Save on Printing Costs – Convert your Printer to CISS

Last time, I blogged about our cost-saving techniques in our internet cafe. One of them is having our photo printer converted to Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS). This saves us A LOT on printing costs. That’s why our photo printing services are also cheap. The inks that you use to refill those ink tanks are also way cheaper than when you buy original cartridges that can only print about 1/8 of what you can print using CISS.

Printer converted to CISS

Some people may argue that print quality is way off when you’re not using original cartridges. I beg to differ because our photo printouts are of very good quality. I don’t think there’s even a difference at all with the print quality when I used the original cartridges. So, if you’re into photography or digital scrapbooking, I suggest you have your printer converted to CISS. Take note, though, that once you do this, your printer’s warranty will be void.

Let me show you how this ink system work. Our printer is a CANON IP3680 photo printer. As you can see on the image above, there are ink tanks connected to our printer’s cartridges. Here’s a closer look at our printhead and cartridges:

CISS tubes PrinterThe tubes are connected to ink cartridges that were designed for CISS. When printing, ink goes through the tubes to supply the ink cartridges. The ink cartridges will have an endless supply of inks as long as the tanks are refilled.

CISS tank

If you’re worried that your printhead might get damaged if you convert it to CISS, let me assure you that the chances of that happening using original cartridges is just the same. I know many internet cafe owners who have had their printers on CISS for years. It’s really about how you maintain the printer and how much you print, just like when you use original cartridges.

Here in the Philippines, there are a lot of stores where you can buy ink refills for your CISS. You can buy them in 100-ml bottles or you can buy them in 1-liter bottles to save more.ciss-inks

We had our printer converted to CISS in Cebu. Here in Manila, there are many stores that can convert your printer to CISS. I strongly suggest you have it converted by Ink-novation or Multicolors. The pricelist for conversions are on their websites.

What printer should you buy and have converted to CISS? I strongly recommend Canon printers because their feeder work better than Epson. However, most Epson users say that their photo printouts are way better than Canon users. So, if you’re after photo quality and you’ll only do a couple of printouts weekly, go ahead and get an Epson printer. If you prefer a printer with very good quality printouts and will last longer, use Canon.

Now, how do you maintain your CISS printers? Most common problem with CISS are bubbles in the ink tubes. This can easily be fixed by using syringes like the one below. That’s a 20-ml syringe that can be bought from any Mercury Drug store. All you have to do is suck the ink from the end of the tube, the one that’s connected to the ink cartridges. You might need discount prescription glasses or look closely to make sure the end is fitted correctly to the syringe. Suck the ink so it’ll go straight to the syringe to get rid of the bubbles. You can put the ink back into the ink tanks so make sure you use different syringes for each color.syringe used for CISS For photo papers, I strongly recommend you use Resin-coated Satin photo paper to yield the best results. However, if you want to save and still get very high quality printouts, for people here in the Philippines, you can use imitation Kodak photo paper that you can buy for less than Php 1 per piece at photo paper stores in Odeon Mall in Recto, Manila. You can also buy the ones from CDR-King. Photo paper sizes available are 3R, 4R, 5R and A4.

Yesterday, Mai and I bought 20 packs of 4R Kodak photo papers at Odeon Mall. We were hoping to buy 3R photo papers, actually, but there were no stocks available. So, we opted to use 4Rs instead and just offer new photo packages to maximize our profits from them.

This is the perfect solution for those of you who are into digital scrapbooking, but are concerned about photo printing costs. CISS will definitely help you save and still keep your memories alive through photo printouts.

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment below. 🙂

  • I am going to have to try that. looks like something that would be useful. I have a spare printer that I would not mind taking apart : SHOUTcast, web and VPS Hosting