There are times when it is simply necessary to bite the bullet and stick with quality over economy because it is actually in our own best interest. In the case of virtually any inkjet printer, these are incredibly complex and precise machines that sit on the desktop and spew out flawless, digital picture quality images day after day. From an engineering standpoint, these are really amazing pieces of machinery that cost less than a day’s wages in many cases.
Imagine the precision necessary to slide a mobile print cartridge along its rail to the exact spot on a sheet of paper and then command it to emit one perfect jet of ink on something as tiny as an individual pixel before moving over to the next one to be painted. Everything needs to line up perfectly just for this one ink color. Yet there are several additional colors that all need to be jetted out in perfectly matched proportions in order to create millions of different color combinations.
Few people stop to realize that each ink cartridge in their printer is actually a sort of tiny spray paint gun that shoots out liquid ink at a very high velocity. More importantly, however, is the fact that high velocity jets of ink have the same effect as sandpaper on the tiny orifice that blasts the ink onto the paper. Over time, that very small pinhole gets wider and wider as more ink shoots through the opening.
What this means in practice is that an already blown-out cartridge that gets refilled is going to be much less precise and use much more ink than a brand new one with a tight orifice. Refill it yet again, and the orifice is huge by inkjet standards and splats color all over the place in comparison to the ultra-fine patterns laid down by factory-new units.
For those who are just using their printers for the occasional grocery list or school project, the degraded quality that automatically arises when using recycled ink is not particularly noticeable. When it comes time to print out a copy of that favorite snapshot, things are going to be different. Instead of the crisp resolution and brilliant colors one is accustomed to, there are going to be fuzzy edges to everything and a lot of strange-looking color matches.
Of course Epson wants to use Epson ink in their printers and this is one of the major reasons why they do so. Unfortunately, most printer companies never make clear why they recommend loading up with fresh factory colors as opposed to taking a chance on recycled refills.
Their engineers know that loose jet orifices produce inferior print results. Most end users simply do not appreciate how close the tolerances are on this equipment or how much wear can be inflicted by a stream of ink flowing through at high speed. It is not something that most people think about, not even after they start to wonder why their printer doesn’t work as well as it used to.
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Photo credits: plazaart.com