Print Cartridge

How much is inside a print cartridge? 

No one knows for sure, but on Friday night, we found out. They print and print and print, and then one day, they start printing bizarro colors, and you have to cash a savings bond to buy a new one. 

A typical episode of "How Much is Inside" costs less than US$10, but testing a black HP inkjet cartridge was going to cost $32, so I appealed to cockeyed fans to contribute to the cause.

Within two weeks, I had $3.

But then, an email came from Matt Bowman, he asked where to send the check, as he pledged the entire sum! Therefore, this episode of "how much is inside" is sponsored by Matt Bowman of  

My inside contact at Hewlett Packard told me about an updated printer driver that would allow me to print only with the black printer ink cartridge, also known as the black pen. He told me that the usual grayscale settings would SEEM to be in black and white, but would actually be using up the color cartridge.

When the check arrived, I bought a brand new ink cartridge at Target. My printer uses the HP 51645a print cart. It claims to contain 42 milliliters and costs US$32. That is about US$0.76 a milliliter, or US$22 per ounce. 

This is about as expensive than Chanel No. 5 Eau Du Parfum ($80 for one 3.4 ounce bottle)...
but only half as expensive as Louis XIII Remy Martin Grand Champagne Cognac (US$1500 for one 25.6 ounce bottle). 

I was already busy collecting the images I wanted to print...a wide variety of porn! After a long and tiresome sorting process alone in my room, I had a wide assortment of 8x10 inch images ready for printing.

I loaded up the paper tray and swapped in the new cartridge.

Soon the porn was popping up on the screen, each pose meeting the critical eye of Guphy, Mike, Brooke and Jane.

Page after page began rolling into the tray, and we started taping them to the wall.

My DeskJet 932C was working at full capacity.
When you view this much porn, suddenly no pose seems unnatural!

I'm not sure what the Nobel science committee is going to think about this...or my interior decorator for that matter.
Everyone chose their favorite model. More than two hours passed and the entire wall of the pirate room was covered with half-clothed women in amusing or sultry poses. My favorite was the woman who seemed to be trying to paint her toenails. 

Unfortunately, the printouts, instead of coming out lighter and lighter, began emerging with red streaks. Something was wrong. There was color in the mix.

It was a disaster. There were two places to set the properties of the printer setup, and I had missed one, blowing my color cartridge completely. I had to throw out my results and start over. All I had to show for my efforts was a useless stack of hot nakedness

A new day arose and I got the printer setup properly. I double checked the settings, all black...I double checked the status of the porn, yep, still naughty.

This time the printing progressed without any problems, for more than an hour.

Finally, the black ink gave up, and the bountiful nudity was no longer printing in bold black & white.

The total was 146 printouts at 8x10 inches, or the equivalent of a two-year subscription to ASSES.

I drove the briefcase-full of printouts out to Davis, where we began taping them to a long wall, I wanted to get all the printouts in a single photo.  The only long wall we could find was at an elementary school.
Stephanie and Brooke helped.  Solid was there too, but he was determined to not get his hands involved in this illicit activity.
We took turns manning the tape dispensers.
Forty-two milliliters of ink, each consisting of about 18 drops, equals about 5 drops per page. Those well-placed drops of ink cost about five cents each.

Soon all the printouts were on the wall, and we took a measurement, My giant tape measure could barely measure it, a continuous printout 100 feet, two inches long.

More than a hundred feet of printout from 42 milliliters of ink! Click here to load a 119K image of the whole thing.

That is US$0.32 a foot, or US$0.22 a page for black ink.  Cheap, but not as cheap as a Xerox machine.  A nice way to keep track of how much you are spending is to imagine yourself putting a quarter into your printer each time you print a page. 

Well, the staff at isn't going to leave a bunch of porn on the wall at an elementary school, so we took them down, brought them over to the Davis public library book-donation drop-box. 



We figured the folks at the Davis library would would know where hot scientific erotica belonged according to the Dewey Decimal System.

As for the first set of printouts, the ones that used up my color cartridge, I decided to have them bound together for sale on ebay!

This episode of "how much is inside" was sponsored by Matt Bowman of Rock out Matt Bowman, Rock out.

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Last updated Dec 26th 2001.

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