What are you feeding your printer?
If you are like most people you rush down to Wally World or Staples and buy a ream of whatever they have on sale.
Does your printer like it? You never asked? Why not? Would you eat Cream of Wheat every single morning for breakfast? No of course not, man cannot live by mush alone he must have English muffins, or a bagel or one of those incredible, calorie and carbohydrate loaded Egg McMuffin!
(Oh come-on you know you do it. I do it and I’m not supposed to, but the nasty little grease balls taste sooooooooooo good I can’t help it, Egg McMuffins, food of the Gods.)
But your printer has a much loftier aesthetic sense. It needs fiber and bulk, like mat paper or even photo glossy or what about something exotic?
You can’t do that. Printers won’t run on anything, but the paper they were calibrated for way back at the factory. And I’ll just bet you think the check is in the mail.
Okay let’s get the legal issues out of the way. Printer makers list a lot of stuff you’re not supposed to do, don’t use any ink but theirs, don’t use any paper, but the two or three varieties they recommend, don’t even think about using something not specifically made for printers.
You follow their rules don’t you?
Do you know why all of these rules get written into the fine print in the user’s manual, so that the printer company won’t have to do anything except count your money.
Printer Manufacturers are much like another group of entrepreneurs, you know the ones who hang around school yards and street corners? No not that kind, apparently they all become college level assistant coaches. I’m talking about the guys who sell unregulated pharmaceuticals from the back of their Cadillacs.
That’s right and they use the same sales pitch, “Go on smoke it, the first one’s free.” Or at least low cost. The printer makers price their printers so low that you just can't help buying a new one every third or fourth month. Then you load the cartridges and print a page or two and they’re empty and you trot off to Staples where you find out that the cost of replacing them is just a tiny bit lower than the National debt.
Those cartridges last about a month and you have to have new ones and that is what the manufacturers are counting on. Once you buy the printer you keep chucking money after the ink cause you don’t want to have to re-install a new printer and learn where all of the controls are.
So you slavishly use their ink and they head for the Mercedes dealer or the Riviera. Doesn’t make a lick of sense, use the alternate cartridges from Amazon cause you know ole Jeff ain’t gonna sell you something he has to take back!
And while we are at it the rule about using only the paper approved for your printer is also a big, bunch of prunes. Now it is true that a certain manufacturer, who shall remain nameless, but uses the initials HP, uses a paper path which curves around inside the printer which means if you use some other brand of paper it will get hung and cause the printer to stop so you better darn well use their paper.
Don’t buy it for a second. Or better yet don’t buy it at all. Buy a printer which uses a straight paper path. That way when you get a gift from Neiman Marcus this year, (Sure you will, cousin Bernice made a killing in Halliburton stock and will be sure to send you something you cannot use and never wanted, but it will be from Nordstrom’s or Hammacher Schlemmer so you can be blown away by just how much better she’s doing than you are.) you can save the paper for just the right moment when you get a great collage idea and want to use it, but you only got the one gift and there isn’t enough paper for that wall sized mural you envision, so what do you do? Run it through the scanner and then fire up the printer and make a bale!
There, I think that just about covers it. You can follow the requirements of your printer manufacturer and live a long and happy life together or you can come with me and walk on the wild side.
Yeah, well it’s wild for an old guy. Okay, so let’s say you’ve decided to ignore all of those rules and regulations in the user’s guide. Great let’s play!
Using another manufacturer’s ink in your printer will void your warranty, but it won’t screw up your prints. I do half and half, Brand X for every day and the good stuff for when I’m serious.
Tell me truly, you aren’t thinking about selling ink jet prints to your valued clients, are you? No of course you aren’t and with prints so cheap you don’t have to. If you are in a dead rush and just can’t wait there are two or three excellent printers right here in Coos Bay. Okay, one of them is in Bandon and they do Giclees which you are using regularly to document your work, because we talked about it several times during the year, right?
And if you have time Iprintfromhome is dirt cheap, excellent quality and the nice guys in the brown uniforms will bring it to your door, how can you beat that?
Same rule applies to paper, printer manufacturers make paper too and they sure do want you to use it. Their mat paper can be just awful, it ain’t mat finish and it costs as much as a new BMW. Try the ream of card stock Staples sells. It runs in most printers and looks great and it will not keep you from making the payment of the ole Ford this month.
The smart people at the Artist’s Connection spend a lot of time researching paper, watercolor paper, drawing paper, charcoal paper, pastel paper and newsprint papers. Don’t try to duplicate all of heir hard work. Let them do the grunt work and you take advantage of it!
But watercolor paper won’t run in my printer it’s too big.
It is that’s why God made trimmers. Cut it down to size or go buy one of the nifty, neat and cool wide format printers everyone seems to be making. I can remember when I thought a color printer was the cat’s meow, boy howdy, now they scan, copy and print!
I’ve used watercolor paper, Parchment and even gift wrapping in my printer and it still clunks right along, so long as the cartridges are full. Yours will too.
And if it doesn’t, remember what those nice folks who make printers have done, they’ve priced their printers so low that if you crater yours fifty bucks will put a new one on your desktop today.