I have been using Epson inkjet printers for a decade or so now and am pretty much at the end of my rope with them. I do a lot of bulk printing on both paper and CDs and like that I can get good quality cheaply with Epson printers using continuous ink tanks. The problem is the heads constantly clogging! I sometimes have to run the head cleaning ten times to get it working properly again. I have gone through at least 20 of these printers (you can find them at thrift stores for 10 bucks) and I currently have an R320, and two R260s running and they basically each take turns being the one that "works" while the others are printing random blurry and/or faint bits here and there. My favorite is when the heads get clogged, not from being unused, but in the middle of a long print run! How does that happen?
Anyway, I am wondering if there is any alternative out there that can print direct to CDs and can use a CIS to save money on ink. I realize that Epson heads clog constantly because they are permanent and other printers that include the head in the cartridge don't have that problem, but I imagine they either wouldn't be compatible with a CIS or if they were you'd be using a lower quality "temporary" print head as a permanent one.
I would love some advice as to what I should invest in that can print direct to discs, is high quality, and will hold up for a few years. If such a printer exists.. that is.
I had exactly the same problem. Epson printer's are very susceptible to nozzle-blockages owing to the very small nozzle size and the ink formula. If you don't print a full colour graphic at least every other day you risk nozzle blockage. I had to bin mine after leaving it unused for 3 days.
I replaced it with a Canon Photo printer which also prints direct to printable discs, and it does a superb job on both those tasks with five separate ink carts. Moreover, it's nozzles have never become clogged with ink even after seven days of none use when I'm on holiday, and when I'm at home I just print a five-colour bar chart on it which measures 4 x 6 inches once every six days which keeps it running sweet.
The printing direct to printable discs (far better than using DIY stick-on labels) is something I'v only recently started doing after finding the Canon CD Tray which I'd thought I'd lost, and it's very impressive.
Needless to say, Im recommending your next printer be a Canon. I can't recommend a specific model as I'm not familiar with the latest models, but a Canon definitely.
Came across your post, just wanna share my 2 cents. I use Epson Artisan 50 with CISS to print on CDs as well, so far I have not experienced nozzle clogging very often, perhaps the issue is related to the ink you use? By the way, for printing CDs, I got an autoloader from a company called acronova, the loader can be fit on to Epson printers and automatically feed discs to the printer, I don’t have to load discs one by one manually, it’s pretty convenient.
I fixed it! I have an R200 and I took the Epson software CD and went to the "Drivers" folder and Selected “SetupXP”. There was a warning that there is a known incompatibility with windows Vista, but I followed through with the install and now I have listed under printers the original Vista Epson Stylus Photo R200(M) and the new printer Epson Stylus Photo R200 Series. I have been printing on CD's fine via Vista.
I agree that you should go with Canon as well. I will take it a step further and recommend the Canon PIXMA MX922, this coming from someone who used to use the Epson line for years because of the quality it produced. Now I have turned to the Canon PIXMA MX922 and have not been disappointed. The highlight of this printer is the Direct CD/DVD printing it offers. Although it may be challenging to figure it out at the beginning, it will be worth the time invested. The only down side I have found to the Canon, is the slow response time when printing using the network. Otherwise, the printer prints at an average speed.
Best of Luck!
2. If Your print-heads are clogging, replace them! The only issue is that some printheads cost more than a new printer. Maybe You can do what I do, and get another refurbished printer that uses the same printhead for a few bucks, with free S/H?