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How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

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Unread 14-11-2007, 02:22 PM   #1
wylbur37
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How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

For those who still use a dot-matrix printer, getting replacemant
ribbons is becoming more difficult.

An alternative is to purchase ink designed to re-ink the ribbon
cartridge, but even that is not easy to find.

Some have said that they've used ordinary stamp-pad ink and it works.
But others have said that stamp-pad ink isn't good because
(a) it dries out too quickly and (b) it doesn't have the lubricating
ingredients that a printhead needs. Have you tried it?

And what about the possibility of making your own ink?
Does anyone know the recipe for dot-matrix printer ribbon ink?

....

 
Unread 14-11-2007, 02:22 PM   #2
Richard Steinfeld
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Posts: n/a
Re: How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

wylbur37 wrote:

> Some have said that they've used ordinary stamp-pad ink and it works.
> But others have said that stamp-pad ink isn't good because
> (a) it dries out too quickly and (b) it doesn't have the lubricating
> ingredients that a printhead needs. Have you tried it?
>
> And what about the possibility of making your own ink?
> Does anyone know the recipe for dot-matrix printer ribbon ink?
>


The traditional moisturizer in typewriter ribbons was glycerine.
I once freed up stuck pins in a Panasonic dot printer with ordinary
electronic cleaner/lube spray. At the time, it consisted of freon with a
tiny amount of silicon fluid. The freon evaporates, leaving behind a
very thin, microscopic coating of the silicon oil. This did the trick.

I can't say for sure, but silicon fluid may be the secret ingredient in
dot matrix ribbons -- like glycerine, it doesn't dry out, but also
provides lubricity. It is an excellent lubricant for rubbers and
plastics, and those in combination with metals. Note that silicon fluid
will not lubricate metal-metal interfaces, so if your print heads have
steel pins working directly in metal bearings, the head'll be trashed. I
suspect that perhaps all dot print heads use stainless wires working in
bearings of some self-lubricating plastic.

As I recall, silicon fluids and traditional oils do not mix. Petroleum
oils hold dust, which is abrasive -- therefore, that's what would not be
in ribbons because the print head would turn into a gloppy worn-out mess
(household dust is abrasive). Silicon fluids do not attract dirt. I
remember that these fluids are inert and pretty harmless; the stuff sure
makes my fingers slippery. There are also silicon lubricant compounds --
greases, and perhaps oils, as well. I'm wondering if printer ribbons
contain a mixture of silicon fluid and glycerine.

What I cannot tell you is where to buy silicon fluid, nor can I tell you
which viscosity to use. The viscosities (measured in Centistoke), run
from thinner than water all the way to thicker than honey. When I
obtained my supply for audio work, the manufacturers were General
Electric and Dow Corning. And I have no idea what the pigment is. Let us
know what you find out!

Richard
 
Unread 14-11-2007, 02:22 PM   #3
aalaan@tpg.com.au
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Posts: n/a
Re: How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

wylbur37 wrote:
>
> For those who still use a dot-matrix printer, getting replacemant
> ribbons is becoming more difficult.
>
> An alternative is to purchase ink designed to re-ink the ribbon
> cartridge, but even that is not easy to find.
>
> Some have said that they've used ordinary stamp-pad ink and it works.
> But others have said that stamp-pad ink isn't good because
> (a) it dries out too quickly and (b) it doesn't have the lubricating
> ingredients that a printhead needs. Have you tried it?
>
> And what about the possibility of making your own ink?
> Does anyone know the recipe for dot-matrix printer ribbon ink?
>
> ...

Ah memories! Who remembers the Tandy lineprinter (forgotten the model
nmber - there were a few)? They were a smash hit in Australia but Tandy
did not stock enough spare ribbon cartrdiges. Consequently there was a
roaring second tier market. Trouble is those ribbons had an inferior
glue on the continuous loop joint and the ribbon would part in use.

The next exciting development was the daisywheel printer. It printed
just slow enough to be utterly frustratiung watching a page, but just
too fast to go and get a cup of coffeee without wasting time.
 
Unread 14-11-2007, 02:22 PM   #4
kountry ken
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Posts: n/a
Re: How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

I used to re ink my dot matrix printer ribbon with Shoe Die (black). also I
have given the ribbon a light spray of WD40 lubricant spray oil

best of luck
ken


 
Unread 14-11-2007, 02:23 PM   #5
George E. Cawthon
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Posts: n/a
Re: How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

Richard Steinfeld wrote:
> wylbur37 wrote:
>
>> Some have said that they've used ordinary stamp-pad ink and it works.
>> But others have said that stamp-pad ink isn't good because
>> (a) it dries out too quickly and (b) it doesn't have the lubricating
>> ingredients that a printhead needs. Have you tried it?
>>
>> And what about the possibility of making your own ink?
>> Does anyone know the recipe for dot-matrix printer ribbon ink?
>>

>
> The traditional moisturizer in typewriter ribbons was glycerine.
> I once freed up stuck pins in a Panasonic dot printer with ordinary
> electronic cleaner/lube spray. At the time, it consisted of freon with a
> tiny amount of silicon fluid. The freon evaporates, leaving behind a
> very thin, microscopic coating of the silicon oil. This did the trick.
>
> I can't say for sure, but silicon fluid may be the secret ingredient in
> dot matrix ribbons -- like glycerine, it doesn't dry out, but also
> provides lubricity. It is an excellent lubricant for rubbers and
> plastics, and those in combination with metals. Note that silicon fluid
> will not lubricate metal-metal interfaces, so if your print heads have
> steel pins working directly in metal bearings, the head'll be trashed. I
> suspect that perhaps all dot print heads use stainless wires working in
> bearings of some self-lubricating plastic.
>
> As I recall, silicon fluids and traditional oils do not mix. Petroleum
> oils hold dust, which is abrasive -- therefore, that's what would not be
> in ribbons because the print head would turn into a gloppy worn-out mess
> (household dust is abrasive). Silicon fluids do not attract dirt. I
> remember that these fluids are inert and pretty harmless; the stuff sure
> makes my fingers slippery. There are also silicon lubricant compounds --
> greases, and perhaps oils, as well. I'm wondering if printer ribbons
> contain a mixture of silicon fluid and glycerine.
>
> What I cannot tell you is where to buy silicon fluid, nor can I tell you
> which viscosity to use. The viscosities (measured in Centistoke), run
> from thinner than water all the way to thicker than honey. When I
> obtained my supply for audio work, the manufacturers were General
> Electric and Dow Corning. And I have no idea what the pigment is. Let us
> know what you find out!
>
> Richard

First it would help if you spelled the most
important word correctly. It is "silicone" which
is entirely different from silicon which is an
element.

Second, silicone lubricants weren't generally
available when dot matrix printers became
available. So although later dot matrix ribbons
may use silicone, those commonly available in the
early 80's and earlier wouldn't have use silicone.

Third, WD 40 was a common substance used to
rejuvenate dot matrix ribbons by home hobbyists in
the 80's. Spraying the head with WD 40 was a
common practice and highly effective practice to
clean the head. I can tell you from personal
experience that WD 40 most definitely wets a dot
matrix ribbon and dissolves the dried ink and
cleans the head. Does the same for typewriter
ribbons. However, getting a ribbon with a
consistent "wetting" so that it prints a
consistent darkness is very difficult.
Finally, There are still many high speed dot
matrix printers for special jobs, so buying ink
should not be difficult if one looks for
commercial vendors.


 
Unread 14-11-2007, 02:23 PM   #6
Richard Steinfeld
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

George E. Cawthon wrote:
> Richard Steinfeld wrote:
>
>> wylbur37 wrote:
>>
>>> Some have said that they've used ordinary stamp-pad ink and it works.
>>> But others have said that stamp-pad ink isn't good because
>>> (a) it dries out too quickly and (b) it doesn't have the lubricating
>>> ingredients that a printhead needs. Have you tried it?
>>>
>>> And what about the possibility of making your own ink?
>>> Does anyone know the recipe for dot-matrix printer ribbon ink?
>>>

>>
>> The traditional moisturizer in typewriter ribbons was glycerine.
>> I once freed up stuck pins in a Panasonic dot printer with ordinary
>> electronic cleaner/lube spray. At the time, it consisted of freon with
>> a tiny amount of silicon fluid. The freon evaporates, leaving behind a
>> very thin, microscopic coating of the silicon oil. This did the trick.
>>
>> I can't say for sure, but silicon fluid may be the secret ingredient
>> in dot matrix ribbons -- like glycerine, it doesn't dry out, but also
>> provides lubricity. It is an excellent lubricant for rubbers and
>> plastics, and those in combination with metals. Note that silicon
>> fluid will not lubricate metal-metal interfaces, so if your print
>> heads have steel pins working directly in metal bearings, the head'll
>> be trashed. I suspect that perhaps all dot print heads use stainless
>> wires working in bearings of some self-lubricating plastic.
>>
>> As I recall, silicon fluids and traditional oils do not mix. Petroleum
>> oils hold dust, which is abrasive -- therefore, that's what would not
>> be in ribbons because the print head would turn into a gloppy worn-out
>> mess (household dust is abrasive). Silicon fluids do not attract dirt.
>> I remember that these fluids are inert and pretty harmless; the stuff
>> sure makes my fingers slippery. There are also silicon lubricant
>> compounds -- greases, and perhaps oils, as well. I'm wondering if
>> printer ribbons contain a mixture of silicon fluid and glycerine.
>>
>> What I cannot tell you is where to buy silicon fluid, nor can I tell
>> you which viscosity to use. The viscosities (measured in Centistoke),
>> run from thinner than water all the way to thicker than honey. When I
>> obtained my supply for audio work, the manufacturers were General
>> Electric and Dow Corning. And I have no idea what the pigment is. Let
>> us know what you find out!
>>
>> Richard

>
> First it would help if you spelled the most important word correctly.
> It is "silicone" which is entirely different from silicon which is an
> element.
>


Jeesh.
So sorry to have offended you, George. I admit that I get them mixed up
sometimes. I'm groveling. As I recall, "Silicone" is a brand name, which
is why I use the generic. Check it out.

> Second, silicone lubricants weren't generally available when dot matrix
> printers became available. So although later dot matrix ribbons may use
> silicone, those commonly available in the early 80's and earlier
> wouldn't have use silicone.
>

You talk so emphatically, I was doubting myself there for a moment; then
I recalled that I was using such lubricants in the repair shop at that
time; why I've even got a couple of cans and tubes in my workshop that I
acquired in the year 1984. It would help if you got your facts right. In
fact, a silicon spray lube was used on my car at a Mobil-owned garage in
the year 1971! The oil company had built the place and was building the
business in preparation for selling it to a franchisee or independent
operator; they were well-equipped with house-brand products.

> Third, WD 40 was a common substance used to rejuvenate dot matrix
> ribbons by home hobbyists in the 80's. Spraying the head with WD 40 was
> a common practice and highly effective practice to clean the head. I
> can tell you from personal experience that WD 40 most definitely wets a
> dot matrix ribbon and dissolves the dried ink and cleans the head. Does
> the same for typewriter ribbons. However, getting a ribbon with a
> consistent "wetting" so that it prints a consistent darkness is very
> difficult.


I'd rather use silicon fluid, with which I have confidence from
experience. WD-40 has a reputation for getting rather nasty with age
(check alt.antiques.radio+phono and other sources). On the other hand,
maybe you know something that I don't.

As far as glycerine goes, that's what my father was using to get more
mileage from his typewriter ribbons during the 50s.

> Finally, There are still many high speed dot matrix printers for special
> jobs, so buying ink should not be difficult if one looks for commercial
> vendors.
>


Geesh, George; that was a pretty troll-esque opening. I'd prefer better
manners if we're going to get so close and personal.

Ricard
 
Unread 14-11-2007, 02:23 PM   #7
Gary Tait
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Posts: n/a
Re: How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

aalaan@tpg.com.au wrote in news:4491A196.DAA5E577@tpg.com.au:

> Ah memories! Who remembers the Tandy lineprinter (forgotten the model
> nmber - there were a few)?


DMP130? I have two, one a 130 and the 132. The former I regularly used
before I got a laser in the late 90s, and used a Ko-Rec-Type brand
compatible cartridge after the one I got with it quit.

Or do you mean the dasywheel serial printer? Or something earlier?


 
Unread 14-11-2007, 02:23 PM   #8
MCheu
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

On 15 Jun 2006 05:29:02 -0700, "wylbur37" <wylbur37nospam***********>
wrote:

>For those who still use a dot-matrix printer, getting replacemant
>ribbons is becoming more difficult.
>
>An alternative is to purchase ink designed to re-ink the ribbon
>cartridge, but even that is not easy to find.
>
>Some have said that they've used ordinary stamp-pad ink and it works.
>But others have said that stamp-pad ink isn't good because
>(a) it dries out too quickly and (b) it doesn't have the lubricating
>ingredients that a printhead needs. Have you tried it?


It's not good for dot matrix ribbons. The stamp pad ink is alcohol
and water based. It "might" work short term, but only because the
alcohol may redistribute the oil in the ribbon before it evaporates.
Since the printhead uses metal striker pins to create your printout,
you probably don't want to expose those to water.

The Ink on a dot matrix ribbon uses an oil for the solvent. One of
the tricks we used to use in the C64 days to extend the life of a
ribbon was to open the ribbon cartridge, and spray the ribbon with
WD40. Often times, it wasn't so much that the ink on the ribbon had
run out but that the solvent/lubricant had dried out. It also helped
redistribute some of the particulate components back to the middle of
the ribbon. It was usually enough to give you a few weeks more
service out of a cartridge until you had time to go shopping for a
replacement.

>
>And what about the possibility of making your own ink?
>Does anyone know the recipe for dot-matrix printer ribbon ink?


Nope, sorry. In the old days, it was claimed that the main components
of black ribbon ink were light mineral oil and carbon dust. The thing
is, I don't know the specifics like: granularity of the carbon (it'd
have to be fine, but I don't know how fine), the ratio of carbon to
oil, and whatever other ingredients were added to thin the stuff out
and preserve it. The mineral oil you see in drug stores and hardware
stores might be too thick for this. Anyways, I wouldn't recommend
homebrew ink. You'll definitely run into problems if you don't get
the mix right.

Also, re-inking a ribbon isn't as easy as refilling an ink cartridge
or just dabbing the ribbon with ink. If you've ever opened one of
those cartridges, you'll know that there's typically several feet of
ribbon stuffed inside the cartridge body in accordion fashion. You'll
need an inking machine for that, as doing it by hand is ridiculously
messy and time consuming.
---------------------------------------------
Thanks.


MCheu
 
Unread 14-11-2007, 02:23 PM   #9
budgie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

On 15 Jun 2006 05:29:02 -0700, "wylbur37" <wylbur37nospam***********> wrote:

>For those who still use a dot-matrix printer, getting replacemant
>ribbons is becoming more difficult.
>
>An alternative is to purchase ink designed to re-ink the ribbon
>cartridge, but even that is not easy to find.


(snip)

Don't know what the practice is on your side of the planet, but here on Oz the
corner cartridge re-inkers all seem to still support dot-matrix ribbon re-inking
too. I'd check out a few reinking shops in your area. Beats the hell out of
the mess too.
 
Unread 14-11-2007, 02:24 PM   #10
Lou@its.invalid
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: How to re-ink a dot-matrix printer ribbon ?

wylbur37 wrote:

> For those who still use a dot-matrix printer, getting replacemant
> ribbons is becoming more difficult.
>
> An alternative is to purchase ink designed to re-ink the ribbon
> cartridge, but even that is not easy to find.
>
> Some have said that they've used ordinary stamp-pad ink and it works.
> But others have said that stamp-pad ink isn't good because
> (a) it dries out too quickly and (b) it doesn't have the lubricating
> ingredients that a printhead needs. Have you tried it?
>
> And what about the possibility of making your own ink?
> Does anyone know the recipe for dot-matrix printer ribbon ink?
>
> ...


Try Ebay for any ribbon needs.


 
 

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