Has anyone hacked a printer cartage to print with ligh insted of ink?

I'm wondering if there's any way to put lights in the printer head to expose an image on photo paper insted of shooting ink on regular...  That way a simple printer can be made to make photo quality prints (that can be processed in a darkroom) without the photo quality inks.

Ah no, nobody has done that, but if you wanted an easier experimenting device get an old fax machine, the roll ones, test with that, it uses heat to print on to the heat sensitive paper, the light from the laser or bulb would easily expose the photo paper, probably too much, however the only thing that'd need changed is the light source, to something in the right range to expose photo paper, downside is that it's not a grayscale system, it does black or white, at least the ones I've seen do...

If you were looking for a good way to expose photo prints direct from a computer I'd suspect that combining an enlarger with an LCD to create a rudimentary projector could be worth looking in to, actually another experiment... Take the monitor down to it's lowest brightness, turn it off, get near enough darkroom conditions, turn on for a very short time, maybe a second and develop the paper, see how it turns out...
tomdowntown (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago

I had the same thought a wile back, so I took the head off my old enlarger, ( the power sorce died a year back) and I built a quick lite-safe-box for my monitor out of a 8X10 paper box, I was able to finnagle a focus from it but then I realzed that the monitor was too close (I was focusing on the pixils of the screen)  I've got to make a taller light-save-box, the paper box was only 1"tall, putting the lenz about 2 to 3" away from it... I'll let you know how it works if I get back to it.


seandogue7 years ago
I suppose it *could be done for monochrome line printing with only a modest amount of work, although mine is an academic answer and has no beef behind it....(I have no solution in place for you)

might be a viable direction for direct resist activation on a printer based PCB etch resist printing tool.
orksecurity7 years ago
Don't think it can be done that easily. You'd need to replace *all* the jets in each cartridge, maintaining the precise alignment, convincing the printer that the cartridge was still full, and using its signals to trigger the lights. Then the lights would have to be bright enough to achieve a significant exposure during their brief traverse across the page... while being focused to a tiny spot equivalent to a printed pixel.

And all of that is ignoring the fact that photographic materials are, if anything, more expensive than the inks.

Cute idea, but I don't think it's practical.

(I can remember the days when image printout from a computer involved three separate exposures, through three different filters, onto 8x10 Polaroid Professional film -- or, more affordably but with a much longer delay before you knew if you'd succeeded or not, a similar three exposures into the body of a 35mm camera. And that was at something on the order of 640x480 and 512 colors. The lab experimented with trying to put a color monitor on top of a modified color photocopier -- those were just starting to become available -- with inconclusive results.)