If you purchased a single-sided ID card printer but now want to change your card design to be dual-sided, you may be torn between getting an entirely new printer and manually flipping cards to print dual-sided on a single-sided printer. This is a common approach to get more life out of your card printer, but it needs to be used with caution!

Can’t I Upgrade My Printer?

Before you start manually flipping cards, it may be worth seeing if your printer can be upgraded to a dual-sided printer for less than the cost of a new printer. Many popular models can be upgraded with a specialized ribbon that turns on the built-in flipper module, like the AlphaCard PRO 500’s upgrade kit.

If you aren’t sure if your printer can be upgraded, contact your sales rep at AlphaCard for more information.

What Do I Need to Be Careful About When Flipping Cards?

You need to be careful when handling cards, to minimize transferring any oils or dirt from your hands to the cards. This can cause several problems:

  • Oils from your fingers can negatively impact print quality
  • Static electricity can build up on cards, causing them to stick together and not feed properly
  • Dirt can damage the printhead and sensors within the printer

Some of these will cause minor issues (smudged prints from fingerprints on your cards will just require you to print the card again, wasting a few minutes and some supplies) while others, like damaged printheads, require repairs that can take several weeks and cost hundreds of dollars.

So how do you avoid this? Make sure you handle the cards properly!

  • Only handle the cards by the edges
  • If possible, wear gloves when handling the cards
  • Store them in the case they came in, or another air and watertight container
  • Store them in a temperature controlled location away from sunlight
  • Fan out cards before printing (if batch printing) to avoid static buildup between cards

You can learn more about proper card handling in the online AlphaCard Technical Support center.