Edible Printers (aka Printers for Edible Papers!)

I have seen a forum about types of edible 'paper' to use, but not about the printer itself.  

 

I have read, researched and read some more, which printer is the 'best' for edible images.  

 

I would love to know, from my fellow cookiers, what printer you use (including type of ink) and a comment as to what you LIKE or DON'T LIKE about it.  

Original Post

I have an Epson 410 inkjet, I believe, and the print quality is fine, but I find that it has a hard time feeding both wafer paper and frosting sheets, so it jams A LOT, or doesn't feed at all sometimes. Soooo frustrating.

 

You can use most any inkjet printer as long as it hasn't been used before with inedible inks and you buy the right set of food coloring cartridges to fit it. Kopykake has a handy printer-cartridge matching chart here: http://www.kopykake.com/docume...PrinterInks-Xref.pdf

 

However, as noted, feeding issues seem to vary from printer to printer.

 

Jaci Baynes Harper (Ali's Sweet Tooth) seems more pleased with her printer (I believe she has a Canon something), so hopefully she'll comment here.

I bought a Canon from Inkedibles (http://www.inkedibles.com/) and the ink cartriges came with the printer, but I have heard that you can purchase a new printer and and purchase the cartriges separetly. I did also purchase paper from them. The printer works well, BUT you MUST remove the print head after each use and soak it in warm water so it does not clog, as well as take out each ink cartrige and put it in a zip lock bag so they don't clog and dry out as well. I have never had a feed problem with the paper that I have purchased from them.

I also have a Canon ip3600 and have had no issues with it. I've owned it for almost two years now and it's still going strong.
I did a write up and linked the best prices for paper and ink refills on my blog.
The only issue I've had with getting it to print was, the cartridges have a little hole at the top and if it isn't open enough, ink will not flow well. I poked it with a needle and it works perfectly.
Signaljet has amazing ink prices even though they are in the UK, they are a fourth (or more) of the cost of all other suppliers. The links are all here
http://www.alissweettooth.com/vendors--products.html

I have used an Canon MG5320 that I got from Office Depot for less than $70 with coupons. I get my ink cartridges and icing sheets from Ink4cakes.com. I've never had an issue with feeding problems nor clogged ink cartridges...and I tell you, the ink last forever in this. I did a huge order {750 favors} that were full of color and so I bought extra ink cartridges and I didn't have to open them for that project. User friendly printer and very cost efficient. I attached a picture of the favors I did using this printer.

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IMAG1757

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I also have the Canon MG5320 (got mine at Walmart) and get the ink cartridges from Icing Images. I haven't had any feeding problems or ink clogs either. I was told to set the printer up so that the rear tray is used to feed the sheets, and that has worked well for me.

Originally Posted by Cadillac Cookies:

Does the edible ink have an expiration date (especially once opened)?  Are there any issues/concerns if you don't use the printer/ink very often?? Thanks for the info

Yes, my ink cartridges seem to plug or dry out when not in use. Well, actually the coloring is still visibly fluid in them, but for some reason my printer doesn't recognize them as full. I think others pull out the cartridges and re-seal them when not in use and haven't had this trouble, but I've been too lazy to test this approach.

Originally Posted by frostedbiscuit:
Can you use a regular printer and put edible ink in it or are there printers just for edible ink

Yes, Frosted Biscuit, All the printers mentioned above are just regular inkjet printers, but it's important that you never use them with real ink, just food coloring for food safety reasons. Kopykake has a handy chart that associates their food coloring cartridges with various printers. The link to that chart can be found in my earlier comment close to the top of this post.

Felt compelled to put in my 50 cents (or 50 pence – I’m English!) after printing many thousands of icing sheets for our customers over the years, using a number of different printers.

I would also agree with Tracey / Sheila / Brooke420 / Tracie / Tcomfort – we also use the Canon MG5320 in our business and it has been very reliable. (It has since been upgraded by Canon to the MG5520).

A couple of important points here though I wanted to highlight before making a purchase:

  1. How often you will be printing? As a basic rule of thumb, if you are going to be printing more than 20-30 sheets over a year, it is worth investing in a printer from both a maintenance and financial perspective. Otherwise, it is worth ordering prints from a local bakery or online site. Just to add a little more detail on the ‘ maintenance’ perspective, I would respectfully disagree with The Tailored Cookie and say it’s not necessary to remove inks / print heads each time - however to avoid the risk of inks drying up, try to get the printer running every 1 to 2 weeks if you can – even if just printing on piece of plain paper if you want to save costs. (Note there are some other ‘ongoing’ maintenance tips, which probably sit as another discussion!)
  2. What kind of printing will you mostly be doing? (This is a rhetorical question for others as I expect Gigi had bought a printer a while ago now!) If you need to print on large icing sheets (eg A3 size), go for an iX6500 series. If you need a scanner, go for the MG5300 series. Otherwise, go for something like the iP4800 series. Basically there’s no point spending extra on additional printer features if you don’t use them – the print quality is the same. We’ve used all three of the above in our cake decorating business and would recommend all of them depending on your needs. We haven’t had experience using other brands like the Epson that Julia has – we have found the biggest ‘support’ generally is on the Canon brand due to historic reasons in Edible Printing (and as a result the ink cartridges can sometimes be a little cheaper).

Hope that helps to any future purchasers - any thoughts or comments on the above welcome!

Hi all,

I have just joined this amazing group and I am amazed by your experience and assistance you provide.

 

I live in Jordan and so far I think I have never seen a cake shop that uses wafer paper in the city where I live in so thinking of starting a tiny business at home so was reading the comments about the best printer I can get and from what I read, I think Canon is getting the best recommendation, I contacted the distributor in my city and they said they have the new version MG5540 so not sure if this is heavy duty or works for such business!! if the business works well definitely I will be printing like 20-30 pages a week- fingers crossed.

So can you please advise on this?

Originally Posted by Nesreen Dabain:

Hi all,

I have just joined this amazing group and I am amazed by your experience and assistance you provide.

 

I live in Jordan and so far I think I have never seen a cake shop that uses wafer paper in the city where I live in so thinking of starting a tiny business at home so was reading the comments about the best printer I can get and from what I read, I think Canon is getting the best recommendation, I contacted the distributor in my city and they said they have the new version MG5540 so not sure if this is heavy duty or works for such business!! if the business works well definitely I will be printing like 20-30 pages a week- fingers crossed.

So can you please advise on this?

Hi, Nesreen, welcome to the site! I hope you enjoy it! I have no information about the MG5540, but from the number, it looks like it's just the latest in the MG5500 series, which James talks about a bit in his post above. Perhaps he'll have more to add.

Hi Nesreen (and thanks for the setup Julie!)- first of all congrats on deciding to buy an edible printer.

 

Yes, so the MG5540 is actually the same printer as the MG5520, the last two digits basically represent the ‘region’ they are selling in (ie 20 is America, 50 is UK, 60 is Australia etc). We haven’t used this printer but the main difference between the two is around the rear feed, where you load the edible sheets – The 5300 has it, but the 5500 doesn’t, meaning you have to load in at the bottom. Feedback from others with a bottom feeding printer is that it’s fine, but you have to limit the number of sheets you load at a time, as it can jam occasionally. I’d ask the distributor about it (and hopefully you’ll get a balanced response!).

 

Plenty of other learnings around the inks and icing once you get to it, and happy to help. When you get to software – we have an interest in this one as a result of frustrating experiences with existing software (I’ll save that one for another time) but feel free have a try of the designer at http://topperoo.com when you are all setup with the icing, printer and inks! 

To clarify Nesreen - the 20-30 sheets reference was actually a recommendation of minimum to print in a year. Meaning - as long as you're printing at least once every 1-2 weeks, it becomes beneficial to invest in a printer from a maintenance and financial perspective. Inks can start to clog a little after a couple of weeks. And if you're printing less that 20 sheets, it is more cost effective to find a bakery or online business to fulfil.

 

Canon will be more than suitable for your needs. If you're into the hundreds a week that's when you need to look at alternative printers! Remember it can take a while to get to even 10-20 sheets a week if you're starting from scratch- it doesn't happen overnight.

 

I'd also consider buying your stuff from a specialised wholesaler like http://deco.uk.com unless you know some locally. We order from them and very reliable - they would likely ship to Jordan too...

Hi Julie, I followed up on your PM to me, but just to summarise here for everyone else, yes, I would recommend the MG 6620 - this is the latest Canon model and is supplied by all the major edible printing retailers. The only downside is in the fact that it is a bottom only loading printer, meaning that the icing sheet needs to curve a little more whilst printing, increasing the slight risk of the icing peeling away from the backing. This is relatively uncommon however.

Hope this helps!

James

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