It sounds cheaper than constantly buying new ones
July 1, 2010 5:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of buying a continuous ink flow system for my printer. Is this a good idea? Are there problems I should know about going in to this?

I have an HP Photosmart C4180 All-in-One printer. I'm thinking about buying this setup. Maybe my Google ability aint up to par because I live in Seattle and thought I might be able to buy it local. Or is that my best bet?
posted by P.o.B. to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
From what I've heard, if you don't use it often enough and maintain it, it will tend to get clogged. Overall, from the people I've known who have had them, they are finicky, fiddly things to keep working correctly.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 6:02 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

As Jeff points out, if you don't use it a lot, they're more likely to clog. But if you're not using it a lot, you probably wouldn't be after a continuous flow ink system.

When I worked at LaserMaster (who built printers with large external ink tanks), the major problem with them was "stupid stuff" like a hose getting kinked, or other mechanical problem that caused a leak. And then with that big tank of ink...

With small ink cartridges, leaks are still a pain, but a much smaller pain.
posted by DaveP at 6:12 PM on July 1, 2010

We have something similar for our large feed printer for the Graphic Design department at work. They don't like it much, but I'm not sure how much of it is drama over color calibration and other issues vs ink flow specifically. They will dry up if not used every so often, and are not fun to clean twice.

Also, at least in our case, ink is still damn expensive.
posted by pwnguin at 6:17 PM on July 1, 2010

Are ink cartridge refill kits any better or are those also a pain?
posted by P.o.B. at 7:10 PM on July 1, 2010

My friend has one on her HUGE inkjet. It looks hacky but she able to print 100s of HUGE pictures that hardly puts a dent in her ink stash.
posted by cowmix at 9:11 PM on July 1, 2010

I've got one on my desktop Epson All-in-one. I think I bought it from SuperJet USA.

The initial fill worked fine for over a year. I think then I did something wrong when refilling it [I believe I squirted ink into one of the air vents in the tank] and the black would no longer print.

Aside from that egregious user error, though, it worked fine and without fuss [usual home printing] for a very long time. Basically, until that fateful day, I really didn't think about it much.

Oh, wait. It did take a day or two of fiddling to get it installed so that the printer would print without the hoses binding here and there. I ended up dremeling off part of the case to make it easier.
posted by chazlarson at 10:16 PM on July 1, 2010

In my experience: slightly more prone to clogging than normal cartridges (but then again I probably didn't use mine often enough - I bet if you're printing every day then it would be fine). I found that with a CIS it was even more important to follow the first rule of long inkjet life - keep it covered up with a dust sheet.
posted by primer_dimer at 1:20 AM on July 2, 2010

Very much a case of use it or lose it.

I'd stick with refills unless you plan to print in volume at least a few times a week.
posted by lemonfridge at 6:49 AM on July 2, 2010

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