So you have one of these nice EPSON Workforce printers (WP-4525 in my case but this applies to any of the other WP-45xx printers) and all of a sudden there are these bad yellow stripes over the pages that are being printed.
Step 1: The Problem
To get an idea on what is going on have a look at this great and detailed video from George Plhak. In short the ink are put under pressure and a plastic film at the back of the feeder that is suppose to keep the pressure up burst at some point. On my printer the yellow popped and the blue also started leaking while I was opening the unit. The red is also close to bursting as can seen on the lower left. Although the black was not leaking it was rock hard and under a lot of pressure.
There were no easy way of fixing it or bypassing the pressure chambers so I decided to create my own pressure seal around the chambers. The basic idea was to sandwich a piece of rubber between a perspex sheet and the chamber to seal it off again. I also created small chambers in the perspex so that the ink will be under pressure again.
What you will need
- 2 pieces of 10x10x1cm perspex.
- old inner tire tube. I had some from an old tractor tube but I think a bicycle tube should also work.
- glue for rubber and perspex.
- flat wood drills
- 3 and 4mm drill.
- 6x M3 nuts and bolts.
Step 2: Drilling the Holes
I do not have a photo of it but there is a bracket that clips onto the back that is suppose to put pressure back onto the chambers that you need to remove. There are locating holes that keeps the bracket in place that need to be drilled bigger with a 3mm drill (holes 5 and 6). Be very careful and as there is a silver foil film on the other side that you drill through that should not be torn away. You can drill through it as the ink channels are far away on the other side but tearing it might cause a leak on the other side.
Next you need to get accurate centers of the chambers and location holes marked on the perspex. First place one of the perspex sheets on the other side of the chambers and using a marker mark the position of the holes onto the perspex. Drill the 6 holes with the 4mm drill. Place the second perspex sheet over the first and mark and dill the same holes through it. Mark the inside of the second perspex sheet with a BIG X so that you drill the chambers on the right side!!!.
Marking the centers of the chambers are bit trickier. Get the bracket that you removed earlier and remove the plungers and spring from it. Put the bracket over the perspex with its location pins (5 and 6) lining up with the holes in the perspex. Mark the centers of the chambers from the bracket. Before drilling the 4 centers with the 3mm drill put the perspex on the back of the ink chambers and make 100% sure they line up! Unfortunately I did not write down the flat wood drill sizes but I used bits that were 4mm smaller than the ink chambers to drill the holes for my chambers as I needed the rim of the ink chambers to press against the rubber and perspex to make a seal. It also helped with small misalignment of the holes. NOTE: drill the X side of the perspex 4mm deep. (ignore the other holes in the perspex - it were from another project)
Step 3: Cut and Glue the Rubber Seals
Do not cover the entire perspex with rubber! The rubber must only cover the chambers so that the plastic rim from the ink chambers press firmly into the rubber when screwing it together. The area around the mounting holes need to be cleared so that the plastic around the mounting holes on the ink chambers side does not also push into the rubber.
Step 4: Fitting and Closing Up
The black and red ink chambers were still full so I decided to pierce them before fitting the perspex as there were not enough space in my chambers for the bulges. Keep a lot of toilet paper over the spot where you pierce the plastic. After that fitting the 2 pieces of perspex are straight forward. I had to remove a small piece of perspex that were interfering with the printer The plastic enclosure had to be modified to make space for the new parts and rerouting of a ribbon cable.
The ink that can be seen in the last photo are not leaks from after the mods but from the initial leak. It is a pretty messy exercise and it took some time cleaning the yellow that leaked. I was also not prepared for the amount of back ink after piercing it. After n toilet roll or two most of the wet ink were cleaned and I then pushed a piece in between the two perspex sheets at the bottom to act as an early warning system should it leak again. To date ( 2+ months and 200+ prints (30 color)) no ink leaked.
The only concern I have is that there might be a big air bubble in the yellow line but I will deal with it when it reaches the printer head.