Introduction: Refill Your Printer Cartridge

Picture of Refill Your Printer Cartridge

Printer Cartridges are surprisingly costly. As an alternative, you can get it refilled at a store. The cheapest and effective alternative though is to refill it yourself. All it takes is a bottle of printer-ink and a syringe.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

1. Printer-ink. You can buy it from a computer store. In Bangalore, you can buy it from an ink-refill shop at the entrance of SP Road, near City market.
2. A 1ml disposable syringe. The smaller the needle, the better.
3. Your printer cartridge. My printer uses a HP56 cartridge. But the refill method is same for most inkjet cartridges.

Step 2: The Cartridge

Picture of The Cartridge

There is a black spot on the white-sticker covering the top-cover of the cartridge. Underneath the black spot is a hole through which ink can be injected into the cartridge. You can peel off the sticker to locate the hole. Or simply pierce the black spot with a needle ( as shown in the figure ).

Step 3: Refill Your Printer Cartridge

Picture of Refill Your Printer Cartridge

Draw ink into the syringe slowly and inject it into the hole. That's it!
Some important tips:
1. The needle size is very small. If you draw ink into the syringe too quickly, you can create air-gaps. Air gaps can block your ink cartridge. So make sure that there are no air bubbles, before you inject ink through the hole.
2. Refilling is a messy job. Make sure you have a piece of paper/waste cloth. The image has a clean background only to make it look good!
3. I was advised to fill the cartridge to near-capacity and not full. i.e., my cartridge's capacity is 19ml. So I filled it to about 13ml. Probably this is to prevent leakage.
4. Once, the cartridge is filled, it should be allowed to set for a few hours. This lets the ink to settle at the bottom of the sponge. The sponge is located inside the cartridge & cannot be seen.

P.S. Sorry for the poor image quality in this instructable. I ruined it by putting the camera too close to the objects.

Acknowledgement: I was "taught" to fill ink by my neighbor Sridhar. Thanks very much!


LisaB410 (author)2017-02-24

Do you think you could use homemade ink for this? I'm wanting to use eco-friendly ink for my business labels.

ГеннадийО made it! (author)2017-02-24

A good guide for self-refilling cartridges

DeepakM71 (author)2016-09-20

For hp 678 cartridge see video total information

DeepakM71 (author)DeepakM712016-09-20

DeepakM71 (author)2016-09-20

For hp 678 cartridge see video total information.

amirk17 (author)2015-10-26

i have canon pixma 2470 inkjet printer. i refill black cartreidge 746 . after installing cartreidge black light did not stop. and computer open diogbox again ink empty low. i am very bothring i got stuck. canon catriedge price is very high. what i do please help me give the solution how can stop light and dilog box msg..

BenjaminB10 (author)amirk172016-08-29

get a chip resetter for your cartridgers

your cardridge has a chip built into it that tells the pc that the cardridge is full so its not that easy for people to refill their cardridges, that resetter will erase the memory and reset it on that chip

SallyM29 (author)2016-02-28

Can you be more specific about the size of the syringe? what size ml and needle?

SamikJ (author)SallyM292016-05-21

just ask a chemist to give insulin syringe. I know it very well as my grandmother uses the same thing

xchcui (author)2015-11-07

Should i need to push the syringe needle into the sponge or the needle should be above the sponge,while refilling it with ink?

rockystone (author)2015-09-01

You can fill 15 ml ink into this cartridge. Always use pigment ink for this cartridge. I used inkclub brand ink bought from snapdeal & it worked fine. After refilling use a suction tool to make the ink flow from sponge to the printer head. Check it on tissue paper & install it in the printer. Happy printing!!!!

UltriconConvoy (author)2010-02-09

I got some oil-based printing press ink the other day.
Would this ink work???

BTW, where do you buy syringes?

orrosta (author)UltriconConvoy2011-11-24

syringes can be found in medical supply stores or farm supply stores.

nprasad4 (author)2011-09-04

sir,i am also studying enginearing,i have a dout,my email id id,please send me ur contact number,i will call u,i am in bangalore

sstarraf (author)2007-12-02

I tried that with my HP cartridge and regular ink I bough from Office Depot but it didn't work out. Is it because the ink is not thick? Is the ink different than the other inks? Thanks.

colin55 (author)sstarraf2011-04-12

Your cartridge did not work because you did not get the ink to flow down to the piezo pumps.
The way the cartridge works is this:
The bulk of the ink is sitting in a sponge and this sponge sits on a slightly-permeable membrane that only allows it to drip though the pores.
The space under the membrane must be filled with ink and the ink must reach each of the piezo pumps.
When a pump is activated, it squirts a microscopic amount of ink onto the page to form a dot and this action draws more ink through the channel and draws ink through the membrane, from the sponge.
When the cartridge runs out of ink, the channels to the pumps run dry and by merely filling the sponge with ink, will not re-start the ink-flow.
What you have to do is remove the lid, fill the square with a small amount of ink and get the rubber from an eye dropper and sit it against the pumps (the micro holes) and draw the ink through the membrane to the pumps.
You can also remove the sponge and fill the square with ink and replace the sponge. This will push some ink through the membrane and gradually get the ink to the pumps.
In addition, you can flick the cartridge very sharply in an attempt to flow the ink through the membrane and through the channels to the pumps.
This all boils down to one thing.
The ink must be at the piezo pumps so that more ink can be drawn to the pumps as each dot is produced.
The cartridge works on a “drawing motion” or “sucking motion” and this has never been explained before.
You must have ink at the “head” to draw more ink to the head.

sharath (author)sstarraf2007-12-02

Well, if you have used printer ink, there shouldn't be any problems.

In particular, did you allow the ink to set for a few hours ? Also, your HP printer software will invariably have features like: printing a test page, Clean your print cartridge etc. Try those

Further, What is your printer model, particularly the cartridge (number) ? Because as LasVegas has said (see below), some cartridges come with "smart chips" that tell the printer when the cartridge is empty. In such a case, simply refilling the cartridge wont help. If the chip is reset, then it will work. I have no experience with resetting :(

Try googling it!

sstarraf (author)sharath2007-12-02

I don't think that was a printer ink, I just grabbed refill ink from office depot and that was all they had. The cartridge is HP56 which is the exact one shown above. Printer is psc 1210 xi. I ordered a kit from ebay that is supposed to work as printer refill ink, item # 260185507269 and I am still waiting for the shipment to arrive. I will try it again with that ink and see what happens. I am shopping for a printer but haven't decided which one yet, I would like to buy one that is easily refilled. BTW, when I taped the chips with electric tape the printer didn't read that there was any cartridge installed.

sharath (author)sstarraf2007-12-05

Oh! But how will you drain the "refill ink" out of the cartridge ??

renewilson (author)2010-05-14

I like this , but now i prefer remanufactured inkjet cartridges that are the same refilled inkjet cartridges but the refilling is done by professionals in their labs or workshops etc. and you do not have to get ino the mess of ink and anything. They also are very cheap as compared to other printer cartridges.

charles winter (author)2009-12-12

 HI Guys, Have HP Officejet Pro All-in One printer. Can I refill the cartridges (HP88) style. If I can, how can I get the printer to show "Full" cartridge??? Thanks, Chuck Winter

sharath (author)charles winter2010-01-17

 Found this link on google

charles winter (author)sharath2010-04-21

 sharath, Thanks for information on filling HP88 cartridges but it doesn't tell how you can get your printer to show "FULL"

Foxtrot70 (author)2010-03-11

Ah!  This reminds me of high school chemistry class where if you are not careful you get stuff on your hands and clothes.  For the hands, go to Harbor Freight and get a pack of 10 Nitrile gloves, you choose the size, for $1.99 this way ony your glove's fingers turn various colors not you.  As to the clothes sit at a table put down some plastic then a few sheets of old newspaper and wear your favorite grubbies as no matter how careful you try to be the clothes always take a hit.

tweekskratch (author)2009-10-28

I know you mentioned that you could buy refills at "refill kits are available at shops at the entrance to SP Road, Bangalore" but Is there a place online to just buy black ink? anyone?

Thanks guys!

sharath (author)tweekskratch2009-10-29

I have no idea.. you need to check on your own/ask others.

tweekskratch (author)sharath2009-10-29

Ya I found some. thanks thought!

rada194 (author)2009-08-03

what about refilling the color ink

sharath (author)rada1942009-08-30

No idea!

tekija (author)2009-07-01

"P.S. Sorry for the poor image quality in this instructable. I ruined it by putting the camera too close to the objects." - sharath Actually it seems that problem was probably too little light available. Try shooting outdoors or near large windows on a sunny day.

BhavinST (author)2009-02-07

Dear Sir, Will this procedure work for a HP Deskjet f380 ( 21 - Black)?

dombeef (author)BhavinST2009-06-09

Yeah maybe

BhavinST (author)2009-02-11


fwjs28 (author)BhavinST2009-05-01


rsk11584 (author)2009-01-08

HI Friend
just now some 4 days ago i bought one canon pixma ip1200 for 1300 rs it came with one color cartridge, and i bought one compatible black n white for rs 500 and refilling costs in my city aurangabad is 50 rs for black n 100 rs for color, so wanted to know that its advisable to get good ink filled from outside or buy refill kit n go thru all hassles of filling ink by urself, like which one is more easy n cost effective

thanks in advance

d1ndian (author)2008-12-07

hei guys ...where can i get refilling pack from.......wallmart,canadian tire,zellers?

sharath (author)d1ndian2008-12-13

Being in India, I have no idea. You can try your luck at Walmart I guess!

ajparag (author)2008-04-13

where have the printer ink from??? which type of shops sell such printer inks??? do stationary shops sell such inks? I live in mumbai....where can i get it?

sharath (author)ajparag2008-04-14

You should be able to find small cartridge-refill shops in your local electronics market. (In Bangalore, SP Road is very famous for anything related to electronics/computers). Or you can get your cartridge refilled at some internet browsing centres for about 50 Rs/per refill Stationary shops do sell printer-refill-kits, but you have to try your luck since very few shops sell those. Don't forget to take your cartridge along!

cejpx (author)sharath2008-10-14

printer-refill-kits, Dear Sharath, I am Rajesh, I read the reply of cartridge refill kit. Please tell me the where i can get refill kit. maill me . Regards, Rajesh

sharath (author)cejpx2008-10-18

Check my earlier post!.. refill kits are available at shops at the entrance to SP Road, Bangalore

somashekart (author)2008-10-13

I tried to refill my HP 21 Black Cartridge using the above method. Before that, I got the cartridge refilled at SP Road Shop. It worked fine (print-quality was as good as original HP). But later when I tried to refill myself, the quality is not that good. Why it is so?

tinajones (author)2008-07-22

hi friends.............
It is very nice article.This article tells printer refilling. the ink has primary use . I have yet to try the colored food collaring, but aside from the PFC appearing to be slightly wetter longer it looks the same to me. My printer uses Yellow, Cyan and Magenta so can I use the Blue for Cyan and the red for Magenta of should I be blending these? If this works, I intend to never buy regular ink again.


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BigGryph (author)2008-06-24

Just ran across this two days ago. Out of work and out of Black ink. I use a Cannon S750 which uses 3e cartridge. I am a diabetic so I have needles, but mine is fine and bent so I took off the needle itself but still use the syringe. I have yet to try the colored food collaring, but aside from the FC appearing to be slightly wetter longer it looks the same to me. My printer uses Yellow, Cyanand Magenta so can I use the Blue for Cyan and the red for Magenta of should I be blending these? If this works, I intend to never buy regular ink again. Great idea. Off the subject, but I have recipes for Laundry detergent and Fabric softener to tackle next.

shortman (author)2008-05-05

Walmart sells black refills for $10.00 and you can get a black filled for $10.00 at Walgreen's. A generic dell A-920 a office depot is $24.95. I have had good results over the years filling both color and black cartridges for an HP. I think Walgreen's refills are $10.00 for black and $15.00 for color.

ker-boom101 (author)2008-01-03

where did you get the syringe? i got mine from health departments for applying orla medication but i need one with a needle tip and it would be sespicous me a thirteen year old going up to the prescription desk asking for a syringe with a neeedle tip me: hi can i have a syringe with a needle tip person: sure... me: thanks person: picks up phone call 911 i think we may have a drug case here......

Gamernotnerd (author)ker-boom1012008-04-02

Don't forget some anti-histamines for that cold and some cleaning products for the floor. That would convince them you have good intentions =D

ker-boom101 (author)Gamernotnerd2008-04-03

Thanks for the advice i just ended up making a makeshift using a bike pump needle. i sharpend the edges then heated it up and pulled on it to make it more narrower post script. thank gamernotnerd XD

Gamernotnerd (author)ker-boom1012008-04-03


sharath (author)ker-boom1012008-01-03

I got mine at the pharmacist. I guess you can ask your mom/dad to get one. Show them my instructable. They may be convinced!

About This Instructable




Bio: I am studying electronics engineering (undergraduate)
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