In a world that is working hard to become as renewable as possible, it is good to know that there is a means of refilling printer inkjet cartridges that is both easy and inexpensive. For a product line that was made with planned obsolescence in mind, this is a real boon. For the more adventurous and industrial types, there are refill kits available for a fraction of the cost to bring that empty cartridge back to full capacity, ready to go for another run.
It is important to realize that while these cartridges contain about ninety-five percent water, it is particularly super pure de-ionised water. The other five percent contains formatted elements that help keep the dyes soluble, making them slow to evaporate; a surfactant that modifies the surface tension of the dyes and water to keep them flowing without leaking; and an additive that protects the H-bonds in the paper to prevent curling while drying.
While it is possible to buy refurbished inkjet replacements at a reduced price that has been refilled by the supplier, there is the risk of trusting that these cartridges have been filled adequately. However, this is a matter that can be rectified by changing suppliers when it comes time to replace once again. A little arithmetic can easily determine that by simply refilling the empty cartridges, one can save enough money to upgrade to an even better printer while extending the life of a cartridge as much as ten times over.
Taking proper care to prepare properly seems to be the trick to successfully refilling empty cartridges. The kits come with everything that will be needed to pull the ink into the syringe, which is then inserted into the cartridge to dispense the supply. There are a few caveats that can be taken in advance to avoid mishaps.
1. Prepare a workspace that is covered with a cloth or newsprint for spills. Set aside at least thirty minutes to complete the process.
2. Use of rubber gloves may be helpful for those who are not steady with their hands. This procedure with the syringe takes some strength.
3. Arrange the supply bottles so as to be able to work from one to the next without getting the colors confused and do them one at a time, clearing the syringe between pulls with clean water.
4. Remove the sticker on the top of the cartridge to reveal the holes for dispensing the dyes. After identifying the color wells by examining the residual left on the underside of the sticker, the idea is to use the syringe tip to reach down to the sponge inside. Dispense slowly and consistently to avoid air bubbles and overfilling.
5. Drawing back just a touch after filling will ensure that the well is not overfilled. Replacing the label or using a fresh strip of clear tape will suffice as a seal.
As printer prices have fallen, the constant cycle of purchasing refills amounts to the cost a new machine multiple times over. The penny-wise process of refilling inkjet cartridges at home will develop an expertise that could start a cottage industry for those so inclined.