asked Mar 19, 2008 at 6:57am
Xerox Xerox Phaser 6120

Phaser 8550: melt cheap solid ink and recast?

I own a Xerox Phaser 8550 since a few years back, and I since I have read lots of entries here on this printer, I think we all agree that the cost for Xerox solid ink is outrageous. It also seems that those that use the printer for high-volume printing are the ones most satisfied.

I just run a small home office with 2 users and we only print stuff now and then. We had to get a wax printer since the color laser we first bought (a Xerox Phaser 6120)produced too much ozone so that it caused asthmatic reactions for my partner.

Anyway, what happens when you only use the printer occasionally is that it goes through a cleaning cycle every time you use it and prints a solidly filled sheet. This printer simply eats ink and I don't get many pages to each wax cube.

My eyes now fell on the new edition for this printer, called Phaser 8860. The ink cubes are a lot bigger and one pack yields 14000 pages and is cheaper than the ordinary 8550 ink that is said to give you 3000 pages. Clearly this ink is tempting to use instead.

My question is if the 8860 wax is the same as the 8550 wax, just cast in another shape? If so, I suppose I could just melt it and cast it in the 8550 forms and then put it into the 8550 machine.
Would this be possible or do they have different melting temperatures or any other issues? I found out that just chopping the sticks up and loading them didn't work, they get stuck.
You can't interchange ink between the two models. The ink is different. Your only altenative is to use 3rd party ink which is cheaper
by wpc on Mar 19, 2008 at 8:12am Add comment
Thanks for the reply. So the 8860 ink won't melt in the 8550 or what? I noticed that the 8860 ink felt hard.
by Shabbadang on Mar 19, 2008 at 8:58am Add comment
I would stay away from third party ink because they have a terrible reputation around service techs....
by unknown on Mar 20, 2008 at 6:50pm Add comment
The ink is chemically different. I tried this - In my shop I had an 8860 and a 8550, both with printhead problems. They both got printhead problems from using GENERIC INK. So, since I had two dead printheads already, I shaved and melted them to the proper was a no-starter. Got half a page out of each of them.

Bottom line is - you pay for the quality of solid ink, but you'd pay more for a color laser. Cost of doing business.
by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2008 at 6:10am Add comment
I used a set of generic ink without problems but I found the color space to be too limited. I want bright colors. The reason I bought this printer was I wanted a Post Script printer to do some proofing on. Laser was good but it gave my partner asthmatic problems due to the ozone emissions.

The ink you melted, was that the generic stuff or what? - Shabbadang
Gotta say this. I am simply appalled at the temerity of people concerning something that they put such high regard for.
Your printed material needs to look the best it can, or else why would you print it?
If you are a nickle and dime type, check the cost of using a print shop. Correct use of high end color units require knowledge and user-maintained ability.
If you want cheap, buy a cheap printer, supplies, and live with cheap looking documents. Trying to weasel around everything is what I see most in posts. Cut down on the lattes at Starbucks, and put it toward your printing needs.
by unknown on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:21am Add comment
Thanks for you answer Michael.
I gotta say this then: I am appalled by the sheer greeed shown by the Xerox company when they sell you wax for 500 bucks a set (here in Europe - yes) and I don't get more than a couple of hundred pages out of it due to the repeated cleaning cycles. That's a dollar or more per page in wax cost alone. I find it ridiculous. Most of the wax end up in the waste tray. Very clever of Xerox there but I find it appalling. First they sell you wax at an outrageous price, and then most of it does not end up on your printed stuff due to their clever cleaning cycles (that seem to have increased since the firmware update).

When I contact Xerox to get some tips on ink saving they just tell me to print with lower quality if they answer at all.
They keep telling you in their marketing that solid ink and laser are the cheaper technologies and that inkjet is more expensive. That might hold true if you print large volumes every time, but just printing 1-10 pages every other day gives you this kind of ink cost, and no one at Xerox told you that when you were buying it. In fact I can still not see this crucial fact mentioned at Xerox' website.

If Xerox stood by its word and really made solid ink printing as cheap as laser, I wouldn't be looking for alternative methods, but what can I do with supplies costs like these? - Shabbadang
First of all, the electrical power consumption of the machine, I have a Xerox solid ink Phaser 8550, is outrageous. I would like to keep it turned off most of the time, but Xerox tells me that the printer will be damaged if it is turned off for a too long period of time. Of course it is in low power consumption mode mostly, but it nevertheless starts up regularly by itself. And even "low power" is considerable. As a result, the electrical costs alone are about 200 Euro a year (I monitored this for a couple of days). This is not the environmentally friendly printer I expected to buy, as claimed in their flyers.

If I have to turn off the machine, e.g. as the result of some printing error that cannot be reset otherwise (why not?), the machine restarts and uses an outrageous amount of expensive ink. I know because I checked the container before and afterwards.

The error I refer to is a TIMEOUT error "OFFENDING COMMAND", you probably know the problem if you have the same machine. The printer starts to consume all the available paper by printing the same useless rubbish over and over again. Anyway, you don't want to place this printer in an separate room or hallway where it is not overlooked all the time. Also, you don't want people to print on it just before leaving the office in order to pick up the result the next day. The result may not be there, in stead you may find a lot of half printed paper on the floor while the red light blinks because the paper and the expensive ink has finished.

The machine produces an odd and probably unhealthy stink when it is heating up. As I have placed it in my office next to me, this is, of course, pretty unpleasant, especially when I have customers visiting. Yes, I know that laserjets also produce an unhealthy smell related to ozone production, but I really wonder which smell is more unhealthy.

The flyers of the machine claim a very short first page out time. However, I have not been informed that this only holds for situations when the machine is already fully heated up. If this is not the case, the machine will produce the first page only after a pretty long and annoying period of heating up. As we have a small office, with only a few people working here, this is the normal situation.

Finally, although the information about the machine claimed that it could produce "bright colors", it cannot! Especially the yellow color is more ochre than yellow. As a result, the bright yellow from my company logo (e.g.!), cannot be printed by this machine. Also, the colors it does produce seem to "decay" over time, probably as a result of exposure to sunlight.

It is not that we don't want to pay for good printouts. The point is that Xerox made a whole series of claims with this machine, about quality, price, environmental aspects, reliability and speed, all in comparison to a color laser printer, that are simply not met. NOT AT ALL.

- unknown
I agree with MichaelTech, As a service tech for almost 20 yrs I have seen the use of non OEM supplies in all sorts of printer, copiers, PRESSes, Injets, wideformats Etc ETC ETC... And the outcome is always the same you end up spending sometimes 100X the cost of the actual printer. I once did comparison of HP and KM color printers Because a cust of mine called me and told me her usage... To make a long story short over the last year in supplies alone she spent 16000 dollars. On a 300$ HP color Laser, and in comparison a KM color was More then Half the cost of ownership but had to spend 2000.00 on the device. CHEAPER is NEVER better the high Quality. And you get what you pay for in the long run. If you use NON OEM inks or toners expect to have alot more service.. So if thats the case you better have a service contract that is using that NONOEM toners and plan to get to know your Service tech very well..And if you are on a service contract and not using OEM supplys you might actually void that contract and have to pay full labor and parts.. and I promise you it will hurt.
by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2008 at 6:10pm Add comment
Both Michael and the Itezen guy are correct in some ways.

If you buy a Xerox printer, you should expect to use Xerox ink in the machine. I don't know where someone came up with it voiding the warranty, but Xerox policy to their techs is any damage caused by nonXerox ink is BILLABLE, nothing said about voiding the warranty at all. So as Michael pointed out, if you want the best quality from your Xerox machine, use the proper ink for it. I have seen machines with nonXerox ink run normal, then I've seen some where parts immediately start going. It's a gamble.

As the Itezen tech will tell you, the 860 is by far the most cost efficient machine due to the free black ink, and because of its sturdy construction and he is correct. However the cost of printing due to a price per print program by Xerox with their newer machines is bringing down the cost of printing by putting service and supplies into a monthly contract. Still not as low as getting an 860 but at least they are recognizing how irritated customers are getting about shelling out so much for inks.

If you really want to get the best value out of your solid ink machine, look into getting into that price per print program or shell out a few hundred and get a good refurb from Itezen. Either way will be more cost effective than attempting to melt the wrong ink in a machine or going the nonOEM route.
by loucappozzoli on Mar 25, 2008 at 10:37am Add comment
Yes, I want to use Xerox ink, that's why I first posed this question. I have noticed that Xerox ink has livelier color than generic ink and I want as large a color space as possible. Besides, the generic ink isn't that cheap either. The first time you buy it - yes, but then it's costlier and I don't think the price difference is big enough to make me want to use it.

That's why I ask about this way of using Xerox ink. I will do some melting temperature tests to see if there is a difference in melting temperatures between 8550 ink and 8860 ink. If there isn't a difference I will try recasting it.

- Shabbadang
A xerox tech told me that the ink for the 8860 is the same ink per se as the 8560. The machines are also virtually identical.
he had customers who chopped up the 8860 sticks to fit that printer. I did not ask him about putting it in my 8550. I print a ton of thumnail image grids for a wholesale business. We print high volume and try to do whatever to keep costs down. We
are not looking for cmyk press matches etc. I saved so much on media sciences ink over the years to pay for several printers. I had a printhead blow while under warranty for an 860 but who knows what caused it. I used some zerox brand ink on that machine as well. We might consider buying another 860 as we still have ink from our old 860 which finally died after hndreds of thousands of pages. I did not realize the total print cost was that much less on the 860 though. I have heard of people who jam the black sticks into all four ink slots and use as as a black only printer.

by robertw477 on Apr 4, 2008 at 8:26pm Add comment
Hmm, interesting. I will make a test of the melting point of the two waxes to see if they match.

As I get nearly all of the ink as black waste in the waste tray, I have also considered recasting that ink in the shapes of the different colors and use it as black printer only. But I don't think I will do this for a while yet. However, I don't think I will ever need to buy black ink anymore with this method. - Shabbadang
Okay this is very interesting. I have decommisioned an old 860 (many broken plastic pieces). I have a ton of black ink for it. I have implemented a Phaser 8400 as a black only printer.

I am interested in using the ink from the 860 in the 8400.
Cut, widdle, melt, whatever it takes if it will work.

by unknown on Nov 16, 2009 at 9:00am Add comment

So, what ever came of your experiments? Did you find a way to cast cheaper ink for your printer? I've been thinking of this myself and would love to know what you learned. I have an 8560 and am considering using the less expensive "metered ink" (though I'm not really sure what that is other than it being for "contracted" printers).

by unknown on Mar 25, 2010 at 8:16am Add comment
Yes it works. The difficult thing is to do your casting moulds, but silicone works (you must make some plaster casts of the wax first). You can also just make some aluminum foil moulds from the plastic ones the wax cubes are delivered in. I also recast the waste and use it as black. It gives you a somewhat lighter black but it's ok for text if you print using high quality settings.
by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2010 at 9:23am Add comment
Excellent - so you've actually done this? I've seen the metered ink for sale on e-bay at a significantly lower price than the "regular" ink. My assumption is that it's the same ink, but shaped differently (the contract printers must have a different ink loader?) and that I should be able to melt it and re-shape it using a mould. Is it difficult to melt the ink? How do you do it? And you can't tell that the ink is degraded at all by this? No problems with print heads using re-cast ink?

Thanks for the info.
by unknown on Mar 27, 2010 at 8:16pm Add comment
I just make a pot out of aluminum foil and melt the was on the stove (using fairly low temp).
I suppose there's a risk of clogging when you use the waste ink, but I think there's clogging of the nozzles even if you use Xerox ink. Besides, the alternative is to not use the printer at all.
by Anonymous on Mar 28, 2010 at 1:24am Add comment
Hi did any 1 find the tempertaure for melting old wax to make new sticks? if so can you please share? and what wax do they use?

please advise
by unknown on Feb 13, 2012 at 1:50pm Add comment

8870 ink is exactly the same as 8570 ink, but in larger blocks and much cheaper (about 1/5 of the cost!). If you can get metered 8870 ink, then it is even cheaper still!

So it makes sense to melt the 8870 ink down and use it in the 8570. The melting temperature of the ink is roughly 100 degrees (about the boiling point of water)

To make molds, use 2 pack modelling silicone from eBay. No need to use plaster as suggested above. Just mix up the silicone, then mold a block in the silicone - which is workable only for about 3 minutes! Then once set, cut the mold into 2 pieces with a knife to get the block out - and then reassemble - leaving a hole at the top to pour the wax in.

Bear in mind that the ink is only interchangable between the same generation of Xerox printers - Xerox have changed (lowered) the melting temperature of the ink for each new generation.

nb - unless you hardly ever use the printer and dont care about wasting ink every time you turn it on, Xerox Phaser printers should never be turned off.

The 8570 uses only 45 Watts in sleep mode, or roughly £25 per year to leave it turned on 24x7. - richto
Here's what I've learned:

I've got an 8560.
I've purchased metered ink for both the 8560 and the 8860 (8860 is cheeper).
I've read that these inks are all the same (other than their shape). That seems to be the case.

I purchased 4 super-cheap square cake pans (easier to poor the melted ink); one for each color. I set them on the burner of my stove and turn the heat to low. I put the ink blocks in and they start to melt. I stir them around with a spoon to melt them faster. Though not scientific, I have placed both kinds of ink in the same pan side by side and as best I can tell they both start to melt at the same time and at the same rate. My 8560 certainly didn't seem to care. (I will say that the color of the two inks looked different, but the blocks I made and the printed results look the same as the new.)

Here's the best part: use the original plastic containers the ink came it as your mold! I'm sure that IS the mold that Xerox uses. I purchased a new set of inks so I would have a fresh set of molds.

Lessons Learned:

1) If the ink starts to smoke it is too hot. It will MELT your plastic mold! Don't do it! Use the least amount of heat possible to melt the ink. Be patient!
2) As the ink is melting, pour a little in the mold at a time. You don't have to wait to have enough melted to fill the whole block. (look at new inks, they are poured in layers.)
3) After your mold is full let it cool just enough so that the surface is firm. Then TURN IT OVER and let it cool the rest of the way. I made a holder out of a cereal box that holds the plastic but allows the inverted ink cube to fall right out of the mold as it cools and shrinks. Kerplunk! New ink block!
4) Don't be in a hurry. I take it slow; it takes a couple of hours for the ink to cool - just be patient.
5) Try to keep everything clean. Dust and particles in your ink will certainly cause you problems.

I've been doing this for over a year and it has worked fine.
by unknown on Mar 28, 2012 at 1:03pm Add comment
Hello all,

Great thread going here - I work at a non-profit and while we love the ColorQube 8570 we bought a few months back, the cost of ink is a bit staggering, so I came across this page while trying to see if the cheaper and more plentiful 8870 ink could be "hacked" for an 8570.

I've read in several places that the melting point for the newer-generation ink is around 212F (100C)... for those of you melting and re-casting 8870 inks, would you advise using a double boiler to avoid overheating the ink, or would that not get hot enough to completely melt the ink?
by unknown on May 4, 2012 at 3:01pm Add comment
It melts ok (if a bit slowly) in a beaker that is sat in boiling water in a saucepan.

Buy 4 beakers off eBay....

by richto on May 4, 2012 at 3:09pm Add comment
I have a broken C2424, and ABOUT $900. of ink cubes I cannot use, and Xerox will not take back.*

I want to melt the C2424s and cast to the 8400 unit that I have

I thought of freezing the 8400 plastic shipping trays in a water filled cake pan, so solid ice surrounds the trays, then pour hot ink in, but fear the flimsy plastic could melt anyway.

Better is the 'making an aluminium foil form', I can certainly melt ink in a double boiler on stove top, and pour into forms. But I don't want to ruin the $$$ C2424 ink($33.average per cube), or the 8400 printer.

I am considering digging out the ink still in the C2424 machine, and 'test' melting the partially used pieces.

Can the ink be so different between models? I hate to carve down the ink and waste it just to slide in a smaller cube to the 8400.

and I tried selling the new ink C2424 on Amazon, and that went OK, but I have so much left.

anyone done the melting and forming?

PS thanks to the person who said if you only print on occasion the 8400 system clean it self after and wastes ink.. this has happened several time4s over last 6 months!! and now I know what is going on at least.

*(I can PAY $575. for a top module replacement, a power surge ruined it last winter) but that is throwing more money out the door. I sold my book business and don't need to print as much anymore, so the 8400 works fine.
by MuddyGurl on Jun 3, 2012 at 6:39pm Add comment
"Can the ink be so different between models?"

Yes - different melting temperatures and composition.

The newer ink is also conductive and the printer can tell if you are using fake ink and will log it = bye bye print head warranty!

If you are not able to use the ink on the same range of printers, just ebay it...
by richto on Jun 4, 2013 at 1:42pm Add comment
Would like a second opinion before I go and try this in the future:

I have a Xerox Phaser 600 in great working condition. Problem is, the yellow ink sticks are getting hard to find. Once I can't get them any longer, I was thinking of buying the 8500 series yellow ink sticks and shaving them down to see if they will work. The 600 print head heats up to about 212 degrees F, which I believe is the correct range for these sticks.

Sure, it might ruin the printer head, but if I can't find any OEM yellow sticks, will it make a difference?
by unknown on Aug 22, 2013 at 6:59pm Add comment
Does any one know what parts have to be replaced to upgrade an 8560mfp to an 8860mfp? is it just the inkloader assembly?
by mcstever on Nov 1, 2014 at 5:37am Add comment
mcstever, I read elsewhere that you may need the config (SIM) card from the other printer as well. That was a thread discussing the 8570 and 8870 though, so the 8560 might be different.

We just started re-casting 8870 ink for our 8570 last week; we had put it off for awhile, but the consumable costs were getting out of control in our department with the 8570. Obviously it's too early to say for sure, but early indications are that the project is successful, so I thought I'd share some info on what we've been doing here in case others want to give this a try.

MOLDING: To create molds of the retail 8570 blocks we had on hand, I ordered some Oomoo 30 two-part silicone molding material. It mixes in a simple 1-to-1 ratio and fully cures at room temperature in 6 hours. To limit the amount of silicone being used, I retrofitted a small cardboard box to hold two of each color blocks at a time, then lined it with a couple layers of tinfoil to contain the silicone. Then I dropped in a pair of blocks with the Xerox logo face-down, leaving a small gap in the middle to keep the molds from running together, and poured in my silicone until the blocks were fully covered. One unexpected issue I ran into was that the blocks kept floating to the top until the silicone started to thicken, and I had to carefully push them back down a few times. After letting the molds cure overnight, I carefully cut them open down the middle to get the legit blocks out, expecting to find that all the movement at the beginning had ruined the molds, but to my surprise I found that every last bit of detail had been captured perfectly. Maybe this would work after all?

MELTING: Since my molds appeared to come out well, I cut holes in the top below the Xerox logo & next to the numbers to pour the melted ink in. I used a cheap Aroma-brand hotplate and some tinfoil "boats" to melt down the nice big 8870 blocks. The hotplate works great for this on the "warm" setting, which takes a bit of time to reach melting temperature, but once it does it's just enough to keep the wax melted without any burning or smoking. Next, after melting down ~75\% of an 8870 block, I quickly take it off the burner and pour it into the mold until it's filled to the brim. I say quickly because if you're keeping the wax at an appropriately low temperature, it will start solidifying fast if you don't pour it right away. Another thing I learned is that you should tilt the mold slightly while filling to make sure the fill hole is the highest point, otherwise the very top of the ink comes out looking pretty deformed. Anyway, after filling one half of the mold, I pop the foil boat back on the burner and melt some more wax to fill the other half of the mold, then let the whole thing sit for about 20 minutes. The blocks will still be hot, but by then they've fully solidified and can be pried out of the molds. Even the best-formed block will have imperfections on the top, but this area is purely cosmetic - the important parts below (channels, grooves, lettered "feet") are practically indistinguishable from the retail 8570 blocks.

EXECUTION: I'd read elsewhere that the printer is most picky about the yellow blocks for some reason, so naturally I tried making yellow blocks first. Again, I was pleasantly surprised when my bootleg yellow block dropped neatly into the ink chute and was taken in by the printer without incident. Pushing my luck, I next molded a black block using the mostly-black ink from the waste tray, and this block came out slightly deformed because I didn't have quite enough ink to fill the entire mold. Even still, the printer accepted this ugly ink block without a second thought. The only remaining question is how the ink will perform when the printer actually uses it, as there's still some retail ink in front of my new homemade blocks. Supposedly you're supposed to be home-free if the printer accepts the blocks, but there's always the concern of unseen contaminants lurking in my ink blocks that could theoretically clog the printhead... time will tell. One thing I did find is that the yellow ink seems to be especially brittle - one took a short fall onto the carpeted floor but came up with some noticeable cracks, and another seemed to develop a few hairline cracks out of nowhere. I don't think this is a product of the molding process (though I'm sure it doesn't help matters any), as we've received yellow blocks in the past that were cracked or crumbling right out of the box and had to be replaced by our vendor. The other colors do not seem to have this issue.

In summary, this is turning out to be an interesting grownup arts-and-crafts project that will hopefully save my company a couple thousand dollars per year in ColorQube ink costs. Sorry for the long and wordy post, but I wanted to share as much detail as possible to hopefully assist anyone else who might be interested in doing this.
by unknown on Nov 5, 2014 at 9:37am Add comment
I hsve an 8550 that's just got too many problems. I see there's an 8560 for sale but the ink sticks I have for the 8550 won't fit in the 8560 (I think) and I don't want to shave them or hack them. I would like to put the 8550 ink tray in the 8560 but not sure if that will work. Anyone have an idea?
by unknown on Dec 16, 2014 at 5:03pm Add comment
Ron, I'd consider selling the 8550 sticks on eBay or Craigslist in that situation. The melting points got lower with each new generation, so 8550 blocks probably wouldn't work in an 8560 (and that's assuming you could retrofit the ink loader, which is unlikely).
by unknown on Dec 18, 2014 at 1:34pm Add comment
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by rickypaser on Feb 10, 2015 at 3:27am Add comment