The AdderFab Inkjet printer was made by the 2011 AdderFab team (which was composed of Patrick Hannan, Jared Knutzen, Nicholas C. Lewis and Joy Markham. It is an open-source, 3D-printable, monochrome, InkJet printer.
All printable parts of the printer (except for the print head, which is composed of the HP C6602 ink cartridge and the HP Carriage Assembly -HP Q2347A-) can be found at this thingiverse page. The thingiverse page also has a manual describing on how to assemble the device (except the printhead) once the parts are printed.
As explained above, the initial project did not incorporate a printable printhead. A printable printhead would however add significant benefit. We could namely immediately integrate the ability in the 3D-printable ink cartridge design to
- have all of the ink in the ink cartridge usable (in contrast to commercial printers, which are often equipped with ink chips that report the ink cartridge being empty even if it is still <50% full.
- give the ability to the consumer to use whatever ink he prefers (hence also including inks that are more eco-friendly than those found in commercial ink cartridges
To make the printer cartridge, a significant problem to overcome is the fact that 3D printers would not be able to make the printer cartridge nozzles small enough to allow the monochrome printer to print in equally high resolutions than those found in commercial printers (commercial inkjet printers have 300 or even 600 dpi resolution). At 300 dpi, a quick calculation learns that the ink cartridge nozzles are but 0,00846 cm wide (2,54 cm / 300). Standardly, RepRap has a 0,8 or 0,4 mm nozzle. Even a specialised 3D printer nozzle like the Budaschnozzle is only able to expell the plastic through a 0,25 or 0,15 mm opening. So that's obviously not precise enough to make a print head with such small nozzles. So, to solve this, we need to design the printer cartridge to have fewer, larger, nozzles. The HP C6602 ink cartridge used by the initial AdderFab InkJet printer design had 96 dpi (=96 nozzles). That too would still be unachievable. What would work would be a 12 dpi printer (2,54 cm / 12 = 0,2116 mm printer cartridge nozzles). Obviously, a printer like this would make for a printer that can't print images, but then that's not the aim of the project neither. We just aim to make a low-cost printer that is able to print plain (black) text -again at a low cost- and preferably as ecologically as possible as well. The text that should be printable with it should be as small as a 12pt font (which is possible with a 12 dpi printer). This monochrome printer could be used alongside a color (ink or laser-)jet printer that still uses conventional (commercial) ink cartridges (this then being used only to print images, and colored text).
The new 3D-printable printer cartridge size would be the same as the HP C6602 printer cartridge, so 44 x 39 x 25 mm. It would also feature a hole in the top (to allow injecting ink into it with a syringe) and a system to make the ink cartridge vacuum (more details on how a ink cartridges work can be found here). Nichrome wires can be put into the 12 ink chambers to allow vaporising the heat. No chip would be used (so the printer would also not be able to indicate the ink level to the computer). This would not be an issue, as when the user sees the pages are no longer printed off well, he can just refill the ink tank with an ink syringe and see whether this solves the problem or not.
- Programmed obsolescence in commercial inkjet printers
- [http://www.permaset.com.au/think-green-do-your-bit-for-the-environment-use-eco-friendly-inks-types-of-eco-friendly-inks-for-printing/ The most eco-friendly inks today is water-based ink
- 1 pt= 0,352 mm (1 mm being equal to 2,8346 pt)