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#159900 - 01/08/12 02:41 PM Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
Displaying your favorite images from a hike before the internet "happened" was by printing your film negatives and putting them in a photo album to pass around. (That's an historical footnote for our younger forum members.) Or you had them printed and enlarged and framed. Most of that's been replaced by displaying images on facebook, forums or other sites.

And that's why Kodak is going under.

But what if you have a really good landscape or wildlife shot from a hike and want a print for the den wall or to display where you work?

You can still take your SD card up to a photo shop and get an enlargement. But it's costly, you have little control over the finished product, and it's a pain.

So you do it at home. Dedicated photo printers aren't new. But they are getting better and cheaper. I've got an Epson Stylus Photo 1400 that will print a "Super B" print, which is 13"x19" and big enough for anything I'd want to do.
(20 sheets of Super B is about $25, or $1.25 a sheet.)

My problem has been the cost of the ink. The printer uses 6 cartridges (some printers use even more), and those cartridges cost a whopping $22-24 each. That's $132-144 a set, and if you print 10 (or less) Super B prints, you're replacing them.

The problem of ink cost was solved with refillable ink cartridges. I found them at inkowl out of Canada.

For $79, I received six refillable cartridges plus 6 bottles of ink to refill each cartridge twelve times. Thatís the equivalent of $1,584-worth of permanent photo-ink cartridges for $79! And no garbage bin full of empty cartridges to dispose of!

I did a photo display of images taken on 2011 hikes recently in the "gallery" at where I work and put up 36 prints, most on Super B paper and in 20"x24" frames. The colors of my refillable-ink prints are fantastic -- as vibrant as the Claria ink I used before, but at a fraction of the price. (I am using their slightly higher-priced permanent Claria-replacement ink -- all purchased with the cartridges for $79.)

I put them in recycled frames bought at Goodwill and the Salvation Army here in Denver. Most of the used frames I spray-painted gloss black. Average cost for the used 20x22 frames was about $4 each, and I matted them at home with inexpensive Logan mat-cutting tools. I've got way under $10 in each framed photo.

Not only are the refillable-ink cartridges so much less expensive, but they're super green. Those original cartridges have a computer chip in each one (the reason for the cost), and the refillable ones do, too. When the cartridge gets low, it resets itself automatically to full, which is your indication to open the printer cover, remove the rubber stopper on the cartridge and fill with ink with a syringe provided. There's no need to even take the cartridge out of the printer; in fact they prefer that you don't.

What a better way to go.

_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#160202 - 01/12/12 12:24 PM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: kevonionia]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I am also discouraged by the ink cartridge costs. I just bought a Cannon MG6220 and in a month, have already spent more money on ink than the machine initially cost! Each cartridge is $15. I see that you can buy generics on the internet for about $7. I hesitate though. I also have an old HP laser printer and the generic ink cartridges did not work, and I think they may have ruined the printer (the powder leaked). Do you know if using a generic ink cartridge carries a similar risk?

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#160205 - 01/12/12 12:37 PM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: wandering_daisy]
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
WD:

Can you look at the no.s on the cartridges for your Canon MG6220 and give them to me? It might be a little more complicated for your printer, and then it might not be. Let me know the #s and how many it uses (Is it four cartridges?)
_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#160231 - 01/12/12 05:33 PM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: kevonionia]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
It has 6 cartridges- 225 PGBK, 226 yellow, 226 cyan, 226 megenta, 226 BK and 226 Gray. The 226 black and gray are supposed to be higher quality ink for B&W photos, but I have yet to figure out what printer settings use these vs the PGBK. The printer is a PIXMA MG6220. It prints well on photo paper but I have had poor luck with 32-pound multi-purpose paper. I know the printer is capable of better quality but I am really struggling at this point. The user's manual is a bit sparse on details.

Another question- if my files are in Adobe RBG does it matter that the printer defaults to RBGs? Whe I print out of Adobe, the quality is better than when I print out of WORD. I have diasbled "devise" color settings, which I assume means that the printer will understand that the files are Adobe RBG. I am quite confused on how this all works.

My camera is also a Cannon, and the files are in RBGs. When I process them in Adobe I covert them to Adobe RBG. My understanding is that Adobe RBG is accepted in a wider range of applications. Is that correct?

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#160238 - 01/12/12 06:14 PM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: wandering_daisy]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
You're correct--Adobe RGB (and Pro Photo RGB) are wider gamuts than sRGB that's the default setting on typical cameras. Wider gamut=more colors. My cameras allow me to set ARGB in camera, so that's what I do. In that way I'm capturing the most color I can in the original image.

Dealing with color profiles can be a giant hurdle (headache) when printing. IIUC printers have narrower gamuts than displays and which printing profile one uses can dramatically affect how an image prints. Do you let the printer control the color, the image editing software control the color, Windows control the color? Aaack!

I'm pretty excited the forthcoming Lightroom 4 has "soft proofing" that displays image edit effects on prints on side-by-side screens. This will be a Big Deal.

Want to add that Costco has in-house ink cartridge refilling. I've been meaning to try them out with my ancient HP.

Cheers,

Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
Another question- if my files are in Adobe RBG does it matter that the printer defaults to RBGs? Whe I print out of Adobe, the quality is better than when I print out of WORD. I have diasbled "devise" color settings, which I assume means that the printer will understand that the files are Adobe RBG. I am quite confused on how this all works.

My camera is also a Cannon, and the files are in RBGs. When I process them in Adobe I covert them to Adobe RBG. My understanding is that Adobe RBG is accepted in a wider range of applications. Is that correct?
_________________________
--Rick

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#160251 - 01/12/12 08:34 PM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: Rick_D]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I've been looking all over the net, but unable to find the Dr Fun cartoon about refilling ink cartridges to post to this thread... It had "guy who refills his own ink cartridges, 1995" with shirt covered in black blotches and "guy who refills his own ink cartridges 2005" covered in rainbow coloured blotches.. smile

I know I can do it, I just loathe ink cartridges and printers in general so much I don't. I will keep a laser printer in the house and get those things professionally refilled every 10,000 pages.. Even still I hate the things, having worked with them enough over many years.. Enough so that I know when I die and am called to suffer forever for my multitude of heinous sins on this earth, that forever torture will be doing printer support (and probably hacking printer drivers as well....) forever..

Printers really are just instruments of the devil smile
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#160252 - 01/12/12 08:39 PM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: phat]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By phat

Printers really are just instruments of the devil smile


Oh, and an addendum to that.. the fact that we still have a widespread inkjet printer business (with printers selling cheaper than the cartridges to suck people in), is I believe a true sign of the impending apocalypse, showing that demons are already roaming amongst us perpetuating this business model in the boardrooms of hp, canon, brother, lexmark, etc.. Even cynical me can't be convinced that human CEO's are that good at their jobs and able to pull the wool over the buying public's eyes for so effectively and so long.... wink

I'm telling you.. printers will doom us all.. we should blow them up along with our televisions wink
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#160273 - 01/12/12 10:37 PM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: phat]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6368
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
lol
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#160511 - 01/16/12 03:23 PM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: wandering_daisy]
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
WD:

Concerning what you'd need to use refillables with a PIXMA MG6220, you'd need the following (that's somewhat different from what I use for my Epson):

Five bottles of ink, sold as a kit, called
"VCA 5 BULK" that's $45. The 5 bottles will allow you to refill each of the color cartridges 12 times.

Five refillable cartridges, sold as a kit, called "ICA-SP-226" and cost $21.95 for the set of five.

That sixth cartridge in your PIXMA is the 226 gray one. They don't make a refillable cartridge for that, so you have to buy non-refillable ones, and they are "RCA-CLI-226GY" and are $5.95 each. The person at inkowl said you don't have to buy that many of them, since the gray is used less (like black is on my Epson 1400.)

I called them to find out what you'd need since I couldn't figure it out on their website. (And I'm not connected with them, nor receive a kickback or commission -- just looking to save u some $$ and 'cause I found something that's cheap and green and actually works.)

And as far as having someone else refill cartridges, such as Costco or Walgreens or a mom&pop shop, I checked it out before and they really weren't that much cheaper than a new cartridge, and the guy at the mom&pop place said he couldn't refill my Epson 1400 cartridges anyway.
_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#160572 - 01/17/12 11:40 PM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: kevonionia]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Thanks for doing all that research! Now I have to decide if I want to get into the filling. Somehow I envision ink exploding all over the printer, but then, the priter is cheap compared to the cost of buying new cartriges all the time. What level of "handiness" would I need to have? Is it fairly easy to do?

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#160577 - 01/18/12 12:34 AM Re: Refillable ink cartridges for photo printers [Re: wandering_daisy]
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
WD:

Let's put it this way: If you can operate a bp'ing stove in the Wind River Mtns., alone, off-trail, for days, well, you can do this. Or another way: If I can do it, you surely can.

Here's the cool part: I've refilled my cartridges in the printer about 4 times each, and have yet to have an accident or spill a drop. And that, for me, is miraculous. I do take precautions, though:



The main thing is to put the right ink in the right cartridge. I've labeled both the bottle cap and the plunger end of the syringe with the color, here it is light cyan or "LC."

My cartridges take about 12ml. or 2.25 syringes each. The syringes are reusable, BTW. When I get to 10ml., I start watching for the ink to approach the top and I stop. I put what's left back in the bottle and thoroughly wash out the syringe in the sink with tap water, filling the syringe and pumping it out several times til clear. (Marking them -- with the color like "LC" -- will prevent a problem if any color is left.)

To fill is simple, since you don't have to take the cartridge out of the printer:



With the cartridge cover up, I remove the little rubber stopper with a tweezers (note here the arrow pointing at the light cyan cartridge's stopper.) Then insert the syringe needle in the hole, and carefully, slowly fill. I'm good enuf at it now that it takes the same time as to replace a $22 cartridge, only a refill is about a $1.33 -- and will be even lower on your second set of ink bottles since you already have the cartridges.

I've thought about using disposable gloves to do this, but I haven't got a drop on my hands -- or clothes -- yet.

Since you've got a Canon Pixma, WD, and I have an Epson Stylus, the procedure might be slightly different. They send a sheet of good instructions, too.
_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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