In The Match, Fred Woodworth strongly advises against buying, or even relying on photocopiers to print zines. In an old self-published book I read in early 80's the author said pretty much the same thing, advising mimeograph for self-printing.
I have a ditto machine I do short zines on now and then, and a mimegraph I hope to try out and get working decently, but supplies for both these machines are dwindling. When I have more time I hope to experiment with other low tech printing technologies. Problem is, except for offset, none of the more primitive ones can reproduce photos easily, like photocopiers can.
I've bought a couple of old photocopy machines. One for $10 that seems like it dates back to at least the early 70's and is so primitive it's almost certain I'll ever get anything out of it. (It comes with some sort of lead power you sprinkle somewhere). Another, more recently, I think I shelled out 50, maybe a 100 for photocopier at a church yard sale. It's a tabletop Canon PC-6RE. Here are some alphanumberical strings on it for what they're worth: 01214707, F121302, No. CPY 46860, FS5-8328. Again, the few times I tried only turned out a bunch of streaks. Does it need toner? Ink? Are either even still available?
I used to occassionally borrow somebody's Dell personal copier (which was also a printer). That was the most aggravating machine I've ever used. You could have rode a mule to Timbuktu and made a thousand copies, before even one of those printed. It grabbed the paper with a sudden jerk, and if it didn't jam it by doing that, it would come out all crooked and wrinkled----90% of the time. So I wonder if these inexpensive personal copiers are a practical option for printing.
I've tried running off a catalogue of about 6 pages, only 20 copies, and it grabbed more than one sheet and totally messed up the pagination. Even one mistake like this can do that. So I'm not sure if printing zines, composed on Word or scanned, is a practical idea.
This leaves "commerical" photocopiers. I understand these cost about 2, maybe 3,000 dollars new. Do they sell used ones? For how much? Or is it impossible or very difficult to get supplies for older models, even from the 90's. I believe toner is in the $150 to 200 range. Am I right? Are ink and toner two different things? How long do they last? All costs factored in, what would you say the "price per page" would be, buying a commerical photocopier and doing zines on it? Would there be a significant longterm savings? Staples is up to about 8 or 9 cents a side now.
What about maintainance and breakdowns. How hard would it be for a technical imbecile (like me) to deal with this aspect? What is the LIFE of a photocopier---considering not only it's physical durability, but the changing technology that might outdate it's supplies?
Has anybody SEEN or TRIED a digital duplicator (which are essentially "high tech" mimeographs? How do their copies compare to photocopies---including image reproduction? How do they compare with photocopiers in all other aspects? How many are sold? Are they available used? Are there any horror stories about them?
I've TRIED to track down this info on the net, but as I've admitted elsewhere, I'm lousy at net research.
Any pointers, links, answers, etc. would be appreciated. I'd like to move toward as much printing self-sufficiency as possible.