Yesterday, at approximately 9:30AM we unplugged our last IRIS printer. This was a bittersweet moment for us. Don’t get us wrong, Its a great feeling to be out with the old and in with the new. Bitter because these machines originally cost $40,000 each. It pioneered the industry we are in today and still creates beautiful prints. Sweet because the benefits of using new printers including larger color gamut, more durability, and prints being more archival far exceed the cost and other faults of the IRIS prints.
The machine is just no longer the best most archival machine like it once was. The richness of the inks and the beautiful velvet appearance of its prints still rival all the printers on the market today. Due to its faults it is just not realistic to keep the machine alive any more.
More reasons the IRIS had to go: IRIS archival ink is no longer manufactured, it is very expensive to operate, it constantly purges ink, any little droplet of spit or water lands on the print it is flawed, it takes several rejected prints to make one perfect print, and inks only have 60-100 year archival rating, amongst many other reasons. It just had everything going against it for a digital fine art printing shop like our own in today’s economy.
At one point we had 3 IRIS machines in full production. If you did not know, these are the machines that started the whole industry. We were also one of the original shops pioneering this digital fine art printing industry. We have now been in business for over 15 years and are thrilled to have been able to adjust with the industry and continue to provide industry leading digital fine art printmaking to our current and future clients.
The hum of the IRIS is no longer present and the printer room is quiet and lonely without it. The new printers only hum when printing and the IRIS would hum non stop. It’s going to take some getting used to. We have been really connected and attached to each individual IRIS machine we have ever had.
Their names were Betty, Beast, and Bubba. We have been very close with these machines as it is an intimate marriage owning and running these amazing extremely difficult to operate machines. Yesterday we unplugged Beast. It was named beast because you could always depend on it. Its a sad day at Old Town Editions…….