By Andrew Liszewski
It’s no surprise these days that you can buy a very capable inkjet printer for next to nothing but the actual ink cartridges cost a small fortune. Companies have been moving more and more of the printer’s electronics including the print heads onto the cartridges and based on this project from MAKE it almost seems you don’t need the actual printer anymore.
This handheld ‘inker’ is based on an HP cartridge and while it did require a bit of modification (including a custom circuit board) the final product is not that much different from the original cartridge. Sure it looks a bit Frankenstein-esque but keep in mind this is only the first version.
Now normally the print head is moved back and forth inside the printer at a perfect rate, but the designers have found that with a little practice you can easily reproduce these movements manually and still get legible results. And besides working on paper the printer also appears to work on liquids but unfortunately this drastically reduces the life of the printout to about 30 seconds.