ID Card Printers – Mini Guide On Plastic Identification Cards

Creating photo ID cards isn’t complicated. In fact, it only takes minutes to create a template and seconds to print a card. Modern day ID card printers create photo IDs that look better and last longer than ever before. This certainly beats the old days of printing out a card and laminating it. Learn more about photo ID in 2009 by reading this mini guide.

What are ID cards printed on? Photo ID card printers print on plastic PVC cards, typically CR-80 (credit card size). These cards are typically white, but don’t have to be. Card thicknesses are typically available in 30 mil and 10 mil. Thirty-mil cards are the thickness of a credit card. A mil is one thousandth of an inch. You can find our blank PVC cards here.

What kind of cartridges / ribbons do ID card printers use? Most ID card printers use a printing process called dye sublimation printing in which a thermal print head burns the image onto the card. This usually consists of a ribbon with several colored panels that are combined to create a full-color image. The ribbons consist of YMCK (Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Black) panels. The YMCKO ribbons contain an overlay panel, which prevents scratches and increases the life of the card. Monochrome ribbons are available for single-color printing. Some printers are only capable of monochrome printing. You can find our ribbons here.

Is software required? ID card software is necessary to create a template for printing. This could involve text, logos and photographs. There are many different types of ID software available and vary depending on the volume of cards being printed, if any type of encoding / bar code is required and if database management is needed for keeping track of and re-printing cards. Many ID card printers will now include a basic software package to get you up and going. You can find our ID card software here.

Can I encode magnetic stripes, smart cards and proximity cards? This all depends on the printer you are using and the software you are using. Many printers come with the ability to encode mag stripes, smart cards and proximity cards. This capability often has to be installed in the factory, so be sure to check prior to making a purchase.

Can all printers create double-sided printing? We sell single sided printers and double-sided printers. Single sided printers are primarily designed to only print one side of a card, where double-sided printers print both sides of a card in one pass. Double-sided printing can be done on a single-sided printer, but requires the card to be re-inserted the other way to print the other side. This is slower than a double-sided printer and there is a chance of the card being scratched as it is run through twice.

What are the major ID printer brands? The most common brands available today are Fargo, Eltron, Magicard, Evolis and Polaroid.

Regardless of the ID card route you plan to go with, you should stop by our site and view our entire selection of ID card printers, supplies and accessories here!

Keith Barlow

Keith is a third generation office equipment expert. ABC Office was started by his grandfather back in 1980 and he is proud to be caring on the values that made ABC Office what it is today… unsurpassed selection, detailed information, low prices, and courteous support.

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