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You can have a quote for an in-house Photo ID Card Printer System faxed or emailed to you within 5 minutes.

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Complete Photo ID Card Printer systems at great Package Prices!



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If you are among the truly curious, you may wonder how FARGO digital ID card printers actually get those great looking images onto plastic cards.

Well, this too is easier than you might expect. FARGO ID Card Printers utilize two similar technologies called direct to card printing and High Definition Printing (HDP).

Direct to card printing is the traditional technology used by digital ID card printers to print images directly onto the surface of a plastic card. It does this by heating a special print ribbon beneath a thermal print head, resulting in the transfer of color from the ribbon to a blank card.


With the FARGO High Definition Printing technology, the printer first prints images onto a special HDP film which is then fused into the surface of a blank card through heat and pressure. Because the graphics and text are printed on the underside of the HDP film, the image is “sandwiched” between the highly durable film and the card.  This unique process results in exceptional print quality, durability, and the ability to print on the widest variety of card types or sizes.


Dye-Sublimation is the process FARGO printers use to print smooth, continuous tone images that look truly photographic.  This process uses a dye based ribbon roll that is partitioned by a number of consecutive color panels.  The panels are grouped in a repeating series of the three process color, Yellow Magenta, and Cyan (YMC), along the entire length of the ribbon.

During printing, a print head containing hundreds of thermal elements heats the dyes on the ribbon which then vaporize and diffuse into the surface of either the card (for direct to card printing) or the HDP film. A separate pass is made of each of the three color panels on the ribbon.  By combining the colors of each panel and by varying the heat used to transfer these colors, the printer is able to produce up to 16.7 million, photo realistic colors.

With either of these remarkable digital printing technologies, there are two shared print methods both use to actually do the printing.  These print methods are called dye sublimation and resin thermal transfer.


Resin Thermal Transfer is the process FARGO printers use to print sharp black text and crisp bar codes which can be read by both infra red and visible light bar code scanners. Like dye sublimation, this process uses the same thermal print head to transfer color from the ribbon roll to the card or the HDP film.  The difference, however, is that solid dots of color are transferred in the form of a resin based ink which is fused to the surface of the card when heated. This produces very durable, single color images.

Resin black panels are included on many of the FARGO full color dye sublimation ribbons so that you can automatically print both dye sublimation and resin images on the same card.  This gives the plastic photo ID cards the benefits of both print methods.

Resin only ribbons are also available for use with the FARGO direct to card printers for printing economical one color cards in as fast as 5 seconds. These ribbons consist of a continuous roll of a single resin color and can produce up to 3,000 cards.  Black, scratch off and a variety of other resin ribbon colors are available.




For TOLL-FREE Technical Support on your Photo ID Card Printers, Supplies, or Software purchased from Positive ID, Inc. Call 800-242-0014 - or - email us at