Monday, February 18, 2013

Printer Modification

Modification to an Epson printer to allow continuous inking without needing cartridges

Overview

Continuous Inking Systems (CIS) allow you to use bulk ink in a printer, instead of ink cartridges. Basically it involves hooking tubes between bottles of ink and the dampers(The things that distribute ink). Also putting in a custom chipset to basically ignore ink levels and such. Some people are insane and do it themselves using the old cartridges, syringes, and normal tubing. I opted to get a kit from inkrepublic.
This is more or less a review/issues I encountered than a detailed write-up

Pictures




    


Pros

  • The major pro is that it is MUCH cheaper. A standard ink cartridge costs ~$20 for 5ml of ink. Bulk ink is $12 for 100ml, which is over 300% cheaper ( If I did my math right :)
  • Inkrepublic was fast to ship, and delivery went quick
  • Setup was more or less painless, slightly messy though :)
  • Print quality is excellent so far


Cons/Issues

  • One of the caps was broken on arrival. They said a replacement was shipped, but it never arrived. Thankfully there is a spare cap (Of ambiguous color) with the kit, so it wasn't a huge deal.
  • Kinda pricey at $150, might not be worth it if you don't plan to do alot of printing
  • Epson sucks, and tries to make you take in the printer to be serviced at the drop of the hat. Part of this scheme is the waste ink disposal, you more or less have to pull out the tube, route it into a container, and do a factory reset.
  • Even after fixing the waste ink, it still comes on every time the printer is turned off and then back on. The easy fix is to leave it on all the time :p
  • Leaving it on seems to cause it to get out of alignment. This is simply corrected by doing a quick print before doing a real one. This may seem wasteful, but the startup of the printer uses a ton of ink to do this same thing anyway.


Conclusion

Well it worked good for the short time it did work. After about a month, I couldn't clear the waste ink messages anymore. I suspect the internal pads are fully saturated, and just clearing the tube isn't enough anymore. I think a good wash of the internals in acetone would fix it, but I haven't had a chance to do that yet.

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