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Continuous inking systems for printers.

by MegsL / September 7, 2006 8:18 PM PDT

I've just been reading your forum on ink cartridges - generic, OEM, home-refilled, etcetera - and maybe I've missed it somewhere, but I am surprised that nobody seems to mention the possibility of using Continuous Inking Systems such as Niagara or C.I.S?

With these, one buys one's printer ink in bottles - usually 4-ounce, 8-ounce or pint-sized - and the different colours are fed along plastic tubes to modified cartridges which replace those originally supplied with the printer. The set-up costs quite a lot to start with - mine for an Epson 1280 cost about 200 dollars, including six 4-ounce bottles of ink - but the running costs are almost negligible, perhaps 10% of normal, and some very good quality inks can be got including 100-year archival-quality pigment ink.

I'd say this is only worth looking into if you do quite a LOT of printing, especially colour photo printing - 50 full-size sheets a month perhaps, which is about what I do. But if you DO want to do a lot of large color photo prints - or make your own Christmas cards, perhaps, or anything like that - continuous inking seems about the only way to make it affordable, and I've been using that for four years now.

Unfortunately only some printer designs can be adapted to continuous inking (mostly, I believe, they are Canons or Epsons) but I wonder what kind of experiences other people have had in this field?
Greetings to everyone - Meg.

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A matter of cost and incidents.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 7, 2006 9:43 PM PDT

1. You covered the cost issue.

2. These forums are mostly non-business printer owners. Many will have 99 dollar or less printers and print something weekly or less.

Hope this explains why it rarely comes up.

Try a forum that caters to and attracts print shop type volumes.

Bob

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But there's a huge potential public out here!
by MegsL / September 7, 2006 10:36 PM PDT

Thanks for your thoughts, Bob, but I honestly don't think I AM a non-standard user. I'm just a (very) amateur photographer recording family events and friends and sending out the usual quota of birthday cards and so on. There's nothing commercial or ''print shop'' involved in that.

What I HAVE noticed, though, is that most of the friends to whom I give prints away seem surprised, apologise for not reciprocating, and explain that they never print their own pictures because of the ink cost. Mostly they keep precious photographs only on PCs where all kinds of disasters (don't we know it...) are liable to occur.

It seems to me that printer manufacturers are missing an opportunity here. All over the world, there is a huge public need for affordable home digital photo printing, but ''affordable'' is the keynote. I wonder which great-name manufacturer will move in first on this market? The fairest policy would be to charge an economic price for new printers - currently, I understand, sold at a loss which then needs to be recouped by high ink prices - but thereafter to reward more frequent users with reasonable running costs.

As digital cameras become better and better and less and less expensive this marketing potential appears to be growing exponentially.
Regards, Meg.

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Smaller market than we think.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 7, 2006 10:43 PM PDT

"huge potential public out here!"

Absolutely. But a fraction of that own printers and another fraction would entertain continuous inking systems.

Only the maker of the ink system would use such a quote to elicit excitement about their product.

"never print their own pictures because of the ink cost."

I don't bother since I have copies on my PC, my backups and multiple DVDs. They are ready when I am. If I did print them I would have 6,295 pictures to store somewhere.

My view? It's not ink at issue here. With that many pictures why not keep them in non fading digital format?

You make me wonder who you are when you write "this marketing potential appears to be growing exponentially."

Bob

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Sorry, me again.
by MegsL / September 8, 2006 2:29 AM PDT

Hello again Bob and, sorry, I didn't particularly want to provoke an argument on this usually fairly amicable forum!

What I am in fact is a senior citizen, at the top end of the age range. There's no realistic prospect of any photos I take being conserved indefinitely in digital format so I prefer to leave them to posterity on paper.

Other than as just possibly a potential customer,I'm unconnected with anybody who is selling anything. I'm not even particularly demanding that people start using continuous inking systems as those are quite complicated to maintain.

But I wish that printer manufacturers would start playing fair with us punters, and would give us a few choices in between the present two extremes of
1. Throwaway printers - $99, as you say - with extortionate running costs
or
2. Excellent, and reasonably economical, systems which use large ink tanks but cost four-figure sums and are impossible, on grounds of size if no other, to accommodate in a private house.

That's all. Continuing regards. Yours, Meg.

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"extortionate running costs" compared to what?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 8, 2006 2:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Sorry, me again.

Let's look to the current pricing on 35mm prints.

Today's printing costs seems to be a bargain.

I guess it all depends on how you compare.

Bob

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High street printing.
by MegsL / September 8, 2006 3:00 AM PDT

The problems with digital printing services are
1. Restricted final sizes and shapes. Agreed, en-prints are cheap enough, but a lot of pictures only come to life at 8" by 10" which would be pretty pricey on the high street.
2. Limited image editing potential.
3. The main danger - FADING, FADING, FADING.
If you know of anybody who makes commercial prints using archival ink, please post the details! I'd be most grateful (seriously) - Meg.

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Vancouver, BC...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 8, 2006 3:34 AM PDT
In reply to: High street printing.

On Burrard Street, Cambie and more there are nice price houses that will do archival paper and ink if you want it. And in any size you want.

They use continuous inking systems and megapak inks too.

But all that aside, the prices for do it yourself prints have never been lower. We never had it so good.

I'm no spring turkey myself. I've been there.

Bob

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