I picked up a new printer to try out. A Lexmark Z816. Office Max had them on sale for $80, and I figured it was cheap enough to be worth playing with...
My results are mixed, though I'm not at all certain the printer or the inks have anything to do with the problems I've encountered.
The decal paper I'm using is Bel Decal's clear sheet for Ink Jet printers. I printed a couple of test sheets. On each sheet, part of the image printed beautifully, while other areas acted as if the coating was the wrong formulation -- like it might have been either missing entirely, or was the laser paper coating instead. One sheet had almost a straight line from top to bottom where the ink dried correctly on one side, but remained wet after 24 hours on the other!
The next test was after applying three spray coats of clear gloss acrylic. When the decal was allowed to soak in water, the ink started running from the back of the decal, where there should have been a protective layer.
I am terribly disappointed with these results, and as I said before, I don't think it's the printer or the inks that are at fault. I'm more convinced the Bel paper is at fault. Until I can test my theory out on some better papers, I won't know for sure. If it were not for the paper being crap, this printer would be more than adaquate. The saturation of the inks (opacity) in PHOTO mode is great, and the accuracy of alignment is much better than my Epson C84. There was no cracking of the ink as it dried, so the images were solid right up to when I dipped one in water.