Having printed out a bunch of Paper Make It’s City Streets, in addition to multiple free paper buildings and vehicles I’ve found around the web, I managed to go through an entire pair of XL Ink Cartridges – and those babies are expensive!
Needing a cheap alternative I decided to take a look at refill kits, and asked my lovely wife to order this kit off of Amazon:
After opening the package the first thing I did was confirm the contents. This kit comes with:
- (x1) 30ml Premium Black Ink
- (x1) 30ml Premium Cyan Ink
- (x1) 30ml Premium Magenta Ink
- (x1) 30ml Premium Yellow Ink
- (x4) Dispensing Syringe/Needles
- (x2) Printerhead Nozzle Cleaning Wipes
- (x1) Drill Tool
- (x1) “Refill Instructions”
Right away I have a complaint: the Instructions Sheet is just a link to the company website (support.chromoleaf.com). While I understand and can respect the need the conserve paper, they should not have listed Refill Instructions in the product description.
To help avoid making a mess, I placed everything on disposable plates. I had grabbed some bamboo chopsticks to keep the printer cartridges off the plates so they could drip as needed, but that plan didn’t work.4
At any rate, the instructions were easy to follow. I did feel some discomfort from the butt-end of the drill tool pressing into my hand and the twisting motion put a lot of strain on my wrist. Perhaps a sharper tool is called for. Or a thinner plastic on the Ink Cartridges. C’est la vie. I only hope I didn’t damage the sponges inside the cartridge, because when that drill tool punches through, it REALLY punches through, even when using minimal pressure.
Me being the thrifty soul that I am, managed to only need one of the four syringes included in the kit (since the instruction say that you can wash the syringes out with water between inkings. I even managed to reclaim the needle and put it back in the holder. I guess I’ll have extras for the next time I need to refill.
The kit comes with enough ink to refill the black cartridge twice, and the color cartridges three times. In theory. YMMV. Hell, My Milage May Vary.
Finally I need to print out something I’ve already printed, and compare print quality. In this case I’ve chosen Twilight Streets Heroic Scale Horseman’s Deli. It is a good, Generic Building and easily Kit-bashed into other shopfronts. I am printing two copies, just to see if quality fades on these models
Well that’s not good. It looks like it’s intermittently spraying black ink, and the quality is crap.
It appeared that the problem was fixing itself so I did 2 more copies and got this:
Time to clean the nozzles. After two Cleanings and Two Deep Cleanings, a Bottom-Plate cleaning, and a Feed Roller Cleaning, I felt it was time to try again. To help save on Card Stock, I thought about just flipping over the mis-prints… then I realized that with a little bit of work, I can use the mis-prints to make my own buildings. So I’ll be setting those aside for later. I may wind up printing on the back of them regardless, but feel I should keep my options open.
Oh my, so much better! No for a side-by side comparison:
And all of the following are close-ups. First the copies from my original ink cartridge:
And here are from the refill:
It would seem they are a little darker. But that’s not always a bad thing. Come to think of it, I didn’t set the printer settings for my wife’s laptop to draft quality… and other than the buildings being a bit darker there is no reduction in quality.
Overall the process is easy, and while I had some problems at launch, I saved over $40 doing it myself. I plug that into my calculator, and it makes a smiley face. All in all, I give this kit 4.5 out of 5 Stars! I would definitely buy this again, even though it was a PITA to do. Hopefully, I will get much more use out of my $50 pair of cartridges.
Hopefully there won’t be any negative ramifications in the future!