No Need For Speed With This Arduino-Based Inkjet Printer

When it comes to computers, it seems like the only thing that matters is speed. The more the better, in general, and the same applies to peripherals. We want the fastest network adapters, the fastest video card, and the fastest printer. So why in the world would anyone intentionally build a really slow inkjet printer? For art, of course.

At least that’s the story [HomoFaciens] tells us in the video below. His efforts are in support of a friend’s art project, which seeks to print slowly but continuously on a roll of paper. [HomoFaciens]’s printer is based on an H-P C6602 inkjet cartridge, one of those high-priced consumables that make buying a new printer more attractive than replacing them once depleted. After figuring out how to drive the printhead — 5 to 6 μs pulses of 18 volts through a ULN2803 Darlington array driver chip seemed to do the trick — he mounted everything to the gantry of an old 3D printer. It’s interesting to watch the images slowly being built up — something that printers usually hide from prying eyes — and to see how the DPI count of the printer can be increased by interlacing each printed line.

Near the end of the video, we get a glimpse of his “tattoo gun printer”, which reminded us of all the other cool things he’s done over the years. From a CNC machine made from paperclips and cardboard to an encoder made from a wheel of resistors, [HomoFaciens] has some interesting designs that you really should check out.

17 thoughts on “No Need For Speed With This Arduino-Based Inkjet Printer

    1. Pretty cool seeing the ink appear on the page! Have you experimented with different heights from the page? and/or shooting the nozzles at different angles? What kinds of distance [and spread] can we expect?

      1. Thank you very much, looks cool!
        These projects remind me of my childhood,
        when I had the PenMan plotter robot.
        It behaved like the turtle in Logo language,
        but supported HPGL, too.

  1. > one of those high-priced consumables that make buying a new printer more attractive than replacing them once depleted.

    A lot of them still ship with starter/setup cartridges that are only partially filled.

      1. I miss those. There were some small efforts that were kinda scammy, but the decent size ones could be amazing. Last one I went to in fact, I got insane deals, was around 2005 new case with PSU $10, was a bit of a knuckle slasher, but fine, new Abit motherboard with teh AMD 760 $10, Thorougbred Duron (Applebred) $5 I think. Found a used GF 4 4200 for $20 there as well. Got home threw it all together, found the magic recipe for the 760/1 that ran it over 166Mhz, had the duron storming along at 2.4Ghz, got the 4200 to 4600 speeds, 12,000+ on 3DMark2k1, best bang per buck evarrrrrr. Sure 64 bit was out and bleeding edge, but it was hot stuff for the time still.

  2. Please don’t buy a new printer every time the current one runs out of ink.

    Yes, ink is overpriced but it is not really cheaper to buy the printer. Those printers which sell for less than the replacement ink cartridge actually come with only partially full ink cartridges. When it comes to money per amount of ink actually buying the replacement cartridge is almost always the less bad deal.

    Throwing away a perfectly good printer is a waste of resources and produces unnecessary pollution.

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