Ink Cartridge Refills

Refilling 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 with ink refills and then be stuck with the mess afterwards.

I know from my own experience that trying to refill a cartridge often leaves you with at Least one green or red hand that takes a week or so to dissapear. Even after the clean up often the cartridges dont work that well as air gets trapped inside the cartridge or else the actual printhead clogs up due to the poor viscosity of the ink used to refill.

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.When 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.

What about refilling Toner Cartridges

Although it is not a common practice to refill toner cartridges there are still a few die hards who continue to refill their own rather than to purchase a generic or remanufactured toner. Due to the relatively low price of generic toners many people figure that it isnt worth while nowadays to refill them.

For those who wish to here is the basic procedure. First you must find the filler hole on the toner. This is where the new toner powder is poured into. Often it can be found under a cover or on the end of the toner.

Often if you cant locate a filler hole then you can carefully drill your own hole into the toner using a small drill bit. Next simply insert the toner powder refill bottle into the hole and fill the toner with the specified amount of powder.

 Next close the filler hole with the cap or else cover it with tape if drilled. Next the toner chip needs to be either replaced or reset. The chip usually communicates the page count to the printer and sometimes you can simply keep on printing with the old chip and just ignore the printer warnings. Many printers will simply shut down if the chip is not either replaced or reset.

Now that it's all done simply replace the toner and carry on printing. Often when a toner has been filled more than once the printouts will start to get a dirty or greyish background. This is often due to the fact that the wiper blade is starting to get worn and should be replaced. 

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.