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Printer Hardware

What Do You Do When Printers Cost Less Than Ink? 970

An anonymous reader writes "A family member recently asked me to pick up more ink for her Epson Photo RX 595. Unfortunately, replacing the black and color ink cartridges costs $81.92 + tax at the local store! That's so bad that I got a replacement printer that's just as good, and spare ink, for less. But now I have a useless piece of e-waste that I can't even give away. What can you do with a printer like that? I hate to just throw it away."
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What Do You Do When Printers Cost Less Than Ink?

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  • Cheap Printer? (Score:5, Informative)

    by nametaken ( 610866 ) * on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:23PM (#30316416)

    Make sure the new printer comes with FULL carts, not the half-or-less carts they often box with the printer.

  • Donate (Score:2, Informative)

    by Das Auge ( 597142 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:24PM (#30316440)
    If you have something useful that you don't want anymore, donate it. Most organizations that take donations (Salvation Army, for example) not only spend money to help others, they also employ people that might not otherwise get employment.

    It's the whole win-win thing.
  • by onion2k ( 203094 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:24PM (#30316446) Homepage

    The printer that you buy with ink comes with cartridges that are, at most, half full. Usually it's considerably less than half. It might feel cheaper, but in dollars-per-print it's not, and that's the only metric that really measures the value you're getting.

    Next time, don't fall for it.

  • repurpose, refill (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fry-kun ( 619632 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:24PM (#30316448)

    Well, you could use it for some DIY project. Printers have nice stepper motors and the guiding rod is pretty straight too.
    But it doesn't have to be like that. You could just go buy an ink refill kit and refill existing cartridges

  • Recycle. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rickz0rz ( 831049 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:25PM (#30316454) Journal
    I've been using cartridge stores like Cartridge World. Overall, the ink there is much cheaper. However, the best thing you can do is call up your local recycling center and see if they take e-waste. More so, a simple Google reveals [earth911.com] that many manufacturers will take back their own product for recycling. Even if they're not listed, it wouldn't hurt to contact the manufacturer to see what programs they have in place.
  • by assemblerex ( 1275164 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:27PM (#30316522)
    You can get a set of continuous ink tanks off ebay for about $50 that will give you enough ink capacity to print until the second coming.
  • Re:not a bargain (Score:3, Informative)

    by clong83 ( 1468431 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:28PM (#30316538)
    I always thought the high price wasn't from the inks themselves, but because there are somewhat sophisticated microfluidic devices in each ink cartridge. Do they actually claim it's the ink that's expensive?
  • I Second this (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:31PM (#30316614) Homepage

    The best course of action for this sort of thing is prevention. Keep consumables prices in mind when buying hardware in the first place, get a decent laser printer

    Indeed. Laser might have higher upfront cost, but tend to cost a lot less per page.
    And also, tend to be much more compatible : they simply accept good-old PostScript. (PostScript over Network is the must in terms of compatibility).
    Thus you don't need to hunt for drivers every time Microsoft decide to change driver model or when attempting to switch to Linux.

  • Re:not a bargain (Score:3, Informative)

    by l3prador ( 700532 ) <wkankla@gmaTOKYOil.com minus city> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:31PM (#30316618) Homepage

    I always thought the high price wasn't from the inks themselves, but because there are somewhat sophisticated microfluidic devices in each ink cartridge. Do they actually claim it's the ink that's expensive?

    Which are mostly in place to make it more difficult for people to offer 3rd party generic cartridges.

  • by theNetImp ( 190602 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:32PM (#30316626)

    The ink cartrides that come with the printeres are never 100% full, they are only about 25% full. It's just starter ink, to get you to buy more in.

  • Indeed (Score:3, Informative)

    by earnest murderer ( 888716 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:34PM (#30316674)

    Just throw it away. Recycling in it's current form is a crock anyway.

    Your local waste management company is well equiped to deal with bits of plastic and metal.

  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:42PM (#30316834) Homepage

    I've come across this before. It's *way* cheaper to buy a new printer each time ebay the new one & keep the ink (sold as new, get more money) than to keep buying new ink.

  • Re:I Second this (Score:3, Informative)

    by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <bhtooefr@bhtooefr. o r g> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:42PM (#30316836) Homepage Journal

    They have this invention, it's called the color laser printer.

    And, given the appropriate paper, they're even passable at photo quality. (I prefer Staples Color Laser paper for that, BTW.)

  • Re:I Second this (Score:5, Informative)

    by MayonakaHa ( 562348 ) <mayonakaha@gMONETmail.com minus painter> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:43PM (#30316852) Journal
    Not very good in my experience. I've worked repairing printers for the past few years so I've been able to get a good look at quality of build on these things. This definitely has put me off of telling anyone to get a Brother machine ever again. For the money it seems to me like buying a refurbished midline HP laser is a good way to go. Something in the 4000/4200 series. Also, I don't get why people insist on Lexmark/Dell machines. Messy as hell, problematic, badly fitting peripherals and pain in the ass maintenance.
  • Recycle (Score:2, Informative)

    by grantham ( 49250 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:48PM (#30316942) Homepage
    If you can't find anyone who wants a perfectly cromulent printer, find a way to recycle it. I used to use Greendisk [greendisk.com], but now my town holds semi-annual electronics recycling. If your locality doesn't, bug them about it...it's much more practical to recycle in bulk, and you'd be doing a really good deed if you could get it implemented.
  • Re:Donate (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Cowpat ( 788193 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:55PM (#30317084) Journal

    likewise. I work for a charity which accepts computers, and people keep dumping printers on us. Those of us who work on this stuff are computer people - we do computers, not electro-mechanical devices. We also have a great deal of difficulty testing if any donated printer actually works, since we're loath to put our precious donated cartridges into the printer just to see if it works, IF we can find drivers for them (we have no direct internet access, and most of the machines are win98SE), and can do nothing about it if they don't. Sadly, the people who get asked 'do we want...?' tend to just say 'yes' to offers of printers, and so we waste more and more shelf space with useless printers which we don't want, can't use, and can't send to eastern Europe (which is where we send things) because no-one wants them, and because they certainly can't afford ink for them.

  • Re:not a bargain (Score:5, Informative)

    by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:59PM (#30317166) Homepage
    Most high-end inkjet printers separate the cartridge from the print head, whilst cheaper ones usually have it as one unit. I think part of the issue is that high-end inkjets have sophisticated head cleaning systems whereas low-end devices typically just have a (non-replacable) sponge inside. Whey reprocess an inkjet cart the print heads get a proper clean before the cart is refilled.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:00PM (#30317188) Journal

    Yep. I sell all my junk of ebay for a penny ($0.01) plus shipping cost of $20 ($12 actual postage plus $8 to cover incidentals like buying a shipping box, your gasoline, packing foam, etc). SOMEBODY will buy it.

    As for the actual printer, I've learned to buy LASER printers. They have a high initial cost but low-priced ink (~$50 for 5000 pages). The laser printer ends-up being cheaper after you pass 800 pages.

  • Re:I Second this (Score:5, Informative)

    by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi AT evcircuits DOT com> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:11PM (#30317370) Homepage

    Actually, I have done the calculations and the difference between ink/toner is only about 1 or 2c per page (especially once you get to color).

    For a b/w Brother laser printer the cost is 2c/p with remanufactured cartridges, 3c/p with high-capacity cartridges and 4c/p with the standard cartridges
    For a color Brother laser printer the cost is 4c/p black, 4c/p color with new cartridges
    For a Canon Pixma inkjet printer the cost is 3c/p black, 5c/p color with new cartridges

    So if you're a very low volume printer, then lasers are probably not worth the investments. Especially since the very cheap ($99 OkiData color laser for Cyber Monday) have more expensive cartridges ($120/cartridge = $480 to replace all) Off course once you get to HP printers, the costs shoot up (as the cartridges are 3-6x more expensive than the Canon Pixma's). Lasers also print infinitely faster than the inkjets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:16PM (#30317462)

    I second that. After my Epson 3-in-1 died, I bought a Kodak 3-in-1 WiFi model for about the same cost as comparable Epson/HP units. But the ink is less than half the cost (so I bought replacement ink cartridges as well).

    The old Epson? I'll be taking it apart for the motors :-)

  • Re:Cheap Printer? (Score:3, Informative)

    by BlackSnake112 ( 912158 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:17PM (#30317470)

    There are a few search online. Ink jets for less, 123 ink jets and others. But if going that route, look at the replacement ink before you get a printer. The replacement cartridges do not work with every printer model. I looked at the printers and replacement ink before choosing a printer to get. That way I knew I could get the cheaper ink for the printer. I have been getting 5 black ink cartridges and 3 of each color (mine takes a separate cartridge for each color) for $50. A lot better then the $64 ($16 per cartridge) I would be paying for the OEM ones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:17PM (#30317490)

    They also come with a full set of cartridges out of the box!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:17PM (#30317492)

    They sell sub-100$ laser printers now...

  • Re:KaBOOM!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by JesseL ( 107722 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:17PM (#30317494) Homepage Journal

    In the end the best two plans are to rig it with explosives or do the good old Office Space scene by taking a baseball bat to the office copier in a field.

    Tannerite [tannerite.com] is the way to go. There is nothing more satisfying.

    Myself and a couple friends spent an afternoon playing with Tannerite a couple weeks ago:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYm-KqzqD2A [youtube.com]

  • by Xoltri ( 1052470 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:27PM (#30317648)
    Unless you refill your inkjets. My Canon uses the CLI-8 cartridges which are see through so they are easy to refill. They do have the chip in them that monitors the ink level, but you can bypass the low ink warnings. I have refilled them about 20 times with ink from eBay and they are still going strong. I've calculated my cost per 4x6 borderless print and it's about 6 cents (CDN), mainly because the ink is essentially free. Cheapest I can get from Costco is 15 cents per print.

    When I buy a printer I first make sure I can easily refill the ink cartridges.

  • by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:33PM (#30317734) Homepage Journal

    The sub-$100 laser printers are just as bad as the sub-$100 inkjets: they come with starter cartridges, they don't have network hardware on-board, the consumables are expensive, they aren't rated for high duty cycle, etc. You get what you pay for.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:33PM (#30317742)

    It's not "bait and switch", you imbecile. Stop using that phrase if you do not understand it.

    The illegal practice of "bait and switch" involves advertising a very attractive product offer, and then advising customers it is unavailable and attempting to sell an alternative. I.e., "baiting" them with the sale on one product and then attempting to "switch" them to a different product.

    If a practice is unfair, deceptive, or detrimental to a consumer, it is not automatically "bait and switch". If you don't stop "bait and switch"ing, I'm going to download the interweb into your modem.

  • by voisine ( 153062 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:34PM (#30317756)

    Monoprice, that awesome, dirt cheap site for (great quality) cables now sells ink and toner, and flatscreen tv mounts. Basically all the stuff the big box stores put obscene markups on.

  • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) * on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:35PM (#30317764) Homepage

    Perhaps, but I doubt your $100 printer will survive as long, or will take as heavy a duty cycle, or has built in networking (add the cost of a print server to you $100 if you need to share it in an office environment), or can carry as much paper in the paper tray, or has multiple trays from which it can print assuming you may need several different types of letterheads or templates, or can print duplex, or any of a huge number of features that one may pay extra for their printer to do.

    Then there's the cost of fixing the fact that you're a total knob, which in your case is probably going to be pretty expensive.

  • by opk ( 149665 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:35PM (#30317768) Journal

    Urgh. The "official" Brother Linux drivers are crap. You get a 32-bit x86 only binary. The visible parts of it such as the shell scripts are really badly written (and break if /bin/sh is dash and not bash). The .deb files are created by alien. They install files in strange locations such as /usr/local. I could never get it working with cups and ended up using lprng and manually configuring it. Then it really doesn't work well. For example, it always adds a huge margin to the top of every page so I have to adjust the margins to be 0 at the top if I actually want something to print how it is meant to be. And they don't maintain it at all. The driver I downloaded when I got the printer is still the latest.

  • by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:36PM (#30317790)
    One's that would effect the average consumer? DPI on 'loss leaders' is high enough to not be an issue. The only thing left is doodads. My printer was honestly likely 80$, and also has a good flatbed scanner, can fax, decent display, and plenty of buttons for fast photocopying.

    GP suggested that people generally should buy 1000$ printers which I thought was pretty hilarious. I agree with him generally. In fact if he said 100$ I would have 100% agreed with him... could have been me saying it. 0$ inkjet printers are pretty common here (comes with something else). Pretty sure my local staples gave a printer with every 4000 sheets of paper you bought (or something equally stupid). Having people step up to a cheap 50$ printer would be good. Less wasteful and the cheapest solution available for printing. Like I said elsewhere cheap laser printers pay for themselves in 6months vs a free inkjet.
  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:38PM (#30317822)

    There are.

    - Does it have a network card?
    - Does it handle duplexing?
    - Can it handle "nonstandard" paper (cardstock, label, etc)?
    - Does it take just the normal 8 1/2x11 paper, or does it go all the way up to 11x17?
    - What's the duty cycle? (number of pages before things like imaging drum and fuser need replacement)
    - Does it use a toner cartridge that costs $80-90 for 6,000 pages, or like the current set of $100 piece-of-shit Sharps, a cartridge that costs $100-120 for a mere 1000 pages?
    - What's the tray capacity? 50, 100, 150, 500, 1000, 5000 pages?
    - How reliable is it? (e.g. can you expect a "random" jam error every 1000 pages, 2000, 2500, 5000...)
    - How much memory does it have?
    - What's its native printing resolution? Does it spit out 600, 1200, or higher DPI, or does it take (for example) a 2000dpi camera image and crunch it down to 600 or even a cheap-ass (looking at you again Sharp) 300 dpi?
    - What form of color calibration does it have, if any? How "true" are the colors it gets from manufacturer-standard cartridges?

    I could go on, but I think you get the point. A cheap piece-of-shit Sharp model won't do for networking an office of 50 people after all, you need something designed robust enough for high volume and a long duty cycle...

  • Re:Donate (Score:5, Informative)

    by anss123 ( 985305 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:40PM (#30317846)
    I have. Pissed me off.
  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:43PM (#30317886) Homepage Journal

    If you can live without colour then a cheap laser is still a very good proposition. Even on the "starter" toners it comes with you can get several thousand pages for something that costs under £100 new. Even the colour ones are coming down in price now, although they tend not to be much good for photos and the toners are probably come with even less toner than the black and white ones do.

    Laser prints also last longer and don't smudge as easily as ink.

    I really can't see much point in having a colour inkjet these days. You can buy photo prints online so cheaply now they cost about the same or less than an inkjet costs to run per picture. Oh, and don't forget the cost of photo paper and wastage when you make some little mistake. Maybe it would work out better if you re-filled your cartridges but re-fills tend not to perform as well as originals so won't get you the same quality as online print shops anyway.

  • Re:Just yesterday (Score:3, Informative)

    by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:46PM (#30317928)

    Those kids on your lawn are doing this stuff online. I can apply for a passport [ips.gov.uk], or a driving license [direct.gov.uk], or do my tax return [hmrc.gov.uk], apply for housing benefit (social housing money) [direct.gov.uk], or loads of other government stuff [direct.gov.uk] (pay a fine, buy vehicle "tax", etc).

    For contracts, it's the business that prints it. I expect a solicitor would print my will.

  • Re:I Second this (Score:5, Informative)

    by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:49PM (#30317958)

    1. My Brother lasers cost around 1.2c per page, including paper, using the high capacity cartridge.

    2. Canon Pixma is THE CHEAPEST line of color printers there is. By my calculations, it costs about 7c per page. Also, they don't waste your ink or tell you that you can't print anymore (they do, but you can override it and keep printing until the ink actually runs out).

    3. HP costs about 10-12c per page and Epson is as high as 15c (12c-15c).

  • by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:51PM (#30317986)

    There are hacked cartridges that evade this chicanery. http://cgi.ebay.com/Continuous-Ink-System-For-Epson-R260-R380-RX580-Printer_W0QQitemZ370299562964QQcmdZViewItemQQptZBI_Toner?hash=item563792ebd4 [ebay.com]

    Our good friends the Chinese have devised all sorts of bypasses.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:56PM (#30318048) Homepage

    ...and get completely off the inkjet treadmill.

    You will NOT regret it.

    The day I switched was when I needed to replace a color in my inkjet, and the new one needed a head clean. By the time it finished cleaning another color needed replacing...rinse, repeat. It took me half an hour to get all the colors working and when I was done a couple of my 'new' cartridges were 25% gone (you want an option to clean a single color? LOL!). I figure it cost me over $20 to print those two pages (and I arrived late for an appointment...)

    It was junked soon after that and I bought a color laser. With the laser I just switch on and print. No muss, no fuss.

    It cost me about the same as three sets of inkjet cartridges and I figure it's going to print ten times as many pages.

    If your printer usage is "occasional" then don't even *think* of buying an inkjet. No, scratch that... just don't buy inkjets, period. Say no. They look cheap in the store but they're the biggest ripoff in IT.

  • by mr_zorg ( 259994 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @07:01PM (#30318112)

    > WTF. People still buying inkjets and bitching about it? Is lexmark STILL in business?

    Simple. Upfront cost. An inkjet can be had for $50 - $75. Good luck finding a color laser or dye sub for anything even remotely close to that.

  • by Atario ( 673917 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @07:03PM (#30318132) Homepage

    Be very very careful on this.

    I tried one of these "systems" (read: hacked-together kludges) a few years ago, and found out the hard way that these are problematic. You end up with hoses that kink or get caught by the fast-moving and surprisingly powerful print head mechanism, spilled ink, printer hatches that no longer close properly, and many other drawbacks.

    I just wish some manufacturer made a printer with this design inherent to it.

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @07:04PM (#30318158) Homepage Journal

    Unless the cartridges use a timer or page count kill switch.

    The amount of ink remaining in the cartridge has long ceased to mean how much more you can print. Sometimes you must purchase new cartridges to use the scanner part as well.

  • by b4upoo ( 166390 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @07:08PM (#30318208)

    One can go to the local Walgreen's drug store and get their cartridges refilled for $10. A cartridge will usually last me about one year.

  • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <plugwash @ p 10link.net> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @07:10PM (#30318246) Homepage

    One thing to bear in mind is that not all inkjets are equal, my parents bought an officejet a while ago. It was quite a bit pricier than your basic inkjet (about £100 iirc) but a lot cheaper and smaller than a networkable color laser (I much preffering having printers networked directly, windows print sharing doesnt seem to get on with all printers and having to turn on an extra computer before you can print is a PITA). The cartriges are comparable in price to those for previous printers we have owned but FAR larger capacity.

    While things do vary in general cheap printers are expensive to run.

  • by dcollins117 ( 1267462 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @08:00PM (#30318814)

    How do you keep your ink cartridge from drying out in that amount of time? When we still had a ink jet printer, it seemed like we had to replace the cartridges every couple of months since they would dry out or clog up.

    You just clean the cartridge. I normally send people to http://www.printerhacks.com/how-to-really-clean-an-inkjet-printer-in-5-simple-steps/ [printerhacks.com] for the procedure. It works well.

  • by Traf-O-Data-Hater ( 858971 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @08:02PM (#30318852)
    I would add to the parent's statement that bigger and more sophisticated printers yield more mechanical goodies that older printers, scanners and especially old office photocopiers have more mechanical 'guts' in them. As newer electronics became smarter the manufacturers could dispense with some of the moving parts (and why wouldn't they). A nice secondary use for the glass from an old photocopier is that being optically flat, they make a perfect surface plate for model engineering use, thus saving over $100 on a machined steel or granite one.
  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @08:26PM (#30319136)
    There's numerous things that can be worth paying 10 times the price.
    1. Color
    2. Speed
    3. Different paper sizes i.e. "legal" or custom paper feed
    4. Network capability
    5. Extra paper trays
    6. Support for a long time (being able to buy toner cartridges, maintenance kits, etc.)
    6. Reliability

    That last one is the key. Your printer is likely to shit out within 2 years whereas one that costs 10 times as much will likely be around for 15-20 years. More with regular maintenance (or even non-regular maintenance to fix a couple small problems).

    Some of these printers are rated for page counts in the millions with regular maintenance.

    Also, good luck finding replacement cartridges 2 years down the road, if your printer makes it that long.

    You're also assuming that this guy is using it for home use. It may be a small office or home office printer where much printing is needed on a daily basis.

    You were attempting to criticize his poor purchasing decision but apparently you didn't bother to think about what's actually going on here before flaming.
  • by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @08:32PM (#30319198)

    I paid $199 more than 2 years ago for a Samsung CLP-510 with built-in duplexer. Its cartridge DRM would have really sucked if it weren't so trivially easy to defeat (I2C eeprom). I could theoretically refill cartridges, but it's barely worth bothering... new (non-remanufactured) thirdparty cartridges run about $65/ea and are officially good for ~5,000 pages. In this case, "officially" UNDERcounts it, because by design the printer will literally count the sheets you print from a cartridge and refuse to exceed its limit... unless you reset the counter, in which case you can run it until the cartridge is completely empty. The starter cartridges were officially good for 1,000 pages... I got about 1,400 pages out of the magenta cartridge (the first to go), and about 2,000 pages out of the yellow cartridge. Cyan was somewhere in between, and black went about the same time as yellow (black can print more pages, but I also printed lots of grayscale-only images, so black got independently depleted faster than the colored toner did). I bought my first set of replacement cartridges more than a year ago, and have a hunch that by the time I really, truly deplete my second cartridge (out of the four new ones), I'll be agonizing between a third set or a new printer (since by that point the drum will be getting a little ragged, too). On the other hand, I'll probably stick with it for at least a third round, even if I do need a new drum, just because I *was* able to defeat THIS printer's DRM, and might not be able to repeat the trick with the next printer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @08:47PM (#30319344)

    Actually, in CMYK printers the dots are 2-bit, because there are 4 colours of ink.

  • by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @09:05PM (#30319474)
    I have Canon prints now 9 years old. Keep them out of the light, keep them out of the air, no problem. (In other words, stack them in a neat pile when you're not looking at them.)
  • by Brett Johnson ( 649584 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @09:24PM (#30319622)
    I bought one of these Brother B/W laser printers a couple of months ago for US $90 at OfficeMax:

    http://www.brother-usa.com/Printer/ModelDetail.aspx?ProductID=hl2170W [brother-usa.com]

    It comes with wired AND wireless network support built in. It did ship with the lower capacity toner cartridge, but at 1500 pages, it should still last a couple of years at the expected use rate (home office + school kids). The high capacity (2500 page) replacement cartridges were $46 OEM or $27 for generics.

    The ink-jet cartridges for the printer this one replaced cost ~$30 a pop and lasted only a couple of months before they 'dried out' (half full). Even at $46, a 2500 page toner cartridge should last 3 or 4 years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @10:19PM (#30320042)

    It looks as good or better than from professional print shop.

    Then you got some pretty ShI*** Print Shops in your area. I'm a Graphic Designer and I can spot a laser knock off from 20 feet. Yes color lasers are OK for presentation but anything else no thanks. They are HORRID are printing colors corectly.

  • by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:23PM (#30320446)
    Inkjet printers with feeds from large tanks exist. Be prepared to pay several thousand dollars for one. They're designed to make large prints, a yard wide or more.
  • dyesub? Seriously? (Score:2, Informative)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:33PM (#30320528)

    And for photos, dye-subs. Even if they don't beat inkjets on dpi, my 300dpi dyesub beats any 1200x1200 in actual results. You JUST DON'T see the millions of dots with dyesub, it's all blended together, and because there is a clear coat, no smearing of the images, even if you lick your fingers and go across the picture right after it was printed. It looks as good or better than from professional print shop.

    Um, no- dye sub (wax) printers produce unbelievably fragile prints. You can scrape the wax right off the page with your fingernail, it creases easily, etc. Also, since it's a dye, and not a pigment, it fades within months.

    They also suck up enormous amounts of energy and take a good 5-10 minutes (or longer) to warm up because it has to melt (and keep melted) all the damn wax and internal printer bits. Even with fairly sophisticated energy saving functions, the damn things still eat you out of house and home, and the melted wax has a smell that permeates the room. If you want to move the printer, you have to trigger a special cool-down mode and wait a good 30 minutes so that you don't spill wax inside the machine...

  • by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Friday December 04, 2009 @12:39AM (#30320884)

    Be aware that they don't offer any Linux drivers! You'll need to run XP, Vista, or 7 in a VM in order to be able to use the printer if you are a Linux user.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @06:37AM (#30322252)

    Besides the cost, with inkjets, you have clean the head constantly and if you don't use in a while

    This is *not* a universal problem. My HP880c deskjet with partially used cartridges was packed in its box for moving and then left unused for nearly a year - it printed just fine. Often a month or two passes with no colour printing.

    As for the economics, inkjets (ones which *don't* dry up!) are perfectly OK for low-volume printing. I've had the HP for nearly ten years now, and I've only replaced the black cartridge 3 times (£10/$15 for high capacity replacement) - and the colour cartridge twice (£17/$25). Total spend on consumables £64/$95 over ten years - a trivial amount.
    Still works as well as the day I bought it.

  • by CMiYC ( 6473 ) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:03PM (#30325428) Homepage

    I heard the automotive industry has the same kind of "bait-and-switch." Did you know if you purchase a car from some dealerships, you have to turn right back around and put gas in it! It is almost like it is a consumable. The crooks!!

    Look up "bait and switch." If you buy a product and get the promised product, you have not experienced the switch part. Yes, you might have be baited by the low price. However, that is not illegal.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission