In another thread
I was looking for some advice surrounding using newer papers with my old 2200, and one of the suggestions was to look at the 3880. While I don't particularly need a new printer, it would solve a lot of the complexities than I'm dealing with, give me some new capacities and given the old one is pushing 11 years now it'd be nice to have a refresh so I'm considering it. Given the current rebates, the amount of ink included with the printer and the lower operating costs the price for doing so isn't huge. There are a lot of posts on this topic here, but those just cover the broad strokes as they're typically either comparing it to the purchase of a modern 13" or upgrading from a recent model (which still has some residual value to resell and recoup part of the cost), both of which are an easier case to make. On that account, I was hoping to get a better idea of the numbers related to this printer.
The first aspect that I've found a little confusing was how much ink you get when you buy the printer. Many reviews state that it has full 80mL tanks, but a lot of postings made since then note it only comes with 60mL starter cartridges - I'm guessing that was probably a change made since the original release to get the price down? Further, as I understand it the printer needs to take 15mL of each colour to prime the lines during the first use? As you can't print with empty cartridges, that ink is effectively lost so it doesn't really contribute to the final value (it gets used, but will always be replaced as that is done). As such, if my understanding is correct that would effectively result in an effective volume of 45mLx9 or about ~$330 (the 80mL carts go for $65CDN around here). Naturally, if the 60mL value already takes the priming ink into account that changes to $440 but I haven't seen an official specification on that so it's hard for me to tell. Also, I'm a bit unclear how the two black inks work with this printer. Is 15mL of ink taken from both of the black tanks to prime the system or is it just from one of them (ie there are two lines and the switching valve is in the head, or just one with the valve near the carts)?
The other aspect that I'm trying to wrap my head around is the running costs of the printer. From a per-mL basis, the difference isn't huge - I pay $14 for the 2200 carts, and as I understand it they hold about 15mL each. The 3880 carts cost $65 each for 80mL, so that's a direct savings of about 13%. Naturally, that doesn't tell the whole story as the smaller carts probably waste more of that ink (eg when a cart is low and cleaning is necessary, you need to replace them prematurely). From this article
on the main site, it would appear that the savings would be more significant than those basic estimates (closer to 20-22% looking at my numbers) although that's the older 3800 model and he was doing more volume than I am, so I'd probably lose more to maintenance purposes. This is certainly difficult to pin down exactly as there are a lot of variables, but I'd appreciate any ideas on how much it is costing you guys to use this printer on an aggregate basis (ie including maintenance losses)?
For anyone who has had both printers, I was wondering about how much relative maintenance you've found is necessary for these two printers? I've been pretty lucky with the 2200 that I haven't had any serious head clogs as of yet (knock on wood), but it does need cleaning periodically and doing so consumes a not-insignificant amount of ink. I tend to print roughly 50-75 sheets a year, so it's pretty light volume, although that's distributed relatively well so it doesn't really go long periods without printing (although that does periodically happen). I've read some good things about the 3880 being less susceptible to this than other printers, but I'm not sure if that's in comparison to the smaller printers or the bigger high-volume ones? Given the long ink lines, I am a bit concerned that that might be more of an issue compared to printers where the carts are right over the heads. Part of my hesitance in switching to bigger printers is that they are designed for higher volumes than I'm likely looking at.
It's still a bit of a long shot at this point, but there are some compelling arguments to make the upgrade and I'd like to get a better idea of how much the move would effectively cost and how much it would save me in the long run. I bought the 2200 when it was first released, so it's nearly 11 years old at this juncture and has definitely given me my money's worth out of the hardware. Eventually that maintenance tank is going to get filled up (it has no way to monitor that as far as I can tell), and as it's not replaceable in that model I'm going to have no choice but to replace it at that point. Now might be a good opportunity for that, but I'd like to have a better handle on the specifics to quantify the costs and benefits.