and I attend a certain conference every year we can. This year we went, and one of the featured people there was a gentleman of significant accomplishments in the field, and who is utterly
unencumbered by any self-esteem difficulties. We mentioned in passing something that we were thinking of doing, and are now doing at the DMRF, namely running a photo booth, and mentioned possibly getting a laser printer to cut down on materials costs, given the insane cost of ink cartridges.
Oh, no, the gentleman said, the thing to do is get a continuous feed ink system!
Time passed, and looking around, the best-recommended continuous feed ink system was that of Lyson. The web site of the distributor indicated that we needed to buy cleaning cartridges; they, it said, were good for exactly one cleaning, and that it would be cheaper in the long run to buy fillable cartridges and a bottle of cleaning fluid--but curiously, I couldn't find those on the distributor's site. I ended up buying the system for the printer we already own, an Epson Stylus Photo R220, and six of the [expletive] cleaning cartridges at $17 each, total cost $435, by itself more than some respectable color laser printers.
The system arrived--along with instructions and the components, and six bottles of ink. Then began the ordeal.
It's impossible to get the ink in the reservoirs neatly. We spent quite a while doing that--clipping the tip of the squirt bottles of ink tended to either result in a drop per second of flow, or flow that was reasonable with pressure on the bottle--but lacking any way to get air in to allow smooth flow, it was an utter mess. This took place the night before, and morning of, the opening day of the fair... and we then found two things:
- We had to remove the hinged lid that clips down on the stock cartridges, so the hoses to the continuous feed cartridges would fit.
- Contrary to the distributor's web site, if we started out with stock Epson cartridges, we did not need the cleaning cartridges, so the distributor's web site wasted us $100.
The first item proved very difficult indeed, so much so that we couldn't do it. A couple of people volunteered to help... and then didn't. We got replacement Epson cartridges--almost another hundred dollars at Staples, bought during fair hours when the previous cartridges ran out.
A few days ago, irpooh
went to a nearby computer store and begged for help with the srizonified lid, and got it. Just now we went through the rest of the steps, and to give Lyson their due, the results are very good.
So, now we have a setup that is fairly Rube Goldberg, will have to be placed in some kind of box for transportation, and eventually will require another insanely messy refill. The continuous flow system is necessarily tied to the printer, since the pseudo-cartridges have to match those of the printer... and the Stylus Photo R220 is showing its age. If it breaks, I seriously doubt it will be worth repair... save that I refuse
to spend another $300 or so for a different continous feed system that differs only at the end that fits in the printer.
All I can say is, never again. The next printer is either going to be one that is designed for ink tanks from the start, or a laser printer.
I quote my lady wife: no, I'd better not quote my wife.