Panty liners and window cleaner
It is nice to live somewhere where a 40-something male can buy several packs of panty liners (varying thickness) and a squirty-bottle of window cleaner, and the checkout girl doesn't bat an eyelid.
I'm sure people could come up with some Rule 34 nonsense, but as is usual for Rick's b.log, there is a boring geeky reason for such things.
The idea? To try to recover an inkjet print head that has become sufficiently clogged that trying to force cleaning solution into the head doesn't work.
First, tell the printer to print a test sheet. When the print head comes out of hiding, pull the plug (cut the power). You want to be able to freely move the head around. Push the head to the right hand side. Not so far that you park it again, but enough to give you room to set things up.
Take a panty liner. Start with the thinnest you have. Remove that paper strip on the back and then fold it over on itself so there's no sticky underneath and it is narrow enough to fit in the gap where the print head moves.
Fit the folded panty liner into the space. Pay careful attention to runners and such. The print head may float, suspended from above (as is the case with my Brother) or it may run on a tube close to the paper. Make sure the panty liner doesn't obstruct.
Pour some window cleaner onto the panty liner. Get it good and wet.
Blue liquid, it's like those adverts from the nineties. I feel like I ought to shout "whoa! bodyform!" or something.
Now position the print head over the liquid. It should be a snug fit, the liquid is supposed to dissolve the dried-on ink. If it isn't a snug fit, repeat the above process with the next thicker panty liner. Having a space between the window cleaner and the print head will achieve nothing...
Leave it in place for half an hour. Keep an eye on it - if the window cleaner seems to have been absorbed by the panty liner (not unusual, that's sort of what a panty liner is supposed to do), carefully add some more just beside the print head, and nudge the print head over so it can keep on soaking.
When the ten minutes are up, gently push the print head onto a clean part of the panty liner.
Give it a count of thirty seconds, then move the print head back to the right, off of the panty liner. Take a look at the ink left after the short stay. You can see from the picture below that yellow is a bit iffy and red is just bad. If this should be the case, repeat the process a couple of times.
Unfortunately, while successive treatments made minor improvements, it was going nowhere fast. So I took the next drastic step of dismantling the printer and soaking the head in window cleaner solution.
That improved things. There are still many missing dots on the print head, but it can now print a reasonably good looking picture at highest resolution. Certainly, there are visible patterns if you look closely, but it is good enough for times when "best" isn't necessary.
I'll still likely get myself a new printer in the winter sales, but for now, for now this will do.
- If your masculinity prevents you from buying packs of panty liners, and you don't know a girl well enough to nick a few, then you can use paper towels. That said, I don't want to imagine the mess that will result from a half hour soak with paper towels.
- Panty liner thickness seems to be fairly universally measured in drip symbols. I'll leave you to join the dots.
- You want a window cleaner with an alcohol smell, sort of like a scented version of surgical spirit. If you can't find any, or you aren't sure what's in the one you are looking at, you can use distilled/demineralised water instead. Never use tap water, turps, white spirit, or anything like that. The window cleaner was chosen as it is a very mild solvent with surfectant properties, so should be able to shift clogged ink. Inkjet ink is water soluble, so distilled water should work, it'll just take longer.
- Never try to force window cleaner through the print head itself. You can buy a special cleaning solution. Use that, and only that.
When I get a new printer, I might give this printer one last shot, by completely dismantling the print head and forcing cleaning solution into the mechanism.
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Last read at 20:04 on 2021/03/08.
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