I will be typing up a factual and concise version for quick viewing at some point, this represents my notes on the project.
This is by far the most physical part of the production and judging my level of success, the biggest ball-ache of making project CD.
Not only is this the area that I have the least authority on, it also represents the largest one-time cost of the system.
The printer’s function will be to print onto the sticky labels for the CD’s and to create the insert for the CD sleeve.
In order to reduce long-term printing costs, I have decided to apply a CIS system (Continuous Ink System) to a compatible printer.
I have chosen Epson Workforce WF-2650DWF All in One Wireless Printer with Fax Duplex.
It has a scanning function which will ultimately allow greater flexibility in the design phase of the project and it also has Wifi capability, so it allows me to house the printing portion of Project CD anywhere in the range of my home Wifi.
Also, from my research, this is a commonly modded printer for use in CIS printing and at a good price (price goes up and down, got mine for £40).
For the CIS, I have initially gone for CISS Continuous Ink System fits Epson WF2650DWF WF2660DWF Printer + INK REFILL.
These have arrived, however I have experienced some issues.
The printer itself works fine, it seems to print and function as expected, I also got 2 sets of ink carts with it.
It has even taken some punishment from my pliers! Can be worked on by an idiot and survive. So far, so good. I have yet to test from it over the wifi, but that will come later.
The system requires to be primed and then inserted into the printer’s ink cart insert. when inserted, the chipboard fools the printer into thinking it has a cartridge.
The ink is fed from the wells, into the body of the cartridges in the printer. It also has a reset button for when the cartridge claims its empty (based on the amount of sheets printed, not actual fluid volume), so that you can fool the printer that you have put in a new cartridge.
Priming the CIS
Priming is the process of creating a airtight loop, so that the ink is siphoned into the cartridge in the printer. This creates the continuous feed of ink that goes to the printer.
The priming was challenging. Like an idiot, I did not do this gloves, so i am currently typing with hands like a goddam pixie vomited on me. This really does not work for me as a look.
This is actual ink, not toner (dust that is baked on, rather than ink that stains). Toner is the carcinogenic kind and apparently if it was the “Carbon Black B2” ink that is super-duper carcinogenic, I would be itching like a bastard right now. So it seems that I’ve dodged a bullet in terms of killing myself over this.
Next time i do this, Gloves are needed and also paper towels. I was lucky only to have a few minor spills.
All together messy fun, not an early grave.
Sadly this pack did not include a syringe for the task of pulling through the ink. I did manage to get the ink through without getting a mouthful (that I am sure tastes like it sounds), by using a spare air filter that is used for the top of the wells. Also I don’t want to look like I sucked off Rainbow Dash.
Inserting into printer and compatibility
Well, I got it all humming, all put in the right place so the tubes are all untwisted and unrestricted. But obviously I’m a moron with a pre-fab and I am at the mercy of the quality of my sent builds.
The CSS system I bought was a cheaper model with less instruction. Cheaping out on this was a poor choice, as its almost impossible to return without destroying it and for the quality of hardware for fooling the printer, was poor.
After I managed to get it all working, the chipboard on the inserts into the printer failed.
Had it working once! even did two test prints! Sadly due to my lack of A4 paper, I wasn’t able to do a full calibration. however I did learn some very important lessons.
As the CIS is no longer properly registering as a ink cart, I’m now in the process of returning it, but after attempting to salvage for return, pretty much destroyed it, as I am not exactly in a workshop and my flatmate would most likely kill me for the mess.
Damage was controlled as best that could have been hoped for a 1st test and more importantly, you have got to feel a bit dumb before you get smarter.
Conclusions so far
The 1st lesson is that in this project, failure is inevitable. As long as I honestly document what I have learned, then at least I can avoid making the same mistake twice.
Sadly even though the CIS cost me a weeks food, learning about the way this all works has shown me some potential hurdles I can face with this along the way.
From all the troubleshooting I did before I gave in has opened my eyes to a few hurdles post-completion, such as the ink drys and you need to clean it out every so often. Also that ink is messy and must hold back my enthusiasm to get stuck in and prepare a bit more.
I may have to invest in some lino for the final build to ensure that it can be cleaned properly. Lesson learnt.
I have ordered a new one that is recommended for a touch more cash. Luckily I did a fair amount of research on the printer and knew this is one that is often modded for CIS, so plenty of different prefabricated CIS units and support online, from a number of helpful and friendly techies!
I have failed in making this system work, but I’m confident I can get it to work with another printer head chipboard. If the other one breaks, then I can farm a cheap replacement. May be at zero or little cost to fix the CIS in the future.
It seems a hugely troublesome part of the whole printing mess, but the cost reduction in the long run will more than make up for the research cost.
They want around £5 per ink cart for cheap ink carts and they don’t hold much.
I’ve also learned that printer companies are arseholes and charge far too much…
DID YOU KNOW! for the printer I have, It doesn’t measure the amount left… it measures the pages printed… so it will still have some left in, but the programming makes you throw it away! Deplorable, wasteful and unsustainable.
I did get it working for a very brief period! needs some refining, but I need to get the system fully working before I start working on calibration for quality.
Sadly, not quite over the hill with this one yet, but I should get the new system on monday. Then I can begin full testing.
Now to google “how the f**k do you get ink off your hands”.