500.
iColor 500 – Premium Paper Process & Tips
As noted above, UniNet’s Premium Paper is an important part of the total iColor 500 solution. Here’s a brief summary of the Premium Paper process – plus a few essential tips. Please click here for complete, detailed instructions.
- Design your image in two layers: a CMYK layer and a white layer.
- Print the CMYK layer on the Transfer paper using the Medium Light Media Type setting.
- Remove the Black toner cartridge and replace it with the White toner cartridge.
- Re-feed the transfer sheet using only the white toner cartridge to apply the white layer.
- Press the Transfer sheet and Adhesive sheet together with medium pressure for 35 seconds at 240 – 260°F. Open the press, close and repeat.
- Separate Transfer and Adhesive sheets in one smooth motion.
- Press Transfer sheet to garment at same time and termperature with high pressure.
- Peel cold.
Tips: There are a few important tips to add here.
- Cover the Sheets: Before that first stage, cover the Transfer and Adhesive sheets with a sheet of standard copy paper. This is especially important if you use and auto-open heat press. The sheet of paper keeps the heat press from pulling the Transfer and Adhesive sheets off the table when the platen is lifted. If you’re using a manual press, don’t lift the platen so abruptly that you create a vacuum. If the platen pulls the papers off the table, they’ll start to cool and the separation may be more difficult.
- Keep ’em Flat: Remember to keep the Transfer and Adhesive sheets flat on the table as you peel them.
- Trim: After separating the Transfer and Adhesive sheets, trim the edges of the Transfer sheet with scissors to remove any residue from the adhesive sheet.
- Laminator Option: Repeating the first heat press cycle seals the Transfer and Adhesive sheets to provide a solid adhesive layer on the toner. If you don’t want to press and repeat, you can run the sheets together through a hot laminator to warm the adhesive and drive out any trapped air. Then press once at 240 – 260°F for 35 seconds and separate as directed above.
iColor Starter Package Options
If you’re on a tight budget and already have a good heat press, you can get started with the Economy Package, which includes a starter set of partially-filled toner cartridges, for under $2,700.00. If you’re starting from scratch, we have an array of packages designed to outfit you with what you need to succeed. One of the advantages of the iColor 500 is the fact that it works not only with UniNet Premium Paper, but also with our existing EnduraTRANS and Forever Laser Dark papers. So you have lots of creative options to help you get the most out of your new printer. A complete package with an iColor 500, enduraPRESS SD20 heat press, an extra set of full toner cartridges, and an assortment of laser transfer papers for various applications is yours for only $5,995.00.
Have you been waiting for the right laser transfer printer? This one checks all the boxes. Opaque white without washed-out color prints? Check. Decorated T-shirts that last up to 100 washes? Check. A solution for pastels and gradients? Check. Laser printing on colored and black premium papers? Check! T-shirts and menus that look awesome under UV light? Check! All that groundbreaking goodness for under $2,500! Youbetcha! Check out the UniNet iColor 500 laser printer. The wait is over.