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Ixia replaces the Iris 3047 Giclee Fine art Printers Print E-mail

Iris reportedly ceased manufacturing their IrisGprint giclee printer version of the Iris 3047 proofer about four years ago. Iris will continue to market their popular proofers through Creo, but is seemingly no longer building giclee printers for the fine art giclee market.

The original Iris 3047 had a fabulous reputation, probably the world's most successful PR campaign in the digital era. But in reality the Iris 3047 giclee printer design was riddled with a few key structural problems.

The giclee prints were stunningly beautiful. Yet most people never realized how many prints had to be tossed in order to get the really nice ones that were exhibited and sold. The results of the original Iris printer design included the potential for banding and rainbow effects, among others. We recently got an e-mail from a fine art giclee printing company in Europe. He said he lost orders and business due to the banding and rainbow effects. He was keen to get his old Iris rebuilt into an Ixia to eliminate as many of the old design flaws as possible.

As a result most people who own the old Iris are scrambling to retrofit their giclee printers and turn them into the newer, better, sturdier Ixia model from ITNH.

iris giclee fine art printers impoved technologies Ixia replaces the Iris 3047 Giclee Fine art Printers

FLAAR was curious about the Ixia version of the Iris. After all, this was the legendary original giclée printer. So we visited the ITNH headquarters, twice actually. Since there is no independent factual evaluation of either the original Iris nor the rebuilt Ixia we all agreed that a review would be useful to all concerned.

ITNH installed the printer (this is not the kind of printer you should attempt to install yourself). We got nice prints. Then we noticed that the printer was going through lots of ink. After all that's what "continuous inkjet technology" implies. An Iris jets ink 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But we did not use it 24 hours a day. It still jetted ink day in, day out, all night too, and holidays!

So we turned it off; drained the ink, and mothballed the printer. We found it easier to use the HP 5000, HP 5500, Canon 8200, Epson 7600, and Mimaki JV4 to achieve giclee prints.

In 2004 we decided to do a full-scale review of the Ixia printer. An art student spent an entire semester trying to get the printer back into service. We had weeks of problems with faulty printheads, poor alignment. If you have a service contract, then ITNH will send a technician and fix all this for you. But a maintenance contract is very expensive. Besides, we felt that a printer should be able to be kept running by an in-house staff.

As of summer 2004 we simply gave up. As much as I wanted an exhibit of "Iris prints" it was simply too costly, too much headache. The prints we get from all our other printers are so colorful, such fine detail, and these Canon, Epson, HP, and Mimaki printers don't require a babysitter all day long.

If your clients demand an Iris print, and if your clients simply won't accept an image from an Epson branded printer, then you should consider an Ixia printer despite our experiences. If you have the maintenance contract, if you print every day all year, then you can learn to produce great art with the Ixia.

Learn more about FLAAR Reports on Fine Art Giclee by Nicholas Hellmuth


Last Updated: June. 1, 2004.
Previous updates: Sept. 5, 2003, Feb. 10, 2003, updated Mar. 5, 2002, Updated Oct. 20, 2001.



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