Printer Ink, Oh Printer Ink!

A Guide to Filling Your Own Printer Ink Cartridges

Printers are amazing pieces of technology. The ability to produce machine-quality paper media, on-demand, in a repeatable manner, and as easily as printers make it, is absolutely fantastic. Personally, I find mine to be indispensable. It's a cheap machine I picked up on sale, but I use it for everything. Whether it be making paper copies or backups of various manuals and documentation; producing paperwork and documents for the office; or printing off papercraft plans, various puzzles, and crosswords.

Although printers are quite affordable, the same cannot be said for the ink cartridges they use. More often than not, three packs of cartridges can cost more than the printer itself - if you frequently find yourself printing out documents or making copies, those costs can add up. Fortunately, there is nothing to fear, as refilling your own printer cartridges is not only cheap, but also quite easy.

To do so, all that you'll need is an empty cartridge, bottled printer ink, and a syringe. Needless to say, you will require some implement for creating a fill hole. Any manner of power drill, hand drill, brace, or manual drill should suffice. Worth noting is the fact that there are cartridge designs with an integrated fill hole - which is a very convenient, if rare, feature. Should your printer cartridge have one, you needn't worry about making your own fill hole.

With the introduction out of the way, let's get into the process itself.


  1. Remove the cartridge from the printer.
  2. Peel the label from your cartridge, and save it for later.
  3. Using your drilling tool, create a very small hole in the top of the cartridge, just wide enough for your syringe needle.
  4. Draw ink from the bottle into your syringe.
  5. Inject the ink into the cartridge.
  6. Repeat the last two steps until the cartridge is full - as soon as you see extra ink form around the hole, stop.
  7. Remove a small amount, such that there is no excess around the top of the cartridge.
  8. Apply a small piece of tape to the top of the cartridge, and reapply the label for future identification of the cartridge.
  9. Reinstall the cartridge, and perform a head alignment.