Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Technology => Topic started by: cameronv on 24/09/2021 12:04:40

Title: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: cameronv on 24/09/2021 12:04:40
David wants to know:

Why is printer ink, weight for weight, more expensive than gold?

Can you help answer this?
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: Bored chemist on 24/09/2021 12:56:14
Because people think 40 is a reasonable price for a printer.
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: Halc on 24/09/2021 13:07:52
Is it?  A color ink cartridge might cost up to $100 per fl ounce (volume) or given similar density to water (depends on color), about $120 per troy ounce (weight), while gold goes for 10 times that at least.

Cartridges are sold at premium prices because each printer uses cartridges that only work for one kind of printer. So the hustle is that they sell you the printer at below cost and make up the money on cartridge sales. My ink-jet printer came with one black and one color cartridge, and sold for almost exactly the same as the replacement cost of those two cartridges, which means I got the printer for free.

Similarly, one could buy a game console (XBox say) at far less than it cost to manufacture them, to hook you into the games which only worked on one console. This is why it was illegal to mail an Xbox to China, because it isn't illegal there to bootleg software.

Anyway, laser printer prices have dropped sufficiently lately that I bought one, saving me oodles on printing costs. I only use my all-in-one ink-jet now as a scanner.
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: Colin2B on 24/09/2021 13:12:07
This seems to be an old question https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=75734.msg563174#msg563174
Are we running out of questions?
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: alancalverd on 24/09/2021 16:10:53
The ink isn't expensive but the cartridges are. If you buy a tank printer (I use an Epson 2720) you can refill all four tanks with about 100 ml of ink each (say 12,000 pages of mixed text and diagrams) for 30.
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: Bored chemist on 24/09/2021 18:30:25
This is the first site that google found for me
https://www.cartridgepeople.com/Product/View/10073/Product.html?SPP:ggPLASALPHP10073&utm_source=FEEDS&utm_medium=Google&utm_campaign=ggPLASALPHP10073&kw=&cpn=1723112395&gclid=CjwKCAjw7rWKBhAtEiwAJ3CWLCD27j-YUJZysLfRtV9bLLe2zxzFazrwk7QWWU0MfXhUp_6822cbLhoCuqgQAvD_BwE

That's about 30 for 2  by 3ml of ink.
5 per ml (roughly 5 per gram) isn't quite up there with gold, but it's pretty close
Gold is currently about 41 per gram.

I suspect the coloured inks might be worse.

But the cartridges are about 50 grams so, on a w/w basis they are about a tenth  of the price.

This seems to be an old question https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=75734.msg563174#msg563174
Are we running out of questions?
Maybe the question pops up when the gold price changes.
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: Just thinking on 24/09/2021 20:04:34
I will sell you the printer real cheap and then rip you off on the ink.
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: vhfpmr on 24/09/2021 22:45:59
You pay for the printer once, you pay for the ink again and again and again. Why sell people a printer when you can hire it.

I do all my printing on the printer at the library because I refuse to be a victim of the Great Printer Ink Swindle.
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: Just thinking on 24/09/2021 22:55:51
You pay for the printer once, you pay for the ink again and again and again. Why sell people a printer when you can hire it.

I do all my printing on the printer at the library because I refuse to be a victim of the Great Printer Ink Swindle.
I know what you are saying I have a printer that is really good I forget what it is called but it uses large tanks and lasts for a long time I think I can get about 4000 copies in colour for about $100 the quality is a little bit lower but not too bad. Then again the printer cost about $500 SO.???
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: alancalverd on 25/09/2021 00:24:08
Gold isn't particularly special. About 50 years ago I bought two subminiature thermistors at a cost of 50 times that of moon dust.
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: Bored chemist on 25/09/2021 00:44:29
Gold isn't particularly special. About 50 years ago I bought two subminiature thermistors at a cost of 50 times that of moon dust.
I never dared calculate the price of some of the materials I made as a chemist.
It's a  bit beside the point.
Title: Re: Why is printer ink so expensive?
Post by: Bored chemist on 25/09/2021 00:45:38
I do all my printing on the printer at the library because I refuse to be a victim of the Great Printer Ink Swindle.
Alan's approach to the same problem is probably more convenient.