The Ink Hub Story

Ink Hub LogoWith so many blog posts about technical jargon and product information I thought that we would put all of that aside and give readers a brief journey through the Story of Ink Hub from it’s humble beginnings to now.

My name is Dean and I am the owner/manager of Ink Hub. My background was mainly focused around the Electronics Industry. After leaving High School I spent 2 years at Regency Park Tafe training to be an Electronic Serviceman.

During this time I was into Ham Radio, CB’s and all sorts of nerdy electronic stuff. I worked in the electronics industry for quite a few years including making prototypes for local and overseas military equipment. Several years down the track I had a complete career change and worked at the “Riverside Golf Course” and also the “Grange Golf Course” as a greenkeeper.

While working at the grange an opportunity came up at the “Enfield Cemetery” and being just around the corner from where I was living I took the position. During the next few years I got married, bought a house and ended up moving out Salisbury way. Around about 2005 I was given my first computer by a very good friend of mine and this is where my interest in web design and the internet began.

I needed a printer to go with my new computer so I ended up purchasing a Brother DCP 110 at our local Big W for around $100. Here’s where the Ink Hub story comes into play. The kids soon used up the ink in our new printer so I headed to the shop to grab some more. I came home empty handed as there was no way I was going to pay over $100 just for the ink.

After searching on the internet for several hours I finally tracked down a cheaper source of ink, purchased it for a song and wow it worked perfectly. The old cogs started moving and the idea of reselling these generic inks seemed like a great idea. I found the wholesaler for these generic inks, bought a heap of them and headed off to my local market to make a killing. The wife looked at me with the look of “Here he goes again” and she was right. Home I come after 3 or so hours without selling a single ink.

I designed the first version of the Ink Hub website based on the Oscommerce platform and went live online in 2007 accepting payments via PayPal, Bank Transfer and Cheque. I continued working at the Enfield Cemetery and after several weeks I thought I’d check the website and Blow Me Down people had actually started placing orders.

We rushed down to the local Post Office, purchased some Express Bags and sent the inks on their way. From this time on it simply got busier and busier until later in 2008 It become so busy that it became a full time business. It’s been a huge learning curve and I’ve learnt so much about SEO, Web Design, Web Hosting and PHP etc.

Nowadays Ink Hub is supplying 1000′s of customers throughout Australia including schools, Large Corporations, Home Business and Home Users. Our Generic Inks have become incredibly popular and we now import all of our cartridges direct with no middle man.

If you are interested in starting an online business I thoroughly recommend that you host it in Australia with a reputable webhost as it can be a huge nightmare with the cheaper overseas companies and the extra money for the Aussie server is money well spent.

So now in 2014 Ink Hub remains a family business servicing around 17,000 customers throughout Australia and continues to grow steadily. Our aim has never changed and our philosophy is simply to provide the very best quality cartridges, low prices, fast delivery times and fantastic customer service.

If you are looking for advice on printers or want to save money on your printer cartridges give us a call: Office: (08) 7324 3065 or  Mob: 0408 691 299

 

 

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Preventing Inkjet Ink from smearing

smudged-inkI had an email from a customer this week who was printing menus for a restaurant and wanted to know how to prevent the ink from bleeding when coming into contact with water.

Due to the fact that almost all inks are water soluble (eg: pigments and dyes) when they come into contact with water their natural tendency is to bleed or if only freshly printed to smudge.

In tests we have conducted over the years we have found that the actual Genuine inks take much longer to dry and unless left for some time will smudge very easily. There are certain Epson printers which boast that their combination of inks and papers are totally waterproof.

This is partly true however the costs of the inks and paper are ridiculously high ! Due to this alone most people don’t wish to use the Epson as costs far outway the advantages of being more bleed and smudge resistant.

A Better and Cheaper Solution

hair spray stops ink smudgingAfter trying several methods which were not really successful I found a website claiming that spraying the paper  with hair spray actually stopped the bleeding. Not just any hair spray but apparently VO5 Firm Hold Hair Spray was the best one for the job!

Not having much hair myself I headed for my sons room and found exactly what I was looking for, yes VO5 Firm Hold ! After spraying the hair spray on several pieces of freshly printed paper I was surprised to see how well it worked. After applying generous amounts of H2O to the paper there was almost no signs of bleeding at all !

Laser Printing – the more expensive solution

If you don’t have the time to spray your prints with hair spray then a better solution is to simply use a laser printer. Laser printers don’t actually use ink but they use a powder known as “toner“.

The toner powder actually gets baked onto the paper at very high temperatures. This in turn creates a very tough and durable print which is almost completely resilient to water. Due to the cost of Laser Printers however this method becomes much more expensive.

Final thoughts and solutions

If none of the above methods appeal to you and if you are only doing small amounts of water resistant printing then maybe you could look into purchasing a laminator. Once laminated no amount of moisture will effect the print.

Whatever method you chose be sure to drop us an email and let us know what method worked for you.

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Error c000 on a Canon Printer

Error message c000 appearing on your Canon Printers Screen is quite common and can usually be resolved by trying several procedures. Often it can be resolved by simply turning the printer OFF and then back ON again. If this doesn’t fix the error then you may need to investigate it further and try some of the following:

1. First check for a paper jam associated with the carriage which the print head runs back and forth on. Look for a small piece of paper jammed near the end of the print head carriage.

2. The Ink Cartridges may not be seated correctly. Try removing all ink tanks and then reseat them all firmly. If this doesn’t remove the error try step 3.

Print Head Removal3. Try reseating the actual print head. This is done by removing all of the ink tanks from the print head. Next release the print head by raising the lever on the right hand side of the print head itself. Once fully removed replace it and lower the lever to lock the print head back in.

Usually this will fix the c000 error as it generally indicates that there is a problem with the electrical connections between the print head and the actual printer.

If the problem persists you may want to look into replacing the printer as print heads are usually not much cheaper than the cost of replacing the whole printer.

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Best Printer for Home Use 2014

Best Printer 2014With such a huge selection of printers to chose from how can you decide which printer is right for your home needs? As with most products nowadays there becomes so many different makes and models available that it can become overwhelming.

Before deciding on the best printer for 2014 we have considered a vast number of criteria.

Warning – what to avoid when Buying a Printer

Firstly when talking home printers we usually are referring to Inkjet Printers and not laser. Reason being is that an inkjet printer is a much cheaper to purchase (Colour Printer) and also cheaper to use and maintain in the home environment.

The first thing to avoid when buying a new printer is to become a miser and go for the $39 Canon Printer which is at the front of the display. The inks for these are super expensive and the colour cartridges contain about 30% of the ink compared to a printer using individual colour tanks. As a general rule always avoid printers which use only 2 ink cartridges.

Avoid printers which use a piezo print head. In saying this it basically eliminates every printer except the Canon range. I might sound biased however most people in the printer industry are aware of the brilliant design of the Canon’s Thermal Print Head. The Canon print head lasts longer, very rarely clogs and is the only printer which still uses a removable print head.

The Canon MX 726 gets the Ink Hub 2014 Best Printer Award

Canon MX 726 Best Printer 2014The award for the Best Printer for 2014 goes to the Canon MX726 Inkjet Printer. This printer is a multifunction print, scan, copy and fax with full duplex capabilities. It has full wireless and mobile connectivity as well as double sided printing capabilities.

One of the best features of this printer is that it utilises 5 separate ink tanks which can be replaced individually as needed. These printers run perfectly well with good quality compatible inks and will never give any problems in regards to incompatibilities or print head clogging.

Other features of the Canon MX 726 is the ability for printing direct from cameras or mobile devices and it also has its own card reader for printing from memory cards etc.

Without going into all of the technical jargon concerning print speeds and resolutions let me summarize by stating that the Canon MX726 for home use will be the most reliable, full function printer and using compatible cartridges one of the most economical and trouble free printers on the market.

If you would like further advice on this printer or others please call me (Dean) at Ink Hub’s Office: (08) 7324 3065 or Mob: 040 869 1299

Available cartridges for this printer: Canon MX726 Printer Cartridges

 

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Canon Pixma Printers. The only choice !

The new 2014 Canon Pixma MX Series Printers are leading the way in technology. With WI-FI connectivity and Full compatibility with SMART devices. No longer do you need to race over to the printer to print a document or image. Now it is simply a matter of connecting via your iPad, Smartphone, laptop or Tablet and simply printing wirelessly.

Need to email a document from your smartphone? Easy, simply place the document on the printer and select “Scan to Smartphone” it’s that simple. There are a number of Canon Pixma printers available and for convenience and economic printing we recommend the printers which use individual ink tanks.

The best 2 Canon Pixma MX printers for economical printing and ease of use are the Canon PIXMA MX726 and the Canon PIXMA MX926. These both use the Canon PGI 650XL and CLI 651XL individual colour ink cartridges.

For more information on various Canon Pixma printers go to the official Canon Website.

For reviews on Canon Printers go to Productreviews.com.au. It’s a great site.

At our office (Ink Hub) we have used various printers for our invoicing etc and the Canon are by far the most reliable and easy to operate. Also keep in mind that the Canon printers are the only ones which use a “Thermal” print head. The thermal print head is not prone to clogging even when the printer is not used over a long period.

Most other Inkjet Printers use a piezo print head and they are known for clogging and various other issues. Another advantage with the Canon is that the print head is easily removed. This is useful in the unlikely case that the print head becomes clogged or needs replacing.

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Water Jet Printer. Goodbye Ink Cartridges

waterJust when you thought the Inkjet printer was the greatest invention since sliced bread, welcome the “Water Jet Printer“.

The Water Jet printer uses nothing but water to print with. Could this be Goodbye to Ink Cartridges ? (Struth, I hope not).

The Water Jet Printer instead of ink relies on a specially designed paper impregnated with dyes. These dyes react to the water being jetted onto the paper and in turn produce colours. Instead of replacing ink cartridges all of the time it’s simply a matter of refilling the cartridges with water.

Wait there’s more! Self Erasing Prints

Yes it’s true, not only does this printer not need ink but the darn thing prints pages which erase themselves within 24 hours. Holy smoke what will the Chinese think of next. This makes the water jet printer ideal for printing temporary documents which can be reprinted over the following day.

So not only does this contraption not use ink but it reuses the same paper over and over again after the previous days printing. As long as you use filtered water I guess these printers wont have any issues with print heads clogging etc !

Will the Water Jet Printer Revolutionise Printing?

At this stage I doubt wether the water jet printer will revolutionise the printing industry. There’s no doubt however that the technology to impregnate the printing paper with dyes rather than use actual ink cartridges will definitely be an up and coming trend.

Technology is going ahead at a rapid pace in the print industry and no doubt Water Jet Printers, 3D Printers etc will improve and become more viable for the everyday home user.

For now however the Inkjet and Laser Printer will continue to dominate the market. As with any technology eventually some new fandango device will come along and  completely change the way we do things. I only hope it takes a while, at least until my retirement !

For a more detailed description of the workings of the water jet printer take a look at the Wiki Page.

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Refilling Ink Cartridges

Refilling Ink CartridgesRefilling an ink cartridge is rapidly becoming a dying art. This is mainly due to the low cost of buying a brand new compatible ink cartridge.

Most people figure that it is so much easier to simply buy a new compatible ink than to waste time refilling and then be stuck with the mess afterwards.

The secrets to refilling Printer Cartridges

If you decide that you want to refill yourself then here’s some valuable tips.

When an ink cartridge is professionally refilled it is first pressure cleaned and the sponge replaced. This is one of the most important steps and the reason is as follows. When a genuine ink mixes with a generic ink as in the case of most refilling jobs it causes a chemical reaction. This can lead to the ink solidifying and resulting in the clogging of your printers “print head”.

The reason this occurs is that genuine inks are nearly always Oil based where as generic inks are made from pigments and dyes. In many cases the pair simply don’t like to mix. Take it from me it is worth taking the time to clean the cartridge thoroughly before refilling and it can save you a heap of problems. You can use isopropyl alcohol to clean a cartridge before refilling.

Ink Cartride with Print HeadWhen refilling a cartridge with a built in print head (B) as in the diagram to the left most people simply drill a hole in the top and refill it with ink. While this will work most of the time print quality is far from good. The reasons for this is that air gets forced into the print head (B) and causes some of the ink to solidify as it slowly gets drawn out of the cartridge.

This is the reason why professionals use refilling machines which actually force the ink in through the actual print head (B) rather than injecting it into the top. This serves 2 purposes. One is to clear the print head as ink is forced through and secondly to eradicate any air being forced into the print head.

For the home user a machine is obviously not viable so the standard method of refilling via a hole at the top of the cartridge is the only viable method. There are many videos on You tube which cover these refill methods.

Final thoughts on refilling

Finally if you plan to refill your cartridges make sure that you use a really good quality ink. This can be achieved by going through a reputable retailer. A low grade ink will always cause problems especially with printers using a piezo print head eg: Epson and Brother. The print head will quickly clog and render the printer useless !

Have a look at the following page for step by step instructions on refilling an ink cartridges.

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Reset Epson Waste Ink Counter

Epson Ink Waste PadHas your Epson Printer stopped printing due to the Ink Waste Pad being full?  This is a common problem and the only solution is to reset the Ink Waste Pad Counter. The only way this can be achieved is by downloading a suitable Software Reset Utility which when launched will reset the counter and get your printer up and running again.

What Causes the Waste Pad Error to Occur?

All inkjet printers use some kind of waste pad which is situated underneath the print head. The waste pad is basically a large foam sponge sitting inside of a plastic container and it absorbs all of the wasted ink which gets pumped through the printer.

During a print head cleaning cycle large amounts of ink get pumped through the print head and deposited straight onto the ink waste pad. This automatic cleaning cycle occurs almost every time you turn your printer ON and it’s purpose is to keep the microscopic holes in the print head clear of dried ink.

Epson Printers use a piezo print head which can clog quite easily if this cleaning process doesn’t occur often enough. Most Epson Printer owners will be very aware of the massive amounts of ink this process uses. The printer basically goes into the highest resolution Photo Print mode and squirts a load of ink straight out of the print head and into the waste pad below.

The Solution to Resetting the Ink Waste Pad

The first thing you should know is that when the printer indicates that the pad is full usually they are only about half full so the waste pad itself does not need replacing. The actual printer does not have a sensor but usually it basis its calculations on the number of pages printed. This is all done within the printers software and this is where the software utility plays it’s part.

Here is the link to Reset the Epson Waste Ink Counter. This site contains Software Utilities to reset the counters of most Epson printers. There are several other sites also offering similar utilities and if you have had success with any of these sites PLEASE let me know so we can add them to our list.

Below is a video by the company who run this website showing the basic method of using their software utility. Let us know how you get on with resetting your Epson Printer’s Waste Pad !

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The Most Common Cause of Printer Failure

Printer MaintenanceHaving recently received a couple of calls from long term customers about print head failure on Canon Printers I noticed a common issue which was the cause of this.

Having used Canon Inkjet printers in our office over the past 7 years and finding them rock solid and NEVER giving print head trouble I thought I’d share the secret to print head longevity.

After questioning these customers about their printing habits it was obvious as to why their print heads were giving them problems. As with most people when their printer gives the low ink warning they simply keep printing. That’s fine to a point however the trouble begins when you keep printing until the cartridge actually starts to run dry.

So why change cartridges when the printer warns you to ?

A Canon printer uses what is known as a thermal print head. Basically the print head is full of very small resistors which heat up causing the ink to bubble out onto the paper to produce the image. The printers software is set up so that when the ink cartridge is nearing empty it warns the user to replace it well before it actually runs out. This is what we call a buffer or a safety level of ink. Manufacturers know full well that people will continue printing so they make sure that their is still plenty of ink remaining in the cartridge at the initial warning screen.

The printer will continue printing however it will warn you of the low ink level and advise you to replace the ink cartridge. I’ve noticed that on many of the newer Canon printers that they will actually stop printing if you use them for too long a period after this initial warning screen.

Why cant I just keep printing until the cartridges are empty ?

This is the obvious question and here comes the crunch! As a car needs water or coolant flowing through the radiator etc to keep it cool so does your printers print head. If you run your cartridges for too long after the initial warning you will eventually damage or kill your print head. The small resistors in the thermal print head get extremely hot and without ink around them they will get even hotter. If you print regularly enough with near empty cartridges you will eventually damage the delicate print head by burning out the individual resistors.

Must I replace the cartridges immediately when warned by the printer ?

Of course not. Certainly you can keep printing for quite sometime after the printer warns you however DO NOT keep printing until the cartridges actually get so low that you start getting gaps in your printing.

If you continually do this I can guarantee that your print head will die long before the printer is worn out.

Will Compatible Ink Cartridges wear my print head out faster ?

This is a fair question however the answer is a definite NO ! Using good quality compatible inks will in no way reduce the life of your print head. As mention before we have been using compatible inks in our Canon office machines and in 7 years I’ve never had to do even one manual print head clean. If a printer is used regularly, with good inks and the above rules are applied then there is very little chance of your print head causing you grief.

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Save on Printer Ink by Leaving the Power On

Dont Turn Power OffDid you know that by turning off the power to your printer at the wall it is actually costing you money? Electricity costs have soared in the past few years and we are all trying to save money however sometimes if were not careful it can backfire on us.

The average inkjet printer in your home will actually use almost negligible amounts of power when turned off at the printers on/off button.

What turning it off at the wall actually does is to reset the printers memory causing it to go into maintenance mode every time that the power is turned back on.

Why Leaving the Power Turned on Saves You Money

When the power to the printer is restored and the printer maintenance mode gets activated the printer will start to do an automatic print head clean. A print head clean actually pumps huge amounts of your valuable ink through the print head and straight out into the waste pad. It does this due to the printers memory being reset due to the power being turned off and therefore it assumes that it must need a clean to make sure the nozzles on the print head are clear. This is the whole idea of the maintenance mode to clear out any debris or dried ink which may clog some of the small holes which the print head spits the ink out of onto the paper.

As you can provably gather if this occurs at least once a day when you turn the power back on then your ink cartridges are not going to last very long at all !

Why Does maintenance Mode Waste so Much Ink?

The reason why the maintenance mode uses so much ink is because it basically goes into high resolution photo printing mode to make sure extra ink gets pushed through the print head to keep it clean. Epson printers are renowned for this as they use a “Piezo” print head which tends to clog more readily than the more preferred Canon “Thermal” or “Bubble Jet” print head.

More Reasons for Leaving a Printer’s Power Turned On

When a printer is turned off by its own ON/OFF switch it actually parks the ink cartridges to the side of the waste pad to prevent the ink cartridges from drying out. If you by chance turn the printer OFF at the wall and not at the printer the ink cartridges will not get parked can cause them to dry out or evaporate at a much higher rate.

Finally every time that you turn the power back on at the wall it actually uses larger amounts of power by automatically going into maintenance mode. There is no doubt that by leaving the power turned ON at the wall it will work out far cheaper and the printer itself will actually last longer.

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