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When you look at an ID card printer descriptions, often one of the first details often listed is the printing technology. But do you know the difference is between dye sublimation and reverse transfer printers, and why it matters?

Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye sublimation printing works by using a heated print head to print the design directly on the card’s surface using the colored or monochrome panes from your printer ribbon – this type of printing may also be called Direct to Card printing.

Dye sublimation printers, like the Datacard SD260, are the most common types of ID card printers on the market, giving you the widest range of price points and feature options.

Reverse Transfer Printing

Reverse transfer printers, like the Fargo HDP5600, use a different printing style – in these printers, the card design is first printed onto a clear film and that film is then applied to the surface of the ID card.

The benefit of the reverse transfer process is in the added quality and durability it gives cards; these printers are capable of printing high definition images and use true over-the-edge printing because the film is larger than the actual ID card. Additionally, these cards are more resistant to scratches and wear than a card from a dye sublimation printer.

The trade-off with a reverse transfer printer is a slower print speed and higher cost due to the additional materials used for printing.

DiscountID carries a wide range of card printers, including dye sublimation and reverse transfer printers. Shop all ID card printers on DiscountID.

If you have a Mac computer, we have added new Mac-only software to DiscountID – AlphaCard ID Builder for Mac! Available in four editions, ID Builder has a wide range of features and options.

AlphaCard ID Builder Editions

With four software editions, it’s easy to find an ID Builder for every need.

AlphaCard ID Builder Basic is entry-level software with a built-in database that holds up to 300 records (100 if you store photos on your database). It comes with pre-designed card templates, background designs, Clipart, and shapes for fast and easy card designing.

AlphaCard ID Builder Standard is the most popular edition, designed for use by small to mid-sized organizations. The Standard edition has an unlimited built-in database, and options to connect an external XLS, XLSX, CSV, or TXT database. Standard also includes a built-in image editor and image effects.

AlphaCard ID Builder Professional has a wide range of design and database options including image acquisition through SKD, multi-layout card designs, and OLE objects and photos on database records. With Professional, you can connect an external MSAccess or SQLite database.

AlphaCard ID Builder Elite is the most advanced edition with user account management, audit reporting, and search (query) records. With Elite, you also have an ODBC connection to an external database.

Free Six-Week Software Trial

If you want to try out AlphaCard ID Builder, download the free six-week trial today! This free trial works exactly like the full version of the software, except “DEMO” is printed across any cards you print. This trial allows you to try out all four versions of the software.

Once your trial is over, any card design and database information you created will be transferred over to your full edition of the software.

Download the free trial of AlphaCard ID Builder for Mac.

The difference between a single-sided and a dual-sided printer is whether or not the printer will automatically print of the back of a card – but how do you know when to upgrade to dual-sided?

When to Use a Single-Sided Printer

Single-sided printers only print on the front side of your cards, making them faster and more efficient than dual-sided printers. If you are only printing single-sided cards, you’ll need a single-sided printer. But there are several instances where you may also want a single-sided printer even if you are printing dual-sided cards.

For example, if all your cards have the same design on the back, like a “Return to this address if found” message, you can batch print all the cards with that information, and then print the customized front for each cardholder as needed. Or if you are on a tight budget and print a low volume of ID cards, and have the time to manually flip cards to print on both sides.

Shop all single-sided printers on DiscountID.

When to Use a Dual-Sided Printer

Dual-sided printers will automatically print on both sides of your cards, either by flipping them and running them through the printer again or by using two printheads to print both sides in a single pass.

You may want to upgrade to a dual-sided printer if printing efficiency and speed is important to your organization, especially if you print large numbers of cards. A dual-sided printer is also the best option if you need to print unique data on both sides of the card and cannot pre-print one side of the card.

Shop all dual-sided printers on DiscountID.

DIDBlogImage_cameraAdding cardholder photos to your ID card designs make it easier to verify the cardholder is the person in the photo, improving your building’s security. When taking those photos, you’ll want to use some basic equipment to ensure that all your photos come out clear and uniform.

ID cameras are designed to work with your card design software, and are easy to use. They connect to your computer so your photo files are already saved there when you’re ready to design your cards.

A tripod will help you keep the camera level and steady, resulting in clear photos. By positioning the camera at the same height on the tripod you can also ensure your cardholder photos are uniform and easily identifiable.

Lighting is also important for taking clear photos – fluorescent overhead lighting will washing out the colors in your photos. If possible, take photos in natural light; if you need to take photos in an office, place a desk lamp near the person to off-set the fluorescent lighting.

Finally, a backdrop also helps your take uniform cardholder photos with the same colored background in every photo. Portable backdrops also allow you to take photos in any location.

ID card printers use colored ribbons of thin film to print your full color or monochrome card designs – but if these delicate ribbons rip, is it possible to fix them? Yes, and it’s a surprisingly simple fix!

How to Fix Your Ribbon

If your printer ribbon rips, you just need some clear tape to fix it – making this quick and easy to do in any office or workplace.

First, tape the two ends back together. Next, roll the taped section on to the used end of the ribbon. Load the ribbon back in your printer and you can continue printing! The reason this works is because you’re not printing with the broken section, you just need it to be taped back together so the ribbon will continue to spool as you print.

Shop all ID card printer ribbons on DiscountID.

We are excited to show you the newly redesigned DiscountID website! The new site features an easier to navigate menu, a homepage that takes you straight to our most popular system, and more.

Starting from the top, the redesigned menu now includes large product images to make it easier to identify what you’re looking for along with quick links to our expert recommendations, supply finder, free software trial, and contact page.

Those same popular tools and offers are also found on each category pages, so you’re never more than a click away from the help you need.

The product pages now feature a larger area for product details, so you can easily see all the information you need about the printers, systems, or software. Not finding what you need? Every page also has a section at the bottom to request your free ID expert quote.

Shop for your favorite ID card printers and accessories on DiscountID today.

UntitledHow you display, or wear, an ID card can make a huge difference in how easy or not it is access your card all day long – if you need to scan or show the card multiple times, you need it easily at hand.

But what are your options to keep it quickly accessible without letting it get in your way?

Lanyards

Lanyards are a popular choice because they are so easy to use – they can be worn with any uniform or outfit because it is work like a necklace, not clipped onto the cardholder’s clothing. Available in a wide range of materials and styles, lanyards are used by businesses in every industry.

One downside of lanyards, however, is that they may get in your way as you work. Lanyards can move around throughout the day, and will hang down if you lean forward (possible hitting a patient if you work in healthcare, for example).

Shop ID badge lanyards.

Badge Reels

Badge reels clip into your clothing either with a strap clip or belt clip. Also available in a wide range of colors and styles, reels are just as easy to use as a lanyard.

Their clip design holds the badge closer to your person during work, reducing the chances of it swinging in your way. But with especially delicate fabric the clips may pull or snag your clothing.

Shop ID badge reels.

Badge Holders

A badge holder are used to protect your ID cards – by putting them in a plastic holder you can prevent damage to the cards and prolong their life. Most badge holders have a slot at the top to attach to another ID accessory like a lanyard, reel, or strap clip, but some have clips on the back.

Shop ID badge holders.

Strap Clips

Strap clips are small, flexible clips that slide through the slot of your card or badge holder and snap closed to secure your ID card. Then you simply clip it onto your clothing or bag. Strap clips are quick and easy to use, a popular choice for visitor badges and other temporary IDs.

Shop ID badge strap clips.

Clips, Pins, Magnets

In addition to the main accessories, you can use a variety of clips, pins, or magnets. Some clips have adhesive backs so you can stick it right to the ID card or badge holder.

Shop ID badge clips, pins, and magnets.

WCR3237-600USBarcodes are an extremely common card feature because they can be printed by every ID card printer and encoded by almost all design software. But when you have to choose between 1D and 2D barcodes, do you know which one you need?

1D Barcodes

1D barcodes are the simple vertical line barcodes you see on cereal boxes, library books, and airline tickets. These barcodes hold small amounts of data and, depending on the style, can only hold up to 25 characters of data.

You may want to use 1D barcodes if you are printing basic ID cards without complicated uses, or your software only encodes 1D barcodes.

2D Barcodes & QR Codes

2D barcodes go far beyond the basic vertical lines of the 1D style. Designed with squares, dots, horizontal lines, or other patterns, 2D barcodes give you more options for customization. 2D barcodes can hold larger amounts of data, so these may be a good option if you need more than 25 characters. QR codes are the most commonly used types of 2D barcodes.

2D barcodes do require special barcode readers, so they may not work with your existing equipment. Not all card software can encode 2D barcodes, so make sure your software edition has this feature.

IDP ID card printers come in a range of styles to fit any budget and card printing need – and DiscountID has all the supplies you need to keep printing with your IDP card printer.

IDP Ribbons

To print ID cards, you’ll need an IDP ribbon. These ribbons come in all formats including full-color ribbons for single and dual-sided printing, half-panel ribbons, and monochrome ribbons.

Shop IDP ribbons on DiscountID.

IDP Laminates

Laminating your ID cards will make them last longer and deter card tampering – an important feature for many secure businesses. Overlamiante film comes in a range of styles, including clear and holographic prints.

Shop IDP laminates on DiscountID.

IDP Cleaning Kits

Cleaning your printer regularly is the key to making sure it works well for years to come. You should only use the manufacturer recommended cleaning kits for your printer to prevent damage to the printer.

Shop IDP cleaning kits on DiscountID.

If you have a Mac computer system you need to use for designing and printing ID cards, we recently added cardPresso Mac-compatible ID card design and database software to the DiscountID website!

Choose Your Edition

This Mac-compatible software is available in three editions, so you can select the features you need most!

cardPresso XS is an easy to use, entry-level software. It was a built-in database, or you can connect an external XLS, XLSX, CSV, or TXT database. The XS edition also has 1D and magnetic stripe encoding.

cardPresso XM has more advanced design and database features, including the ability to connect an external MSAccess or SQLite database. You can also encode 2D barcodes and acquire images through SDK.

cardPresso XL is the most advanced version, with the most design and database features. The XL edition allows ODBC connection to an external database, fingerprint capture, and user management.

System Requirements

cardPresso software is compatible with all ID card printers, and Mac OSX 10.5 and above. Your system must have a 64bit processor, 512MB of RAM, and 500MB of free hard drive space.

Shop cardPresso software today!