Jul.24, 2013

"2D printer cartridges could be 3D printed at home, for a fraction of the cost." Inkfactory introduced and demonstrated this idea. Their 3D printed Prototype black and colour cartridges, believed to be the world's first, are capable of printing at a comparable speed and quality to the Kodak branded cartridges they are modelled on.

As a print supplies retailer, Lincolnshire-based UK company InkFactory believes the emerging technology 3D printing could offer possibilities for the home user to print their own ink cartridges and so save money.

So they decided to test the idea. In June the company purchased a MakerBot Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer. They then chose KODAK ink cartridges (Kodak 30C and Kodak 30B) for this 3D printing project. A 3D model was created in the computer and then sent to Makerbot. Once the ink cartridges was printed the next step was to place them in an inkjet printer, a KODAK ESP C110 colour inkjet for first test. The original KODAK ink cartridges was replaced with their 3D printed versions that had been filled with the appropriate inks.

The 3D printed cartridges have a total plastic material cost of approximately £1.60, compared with £20 for a set of Kodak cartridges.

"We're excited about a future where customers can download a 3D model of a printer cartridge - or any other object - to print at home, thereby avoiding excessive postage costs", said Tim Johnson, Managing Director.

Original and 3D Printed KODAK 30 Black & Colour Ink Cartridges

Because of the size of most cartridges it costs nearly £3 to deliver them by First Class post, but posting a kit containing just the ink components (that can't yet be made at home) will cost closer to £1. "A print-your-own cartridge kit could cost our customer less than £5 including delivery," said Mr Johnson.

test print

"We believe that domestic 3D printers will become widespread within the next ten years and this will have an impact on our industry that we cannot ignore," said Marc Liron, former Microsoft MVP and now Head of Printing Research at Inkfactory.

"The 3D cartridge project is part of our on-going research into the future of the domestic printing market," said Mr Liron. "Today we decided to prove that it was possible, and in so-doing, highlight the opportunities for innovation that 3D printing presents for retailers and product designers in Great Britain."

Kodak cartridges were chosen for the experiment because Kodak printers (now out of production) were advertised for having comparably low running costs, some branded cartridges cost considerably more.

 

 


Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

 

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Ollie wrote at 7/28/2013 6:28:12 PM:

People are creating functional guns, replications of babies copied from the womb & arm casts that would be invaluable to the medical profession so really celebrating a 'worlds first' ink cartridge is in my opinion far from a revolutionary idea. I would hope if I had a 'Head of Printing Research' working in my company therefore presumably a team of people doing this on a daily basis that they would come up with better ideas that are revolutionary - I think you've fallen short in this instance & appear to be jumping on the 3d bandwagon rather than giving any real thought into what you're producing.

RCrest wrote at 7/26/2013 8:47:01 PM:

without the sticker on top, won't air go in too fast and cause ink to leak? and now a day, inkjet printers sell ink with print head... which can't be printed... and if the manufacture is greedy, they will put "refill alert" chip in it. another unprintable thing. and don't forget that sponge. anyway... the company can now develop their own high capacity cartridges or one size fits all (similar) cartridges

Brody Morgan wrote at 7/26/2013 12:01:40 AM:

I'm a former Employee of Microsoft and bothers me when people like this use Microsoft credentials to give image of sucess when they have never been part of Microsoft. An MVP isn't an employee, it's not even certification, It's an award to say thank you to independent personnel who share there knowledge of Microsoft products. Do Kodak not have copywrites or patents on there cartridges?

Brody Morgan wrote at 7/25/2013 11:59:54 PM:

I'm a former Employee of Microsoft and bothers me when people like this use Microsoft credentials to give image of sucess when they have never been part of Microsoft. An MVP isn't an employee, it's not even certification, It's an award to say thank you to independent personnel who share there knowledge of Microsoft products. Do Kodak not have copywrites or patents on there cartridges?

Joe Larson wrote at 7/25/2013 6:02:55 PM:

Using 3D printing for 2D printing. Classic.

S wrote at 7/25/2013 3:12:50 PM:

It's a reasonable idea; but Cartridge World, Tesco and so on offer refills on most high streets - why would people wish to 3D print a cartridge to refill when thy can just refill using the old one? All this accomplishes is expenditure of PLA (biodegradable yet, but the starch crops take up land that could be used to grow food for the 1 billion in constant hunger in the world) and electricity. Hardly ecologically sound, negating the sustainability angle. By 2015 the chip may well be 3D-printable, although it will take until 2020+ for that tech to be commercially available at home, if patents hoarding doesn't prevent it indefinitely. The clue that the researchers were relatively clueless was that hey purchased a MakerBot 3DP. Why pay that much when there are 3D printers twice as good for half the cost? Lack of research. Having a former member of Microsoft (the world's worst company, outside of Yahoo!) in charge probably answers why... Still, we don't know unless we try. And I can be harsh in cynicism. Thank you for the article and the insight.

inkfactory.com wrote at 7/25/2013 11:38:35 AM:

We wanted to experiment with the idea of printing with a 3D printed cartridge to see if it might be possible to overcome most of the challenges and what lessons we might learn along the way (we learned a lot!). But you're right, there are "unprintable" components on most cartridges, like microchips, and of course the ink which would have to be purchased.

sergevi wrote at 7/25/2013 8:38:17 AM:

had the same thought seeing the cartridge. WHAT about electronic ?? nice makerbot commercial ?? hmmm ?

alidan wrote at 7/24/2013 11:27:48 PM:

forgot to mention that kodak requires a chip that has to be bought over and over again. and with that chip, you can use the carts that come with the printer. that said, still impressive to print it, but just pointless.



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