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Jet Ink Cartridges - How To Save Money Using Jet Ink Printer Cartriges

inkjet printers usually paper

Inkjet printers have become one of the most economical types of printers available, especially for home and small business use. The greatest advantage of these printers is they are cheap, rarely costing above $100. Also, the printers are small and light, making them easy to move and store. In these respects they are opposite laser printers which are expensive (usually over $400), large, and heavy.

The good news of inkjet printers stops when consumers look at inkjet cartridges. Jet ink cartridges cost between $25-$35 for a brand name cartridge, and they hold a small amount of ink, usually about 10ml or a few hundred pages, depending on what you print. This is compared to laser toner cartridges that cost about $60-$100 but will print a couple thousand pages. Inkjet cartridges also have some other downsides. First, the inkjet printer toner is water-soluble, so if the ink gets even a small drop of water on it, it will dissolve and run. Second, if inkjet cartridges are not used regularly, the printing head will clog with dust and dried ink, and will no longer be usable. Most printers have means of unclogging print heads and self-cleaning, but this process usually uses large amounts of that valuable 10ml of ink.

So, why is the printer so cheap, but the ink so expensive? The simple fact is that most of the technology responsible for the printing action is in the cartridge, not the printer. Inkjet toner cartridges work by releasing tiny dots of ink into the paper at very high speeds, usually around 6,000 per second. This allows the printer to create very detailed shapes and patterns on the paper and to use CMY (cyan-magenta-yellow) color mixing to make almost any imaginable shade of color. If a jet ink printed image is magnified to a very high level, it is possible to see the dot mixture. To the human eye, these microscopic patterns will always look solid. These dots are produced by heating tiny fractions of the ink liquid so that it produces a bubble. When this bubble cools, it bursts and releases the highly focused, small “jet” of ink into the paper. This is presumably how the printers got their name. The ink storage, printing heads, heating filaments, and most of the electronics that control this rapid heating-cooling process are all on the cartridge. The printer is designed only to feed paper, move the print cartridge, and process the image data received from the computer. This is also why using other compatible cartridges and remanufactured cartridges will not damage the printer.

The answer to expensive jet printer ink is to use recycled cartridges. When inkjet technology was first invented, it was thought that the tiny, delicate heating filaments in the print head would burn out after a single usage. It was quickly discovered that they last far longer, and usually burn out between three and five uses. So, when the consumer buys a new, brand-name cartridge they are paying more because a) the advanced technology is in the cartridge, and b) it’s a brand-name item. If cartridges are recycled and reused the consumer only pays for the ink and a little work done to refill the cartridge. Most cartridges can also be refilled by the consumer using a kit. This makes the cartridges far cheaper, usually under $10, and it makes inkjet printing economical. There is also the waste factor involved in both inkjet and laser toner cartridges. About 97% of a cartridge is not the usable ink product, but a combination of plastic, metal, rubber, and a handful of other materials. If the cartridge is only used once, the consumer is throwing away 97% of their purchase.

Inkjet fax machines are basically identical to standard inkjet printers with the included functions of a simple scanner and phone system. The addition of the scanner is probably the most important improvement as it allows the printer to function as a simple “all-in-one machine” able to print, fax, and make copies. The downside of the an inkjet fax over a standard printers is that it prints slower, can only handle plain paper, and usually does not print in color or at a very high resolution.

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