Posts Tagged ‘ID Card Printers’

Fargo DTC1000 Photo ID Card Printer Review

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Fargo DTC1000 ID Card PrinterIf your business or organization uses ID badges, PVC time cards or other photo identification, you should really consider printing your own cards in house. It is remarkably fast, about as easy as using a standard desktop printer and is much less expensive than outsourcing. One solid printer you may want to consider using is the Fargo DTC1000 (found here). This high-tech ID card printer is available in several different versions depending on what you want to print.

Fargo has been making high-end photo ID printers for well over a decade. I have personally used them to create ID badges and have always felt that the quality is right where it should be. One thing that I have been very impressed with is that as their technology improves, the prices seem to always get lower. I suppose that’s just the way it is with technology.

The latest addition of the DTC1000 brings quality and affordability to the user. This printer incorporates a lot of features and technology that you used to have to pay extra for. Here are a few of the new features that I particularly like:

  • Cleaning Roller – ID card printers use thermal print heads that begin to gum up and get dirty with repeated use. The results of a dirty print head can range anywhere from blurry images to incorrect colors or a complete failure of the print job. It used to be that you had to purchase a separate cleaning kit for proper maintenance on the printer. The DTC1000 now incorporates a cleaning roller in the printer ribbon itself. This means the DTC1000 now cleans the thermal print head using the same ribbon that is used to print cards. This is very cool.
  • ID Card Software – In order to create an ID card, you need software to lay out the design, template, text, picture and other information prior to printing. The Fargo DTC1000 includes Swift ID software. While it isn’t as robust as a photo ID software suite, it will allow you to quickly create a card and print it out. This is a huge plus in my book. I recommend you try out the included software and see what you think prior to purchasing 3rd party ID card software.

The Fargo DTC1000 is currently available in three different flavors. Each of the three designs also come with additional available modifications. The three versions are:

  1. DTC1000M Monochrome Printer (found here) – If you don’t need a lot of different colors and simply need clear, crisp data on a card, the DTC1000M is a good option. This printer can print in black and white or it can use several different colors of monochrome ribbons. It can still print edge-to-edge, can still be used with CR-80 and CR-79 card ranging in thickness from 9 to 40 mils thick. It can still print photos, text and even bar codes. It is also much faster than a color printer.
  2. DTC1000 Single Sided Printer (found here) – This is an excellent printer for full color single-sided printing. It can even print on the other side of the card with a second pass. You can buy this printer with a built-in print server, magnetic strip encoder or smart card encoder. It prints cards in a resolution of 300 dpi and takes about 24 seconds to print a card, which is a speed of about 150 cards a minute. This printer is extremely compact and sits nicely on just about any desk or table. It connects via a USB cable directly to a printer for easy setup. The print server version can be tied in directly with a network.
  3. DTC1000DS Double Sided Printer (found here) – This printer is very similar to the single sided version, but can print both sides of the card in a single pass. It is also available with a magnetic stripe encoder or an internal print server. It can print full color on both sides of the card, or it can be used with a YMCKOK ribbon that prints full color on one side and a single color on the back, saving cost on ribbons. This printer is highly versatile and extremely affordable for a double-sided printer.

All three of these printers are solid products and are extremely easy to use. I recommend businesses use these for creating ID badges, universities for student ID cards and for much more. They can even be used for creating novelty cards or by businesses for creating membership cards. You can find our entire selection of photo ID card printers here. If you still have questions about ID card printers, please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788. We have years of experience with these machines and can help answer your questions.

Have you used the Fargo DTC1000? Post your feedback and experience with it here as a comment! Thanks for reading.

How Does a Proximity Card Work?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Proxmity CardsAt ABC Office we sell a wide variety of employee time clocks, designed to keep track of employee time worked for payroll purposes. One popular technology used with many of our time cards is proximity cards. So how exactly does a proximity card work? I’ll explain in this article.

To begin with, you may have noticed that proximity cards are a little thicker than your standard ID badge or credit card. This is because integrated circuitry is embedded and sandwiched between several plastic layers. This circuitry communicates with other devices such as time clocks using a special radio / wireless frequency.

Most proximity cards are powered by using resonant energy transfer in conjunction with a passive chip that is found inside the proximity card itself, although some are powered using small batteries. Non-powered proximity cards typically have a smaller storage capacity than powered cards.

Resonant energy transfer, used in non-powered proximity cards, is very similar to RFID technology and transponder technology found in many modern car keys. This allows the card to operate without have any battery inside. The proximity card reader emits pulses of a wireless radio frequency that the built-in passive chip uses to power the proximity card.

One of the biggest advantages of proximity cards is convenience. They operate by holding the card anywhere from 0-3 inches in front of the card readers. There is no password or special keypad interaction. It is that easy, and for that reason, proximity card are huge for use with building security, time cards and for a variety of business applications.

Proximity cards use special chips that are embedded into the circuit board that contain unique identifying data. This unique identifying data, embedded on the proximity card, can then be tied to a specific person or employee. In the situation of a time clock, the proximity card may contain unique information identifying the employee. When waved in front of a proximity-based time clock, that employee is logged in or out.

Setting up a proximity card is pretty easy. In the instance of an employee time clock, a blank proximity card can be read and then linked with a specific employee. This is typically the case with a building security system as well.

So how do pictures and ID information get placed on a proximity card? This is often done by using a 10-mil CR-79 ID card with an adhesive back. Basically the employee’s picture, company logo, ID number and other information is printed on the CR-79 card using a digital ID card printer. This thin 10-mil card is then stuck onto the surface of the proximity card. You can find our blank CR-79 adhesive cards here.

So there you have it. Proximity cards are extremely handy and utilize some pretty unique technology. You can find our entire selection of time clocks, including proximity time clocks, here.

What Is Dye Sublimation? (ID Card Printing)

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Dye Sublimation Printer RibbonIf you have been shopping around for an ID card printer, you have probably run across the term dye sublimation several times. So what makes dye sublimation superior for printing ID cards? I’ll explain some of its benefits.

To begin with, ID card printers that use dye sublimation printing usually utilize some sort of a printer ribbon. The ribbon itself looks like a thin strip of plastic, usually consisting CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) colored panels. Ribbons that feature CMYKO have an overlay panel (O) for added scratch protection.

ID printers have a special thermal print head that heats up these panels and burns them onto a blank PVC card. The panel transitions from a solid to a gaseous state in the process, hence the term sublimation. For those of you who are not chemistry buffs, sublimation occurs when a solid transitions to a gaseous state without ever becoming a liquid.

Dye Sublimation ID Card RibbonDye sublimation ID card printing produces some of the clearest and most professional-looking images available. Because the images are fused onto the PVC card using heat and multiple colored panels, the image has an extremely long lifespan. This is ideal for identification purposes as ID cards can be placed in pockets, wallets, purses and typically experience a lot of wear and tear.

We carry dye sublimation ID card printers from Fargo, Polaroid, Eltron, Magicard and many other manufacturers. You can find most of our dye sublimation printer ribbons here and dye sublimation ID card printers here.

Do you still have questions? Call one of our photo ID experts at 1-800-658-8788.

Best PVC Cards For Digital Photo ID Printers

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

CR80 Blank 30 Mil PVC ID CardsThere are a lot of different sizes and colors of PVC cards available today for creating photo ID cards. A lot of people get confused as to which size, thickness and style they should use. Here is the advice I give our customers.

To begin with, most ID card printers print on plastic PVC cards. The size that is most common is referred to as a CR-80. This size is exactly the same size as a credit card. It fits in most badge holders, can be slot punched for use with lanyards and continues to be the best all-round size for ID cards.

The thickness of PVC ID cards is measured in mils. A mil is a thousandth of an inch. The most common thickness of ID card used today is 30 mils thick. As with the size, the 30 mil thickness is the same as a credit card.

So why do we offer thinner 10 mil cards? For one, they cost less and are nice for temporary ID cards. The most common use of the 10 mil ID card, however, is with proximity cards.

We offer a 10 mil thick CR-80 that has an adhesive back. What many people do is print their ID on the 10-mil adhesive card and then stick it on the surface of a thicker proximity card. This is a great way to put an ID on a proximity or key card.

CR-80 PVC cards are available in multiple colors, but white continues to be the most popular color. White cards, much like white paper, allow the printing of just about anything. Blank PVC cards are also available with magnetic stripes (high & low coercivity) for encoding data and information. Most of our CR-80 cards ship in 500 or 1,000 quantity boxes.

You can find our entire selection of blank CR-80 PVC ID cards here. You can also find our entire selection of digital photo ID printers here.

Digital ID Card Printer Buyer’s Guide

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Photo ID Card PrintersAre you in the market for a digital ID card or badge printer, but don’t know exactly what you need to get up and going? It isn’t complicated, but you do need to be aware of a few things before you make your purchase. Here are a few tips that should help you get on your feet and become more familiar with digital ID card printers in general. Enjoy!

Digital ID Printers – First off, let’s cover the printers. The digital ID card printer is the core of the ID card creation process. Printers come in full-color and monochrome designs. Most full color printers can print monochrome, but monochrome printers cannot print full color.

Printers also come in single-sided and double sided designs. This depends on the type of card you will be printing . Single sided printers can be used for double-sided printing, but require the card to be flipped. This increases time, is more inconvenient and increases the risk of the card being scratched.

ID card printers can be customized to be fitted with magnetic stripe encoders, smart card encoders and proximity card encoding. Printers should state on the product page whether they are available with these features.  You can find our ID card printers here.

PVC Cards – Most ID card printers use a CR-80 size plastic PVC card in a 30 mil thickness. While cards sizes may vary, this is by far the most common size used today. The 30 mil thickness is the same thickness as a credit card. Thinner cards are available, and usually include an adhesive back for use with proximity cards. While most CR-80 cards are white, multi-colored cards are available. You can find our blank CR-80 PVC cards here.

Digital ID Card Creation SoftwareCard Creation Software – ID card printers will require some sort of software to assist with the card creation process. While I have spoken with people that have used MS Word and Photoshop to create cards, card creation software is much faster. Some printers come with software, but most require a separate software suite to be used.

I have found, however, that more and more printer manufacturers are including software with their printers. You can find our ID card software here.

ID Card Printer RibbonsPrinter Ribbons – Most ID card printers use a multi-panel color ribbon that is fused to plastic PVC cards through a process called dye sublimation. The thermal print head will fuse one color to the card, then another and then another. Most full-color cards use a YMCK (yellow, magneto, cyan, black) process, often with a clear laminate overlay to protect the print. These prints hold up well with daily use. You can find our ID card printer ribbons here.

Cleaning Kits – It is recommended to clean your printer after frequent use or when flaws begin to appear. These cleaning kits typically clean the thermal printing head. This includes wipes, cleaning pens and cleaning cards. Cleaning kits can be found on the printer ribbon supply pages for the brand of printer being used.

This is a basic breakdown on how an ID card printer works and what is needed to get one up and running. Please feel free to contact one of our photo ID specialists at 1-800-658-8788 with answers to more questions. You can find our entire selection of photo ID equipment and supplies here. This includes lanyards, badge holders, reels and more.

Digital ID Card Printer Troubleshooting Tips and Repair

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Magicard Photo ID Card PrinterDigital ID card printers are pretty easy to use and don’t require a lot of babysitting, but they do occasionally have their issues that need attending to. There are a lot of preventative things you can do to cut down on printing problems and if you do experience a problem, the fix is usually pretty simple.

Here is a list of the most common problems our customers experience with their ID card printers. Printers do, however, vary in functionality, so these solutions may or may not work for your model.

Digital ID Card Printer Troubleshooting & Repair Tips

Colors seem to be off – While the printing ability of and ID card printer is pretty accurate, the color on your monitor may not always match up with what your printer prints. You may need to adjust the colors in the printer software to better match the colors you are trying to print.

Printed image colors are not aligned – Often removing the printer ribbon and putting it back in will allow the printer to cycle and re-align the panels to print correctly.

ID Card Printer RibbonImages turn out fuzzy and unclear – This is usually a result of the print head being dirty. Most printers have cleaning cards or pens that can be used to clean the thermal print head.

The prints look bad – Make sure your blank ID cards are clean of dust and do not touch the surface of the blank cards with your finger. Dust and oil from hands can cause poor printing.

The printer ribbon keeps breaking – This is often due to a dirty thermal print head, causing the ribbon to stick to the print head. Cleaning the print head should fix this. This issue is especially prominent when printing full-color (edge-to-edge) ID cards.

Can I re-use a broken ribbon? – The broken ribbon can still be re-used. Use some scissors to cut the broken edge and us scotch tape to re-connect the ribbon with the waste roller. The printer will usually cycle the ribbon and be able to use it again.

Printer panels are incorrect – So your blue is printing red and colors are out of whack. This problem often arises when your printer settings are set for the incorrect ribbon type. An example would be someone using a YMCKO ribbon in the printer but the computer is set up for a YMCK ribbon. Setting up the computer for the correct ribbon will usually fix this.

The printer misfeeds blank PVC cards – This can be a result of the friction roller being dirty or needing to be replaced. Most ID card printers use a friction roller to grab and pull the blank card in. These friction rollers can be cleaned of dust. If that doesn’t work, replacement rollers are usually pretty cheap.

High Definition Printing – Introducing The New Fargo HDP5000

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

New Fargo HDP5000 ID Card PrinterWe just recently added the Fargo HDP5000 id card printer to our site a few days ago. While most ID card printers operate in a similar way, the HDP5000 does a few things that really separate itself apart from the competition. Here are a few things I have noticed.

First off, this printer claims to produce high definition printing. What does this mean? Well, apart from the marketing lingo, it means this printer can create some of the most realistic and crisp images available in digital ID card printing today. In technical terms, this printer can print up to 16.7 million colors at 256 shades per pixel.

Fargo HD5000 Printing ProcessThis printer prints the image, text and other data onto a layer that is then fuzed to the target card’s surface. Why is this important? Because it means the Fargo HDP5000 can print on uneven surfaces, such as cards with embedded electronics. The technical jargon for this is HDP® dye-sublimation / resin thermal transfer.

The Fargo HDP5000 is available in several variations, depending on the type of card you will be printing and the quantity you will be printing. This printer is available in a single and double-sided design and available in a standard or overlaminate design. The overlaminate coating, available on the LC versions, helps to prevent image wear and extends the life of the ID card / security badge.

You can view all versions of the new Fargo HDP5000 ID card printer here.

Introducing: The New Fargo DTC550 Series ID Printers

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Fargo DTC550 ID Card PrinterWe are proud to announce the addition of the Fargo DTC550 ID card printer. This printer comes in nine different variations. This includes single sided, double sided, printers capable of encoding magnetic stripes and models that include a lamination cartridge.

Fargo has been around for well over a decade and makes some of the most renowned ID card printer available today. The color and image sharpness looks lifelike, allowing for edge to edge printing without any issues.

Fargo ID card printers can be used to create ID cards, badges, novelty cards and much more. ID card software is so easy to use now that creating an ID badge template can be done by just about anyone.

You can view the new Fargo DTC-Series printers by going to these following links:

ID Card Printers – Mini Guide On Plastic Identification Cards

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

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!

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