Saturday, February 16, 2013

More Prints For Less Money

On 30 January 2013 gold closed down USD12 an ounce with the price USD1664. If it continues to decline it will allow the cost of color inkjet ink to be more expensive per ounce than gold.

Its not exactly like color laser cartridges are that inexpensive either. Replacing the three secondary colors and a black toner cartridge for a color laser printer can easily reach USD500.

Even black and white laser printing can get costly. Quickly. There are some things you can do to keep your consumable costs down. Consider:

Lowering the DPI you are printing at. In Windows create several "printers" with different settings. Do you really have to print your drafts at 600 dpi? Adjust your settings for a lower dpi for your default printing. Use only the higher resolution when you are releasing your masterpiece to the outside world. A side benefit of this is your print speed goes up as well. This works equally well for inkjet as well as laser printers.

Look at third-party suppliers. Some of the manufacturers in an attempt to protect their profits were encoding their consumables with chips that would prevent reuse. This was quickly slapped down in the European Union as an anti-competitive tactic.

The exceptionally frugal person may wish to take on ink cartridge refilling on their own. Generally speaking I have found this to be a suboptimal solution. There are third-party shops that have the proper tools for proper refilling, both inkjet and laser supplies.

HP attempted to restrict refills by putting a very thin OPC (that green stuff that the laser excites) for transferring the toner. Ingenious suppliers figured that one out rather quickly and came out with a toner roller with plenty of OPC on it. This would allow a re-manufacturer to rebuild a toner cartridge that could take a dozen refills before the roller would wear out.

As with many things in life there are good third-party re-manufacturers and some distinctly subpar. And of course theres always the downright shady characters. The trick is not to shop on the lowest price. Nose around for a firm either locally or online that has been around the block a few times and has overall very good ratings. They dont have to have perfect ratings as you cannot please everyone all the time.

One final way you can stretch your consumable dollars is by looking at the paper you are using. Not all paper is created equal. A smoother paper will not bring as much wear to an inkjet print head or an OPC in a laser. Suppliers occasionally have deep discount sales. Often this happens just before they are facing an inventory tax.

By buying several months worth of paper of good quality when there is a hot sale your output will not only look better, your printing device will last longer.

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