When to use a Centrifuge Machine and vacuum filling machine

InkDoodle

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Hi my fellow refillers,

I'm hoping some of you can point me in the direction I'm looking for or

I'm contemplating on purchasing a centrifuge machine from either www.speedbrite.com (625$) or one from www.thairfrance.com (725$). I'm still not clear if a centrifuge will help me with the problems I've been having when refilling carts for my customers HP 57, HP 78 and Lex 80, 70, 26,16.

Some of the problems I recently encountered are the following;

Cartridge tested(HP78)(HP78 was an oem used for 40 pages and then topped off) fine before shipping, when arrived at customer site blue/cyan color didn't print and next day yellow stopped (indicated air bubbles possibly)

Lines or streaks in blue (possibly more air bubbles).

Now my question is did I refill this the wrong way as I perform all refills my hand, syringe and needle very slowly and after I refill I use a CX HAND VAC from Rjettek to prime the cartridge (vacuum technique).

Would a centrifuge get rid of air bubbles after refilling as well as remove all ink from the cartridge?

Also for those of you who purchase the CX hand vac from RJettek.com do you use this as a vacuum fill tecnique as well?

I almost purchased a speedbrite filling station which fills the cartridge and performs a vacuum technique at the same time but it costs 1700$ which is out of my budget.
I'm wondering if I just use my cx hand vac from rjettek and attach it to the printhead while vacuuming and fill the cartridge while being sucked would this work?

I greatly appreciate if anyone could help me on this.
 

ppremock1

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I have been refilling Inkjets and toner since 1991 and have bought all my refilling machines from Speedbrite. Our yeild on inkjets is in the high nineties. If you have any other questions, call me toll free 1-888-228-9368. Pete
 

Nifty

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InkDoodle & Pete,

Welcome to the forums! I'm glad we are getting more of the more experienced refillers here on the board.
 

Craig Ross

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This is a return post for Grandad 35 from the filling bci-6 thread
but thought it better served under this thread because it may or may not help
inkdoodle so brace yourself this may be a long post.
Let me start by giving you a short history of my refilling experience
18 months ago I installed a canon s9000 an i865 an epson 1290 for photo printing and various hp and
lexmark printers for our office.
While the bulk of our digital printing is done on a hybrid noritsu
photo minilab I still enjoy printing with inkjet especially custom
black and white prints,it soon became very obvious that refilling carts
was the only way to go and this is a lot of fun on its own especially
the the part where you get to stick your middle finger up at a few multi-national companies intent on ripping consumers off. After a few months of hand filling for myself,friends and customers with varing degress of success,I decided if we were going to do it as a business we would do it properly so after many late nights combing the web for equipment I settled on the speedbrite machine,it is reasonably priced and imported to Australia by by my ink suppler Ausjet (ausjetinks.com.au).
Most refilling machines all seem to all operate around the same principle of a vacuum
chamber fed by ink lines into the chamber via external syinges,the speedbrite
uses the same pump to switch over to an evacuation/priming station
which uses those snap on priming clips mounted on the machine and goes to a waste bucket.
The only difference I could see between all these machines were thier
level of production,visit www.rjettek.com from inkdoodles post to see some serious equipment.
All these machines also seem to revolve around hp lexmark carts with built in heads with no mention of canon carts,or epson for that matter,so I'm assuming these are hand filled.The instructions supplied with the speedbrite are vague at best and a little ambiguous in places however with a little trial and error well actually a lot of trial and error I have a I have arrived at a filling procedure that is producing 100% percent rate
"so far" I say so far because other web sites talk of return rates so I'm expecting some and I constantly
ask people for feed back.
OK my procedure to fill hp lexmark carts are to
1: Soak the the head in windex or head cleaning fluid for 10 minutes
or for really dryed up heads steam with an humidifier as well.
2: vacuum evacuate the cart with vacuum for 5 minutes,this could probably
be manually done with a snap on primer and a syinge,then weigh the
cart to its empty weight with electronic scales,weights were supplied to
me by Ausjets refilling manual and well worth the $100 albiet a manual for hand filling.
It,s worth noting here that drying the cart for 24 hours on carts that
have stopped accepting ink may be worthwhile I notice on rjettek's web
site they actually sell an oven for this purpose and given my previous
success on filling canon bone dry carts it seems this a legitimate refilling
technique.
3: load the syinges with the correct ink to the amount required,place
the cart with head seal in the vacuum chamber insert the corresponding
needles to there chambers by either pushing through the labels as with
hp 56 57 carts or remove the tops from some some hp lexmark carts,close
and lock the chamber and presurise or as the case may be depresurise
the chamber to about 20hg release the stop cock on the external
syinge and watch it empty into the cart "no air"
It is at this stage that I differ with instuctions I,m basically
a lazy person and I don't like cleaning lines after every refill
so I vacuum the cart for 5 mins then slowly hand fill with a syinge,
its working to date.
4: PRIME the head this is a very important step not doing this was the
cause of my early failures. vacuum filling or slow hand filling
may fill the sponge but not the head or the small resivour that
sits atop the head.I do this by either putting the the cart back
on the evacuation dock for a few seconds or use a vacuum tube
with a suction cup. manually this could be done by hand centrifuging
or wicking ink out onto paper towels
5: Dab test on paper towel I consider 6 dabs with solid ink bars marks
a pass if not I re-soak,re-steam re-prime the head until this is achieved
and in some severe cases starting over again.
6: Aviod giving a customer the same hp cart back given hp printers three cart memory

Whew! but I haven't finished yet.
None of this however applies to Epson or Canon bci carts
Epson carts are vacuum chambered to dispel any potential air locks and turned upside down
and bottom filled until ink emerges from the vent hole being bottom filled
this solves filling the resivour near the exit port and all newer Epson carts
have a valve gate to stop leakage having said that the epson C64 R210/310
carts have a very complex syponing system of ink feeding and generally regarded
as not refillable however the chinese are even cleverer here they simply duplicated
the cartrige shape but internally are just sponge or a sponge resivour arrangement
so after selling our clients there new "refillable" cart at half the price of
an original all is OK and I'm a good guy again.
Canon bci carts are the easiest of all carts to refill, they are hand filled the way you
folk are already doing although I,m a believer in not disturbing the manufacturers
fill holes I drill and seal another hole with hot wax and small square of black
dymno labeling tape to complete the seal ,it looks neat and easy to remove for refilling.
I think Canons ease of refilling and cart size may be the reason for them out selling other
brands two to one,kinda like Microsoft over Mac,give people access and choices.
For the benifit of Grandad35 I did experiment with vacuum filling a Canon bci cart
so I chose my most stubborn cart,always seems to be light magenta for me,it was placed
in the vacuum chamber exit port sealed(orange clip and rubber band) feed line into the resivour
it proceeded to fill the sponge then sprayed out the vent hole,No resiviour fill h'mm
next same thing but with vent hole sealed, perfect a super saturated sponge completly
full then the resivour filled but oops to much ink being fed managed to clean that up
but it was successfull,hand filling is much easier I'll reserve that technique for special cases.
tried the same arrangement outside the chamber,ink to the resivour with a syinge tightly
held in resivour hole, vacuum applied over the sponge by hand vacuum line, again sponge filled but
continued to suck ink out the vent and not fill the resiviour.I suspect the factory do something
similar,apply a vacuum to sponge,inject ink into the resivour after a measured amount the vacuum is shut
off and the resivour is continued to be filled by injection until full,maybe but short of kidnapping a Canon
employee I'll never know
I'll keep hand filling for the moment.

And finally before I finish a word to inkdoodle,I think that a vacuum system would
do what a centfuge would do but be more vesitile and I can attest to that,vacuum is way more
fun,same as an utlrisonic head cleaner that almost cost me $800 is no better than windex and
cheap humidifier unless your doing a couple hundred carts a day.

I aplogise now for any spelling errors,it was late at night and I always have problems spelling resivour
and any formating problems, this was written in notepad over several days.

I suspect in trying to keep this short I've posed more questions than I've answered but I am
sincerly looking forward to posts from any professional or amatuer refillers that can advance
this knoble cause,perhaps collectivly an E-book could be written.
Many Regards
Craig Ross :)
 

Nifty

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Craig, you've done an excellent job! MANY will undoubtedly gain quite a bit from your great post... I know I have.

If there is interest in a collaborative e-book, I can setup an application that people can access as a group to work together on writing and editing the text.

Craig, thanks again.
 

Grandad35

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Craig,

Thanks for sharing your experience and information.

I have been thinking about your theory that a build-up of ink residue is the cause of the "dead cart" problem because the print head doesn't have enough suction to pull ink through a restricted filter. As has been stated in several places, certain colors (e.g. Photo Magenta) seem to be much more problematic than other colors. You have stated that dropping some alcohol into the exit port can sometimes "cure" such problem carts, and others have stated that placing the entire cart in hot water also helps. I have been doing some un-scientific experiments in this regard, and can confirm that both procedures help, even on carts that have been vacuum refilled and which have no visible air in the sponges.

I loaded about 2 CCs each of PM and black in separate paper cups and placed them both in the freezer. As expected, they both froze. The "inksicles" were then slowly melted and observed. The black behaved just like water as it melted. On the other hand, the PM left a thin layer on the bottom of the cup that looked and felt like soft Jell-O. As the ink continued to warm up to room temperature, the Jell-O slowly disappeared as it dissolved back into the liquid. The reason for running this seemingly unrelated (and definitely strange) test was that all of my bulk ink and most of my carts were delivered when it was very cold, and it is almost certain that they were exposed to temperatures that were well below freezing during shipping.

It is well known that the amount of a substance that can be dissolved in a liquid (the "solubility limit") depends on the temperature (http://er6s1.eng.ohio-state.edu/mse/mse205/lectures/chapter9/chap9.pdf). The dye used in my PM ink appears to be close to its solubility limit so that some of its dye was forced out of solution when it froze. Once out of solution, it can be difficult to get everything back into solution without agitation or somehow increasing the solubility limit. Two ways of increasing the solubility limit are to raise the temperature or to change the liquid to something that is a better solvent (alcohol). Both of these would dissolve at least some of the dye residue in the filter, removing the blockage.

In summary, the source of the problem may be un-dissolved dye residue that collected in the filter (which is why it's there). Heat or alcohol can re-dissolve the residue so that it can be cleared from the filter by forcing the ink with the high dye concentration out of the cart before it is re-installed in the printer.

Comments?
 

Nifty

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Grandad, you're right on the money. While I believe warm alcohol is usually most effective on cartridges with a built in printhead, the combo is also good for any other situation where you have gummed up ink / residue.

A few years ago when I was refilling / reconditioning about 80 Lexmark cartridges, and was too cheap to buy any machines I made my own contraption for removing stubborn clogs. I used a tin can with holes cut into it and inserted a tea light candle and set a coffee mug on top with alcohol and/or water. The candle provided just enough heat to keep the liquid hot enough to do its job. I'd set the printhead in the mug and let is sit there for a few minutes and then sucked or blew out the clog. I dug into my refilling box and took some pics:

http://www.nifty-stuff.com/gallery/inkjet-refill-1/can
http://www.nifty-stuff.com/gallery/inkjet-refill-1/can2
 

Grandad35

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This is an update on an additional ink test and some general information on dyes.

This link has a lot of background information for dye based products. In one of the links from this page, they say that the water should be at least 140 degrees F to get dye powder to dissolve, so soaking a cart in hot tap water should be sufficient to dissolve any residual dye solids that might be blocking the filter. Alcohol will also do the same thing by increasing the solubility of the dye. Note that I am not suggesting that dye based printer inks are made from clothing dyes and hot water, only that some of the background information in the link is useful.
http://www.ritdye.com/craft_faq.asp

In addition to freezing some ink, I also tried to dry it out to revert it back to the base dye powder. About 1 CC each of PM and yellow inks were placed on some aluminum foil on a cookie sheet, and placed in an oven set at 170 F for 3 hours. The volume of each ink was greatly reduced in the first hour, but the volume then stabilized and neither ink "dried out" any further. Instead, they felt like SAE 90 gear oil after the water evaporated and left other liquid components behind. I have read that dye based printer inks often incorporate glycerin and certain glycols to help stabilize the ink at the very high operating temperatures seen in a thermal print head. Since these two products have boiling points of about 390 F and 570 F respectively, it is easy to see why the inks did not completely dry out at only 170 F. It is also easy to see how a thick ink residue could form in a "dry cart" and effectively block the filter with only a thin coating of the residue.

There was one other interesting point - pure glycerin freezes at about 60-65 F. If an ink is made with just water and glycerin, and the water evaporates in a "dry cart", the remaining glycerin can effectively "freeze off" that section of sponge or filter until water can reach it and work its way into the glycerin. Heating the cart or alcohol will greatly speed up this process.
 

Craig Ross

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Grandad just further to your heating of carts I once read that microwaving a cart on LOW for 60 secs
can help a sponge accept more ink( you should see what happens on high, very pretty,wife not so
impressed though)
And just to add to my previous post about vacuum filling bci carts which, in all was successfull on lightly
used carts but it's finally happened four carts at once would not fill, these are carts that have been
refilled many many many times and all the old tricks would'nt work, microwaving, alchohol in the exit port and vacuum fillng did not work so I decided I was only treating the symptoms of a bigger problem and at this stage just buying new carts holds a lot of merit but I refuse to be defeated. I syinged all of the ink out and completly
filled the resivour with alcohol and injected alchohol into the sponge as well ,sealed the vent placed the cart in the vacuum chamber to completley compress the sponge and on releasing the vacuum watch the sponge absorb
as much alcohol as it could the cart was then removed and the alcohol vacuumed out with hand line and a
suction cup through the exit port, Bingo one flushed Canon cart that filled and printed like new.
And on reflection is exactly what I do with my epson T009 carts when I,m experimenting with black and
white inks Oh well.
 

Craig Ross

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