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Thread: 1987 - Color Balloonjet Printer for photo machine

  1. #1

    Default 1987 - Color Balloonjet Printer for photo machine

    I still have a collection of antique CASI Futura 100 Computer portrait systems and have always wondered what model/ brand a ballonjet printer could be?

    The driver is very early circa 1987 which is unusual indicating that only the prototype driver went forward into the 1990ís operating systems , my guess is this printer probably was a holdover from the old XT class Colortron BIOS systems and provided as a courtesy to folks who upgraded to the INNOVION Futura I PGS 1 machine from an older system.

    I would love to find the printer or even one that emulates the same language.

    Iím guessing this color printer had to be very early since the Tektronix 4696 driver was much newer and better developed


    Any ideas what printer this might be? QLT Loved to name printers leaving out the proper model

    Thanks
    Ryan

  2. #2
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    For 1987, the only "Jet" color printer I can think of is the HP Paintjet. Canon had the BubbleJet lineup with related color copiers but their first color printer was 1992 according to the Canon website.

    Do you have a picture of the printer? Labels may be removed but I doubt the case was altered.

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    Other than never having heard the term, I rather like "Balloonjet"

  4. #4

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    I only have the driver nothing else, in the early days CASI wouldn’t even list the brand, I looked at the binary of the driver and found no hints, unlike the Tektronix which did list the model under the hood.
    Sadly the Tektronix 4696 I bought burped it’s maint fluid all over before even getting a clean printout.


    Of note is that the driver might be a 1987 special but the printer could be much older.
    At one point I found a very old A size printer that might have fit the bill but usually CASI used high end units that printed more quickly than normal.

    Another printer of similar vintage was the Casi 3400 which was actually a mildly modded Genicom printer that printed all 3 colors in a single pass

    Ah well, I have been told some of IBMs units wore the balloonjet monkier, toobad the creators of the machine were so secretive to start with, finding them now is tough.

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    CASI didn't have brochures with pictures of a complete setup? IBM, Canon, and HP all have different case designs so someone should be able identify a model range from a picture.

    The only other idea I have is complex. Disassemble the CASI driver and some of the drivers for the various jet printers and check for a match. I would offer to do it but my last disassembly effort went laughably wrong.

  6. #6

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    I think the trouble with the balloonjet was that it was marketed as a photo printer add on (upsell) so if you bought a Dot Matrix or Tektronix 4696 in a very specific timeframe (before wax thermal)you could get better photos, it was never sold stand alone at the time because it wasn’t compatible with the sublimation ink of the period.
    I believe it was also marketed as a large photo printer for folks with just the little mug printers as well that didn’t have a flat press.


    As for promo materials they did but almost always used the Base colortron 3400 genicom setup for promotional photos until well into the Futuras lifespan.

    It seems they had 4 primary promotional flyers (excluding the mug jet addon)
    The original CASI Apollo VP2 (1976)
    The CASI Apollo VP4/VP5 (1981-83)
    The CASI Colortron series (Bios labeled DTK XT & Colortron printer) 1984-1990

    (The “Futura” flyers were by request only or you got a Colortron, the only diff in the flyer was the PC)
    CASI Futura (later called 1) (1987 and very rare /expensive compared to anything else in this list)
    QLT Futura II/III (1990)
    QLT Colortron (1990, futura based not a DTK)
    The QLT Futura 100 (1992+)

    One particular issue is that the CASI Rainbow never seemed to be much marketed outside one year, never saw evidence of a flyer and many futura owners would get Colortron DTK set of promo materials (circa 1984)
    The more modern Colortron and Colortron FX never seemed to have promo materials and seemed to be a cheaper outdated Futura depending on the year you bought it.
    Last edited by rmay635703; August 26th, 2019 at 09:47 AM.

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