Choice Stationery Supplies Blog - for all the chat on printer inks and cartridges
When it comes to inkjets and toners Choice Stationery Supplies has lots to say - don't get ripped off!
If you’ve ever thought that you’d like to get into creating electronics, then you’re in look because the AgIC may allow you to do just that. It allows anybody to turn their inkjet printer into a circuit board printer using the power of conductive ink.
The ink used is similar to an effort from Circuit Scribe – which released a ball point pen that allows people to draw circuits. The AgIC technology allows people to turn their inkjet into a PCB printer all thanks to a kit with a mixture of filters, syringes and conductive gel among other things. The kit costs a little over £200 ($299)
People will need to own a inkjet printer and it’s recommended by the KickStarter funded company that you purchase a new one rather than one that’s been used already as otherwise the old ink in the machine may cause problems.
There is an option to purchase a kit with an inkjet printer included, however even with all of the additions, it works out cheaper to purchase the basic AgIC kit and the inkjet separately, particularly as you can pick one up for under £50 nowadays.
Unlike the Ex1 printer that came out last year the AgIC is only able to print onto a specific sort of paper. The Ex1 could print onto a variety of different materials including wood. However, it’s possible to design circuits around PC software such as Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator among others, which could make for quite exciting results.
Currently, AgIC is looking for $30,000 on KickStarter to begin selling its kits and is aiming to begin to ship at the beginning of August.
If you’re looking for a printer with all the tweaks and extras but at a low budget price then the Brother MFC-J870DW is probably one of the best in its inkjet class.
This device is the companies first printer with NFC and has been released alongside a similar A3 printing version. This is something that has been quite common in Samsung printers up until now and has seen notable success as it allows people to print without the need for a wireless connection, just the short range transmission that mobile phones use for payment. Of course, you do need an NFC device to send the data, which isn’t available on a large number of phones.
The device itself comes with a SD slot, USB port and Wi-Fi which adds up to quite a decent collection of options for connection. The printer offers a full set of print, copy, scan, fax and other options and comes with a touch screen display panel that’s touch sensitive and bright to boot. The input tray is a 150 sheet option, with a smaller 20 sheet option above it.
There’s also a scanner, though the device does not facilitate duplex printing, though there is a DVD/CD/BD holder is cunningly concealed underneath and this can then be lifted out and inserted into the front of the MFC-J870DW for direct printing.
The Brother takes four cartridges and runs at around 4p a page for black and around 10p a page for colour, however shopping around with us can reduce the price.
Speed and quality are good via Wi-Fi but slower with a USB or through NFC. It’s possible to manage 18ppm in black and 11ppm in colour. The quality was good, though banding issues were sometimes evident in the print results. The device wasn’t just as good with photo prints and is well off best of class.
Overall though the Brother printer has a range of features and for the price is a great option that will appeal to people looking for a basic document printer with some nice tech extras.
A woman working in the NHS who ordered £160,000 worth of printer cartridges only to later sell them on eBay was jailed yesterday.
The lady from Liverpool spent years defrauding her own department and ordering and then selling the printer cartridges online. The cost to the NHS could have funded six nursing posts and the pair made around £90,000 from the sales of the items and used the money to pay for holidays and other nice items.
Madeleine Webster was jailed for 26 months for her actions. The court heard about how she’d worked in the NHS for 22 years and how the plot was uncovered by chance, which occurred when she sent an email with attachments to her eBay account to a colleague. This contained references from buyers for the products being sold.
The unfurling of the scenario occurred when Mrs Webster’s colleague recalled inkjet cartridges that weren’t required left in the office, or ordered for machines that didn’t exist. Her boss also recalled Mrs Webster and her husband removing items from the office via the fire door. When questioned at the time about it Madeleine Webster claimed she was returning deliveries she had made a mistake on to avoid causing problems for others.
Upon investigation, it found out that before Webster had taken over the inkjet cartridge ordering duties the department had spent £2,500 on cartridges a year. However, the bill hit a high of £60,000 last year, with the total cost for five years being £168,000 – around six times her salary.
Webster used the money to pay for foreign holidays including trips via Eurotunnel and P&O cruises, as well as being spent on shopping channels, eating out, bingo and bookmakers.
According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics and Engineers the paper printer will soon become a thing of the past – all due to the rising popularity of the tablet.
Speaking with the group, a member of the website The Inquirer was told that nobody will use a printer to a large degree in four years time and people will just access documents digitally instead. Kevin Curran, who is the technical expert at the IEEE said, “"The printer will be a thing of the past [and] there'll be no need for hard copies,"
Curran said. "The more time you spend online, the more at home you feel reading on tablets instead [where] everything can now be done virtually."
He cited the release of low cost budget tablets, which when they arrive in the UK will cost £30 or so, as the deal breaker for the printer. He said it will push digital document viewing to the fore and make it the norm. He compared the time in which the paper printer will become obsolete as the same as it took the iPad to rise to the popularity level it’s at now – around four years. He also mentioned that YouTube took only seven years to become as prominent as it is now – accounting for a fifth of all internet downloading in the US. Curran cites this as a example of people leaving an old format of media behind for a new one and points it as an example of people becoming more comfortable with the virtual world. He also pointed out environmental positives of such an occurrence.
Curran also said that 3D printing will not replace the traditional printer and has said that such machines won’t be able to produce good enough quality materials and also be affordable for a long time yet. However, he does say that businesses will have them allowing people to print unique furniture or other items and have it delivered to their door.
It’s interesting to see how many of these prophecies will come through and if they do the effect they will have.
We usually write about printers, but every now and again deviate from the typical to something a little more generic in the tech and sometimes not-so-tech sphere.
Tech geeks will be able to tell you what occurred in the annual calendar of nerdom, but you may not know. Mobile World Conference occurred in Barcelona last week – it’s the biggest mobile and tablet conference of the year and here’s some of the big news.
Samsung released a new Phone
The Samsung S5 was revealed and it lived up to expectation to a large degree, however the big bug bear that still remains is that the phone is still made of plastic. However, aside from that expect a better camera, better screen, finger print scanner and a number of other additions – it’s quite an exciting machine and one we can’t wait to get our hands on and drop in water – it’s waterproof by the way.
The whole idea of wearable tech was big and there were a number of cool devices released with a raft of health taking sensors and a number of other great features. Some were Bluetooth enabled and others looked like the typical analogue watch. One of the most notable things was the fact that it was clear to see how much the wearable tech had improved in such a short space of time – viva le revolution.
Low Cost Phones
The other notable thing that was seen widely across the event was the number of cheap touch screen phones being introduced. The £20 touch screen smart phone was everywhere to be seen, showing us how much the technology has come down in price in recent years. And a lot of these phones tended to be as good as the handsets we were paying £300 for a couple of years ago – amazing.
It’s been quite an exciting event and we can’t wait to take a look at some of the tech first hand when it hits the streets.
What do you make of HP’s ink advisory warning? In case, you’re not familiar with the system HP has installed a chip on each of its ink cartridges. The reason for this chip is so the printer can measure the amount of ink left in the printer cartridge and show you on screen.
However, if you use third party ink then you may run into some difficulties as they don’t include the necessary chip to show you the amount of ink in the printer.
However, this may not be a massive problem. The chips are known to make informed guesses, but like any guess it’s not completely accurate. This means that often people end up throwing out an inkjet that still has dozens of pages left to go and so are wasting their ink.
If you do like the idea of the chip, even as a warning then there are some third party players that offer this chip on their cartridges. This is also quite common in remanufactured cartridges as these will have come with the chip from beforehand when they were first hand cartridges and so will still have this chip and the sensors intact. Shows how much you waste when you don’t recycle a cartridge come to think of it.
One final piece of advice is that it’s best advised to change the ink before it runs out in built in print heads as it can clog otherwise – this is where these sensors come in to their own as you are prepared. However, on an integrated inkjet cartridge with its head you don’t have to worry about this too much as clogging is not an issue.
So, HP’s chipped inkjet cartridges do have a place, however they’re not the end of the world if you don’t have them by any means in the most part.
Knitting doesn’t sound like something that goes hand in hand with printing or for that matter technological innovation. However, the OpenKnit Printer does just that. The Textile 3D printer uses a program known as Knitic to design and then create knits that are ready in under an hour.
The printer was dreamt up and created by Gerard Rubio, who came up with the open source idea as a final project at university. Even though he didn’t have any experience with knitting at first the student soon got to grips with the project and created the OpenKnit Printer.
In the true spirit of an open source project Rubio has made a list of the materials used as well as the instructions for the device available on line. This means anyone who wants to can follow them and create their own knitting printer for under £500. The software itself is open source and so people have been encouraged to create and share designs online and share their own experience with the knit printer.
It’s quite an innovative use for a printer and not one that we ever envisaged a 20 year old university student creating. However, long live the knit print – we’d love to have a go with it at one stage or another – it’s quite a cool concept.
The Apple AirPrint has been in existence for a while and you’ll probably know it can be quite picky with many devices unable to print from it. Well, that’s until now and the help of Printopia.
If you have an older printer or just one that’s not compatible then you’ll know how much of a disaster it is to print from an Apple product. Fortunately, Printopia is a new piece of software that makes it a lot easier to print from Apple devices to wired and wireless machines. The app provides functionality to allow you to print or share content via Mac, Dropbox or Evernote.
Setting up Printopia is very easy too and the first step to doing so is installing the software on your Mac. This can be downloaded and comes in a free trial. Install this software and will require you to check the devices you wish to add to the computer. If you have a DropBox or Evernote these tend to appear too. Simply, add the devices you want to connect to the Mac.
It’s easy to set the status to sharing too and you merely turn the Printopia preference to on or off. If you have an IOS device and Mac on the same network, you’ll be able to print using the available device within IOS.
It’s very easy to then print with Printopia to your Mac and all you have to do is use your IOS device. Simply find the document you wish to print and in the printer option are you’ll find the place you wish to send it, as well as the other services on offer. Simply, select the number of copies and print. After this note that you can also check the Multitasking view to see the queue and cancel unwanted jobs among other things.
That’s how you use Printopia and as you can see it’s a very useful piece of software for Mac and IOS owners who want to print to older networked devices without AirPrint
A 12 year old Californian boy has showed on YouTube how he used his smarts to invent a low cost printer he calls Braigo. The printer was created from a LEGO set and utilised a EV3 set from the Danish company to create the printer.
The boy used a £200 LEGO set and modified a robot to make a printer for a fraction of the price that they sell at online. A typical Braille printer can cost around £1500. The name of the device is a mash up of LEGO and Braille and it works by hammering out messages in raised dots onto paper. He came up with the idea after seeing a flyer calling for people to help the blind.
The boy decided not to cash in on his design and instead placed the instructions online, meaning anyone can create the printer if they need or want to. The young inventor says he’s planning a bright career as a doctor or engineer and says he hopes to do more to help people around the world.
It’s quite an astounding feat if you ask us and you can see it here.
The Envy range of PCs and peripherals by HP is generally the company’s lifestyle range. The devices are created to look great and perform well and are lifestyle electronics.
The printer range uses a lot of glass, sleek corners and low profiles and now HP has moved to the lower end of the market and offering entry level machines in the range.
The new Envy 4500 is a low profile device that looks a lot more attractive than a lot of its competitors and uses a two cartridge print engine, with black and a tri colour cartridge, this makes it easy to maintain but does make for more wastage.
The device comes with a 1200dpi flatbed scanner, though has no document feed. The control panel on the device is a 50mm display – though is LCD which is lower in price. It doesn’t allow photos to be viewed onscreen but then again it’s a low cost printer.
The front panel folds down and swings out in a similar way to Canon’s Fast Front. The tray pulls out too to make loading paper easier. It can take a variety of sizes from A4 right down to 15x10cm paper for photo prints. There’s connection for Wireless and also for USB.
Speeds are good too and the device can manage 9ppm in mono and 5 in colour and it can almost manage these. However, draft prints are just that – something worth mentioning. Photo prints take under a minute and print quality is generally good. Using the XL cartridge reduces costs to 4.5p a page and 9.8p for colour.
Overall it’s a good printer an though others are cheaper to run they don’t have screens or lack in other ways. They also aren’t as easy to print from and if you’re on a tight budget it’s a great device for the money.