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I have a Canon MG7120 (All in one/Basic Photo Printer) which I've recently just started using to print assignments for my design classes. I tried some offbrand inks for the first time and found that the quality of the prints was seriously degraded. We use this printer a lot for just basic document printing, mostly B&W but sometimes color.

Would it be possible for me to use the cheap ink for the document printing, and then when I need to print higher quality stuff on photo paper swap in the expensive Canon inks? Is this a bad idea? Is there some sort of cleaning cycle I should run when I swap out the sets of ink to make sure the shitty ink is out of the print heads? What do you guys think. Trying to be a frugal student, can't really afford to be dropping $100 on ink every month. Thank you!

  • I would try different off brand ink first. I buy stuff from China and it works great in a similar Canon all in one. – dpollitt Mar 6 '15 at 2:46
  • Also, see if you can calebrate it (or fiddle with the adjustments manually) to improve the appearance of "other" ink. – JDługosz Aug 20 '15 at 9:48
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Just swap out the ink cartridges as needed. Note that there will always be some remaining ink in the pipes, there is no way around it other than getting a second print head, and if you do that you may as well get a second printer.

If most of your print work is documents I suggest getting a laser printer. You can get a monochrome laser printer for well under $200 - the per-page cost is much less than inkjet. Yes, it's another cash outlay but look at the cost per term for the next couple of years.

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    Yup, I highly recommend the purchase of a B&W laser for students. Well worth it even if you use low priced ink in an inkjet. – dpollitt Mar 6 '15 at 2:50
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    @dpollitt As a grad student, the cost benefit of pages per toner vs pages per ink pays off in less then a year. It's amazing how useful those bad boys are. My inkjet mostly sits as a backup\quick print. – SailorCire Mar 6 '15 at 3:11
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    I second the second printer option. Swapping out ink means wasting ink as the printer will almost certainly go through a cleaning cycle each time you close the lid. That will probably use more ink than the photo you print. – Michael C Mar 6 '15 at 5:53
  • I found a Pantum laser printer for $35 delivered. It includes a low-filled toner cartridge as a "starter" that is good for 700 pages of text. – JDługosz Aug 20 '15 at 9:50

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