Inkjet Printers

A couple of years ago, I bought a lovely inkjet printer. Beautiful colours, and prints on CDs too. Just what I wanted.

Alas, the "proper" inks were very expensive, so I bought 3rd party inks. Epson deliberately design their printers so that 3rd party inks don't work (its call DRM - digital restrictions management). Each version of their printer, they update the DRM to make as many of the 3rd party inks no longer work. I fell foul of Epson's evilness, and two of my cartridges didn't work.

A couple of weeks ago, and my printer broke (possibly due to my hard handed treatment). I was in two minds about buying a new one - I really hate inkjet printers, and so perhaps now is a good time to give up on them. I've still got many full cartridges, and I do like giving people fancy looking CDs, so I decided to buy a replacement. Out of stock - everywhere. Yes, Epson has released a new version, no longer sell the other one (that I was very happy with before I broke it!). The new version will probably refuse to work with my existing cartridges, so I'm not going to buy that.

Ok, so how about a second hand jobbie from e-bay. This brings up another bloody annoying problem with inkjet printers. They are designed to be disposable. Everytime you turn the printer on, and every time you clean the print heads, it squirts ink down a drain, and this drain fills up. When the drain is full the printer stops working. Epson don't let their customers empty the drain. It requires special software that Epson doens't let you have, and opening up the case isn't made easy (or explained!).

Printing doesn't need to be so annoying. My mum's printer isn't disposable, it doesn't have any kind of DRM, and refills were cheap. Yep, its not an inkjet, its a laserjet (works the same way photocopiers do). Its monochrome, and can't print on CDs, so not much good for what I need.

I think my best bet is to buy some permanent markers, learn to draw with a bit of calligraphy on the side. Alternately, I could build my own plotter, using the stepper motors in my dead printer, and my Arduino board.