Inkjet printers have been very common at our Restart Parties, since the very beginning. On many occasions, the meticulous work of our wonderful Restarters has helped to clean, repair, defeat planned obsolescence and give a second life to printers that were just about ready to be taken to a recycling centre.
However, we know that fixing broken printers is not enough. This week we are exhibiting a “transparent” open printer as part of the The Future of Open’s exhibition in London, to help visualise how printers work.
Next week we begin working on rethinking future inkjet printers, particularly how they could be made better, with better durability, ease of maintenance and less wasteful operation.
Our experience has shown common problems with the printers brought to our attention:
(1) cartridges are meant to last as little as possible
(2) refilling them is really complicated, while it should be a no-brainer
(3) often people are cheated into printing using all colours when they just want to print black text
(4) when headers get dirty, there are no easy ways to clean them
(5) spare parts are often more expensive than buying a new printer.
Our submission to The People’s Design Lab won the Weakest Link Award “for stuff you thought would last a long time, but ended up in your bin”. As a result, we are taking part in the first of 3 workshops to work alongside designers, students and others passionate to come up with designs for much more “common sense”, open, repairable, friendly inkjet printers. Join the workshop if you can, and in the mean time please share your thoughts and existing resources in the comments to help us reinvent the inkjet printer!