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Old Mar 20, 2007, 1:18 PM   #1
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Can we start a discussion on what are the best components for building a CIS system and where to obtain these parts.

Best tubing ... where to buy? tygon?

Best fittings ... where to buy? value plastics?

Best bottles, best INK ?

Best way to prime a new system?

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Old Mar 21, 2007, 4:56 AM   #2
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Hi Everyone,

We regularly input into these forums in relation to CIS Sytems and I can offer some suggestions based on what I have learnt over the years of producing CISS systems.

Firstly let me say from the outset that I am the owner of a company in Australia Called RIHAC Digital Solutions. We specialise in CIS systems for Epson and Canon printers and are in the throws of releasing some HP models.

How I started was like most people on this forum, in that I was frustrated at the price of OEM cartridges.

Initially I simply purchased a cheap CISS for my Canon printer and it kind of worked, than again it kind of didnt't. So I did my research and bought just about every system I could find. I worked out the good ideas and tossed the bad and we now make a CISS system which comprises of different parts from different suppliers.

The Epson printers are the best and easiest to fit a 100% relaible CISS. The reason is partly due to the electronic print heads and partly due to the way an Epson print head selas off inside a carrier cartridge. We surrently distribute around 1,000 units a month for the Epson printers and can honestly say we get no issues.

Canon ....Now they have been more difficult to get a relaible system to work. The main issue as most people will be aware is the way that Canon use a hollow rubber grommet to seal off against the cartridge base. CISS works by way of reverse vacuum. So the ink reservoirs are lower than the heads so there is always a slight draw back from the heads. If the grommet/seal/cartridge combination is not air tight then you will eventually have air draw under the cartridge re-filling it with air rather than ink. We've taken a number of steps in cartridge design/silicone seals etc to get a good balance and run around 97% success rate. The other difficult part is cartridge design. In a Canon I have already mentioned the rubber grommets in the print head. This means every Canon printer has different heights between the seal and top of the head filter. So what we do is have a cartridge which has a small feeder sponge (as required by the Canon thermal heads). This sponge form fits to your individual Canon.

As far as component recommendations they are as follows:

Tubing - Always use silicone tubing. PVC is a cheap option but can become brittle over time and also contracts in colder weather reducing ink flow.

Reservoir design - Steer clear of the reservoirs that compricse of two sections glued together, particularly using ink from Asia. The solvent carrier fluid basically eats away at the glue and causes ink leakage. Try to use a reservoir that uses ABS plastic as it is more impact resistant and offers a small amount of UV black.

INK - The fundamental issue with CISS units is that most suppliers (in our experience) blatently lie or mislead about their ink. For example we use ink from the USA simply because it is filtered prooperly, does not conntain chemical solvents or high amounts of alcohol. It is also profiled to models rather than brand, it also has an organic UV supperssor which increases fade life (still short from OEM by around 15% as we do not use pigments in our ink*). Most inks are manufactured in Asia due to cost, however most suppliers will tell you it is german ink or US ink. What they don't tell you is that the powdder may come from these countries but the ink is mixed (with the not so good chemicals) in Asia. When Epson and Canon say aftermarket inks can cause head damage they are not lying.

Pigment inks in a CISS - Bear in mind that new Epson photo printers (R390, R270, RX590) no longer use the hybrid pigment ink durabrite but a 100% dye ink called Claria. Aslo Canon inks are not a true pigment ink rather a hybrid mix of Pigment and DYe. The rational behind this is that pigment inks have a reduced colour gamut/spectrum than dyes. True pigments do not adhere to gloss papers and reflect light unevely giving a duller finish than dyes which reflect light unevenly. The primary issue with using pigment inks in a CISS is settlement. Pigment inks are not soluble. In other words the pigment is in a carrier fluid much like sand in water. Left for a long time the pigmetn settles and can cause colour shifting and bloackages of feeder tubes. A true pigment ink needs a higher chemical carrier fluid which again can cause blocked lines if it dehydrates. Overall use DYE inks. They may fade quicker but cause you much less headaches.

Hope all this information helps. We also have more independant ink information on our website as well as CISS units etc.


Also feel free to email us with any questions. AS always please post our responses on this forum as it may help others.


Sam Cahir

RIHAC Digital Solutions Australia

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Old Mar 21, 2007, 6:43 AM   #3
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for the £40 they are i wouldnt even think about starting to make one when its all ready made and working

u forgot to ask about self restting chips for the carts as well or can u reprogramme them to do that with a chip resetter?

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Old Mar 21, 2007, 11:01 AM   #4
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OK .. seems like you know a little about CIS systems so I decided to check out your Austrailian web site. First thing I notice is that you sell CIS systems straight from China .....??? Why ?

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Old Mar 21, 2007, 9:05 PM   #5
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First thing I notice is that you sell CIS systems straight from China .....??? Why ?
If you were in the business of assembling and selling affordable CIS systems, where else would you go for parts?

If you read Sam's post thoroughly, you'll see that he claims to have selected the best performing parts from various manufacturers to make the best performing product he can.

He's done exactly what large and small manufacturers throughout the world are doing with varying degrees of success — producing a product that can compete on the open market, which virtually guarantees that much or all of it originates from where it can be made cheapest (check the source of your printer, computer, car, TV, whatever — and look at where its most intricate parts come from ("assembled in" and "made in" mean quite different things and "made in" mostly doesn't mean 100%, either.)

Naturally, since the components come from Asia (whether they all come from mainland China, I wouldn't know — there are some made in Taiwan and Korea, I think) they will look the same as many illustrated on Ebay etc.

This doesn't mean they are the same thing, though — photo's only show the exterior of these things and most pix on Ebay are far from gallery quality — and I can personally vouch that what looks the same isn't always as good (I've a CIS sitting on the shelf — haven't the heart to bin it...) that proves the point.

It worked beautifully when installed but didn't use even a quarter of the supplied (off-shade, nasty smelling and probably toxic) ink before it failed.

Its replacement — purchased from a US Ebay seller who has now dropped off the tree — looked good and had quality ink in it, but my printer flatly refused to recognise the cartridges.

In the end I got it working by changing the chips for a set of an older type that I'd picked up to experiment with (the CIS supplier wasn't a lot of help), but have had to put up with excessive ink wastage from purges of all six carts every time the printer records a 'new cartridge' (anyone want a litre or so of "sorta" black?).

Otherwise it's been a success — getting on for two years and no clogs, no leaks and prints are still indistinguishable from those made with the OEM ink.

I'm now waiting for the tanks to run out again before testing one of Rihac's systems (no, I'm not connected with Rihac in any way except that they now have $AU120 of my hard-earned) — have spoken with Sam but once.)

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Old Mar 22, 2007, 6:26 AM   #6
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Sam was claiming years of experience and testing with different components from different suppliers and now has developed a reliable system. The truth is .... he is selling a cheaper made in China CIS. Not a system that he has developed from experience. I would much rather pay 2 or 3 timesthe amount to get a more robust reliable system made with quality components. I want my system to last years not months. That is why I started this thread .... for all you builders of CIS systems, not importers, ...what componentsare you finding to be the most reliable as in the tubing, bottles, fittings etc?
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Old Mar 22, 2007, 1:43 PM   #7
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xeroid wrote:
Sam was claiming years of experience and testing with different components from different suppliers and now has developed a reliable system. The truth is .... he is selling a cheaper made in China CIS. Not a system that he has developed from experience.
Your statement is a bit inflammatory and accusatory.

Sam appears to be a decent enough guy who has given helpful information to this forum. He has never tried to hide the fact that he has a product to sell and has not tried to hard-sell the forum on his products as far as I know.

Where is your proof?

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Old Mar 22, 2007, 2:42 PM   #8
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Stratman .... I am sure Sam is a great guy, and I never said he wasn't. I started a thread to find the best quality parts folks are using to build their own CIS. For Sam to jump on and pitch an imported productsfrom China is not what I was expecting.

Let's stay on topic for the benifit of the whole group.
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Old Mar 22, 2007, 4:34 PM   #9
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Xeroid how about you give us an example of what you consider a more robust reliable system or parts not made in China. Then maybe we would have a better understanding of what your looking for.I have one of the RIHAC systems for the Canon IP4300 and Sam did not just cobble together a bunch of junk it works and works well.
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Old Mar 22, 2007, 6:06 PM   #10
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Perhaps it does work well for you .... I would be curious to know what kind of volume of printing you do a day.

To answer your question: I run a mininum of 6 Canons a day 8 hours a day 5 days a week. To run 5000 flyers full colour on both sides is a regular occurance. So I think you can see why I need reliable setups. I have been using CIS sytemssince the S-series Canons came out some years ago. So to say the least .... I have quite a bit of experience myself with CIS sytems. What I have found is many parts coming out of China or Asiaare inferior to parts you can source in the Americas. There is high grade medical fittings and tubbing in the north america, and you can visually see the differnces. Many ink cartridges that have come from Asia have a very high failure rate.

So back to the topic ..... For those of us that build our own CIS sytems, what parts have you sourced and found to be the most reliable. For example: Tygon SH50 medical grade tubing? Value Plastics fittings?

FOR SERIOUS CIS USERS: Share your experiences of what components you find to be the most reliable when building a CIS sytem and where you have found them.

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