Teachers Get Creative with 3D Printing

Teachers are getting creative in the classroom by using 3D printing to help build critical thinking skills and conceptualize theories by collaborating and engineering models, parts, tools, and other creations that give students a hands-on learning experience like no other. Teachers find that these machines self motivate the students, peeking their curiosity and inciting interest into math, science, civics, and social studies lessons. But how do you get a 3D printer into the classroom, what can you do with it once it’s there, and what about ongoing costs such as filament?

Karen Winsper, a fourth grade teacher at Nathaniel Worden Elementary School in Boston saw the potential of 3D printing in the classroom as a way to integrate technology with creative problem solving skills. But getting these expensive machines in the classroom was another story. Karen Winsper used some creative thinking of her own to help fund a 3D printer for her classroom. With some research online, Karen found on Twitter that Makerbot was trying to get a 3D printer in every school across America. She then created a proposal through Donors Choose (donorschoose.org) and within a week, her dream of having a 3D printer for the classroom was fully funded by the MakerBot Company. Some other printer manufacturers such as Stratasys are also on a similar mission to get 3D printers in schools and have set up grant writing help.

For Karen’s first lesson with the printer, she developed a 3D Design challenge assignment in which the students had to create a functioning object that they could use in their everyday lives, having to scale measurements, rescale, and even change geometric structures in order to achieve success. The students’ ideas ranged from simple iPod cases and pencil holders to extension cord organizers and note card stands.

Some other schools have paired 3D printing with the popular game Minecraft to help students conceptualize and integrate ideas, measurements, and equations with common math standards before printing out scaled replica models of their Minecraft designs. Minecraft used in conjunction with 3D printers will reinforce math concepts as the students are able to visualize and handle the scale replicas by using mathematical equations and problem solving to build successful standing structures. Imagine getting to build a dream house as a school assignment with Minecraft, taking measurements along the way to figure out the surface areas, volumes, and amount of material needed and then printing a small scaled model of the house you created to show off.

Many other schools, that have already integrated 3D printing into their curriculum, recently participated in Makerbot’s Student Math Manipulatives challenge. In this challenge, students were asked to come up with and print new items to be used as math manipulatives in class. The students in this challenge responded with (seesaw) balancing scales, rotating number blocks, mini parabolas, math gears, and other creative counters or computing devices to sit on their desks. Many of these designs the students came up with are now on sites like Thingiverse, where their designs can be downloaded, printed, shared, and used as math manipulatives by anyone.

3D printing allows educators and students to explore authentic replicas of objects and parts that may not be readily available to students or educators such as human and animal anatomies, toxic materials, artifacts, and other rare items that are not available to interact with in a classroom. A fifth or sixth grade lesson on King Tut can come to life with a replica bust of the young king in the classroom adorned with replica printouts of some of his most prized treasures like his pectoral jewelry. This way the students can actually see the extravagance first hand and make connections that are not viable through a textbook.

Another educational use for the 3D printers in schools applies to medical students. At some University medical centers, 3D printing is being used to create assistive implants for their patients. First the medical students will take a CAT Scan of the area to be operated on, which creates a 3D rendering of the patient’s anatomy. Next, using the scanned image of the patient’s anatomy, the students will then draft the proper sized braces, screws, and other assistive implants needed on the structure. Finally, the students can print the personalized, fitted implants that will help reduce rejection, swelling, and other complications due to improperly sized implants during surgery.

At the American Museum of Natural History students got to use a 3D printer to reconstruct a replica of a Dinosaur skeleton through a program called Capturing Dinosaurs. First the students got to learn about the fossils, how to take care of them, document them, prep them, and scan them into the computer to form 3D renderings of the bones, just like the paleontologists that work at the museum. Next they had to research and analyze the bones to determine which dinosaur they belong to. And finally, the students got to print (using digital fabrication) smaller replica models of the studied bones to piece them together, creating skeletons of the dinosaur they got to study at the museum.

Other museums and educational groups offer similar programs or free libraries containing 3D images (to scale) of their fossils, artworks, relics, mummified remains, sculptures, statues, and other significant historical artifacts for students and teachers to print out and use with their lessons. Some of these sources include The British Museum, Africanfossils.org, Smithsonian X3D, YouMagine.com, and the previously mentioned Thingiverse.

One of the most successful integrations of the 3D printers into the classroom comes from Dewitt High School in Michigan. Teacher Brian Bryar designed a research and development lab class that uses Inquiry and Research-based classroom strategies to fuel student interest and engagement in science, taking his students to a whole new level in the science world. The class allows students to “pick their own destiny,” as Mr. Bryar puts it, meaning that “the students are free to use the science lab to research what they want, develop what they want, and be as successful as they want.” This year several of the students in the class took to shredding down old unused tech machines in order to build real working 3D printers. They didn’t stop there either. The group is now using their built 3D printers to improve on the designs and create more 3D printers that will be more efficient, accurate, and durable then the printers on the market today. Another group in the class has taken to the chemistry side of things synthesizing a super strong plastic by stressing the bromine in a carbon structure so that the 3D printer can extrude a stronger plastic substance. These breakthroughs in science and technology will not only give them a most valued learning experience, their work at school is actually having a true impact in the world of science. Students at DeWitt High School in Michigan have definitely taken 3D printing to the next level.

But how much is it going to cost to print out the students designs and what types of filament (or material used to print with) should be used? Inkgrabber.com has PLA and ABS Plastic spools at affordable prices and with an assortment of colors. Inkgrabber.com also has special pricing for schools and academic centers so the creativity never stops. PLA is an all natural, biodegradable plastic made from corn and is 100% safe to use with students. PLA is naturally transparent and has a soft malleable texture. ABS plastic should be used in a more ventilated area as this substance can emit low toxins (but not enough to cause harm) when melted down. ABS plastic is very common in households and offices for its durability. In fact LEGOs are made of ABS plastic. Some newer 3D printer models that include a carbon air filter will negate any traces of toxicity from the printing process.

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Epson Stylus Ink Cartridges – Inkgrabber.com

The compact multifunction device has become a specialty of the Seiko Epson Corporation. Epson has seemingly mastered the art of applying the functions of printing, copying, scanning and faxing into a machine with a small footprint that can be used in the office or at home. The Epson Stylus has helped open up what was a niche market where it has been quite successful in keeping it on the forefront with other industry heavyweights. This all in one Epson machine has spawned a whole line of Stylus Multifunction namesakes. Inkgrabber.com carries black and color inkjet cartridges or the entire line of the original Epson Stylus.

Although several new and updated Stylus Series have come to the market since the original inception of the Stylus device, it still stands as a high quality machine in Epson arsenal.  Inkgrabber.com provides genuine and remanufactured product for this line of multifunctional devices that pass all the required elements for certification by ISO9001 standards. Inkgrabber.com is committed to distributing a quality consumable inkjet product that meets or exceeds your expectations. Listed with every Stylus Series inkjet Cartridge is a page yield percentage so you can perform easy tracking of a cartridge capacity and your ink usage.

Every inkjet cartridge you purchase is assured to satisfy the most discriminating consumer. Besides testing and certifying every cartridge Inkgrabber.com offers the opportunity to exchange any damaged or incompatible cartridge free of extra charge. It is all part of the Inkgrabber.com 90-Day Money Back Guarantee. In the event that you are dissatisfied with your purchase in any way, you can simply return to Inkgrabber.com and we will exchange it or refund you completely for the cost of the item, no questions asked. This commitment to your satisfaction is a hallmark of the Inkgrabber.com customer service philosophy.

At Inkgrabber.com we are always looking for better ways to improve our service for all you inkjet and toner cartridge needs. You can contact us at 877 INK-GRAB with any comments you have or take the opportunity to ask one of our expert customer service representatives any questions you might have regarding the status of a pending order or about the compatibility of a potential inkjet order for your Epson Stylus Model. Browse the Inkgrabber.com newsletter for special opportunities to save on our already low prices. Inkgrabber.com offers discount codes and coupons for use on Stylus Series Inkjet along with other Epson ink and toner products.

My prints have Lines across Them

Have you ever seen lines across your printouts? These are known as light stripes, a common print quality issue with ink and toner cartridges alike. Luckily, there is a way to easily fix this issue with inkjet printers, as well as laser toner printers.

With an inkjet printer, the first step is to identify which colors are producing the stripes. Looking at our image of the parrot, we see consistent black striping going horizontally across the printed image. At first it looks as though the black may be coming out when it is not supposed to, but the actual problem occurring here is with the black ink cartridge not ejecting enough ink throughout the page. When we zone in on the lower beak of the parrot, white lines are clearly visible where the black ink is supposed to be.

Printed picture of parrot with light stripes

Printout of parrot with print quality issue of light stripes.

Remanufactured Parrot

The Remanufactured Parrot Printout without light stripes

Similarly, the picture of the boy with painted hands shows the magenta ink cartridge not producing ink consistently, resulting in the same light stripe pattern occurring where the magenta ink is supposed to be. This often occurs with new ink cartridges, cartridges that have been sitting for a while, or when printing images that use both light and dark versions of the same color on one printout.

OEM Boy's Hands with print quality lines

The OEM Boy’s Hands Printout containing light stripes

After identifying the color or colors giving you the issue, the next step is to remove the cartridge and clean the contact spots (usually the bottom of the cartridge where ink is dispelled) on the ink cartridge and the printer with a damp paper towel or something similar. This will help remove any debris or dust that can build up and clog the cartridges.

The final step is to print a Test page of the color(s) in question. This will help clear the nozzles / printheads of any dried ink or residue and will also help stir the ink mixture inside the cartridge as the cartridges move inside your machine. You may have to run the test multiple times to completely clear the nozzles.

The test pages should be producing more solid coloration on each consecutive printout. If a test page prints out with the same amount of striping, or the striping has not faded at all from the previous test print, we recommend taking the cartridge out and cleaning the contacts once again with a damp cloth.

Once the test page is printing solid colors without the striping effect, the cartridge is ready to be used once again on your printouts. Cleaning the ink cartridges with a damp cloth and printing test pages can be done as many times as necessary, and will not damage the cartridge, ink mixture, or printer.

List of Steps to Remove Ink cartridge Light Stripes:

1. Identify the color(s) causing the striping to occur.

2. Remove the problem cartridge(s).

3. Clean the contact spots of the cartridge and printer with a damp cloth.

4. Print test pages of the problem color(s) to clear nozzles.

5. Repeat steps 2 – 4 as many times as necessary.

 

Laser toner printers and cartridges can also produce a striping effect across your printouts. And unlike inkjet printers which are not distributing enough ink, striping occurs on laser toner printouts because of an excess of toner powder on the drum unit. This usually occurs after a paper jam or when printing out a new document after having just printed a large number of copies.

The quickest way to eliminate stripes with a laser toner printer is to open the machine and gently wipe the surface of the drum unit with a damp paper towel or something similar. Once the area of the drum unit showing has been wiped clean, carefully rotate the drum unit manually so a new portion is showing. Simply rotate and clean the drum unit with the damp cloth until the entire surface of the drum unit is clear of all toner powder and debris.

Once the drum unit has been cleaned, your printouts will no longer contain blotchy spots or stripes. If the problem persists and becomes a constant issue whenever starting a new printing task, it is time to replace your maintenance kit. The purpose of the maintenance kit is to clean to drum unit between prints and to collect any excess toner powder that was dispersed and not used. A consistently dirty drum unit is an indication that the maintenance kit needs to be replaced.

List of Steps to Remove Stripes and Blotchy Spots with a Laser Toner Cartridge:

1. Open the machine to expose the drum unit.

2. Gently wipe and rotate the drum unit with a damp cloth.

3. Close the machine and print.

 

Works Cited:

Holisms2014.com. Cute-Boy-Colorful-Hand-HD-Wallpaper.jpg. 2014. Holi Wallpaper free download 2014. Accessed 17 June, 2014.http://www.holisms2014.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Cute-Boy-Colorful-Hand-HD-Wallpaper.jpg

The Quality of Remanufacturing Ink Cartridges in the USA

Manufacturing products in the United States has its advantages and disadvantages. The obvious disadvantage comes with the pricing. In the United States we have high wages and high living standards and thus every manufactured project in America takes a lot of money to create as compared to China or Thailand which has much lower minimum wages and in turn, lower living standards. On the other hand, manufacturers in the United States are the most productive in the world according to the National Association of Manufacturers. The Research and development is far more in depth and comprehensive which leads to greater innovation. We can see this effect in the ink and toner industry, especially when it comes to the viscosity, performance, and preservation of the pigments and overall ink compositions.

Our Remanufacturing Station, located in the San Fernando Valley of California, was kind enough to let me poke around and test some of the ink cartridges out. The results were not what I expected, as the ink compositions they are using tended to be brighter and carry more natural saturation. Upon seeing the first sets of printouts, I was stunned at the sheer quality coming from the basic, dual ink cartridge system printer we were using to test with and the remanufactured cartridges I brought from our warehouse located just down the road in Simi Valley, California. The lead engineer informed me that they have a significant advantage when it comes to the selection of ink they put into their remanufactured cartridges. Being in California, they receive more pigments and ink compositions than anywhere else in the world to select from.

The ink-filling team is able to compare hundreds of samples against the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridges and compatible ink cartridges made in China to get the best looking results, measuring  saturation, consistency, definition / gradation, lightfastness, durability, bleed, and ensuring each color is slightly different from the OEM with convenient color rendition charts.

Each aspect being tested is important for the overall quality and best results. The formulation of the ink composition needs to be smooth and uniform in order to guarantee that the first print will be the same as the fifth print and the same as the hundredth print and so on. Printing out colorful pictures and images with large solid color surfaces can help the team determine how consistent the formulation is. We can see a good measure of consistency with the Microsoft umbrellas picture, each being a solid color.

Looking at the Microsoft Umbrellas picture, we can see that each umbrella needs to be one consistent color with proper shading to denote the natural curvature. During this test, both the OEM and the Remanufactured ink cartridges performed with high markings. The only real noticeable difference comes with the shading. With the Remanufactured ink cartridges we can notice a more abrupt change into darkness due to the three colors being more vibrant. This effect makes the umbrellas look sharper and less rounded than the umbrellas printed with the OEM cartridges. However, the vibrancy really makes the umbrellas printed with the Remanufactured cartridges stand out and pop off of each other.

OEM Umbrellas

The OEM Umbrellas Printout

Remanufactured Umbrellas

The Remanufactured Umbrellas Printout

The next picture containing the boy with painted hands is ideal for seeing the gradation and viscosity of the expelled ink, since we can see pale skin tones and textured colors. The gradation, also known as definition is the sharpness at which one color changes to another and how tightly packed the pixels are jetted onto an area. This is a tricky balancing act since the pixels will get tighter the thicker the ink formulation is. However, the thicker the formula is, the greater chance of clots and horizontal lines forming.

With the OEM printed hands picture we can see nice tight lines and good blending with the gradation (the dots are not noticeable at a normal viewing distance), especially looking around the mouth and nose area of the boy. However when the OEM cartridge gets to the deep red paint on the right index finger and left palm of the boy, we see noticeable horizontal lines forming which can be common with thicker compositions of ink when changing immediately from finite red detail found on the skin tone to a deep saturated red found on the painted hands.

With the Remanufactured cartridges we see much more vibrant color once again and some noticeable pixilation or dots around the nose area of the boy. Although the painted hands are far superior with their consistency and ability to instantly change into another color. Like the umbrellas picture, the different colors really pop out from each other creating more sharply drawn shapes.

OEM Boy's Hands

The OEM Boy’s Hands Printout

Remanufactured Boy's Hands

The Remanufactured Boy’s Hands Printout

All the mentioned elements are noticeable in our next three images as well, although the saturation really flourishes in these next examples. Saturation is the intensity of the colors and how vibrantly they play off of each other. Pictures with little saturation are often referred to as dull or lacking in luster. This is definitely the case when comparing the shine and richness on each fruit. Looking at each fruit individually, such as the pear or the shiny red apple, it becomes evident that the Remanufactured printout provides a richer and deeper saturation of color. This makes the shine on the fruit stand out and helps the shapes pop out of their black borders. Just looking at the images, I would rather eat the fruit from the Remanufactured printout than the OEM printout.

OEM Fruits

The OEM Fruits Printout

Remanufactured Fruits

The Remanufactured Fruits Printout

The picture of the parrots in a jungle scene also highlights the deep saturation found with our remanufactured ink cartridges. From the shine on the water to the deep and dark greens found above and around the waterfall, the Remanufactured ink really displays its vibrancy with rich greens. The parrots have a deeper and richer red, as well as a brighter, more contrasting yellow with our Remanufactured ink cartridges. The overall feel of the Remanufactured parrot printout is like that of a painting where all the true colors are enhanced. In the OEM cartridge printed version, everything feels a little washed out or light in color. This definitely helps with pale skin tones, but does not excel at capturing the deep rich color found in nature.

OEM Parrots

The OEM Parrots Printout

Remanufactured Parrots

The Remanufactured Parrots Printout

Moreover, the hot air balloons printout helps show the deep richness found with our Remanufactured ink cartridges. The blues and reds found in the Remanufactured cartridge printout are more vibrant and the yellows slightly brighter than the printout created with the OEM cartridges. Looking at the sun in the picture helps to depict the difference in saturation. With the OEM printout, all the colors almost blend into each other like water colors, where each color of the Remanufactured printout stands out more like an oil painting.

OEM Balloons

The OEM Balloons Printout

Remanufactured Balloons

The Remanufactured Balloons Printout

One of the most important tests is to ensure that each color is slightly different from the OEM cartridge which our Remanufacturing Station views as advantageous. The lead engineer sees this as an opportunity to improve on the existing color formulas already released for the OEM cartridges. The most fitting image to see the color differentiation comes with the image of colored pencils. Comparing each pencil color to the OEM color pencils printout clearly shows the reds and blues being darker and the yellows being brighter. The reason for making the reds and blues darker was to improve the overall saturation while the brighter yellow provides a greater contrast and helps to mellow out the dark reds (magenta) and blues (cyan).

Looking at the pencils we can see the reds of the OEM cartridge appear to have more of a brick red hue whereas the Remanufactured printout displays more of a cherry red hue. The blue or cyan printed with the OEM cartridges is slightly lighter and has more noticeable pink and purple shades mixed with the blue. The Remanufactured printout is darker and has dark blue almost black shades within the blue areas. The Remanufactured yellow ink is the most evidentially different from the OEM version being much more of a highlighter yellow compared to the OEM which is more of a mustard yellow.

OEM Pencils

The OEM Pencils Printout

Remanufactured Pencils

The Remanufactured Pencils Printout

Durability and lightfastness are also major components of their testing. The engineers will leave pictures under controlled UV rays to measure lightfastness or the rate at which the colors will fade in light. They blast pictures with different elements such as water to measure bleed effects. And to test the durability, they have state of the art temperature controlled rooms to measure the how intense of heat or cold the cartridges can take. They also have multiple paper types that they will test on to ensure similar results no matter how thick or flimsy the media is.

All this is to find the absolute best color and performance for each remanufactured and refilled ink cartridge. Although this seems like a lot of testing, the company has specific templates which can gauge multiple aspects at once. This can all take a lot of work, but the end results are worth it and are always improving with the discovery of more compositions and pigments.

Check out some more of our printed pictures and templates below.

Remanufactured Parrot

The Remanufactured Parrot Printout

Remanufactured Template 1

The Remanufactured Template 1 Printout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remanufactured Template 2

The Remanufactured Template 2 Printout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited (Sources)

The Quality of Remanufacturing Ink in the USA

Microsoft win8download.com. Colorful-Umbrellas. 2013. Windows 8 wallpaper of colorful umbrellas. Accessed 17 June, 2014. http://win8download.com/25-colors-windows-8-background-and-wallpapers.html

Holisms2014.com. Cute-Boy-Colorful-Hand-HD-Wallpaper.jpg. 2014. Holi Wallpaper free download 2014. Accessed 17 June, 2014. http://www.holisms2014.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Cute-Boy-Colorful-Hand-HD-Wallpaper.jpg

Ananya, thephotogallerypages.com. photo-Colorful-Fruits-HD-Desktop-Wallpaper-403.jpg. 2012. Beautiful Fruits Pictures, Ananya. Accessed 17 June, 2014. http://www.wallsave.com/wallpaper/1280×960/ananya-colorful-fruits-hd-desktop-posted-in-album-beautiful-hq-456020.html

Jonkman, desktopwallpapers4me.com. Macaws-on-a-branch-9518.jpg. 2013. Macaws on a branch Wallpaper. Accessed 17 June, 2014. http://www.desktopwallpapers4.me/animals/macaws-on-a-branch-9518/

Stacy, lovethispic.com. Hot-air-balloons-over-lavender-field.jpg. 2014. Hot Air Balloons over Lavender Field. Accessed 17 June, 2014. http://www.lovethispic.com/image/14461/hot-air-balloons-over-lavender-field

Zcool.com.cn, all-free-download.com. color_pencil_closeup_picture_166380.jpg. 2014. Color pencil closeup picture. Accessed 17 June, 2014. http://all-free-download.com/free-photos/color_pencil_closeup_picture_166380.html

Are you paying too much to print?

Printer ink and toner has become a booming business over the last ten years and has continued to be a thriving industry despite the digital age of things. Companies, schools, households, sole proprietors, and other organizations that make up our workforce have always heavily relied on creating physical copies to be filed for easy perennial reference. From the initial documents that were filled out when you were hired to the last papers in your exit (retirement) package, and all the everyday record keeping that goes along with it in between, everyone of us uses a lot of printed paper; not only throughout our lifetime, but on a daily basis as well.  We even receive mail six days out of the week consisting of weekly ads and other monthly statements or subscriptions.  We are literally surrounded by printed media; just take a look around when you are inside of any human dwelling.  Chances are you’ll find several items that have been created with a printing machine.

Printed media has inevitably become part of our everyday lives and remains to be an established and common way to communicate. But how much does it cost us to print out a document or photograph? When page yields are displayed, the tests are generally with 5% ink or toner coverage which comes out to a fairly sparse amount of textual information on a page or an even smaller picture spanning slightly more than 4 inches by 4 inches in size.

At 5% ink / toner coverage most cartridges will be pretty affordable usually ranging from just under 1 cent per printout to upwards of 20 cents per printout depending on the printer model and the ink or toner cartridges being used. Additionally, using laser toner is often more cost efficient, especially when creating multiple copies of a single page because the same impression can be used multiple times helping to reuse any missed or extra toner on the drum or belt, kind of like a stamp.

Taking a look at some advertised costs of printing, a Canon PGI225bk black inkjet cartridge used in several Canon PIXMA printers at 5% ink coverage, will cost roughly 5 cents per printout with the OEM or Genuine cartridge. Our Remanufactured Canon PGI225bk black inkjet cartridge, used with the same printers will print the same document for about 2 cents per page. With an Epson Stylus Photo T009201 color inkjet cartridge, printing costs will average around 8.5 cents per printout at 5% ink coverage with a genuine cartridge. Similarly our Remanufactured Epson T009201 color inkjet cartridge will cost around 3 cents per printout, when printing the same image with the same printer. Moreover, the prominent Brother TN450 toner cartridges will cost around 2 cents per printout using genuine cartridges and around 1 cent per printed page with our Compatible Brother TN450 toner cartridges. But how often do we use such a scarce amount of ink or toner.

When printing text documents, most of the time we only use around 5 – 10 % ink coverage, leaving the black ink and toners appropriately marked for printing text documents. Although, printing documents with smaller font and full text pages is generally closer to 10% which would cut the page yield total in half and increase printing costs by double the amount. So the previously mentioned Canon Pixma PGI225BK ink cartridges which cost 5 cents per printout using genuine cartridges and 2 cents using Remanufactured cartridges would actually cost more closely to 10 cents per text document with Genuine cartridges and around 4 cents with Remanufactured cartridges. Moreover, these cartridges are advertised to produce or yield around 340 pages which would lower to somewhere closer to 170 pages. Printing an image or photograph, on the other hand, will generally need about 20 to 50 percent ink coverage which will greatly alter your page yield totals and in turn, will raise the average cost per printout.

PC Magazine released an article entitled The True Cost of Ink, which comes to the conclusion that we print with 35 to 50 percent coverage on an average 8 x 10 inch photograph printout, which is about 7.5 to 10 times greater than the tested average. The 35 to 50 percent coverage is also per cartridge since the CMY colors and black ink work in harmony to layer each color on substrates generating about 150 to 200 percent total ink coverage.

So if you’re printing photographs or detailed images, a better representation of the printing cost would be to multiply the advertised or retail cost per printout by 7.5 to 10. Therefore, the user printing 8 x 10 inch photographs that uses the Epson T009201 cartridges for their Stylus printer will spend around 85 cents per printout using the genuine cartridges and about 30 cents per printout using our Remanufactured cartridges. To print ten photographs, you are looking at an ink cost of $8.50 with OEM or genuine ink cartridges and around $3.00 with Remanufactured cartridges. Also note that paper and power costs have not been added to the cost per printout.

With the prevalence and popularity of printing, the brand name manufacturers have been able to set ridiculously high prices for their replacement cartridges. This is in part because the manufacturers try to monopolize the supplies compatible with each machine and in part because we have created a need to see and handle physical copies to confirm data. Over the past few years, we’ve had a push to make everything “green,” or digital but how many times does a company also send a physical copy or how many times have you printed an email confirmation you received. We like to have information at our fingertips but don’t always want to power up a phone or digital device to access the programs storing our needed information.

To determine if you are paying too much for ink, you must first determine the type of printing you most frequently contribute to. Are you printing photographs, text documents, graphical data, blue prints, or small images with text?  If you mostly print small images and small amounts of text, the advertised costs and page yields will be accurate. With blue prints and graphical data, you should increase the cost of printing by 2 to 5 times, circumstantially dividing the page yield by the same amount for a more accurate representation.  Printing photographs can be tricky, since the size and detail of the picture matter. Printing a full page borderless photograph will use up to 400% ink coverage, significantly more than the 5% being tested.

Also, brand name printer manufacturers work hard to ensure their products will only be usable in their machines and can require specific cartridges and papers to be used together for longer lasting results. Compatible and Remanufactured ink and toner cartridges are made to be used with these printers but can produce a different hue or shade of color. Using third party ink and toner will greatly reduce the cost of printing by an average of 50% or half, but they can also lower the tonal quality when printing out photos. The Compatible and Remanufactured ink and toner cartridges are ideal for text or business graphs, helping to save companies, offices, and other printing environments a lot of money.

Ink Sticks: The Evolution of Printing

No longer do workgroups, offices, and households have to deal with leaky cartridges or stains from printer ink. Over the last couple decades, Xerox has been forming a solid ink to be used in printers as a way of applying color to substrates. What they have developed are cartridge-free cubes of solid ink that can be handled just like a crayon. This means less waste, no need to recycle anything as nothing is left over, and no annoying smart chips that prevent users from printing. The ink is simply a solid cube of color that will melt inside the printer and adhere to media passing through the machine.

The ink sticks have similar properties to wax and are a formed from a non-toxic, resin-based polymer, similar to a crayon. This is a unique item that can be handled without fear of smudging on clothes or staining hands or furniture. This breakthrough in ink innovation and color application is also environmentally friendly having a wax-like base that is formed from all natural elements such as plants and food-grade processed vegetable oils.

A huge advantage of the solid ink sticks (also known as color ink stix) is that they do not have any moving, complicated components that the aqueous ink solutions need to be housed in. This eliminates third party manufacturers of cartridge components and keeps everything in house (or made and shipped from one location) for better quality control and care. This will also help to reduce the cost to manufacture the solid ink sticks for lower consumer pricing.

The solid ink sticks are also much easier to transport as their solution will not coagulate in one spot of the cartridge which can cause leaking and uneven ink distribution that lowers the quality and longevity of the applied ink. Moreover, the solid printer ink sticks demand up to 30% less energy to function, lowering the amount of energy needed to print and leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

The Story

In the late 80s and early 90s, scientists started working diligently to bring the next wave of printing advancements to the consumer in the form of an ink replacement that leaves no waste when consumed and will not stain surfaces it comes into contact with. The idea was formed by looking at the design of a stapler, as the staples do not have a need to be housed in a cartridge and are directly loaded into the device with no waste left over after consumption. The replacement staple properties were precisely what they were looking to accomplish with their printer replacement components.

Their ideas culminated on forming a solid ink with no cartridge that users could pick up and load into the printer with their hands. Their main goal for the project was originally to just get color onto the page which turned out to have its own complications. The first concept ink stick required special paper to print onto as the formula would not stick to ordinary surfaces.

Throughout the development process, there were several things to consider in order to bring consumers a product they would actually use and enjoy. For example, when things are complex, they become more expensive for the consumer, so the development team had to find the simplest ways to obtain and create the components that go into the solid ink mixture.

Over the years this solid ink technology has been refined into a crayon like substance that has its own unique properties and molecular makeup. In fact, scientists have created nearly 5000 new molecules and around 700 new dye formulations to create the four standard color ink sticks that provide a wide color gamut and unmatched print quality.

When the ink sticks are printed onto media, they create a thin layer of the resin-like substance on the surface covering anything that was previously on the page. This lets businesses recycle unwanted or used documentation by printing over the unwanted images and texts instead of throwing them out or shredding them. This also gives projects enhanced vibrancy that outclasses inkjet and toner application results.

The formula used to create Color ink sticks are much easier to apply onto substrates making the speeds exponentially higher as well. The steady ink consistency and layering effect of the solid ink sticks give them unmatched printing speeds compared to laser toner and inkjet printing. So far the team at Xerox has been able to reach printing speeds up to 2000 pages per minute, only being limited by the size and power of the stepper motors (or print engines).

Currently, the solid ink sticks are only used in some Xerox printer models including the Xerox ColorQube printers and some Xerox Phaser models.


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