Mod: Artisan 50 With (CIS, CISS) Case Modification (Optional)

Artisan 50 (CIS, CISS) Case Mod:

We reviewed this system here – our new favorite printer.  Makes cost per page in the fractions of a hundredth of a cent range.

This modification is not necessary for the CI system (CISS) to work right, it was just an idea.  Actually the CI system we own works fine on the outside of the printer in a more traditional configuration.  However it was fun to do and makes the system very compact.  The lid closes easily, and there is no need to trick the lid closed.

Printer ink pads are at the end of their service life. Please contact Epson support. Artisan 50

CIS, CISS tubing through back:

Tubing is run through the back of the printer – where waste ink tubing is located.  There is an access panel on the back of the printer.

Artisan 50 Epson CIS, CISS, Continuous Inking System custom modification.

Removed Artisan 50 waste ink pads:

We removed the waste ink pads, and used an external collection system from Octoinkjet (Ink-Anarchy in the UK).  Not sure if it was entirely necessary to remove the waste ink pads for the Arisan 50, however there was much more room to work with after removal, and the tubing does need to flow freely.

We removed the waste ink pad, but here is what our modified Artisan 50 inkjet printer with CIS, CISS looks like.

Waste ink pads for the Artisan 50 inkjet printer:

They are much smaller than the other Artisan series printers like the 700, 710, 800, 810.  We also noticed that the cleaning cycle for the Artisan 50 series inkjet printer used much less in than the Artisan 700, 710, 800, or 810.

Waste ink pads for Artisan 50 inkjet printer - parts inside the printer are at the end of their life.  Buy a new printer? No!

Tubing routed from back:

The tubing now comes from the back and the cover can be completely closed – the tubing slides along a metal shelf, very efficient – not better, just different.

Epson artisan 50 case modification - no cutting, just need a screwdriver.

No more tubing outside the printer:

Works quite nicely, and we can have the CI system put behind the printer, and – as mentioned above – the lid closes very nicely.

Epson artisan 50 inkjet printer case modification.

We got our bundle here.

Review: Epson Artisan 50 CIS (CISS) Continuous Ink System

Review: Epson Artisan 50

with continuous inking system (CIS, CISS).

Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer - about to be put to good use with a CIS, CISS, CI system.

CI System (CISS) and printer bundle here.

Great printer – 6-color photo printer, small form factor, outstanding prints, just a great 4×6, 8.5×11 top quality photo printer.  Will also do legal size paper, and prints to CDs and DVDs with included tray.  Professional quality photos – and when combined with a CI system, a perfect everyday printer for all kinds of documents.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished inkjet printer from the website.

Detailed specifications available on Epson’s website:

The Artisan 50 replaced the Epson Stylus Photo R260, R280 (260, 280) as the only 6-color letter size “just-a-printer” offering from Epson.  Every other 6-color Epson printer  is a multi-function printer (Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810), or large format (1400, R1900).

Epson Artisan 50 with CIS, CISS, continuous ink (inking) system (solution).

The elusive refurbished Artisan 50 6-color printer with CI system – $59.00 at the Epson store.

When you can catch it – man they sell fast.  The refurbished printers include the same warranty as a new printer, and we have been happy with the quality.  You can also purchase new for $93-$99 from Amazon.




Short specs on the Artisan 50:

  • 4″ x 6″ photos as fast as 11 sec
  • Ultra Hi-Definition photos
  • CD/DVD Printing
  • 4.8 ppm black  – 5 ppm color
  • 6 (six) Individual ink cartridges
  • Dye based Claria inks
  • Prints from (4×6) to legal size (8.5×14)

This is just a printer.  There are no multi-function capabilities, and it will not print larger than legal size paper.  Great for what it does, but if you need a fax or a scanner, look elsewhere.

What About The Cartridges:

T078 – T077

The T078 and T077 (high capacity) ink cartridges cracked open and compared - which one has the most ink, and by how much?

The T078 and T077 (high capacity) ink cartridges cracked open and compared - the T078 has airspace! The T077 is completely full.

We cracked these cartridges open for a look a while back, you can see pictures and read more here:

Cartridges for the Epson Artisan 50 are priced out of the stratosphere – the printer uses six (6) individual ink cartridges.  Epson plays the same full vs. half-full cartridge game as HP and Lexmark.  There are two cartridges you can use in this printer; the “half-full”T078, or the “full” T077 series.

Epson even puts a sticker on the inside of the printer so there is no confusion.

Epson T078 T077 Cartridge Numbers Printed On Inside Of Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer

T078 series “standard capacity”

– or what they really mean (half-full).  These cartridges contain Epson Claria dye based inks.  One for each color, and black; the T078 series cartridge contains about 7-8ml of ink.  Average price of $13-$14 per cartridge, or $75.00 for a full set.

T077 series “high capacity”

– or the more correct term (mostly-full), available through the Epson store.  You can sometimes find them on Amazon – here. Cartridges contain Claria dye based inks.  One for each color, and black; T077 series cartridge contains about 11-12ml of ink.  Average price of $20 per cartridge.  A full set of the T077 cartridges will run you $95.00 minimum.

Cartridges? Who cares…

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished refurb inkjet printer with CI system (CIS, CISS)

We really don’t care what the cartridge situation is – this printer was born to use a CIS, or CISS (continuous ink (inking) system).  The only thing interesting about the Epson cartridges is how many we will *not* have to purchase over the life of this printer.  This lets us focus on paper – Epson paper is quality stuff, however we think Red River Paper is the same quality and about half the price.

Ink and paper products for the Artisan 50 photo inkjet printer from Epson


Consist of these few steps (all covered in the included instructions):

  1. Equalize ink levels (tilt ink supply reservoir forward)
  2. Remove shipping plugs – (replace with breathers)
  3. Remove printer cartridge cover*
  4. install CIS cartridges and route tubing
  5. Trick “lid-open” latch (q-tip works great)*

*3.) This step is not difficult, however knowing how to remove the cartridge cover saves a few coins from the swear jar. The cover must be removed with a CI system so the tubing can escape, and the cover would not close anyway. The cover is not needed, it gets in the way, and it does not hurt the printer to remove it.  Off it comes.  See our install video for a working example.

Removing the cartridge cover – not hard if you know *where* to pry.  Upper right-hand corner of the print head – remove the hinge with a flat head screwdriver. *Then* the cover is ready to come off.

Where to pry the cover off an Epson Artisan 50 inkjet printer for use with a CI System, or CISS, CIS, Bulk Ink.

Epson Artisan 50 cartridge cover hinge, clip and where to pry or place the screwdriver

Press cartridges down firmly to seat. Epson Artisan 50.

5.) This printer is perfect for use with a CI system.  There is plenty of clearance inside the printer for the tubing to run free, and the printer is easily tricked concerning the “lid is open” message with a q-tip.

q-tip open cover hack for Epson stylus photo Artisan 50

Ready to print!

At this point run a few test prints and see if you want the external inks on the left or the right, or maybe you want the ink tank in the back?  By running some test prints we can see how the tubing behaves and decide the best position for the external tank.

This printer has 6 colors, and produces incredible photos.  We ran off 15 or so photos on some Epson and Red River glossy and matte papers, and our prints all looked fantastic.

The Artisan 50, and most Epson 6-color photo printers less than $300, use a dye based ink – so colors are brighter and more defined.  Our CI system has dye inks as well, and they look perfect.  Nice to be able to print without having to worry about the ink price.

Installation video (instructions):

We decided the external tank should go on the left, but we might change our minds.

Installing the system is easy enough…

CD-DVD printing:

Popular choice among CD-DVD printers.

The Epson Artisan 50 6-color inkjet photo printer will also print directly to CDs and-or DVDs.  Make sure to get the “inkjet printable” recordable media, and print directly on the media – no more labels!

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished refurb CD-DVD tray insterted and ready for printing

The coolest CD-DVD printing we have seen was with the Artisan 700-710-800-810 series; so cool we made a video.  The CD-DVD tray is stored inside the printer – much harder to lose this way.

With the Artisan 50 CD-DVD printing is easy with the included CD-DVD print tray.  The media sits on the plastic tray, and once lined up, it is sucked into the printer were the media is printed to.  Works fine, but take your time lining up the tray, and whatever you do, don’t lose it.  Must use the bundled Epson CD-DVD printing software utility to print CDs or DVDs.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished inkjet printer with CD-DVD tray inside printer during printing

Video of the CD-DVD printing process:

Takes about 3-4 minutes to print a CD or DVD, but the results are fantastic!

Plenty of room inside this printer…

Epson ink monitor is still watching you…

Epson Artisan 50 ink monitor image

The Artisan 50 is really perfect for a CI system.  The print head is of the same family as the old R200, R220, R340, R320, RX620, RX600 series.  The quality of prints is fantastic, and the CI system has plenty of room to operate inside the Artisan 50.

What to do when the cartridge runs out of ink?

There are chips on the end of each cartridge – these chips “keep tabs” on your estimated ink usage and will report empty at some point.  There are several ways to reset the ink levels, but with our system there is a button.  Press the red flashing button on the printer to get the print head to the “replace cartridge” location.  Simply press and hold the white button 3-4 seconds.  Now press the red flashing button on the printer  and your cartridges are now reset.

It is important to note – the cartridges cannot be reset at just any point – the Epson ink monitor must report out of ink (for any cartridge), and then a reset of all cartridges can be done.  Once reset, all chips report full cartridges.

Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer Refurbished CIS, CISS Ink System Custom - reset the cartridges when they indicate empty.

Notice these cartridges, the Epson T078, and T077 series inkjet cartridges, also work in the Epson Stylus Photo – R260, R280, R380, RX595, RX595, and RX680 series inkjet printers.

Ink quality:

We also tried some different papers.

Tried some Epson premium presentation matte (double sided) S041568 (it was ok), and some Epson high quality ink jet paper S041111 (not awesome).  We then tried some of our Red River paper sampler – a luster photo satin, and about 15 different glossy photo papers – color adjustments took some time, however we were pleased with the quality of the prints we saw. We have no problems recommending this system, and printer to anyone – the print quality is outstanding.


Get it.  Well worth the price, and flexible.

If you are looking for a solid “just-a-printer” the Epson Artisan 50 is a very good choice – new or refurbished.  Low entry cost ($60-$129) for the printer, and a continuous inking system works fantastically well.  Lab quality photo prints, fast 4×6 photo prints, and when bundled with a (CIS, CISS) CI system the Artisan 50 inkjet photo printer becomes a great everyday use printer.

If you are planning on using Epson brand ink cartridges, all bets are off – the Epson brand ink is a killer.

Here is the refurbished printer link – (or try – $59.99

New printer – website – $99.99.

And there is always Amazon…

Epson Artisan 50 CIS, CISS, inking systems.

New: Canon iP4600 – iP4700 CIS (CISS) CLI-221, PGI-220

Canon iP4600, iP4700 CI System:

Complete installation guide and review here.

The Canon CLI-221, and PGI-220 inkjet cartridges are much smaller than their predecessors, the CLI-8, PGI-5.  You can see a comparison here. With cartridges getting smaller, and cartridge prices going higher a (CIS, CISS) continuous inking system is an easy solution to your high cost ink problem.

Canon ip4600, ip4700, inkjet printer low cost ink solution, the CIS - continuous inking system.

Canon ip4600, ip4700, inkjet printer low cost ink solution, the CIS - continuous inking system. Ink fed directly to cartridges from an outside tank.

Easy installation:

This (CISS), CIS includes detailed instructions on how to install the system, and the tubing is easily routed out of the printer.  Cartridge set fully assembled, and ready for installation.  Chips on the cartridge will auto-reset once the printer thinks it is out of ink.

Low maintenance:

Install the system and forget ever needing to replace another cartridge.  When the printer says the printer is out of ink, simply tell the printer you have changed the cartridge, and the system is now reset, and the printer believes the cartridge is full again. Completely transparent.

Unlimited printing:

System comes pre-filled (50-60 cartridges worth) with ink.  Cartridge set, and resetting chips.  The external reservoir can be easily refilled with individual inks costing as little as $5.00 per color – about 15 cartridges per bottle.

Complete Review – Installation Guide:

You can see our complete installation guide, and review here:

Canon Pixma iP4600 Inkjet Printer.

Canon Pixma iP4600

Canon Pixma iP4700 CIS, CISS, Continuous Inking System Detailed Info

Canon Pixma iP4700

New: Canon CLI-8, PGI-5 Cartridge CI System (CIS, CISS)

Designed for use with the Canon Pixma iP4500

CI system for Canon Pixma iP4500 inkjet printer (and those others that can use the CLI-8, and PGI-5 cartridge series). This system has 5 individual ink cartridges, and ink is supplied to the printer via an external tank containing all inks.  Chips on the cartridges can be reset when printer thinks the cartridges are full.  Must disable the canon ink monitor – don’t need it as you never run out of ink.

Canon CIS, CISS, system bulk ink, for Canon CLI-8, PGI-5 cartridge sets.

Cartridges getting smaller:

With cartridges getting smaller by the day, and prices for replacements going up as well, a CI system, or CIS (CISS) can save you tons of money on consumables.  The Canon Pixma iP4500 is a great printer, and very durable.

Cartridge set close-up:

Canon CLI-8, PGI-5 cartridges for the Canon Pixma iP4500 inkjet printer CIS, CISS

Canon CLI-8, PGI-5 cartridges for the Canon Pixma iP4500 inkjet printer CIS.

New: HP 920 Cartridge CI System (CIS, CISS)

Will work in the HP Officejet 6000, 6500, or 7000

CI system for HP Officejet 6000, 6500, 7000 has arrived and we are about to try it out in an HP Officejet 6500 inkjet printer.  System has 4 individual ink cartridges, and ink is supplied via the external tanks, via a set of tubes.  Very efficient.

HP 920 Series CIS, CISS, Bulk Ink system, Officejet 6000, Officejet 6500, Officejet 7000

HP 920 Series CIS, CISS, Bulk Ink system - for HP Officejet 6000, HP Officejet 6500, and HP Officejet 7000

The ever shrinking ink cartridge:

Cartridges for these printers are very small, and contain a very low amount of ink.  A continuous inking system for the Officejet 6000, 6500, or 7000 results in a very low cost per printed page.  If you are tired of getting ripped on inkjet cartridges, this could be a real solution.  System includes a set of HP brand cartridges – as there is a chip on the individual cartridges that monitors page counts.  Once the chip registers full, the chip has to be reset.

HP 920XL 920 cartridge close-up:

HP 920 Series Ink Cartridges CIS, CISS, Bulk Ink System, CIS System

Cartridges are fed ink via a set of tubes. Ink sits outside the printer.

Cartridges go in – Ink sits outside.

HP 920 Series Inkjet Printer Cartridges Next To A CIS SYSTEM

Answers: Artisan 700 Problems? What is a Waste Ink Pad?

Artisan 700 Problems?

The Epson Artisan 700 wireless set-up can be stressful enough, but what happens when the printer gives a mysterious error and demands a call to support.  The Epson Artisan 700 all-in-one inkjet printer is an excellent choice based on numerous reviews around the web, however there are some lesser known problems that may pop up over time – and they have alternative solutions.

Artisan 700 waste ink pads - removed from brand new printer, after initial ink charging.

Artisan 700 waste ink pads - removed from brand new printer, after initial ink charging.

A major issue is the waste ink pads – there are super absorbent pads inside the printer that are present to soak up wasted ink, or ink used during cleaning and spillage through normal printing.  Once these pads get full of “wasted” ink, the saturation level is communicated to a memory chip inside the printer, and the printer will not function until the waste ink memory is reset, and the pads may need changing. This is all covered under the warranty, however if the printer has been modified for a CI system, or other reason, warranty support may be void.

If the printer is out of warranty, there is hope.  That memory chip has to be reset with a piece of software generally reserved for Epson tech support staff. Through the magic of the internet, the Epson made waste ink pad reset software tool from Epson support can be had, for a price.

Removing the waste ink pad – Artisan 700:

Step One:

Get a good work area set-up.  You will need a phillips-head screwdriver, and something with a flat surface to pry something open with.  A small flat-head screwdriver should do the trick.


Step Two:

Position the printer with the LCD screen down, and the scanner lid facing away.  Stand it up on the LCD screen side, and have the bottom of the printer facing you.  This way, the screw is easier to get to, and the waste ink pads tray can just fold open like a book.

View of bottom of the Artisan 700 inkjet printer. Waste ink pad is highlighted.

View of bottom of the Artisan 700 inkjet printer. Waste ink pad is highlighted.

Step Three:

Remove a single screw.

Single screw to remove to get the Artisan waste ink pad out of the printer, or gain access to the waste ink tube.

Pry off the waste ink pads with a flat-head screwdriver.  There is a slot, right next to the screw.  You will see it.

Step Four:

The waste ink pad opens up like a book.  Watch the silver plate that covers the waste ink pad part.  It is quite gangaly, and very hard to get back on once removed, so try not to let it come off the plastic cover – there are opposing hooks and slots, which makes the silver cover hard to get back on the plastic waste ink pads part. It is “loosely” connected to the plastic part, best to not let it come loose.

Artisan 700 waste ink pads part latch.

If you can pry down over this latch next to the screw hole, the waste ink pads come off easily.

Step Five:

Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810 waste ink pads tubing configuration.

Tubing to route the waste ink to the pads.

Locate the tubing – notice how it’s configured.  The waste ink tube goes into a dispersion part, and is this distributed throughout the waste ink pads.  Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810 inkjet printers used a bunch of ink during the cleaning process.

Good view of how the waste ink is sent to the super absorbent waste ink pads.

Good view of how the waste ink is sent to the super absorbent waste ink pads. Click for larger image.

Artisan 700 waste ink pads exposed - open from the bottom of the printer.

Artisan 700 waste ink pads exposed - open from the bottom of the printer.

If you are simply replacing the waste ink pads, just reverse the above steps and you are done.  Watch that silver panel – it likes to fall off, and it is very hard to get back on.

Step Six (optional):

Connect Octoinkjet (Ink-Anarchy in the UK) external waste ink container.

An external waste ink collector can be a very good idea for the Artisan series of inkjet printers, or for any Epson inkjet  – when used with a CI system, and high volumes of printing are being done.  The Epson cleaning cycle wastes a ton of ink, however levels vary depending on printer model.  All that ink has to go somewhere, and when the waste ink pads get “full” the printer will no longer function and the internal memory must be reset (requires Epson service, or 3rd party solution).  The waste ink pads error can be tripped by saturated pads, or when the pre-programmed print limit has been reached.

Installation is quite straightforward.

Connecting the waste ink tubing for the Artisan 700 to an external collector.  Could be a very good idea with the Artisan series - they use a ton of ink on cleaning.

Connecting the waste ink tubing for the Artisan 700 to an external collector. Could be a very good idea with the Artisan series - they use a ton of ink on cleaning.

Plenty of room for the waste ink tube to exit the printer.  We could not see an obvious, or easy way to route the tubing through to the outside with the waste ink pads re-installed, so we just left them out.

Epson Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810 waste ink tubing exiting the printer through the back

The octo waste ink collector sits nicely behind the printer:

Octoinkjet waste ink container for CISS, CIS users - waste ink pad substitute

Step Seven:

If you want to use an external waste ink kit, and, you want to re-install the waste ink pads, you will need to do a little modification. The easiest way involves a drill?  However, there is always the warranty issue, and if you want to preserve your warranty by not modifying the case things get a bit more tricky.  We are not currently aware of a non-warranty breaking method of doing this.  If you know of one, let us know. freetoprint at gmail dot com.

Show me more…

You can get a continuous ink system (CIS, CISS, Bulk Ink) for your Epson Artisan 700, 710, 800, or 810 photo inkjet printers here.  If you are looking for an external waste ink container, you could try to make one yourself – but we recommend Octoinkjet based in the UK.

How To: Epson Artisan 700 Scanner Unit Open Hack

Not really a hack – like an ink cartridge hack, more of a make your life easier exercise.

Why is this necessary?

When using a CI system with your Artisan 700, or 710 inkjet printer the tubing that sticks out from where the ink cartridges are installed, gets crushed by the scanner unit.  To prevent this, you can simply re-locate the scanner sensor that is right behind the cartridge slots – to the peg on the underside of the scanner lid. Very simple process, easy to do.

If you see this error, you will know what we mean:

The scanner unit is open, When replacing ink cartridges(s), close the scanner unit after replacing.

Epson Artisan 700 scanner unit open sensor removal and relocation.

The scanner lid is so sensitive that when routing your CI system tubing out the front, or even sides of the printer, the lid will not fully close without pinching the tubing.  All this requires is a screwdriver, some scotch tape, and some patience.

CI systems for this printer are available here.