Jetblaster™ Bulk Ink System For The Epson 1520 Printer

by David Lavaneri, DGL Engraving, April 2001

I should preface the following information by saying the bulk ink system which I tested, was an earlier version of what's currently being offered by Jetblaster™  distributors. Improvements to the system have been made, which should lessen some of the difficulties I experienced in initially getting the system to perform properly.


Although the physics in the operation of the Jetblaster™ bulk ink system and the CIS (Continuous Ink System, Inc.) are exactly the same, The Jetblaster system offers significant improvements. The air-intake of the Jetblaster ink bottles themselves, uses a medical air filter to prevent bacteria from possibly forming in the system and creating havoc. The Jetblaster ink bottles are "industrial strength" compared to those of the CIS bottles, and offer a handy fill-on-the-fly feature. The Jetblaster ink bottles are placed at the proper operating height, in a supplied bottle rack, which sits on the righthand side of your printer.

Jetblaster™ Bluk Ink System & Epson® 1520 Inkjet Printer


Although installation photos are currently included with the recent version of the Jetblaster bulk system, I didn't have the luxury of seeing those photos, and because of the alledged problems mentioned in the installation and operation of the CIS systems, I took much longer than necessary, in ensuring the proper installation of the Jetblaster system.


I won't describe the installation and startup as being trouble-free. After the apparatus was in place, I vacuumized the black ink cartridge, with the provided syringe, and closed the check valve (clip) on the intake hose. I filled the ink bottle with 125ml of BASF (Jetblaster) ink. (Smaller increments of the BASF ink are available from your Jetblaster distributors)

Now, was the moment of truth, and the step in the installation procedure which I was dreading. I could barely breathe, when I started to release the check valve, which would hopefully fill the chamber of the black ink cartridge. I'm not overstating my nervousness.

CIS Ink Bottle

I released the check valve, and to my delight, the black ink forcefully injected itself into the cartridge. I confidently filled the chambers of the tri-color cartridge in the same manner.

Multiple head cleanings were done in order to get "close" to a perfect nozzle check pattern. I realized I may not be able to get the ink to flow immediately. The sponge material in the cartridges would have to become completely saturated, and all air expelled from the cartridge, before I could expect to see a perfect nozzle pattern. I let the printer sit overnight.

Jetblaster™ Bluk Ink System

The next day, I turned the printer on and did a preliminary nozzle check. Not perfect, but much better than anything I'd seen the day before. I did a few more head cleanings and printed some transfers, in my attempts to achieve the "perfect" nozzle pattern. I got very close; there were only a couple of missing segments to the pattern, but that wasn't good enough for me. I again, let the printer sit overnight.

The next day, discouraged, but not defeated, I began another attempt to get a reliable ink flow. I did a couple of head cleanings, printed a small transfer and then did another nozzle check. At this point, I wasn't expecting much, though I remained hopeful. My patience and perseverance paid off. I had a "perfect" nozzle pattern.

Now, I was ready to do some serious testing. I had a job consisting of 35 individual photos, which would be printed to 100% polyester material, and later incorporated in the making of a quilt. The image area of the photos was 4.25" x 4.25," which were placed two per sheet, on 8.5 x 11 transfer paper. I began printing the 18 sheets of transfers, and was delighted to see absolutely no signs of banding or ink starvation. Absolutely smooth sailing; until my heart suddenly sank.

Because of the numerous head cleanings and unsatisfactory transfers I had used in trying to get a good ink flow, the "low ink" warning light for the black ink cartridge began to blink. The cause of my short-lived panic, was until the installation of the Jetblaster bulk system, I had been using cartridges in the printer, and had become accustomed to hanging on every print, in anticipation of the inevitable blinking of the low ink light.

When I realized I had a substantial volume of ink available to the printer, in the form of the bulk ink system, and I could easily monitor the consumption of ink, by a glance at the ink bottles, a smile, and an indescribable sense of power came over me. Free at last! Free of the anxiety caused by not knowing when I would run out of ink, and the knowledge that I would be forced to buy expensive and inefficient cartridges, in order to continue my work.

To reset the "low ink" light, I went through the steps I would normally take in replacing a set of cartridges. Instead of removing the cartridges, I momentarily unplugged the printer, and then plugged it in again. The "low ink" light was off, and I resumed the successful printing of my transfers.

I printed a number of other transfers with no problems. I let the printer sit idle for four days, which I thought may have made necessary another round of head cleanings in achieving the elusive "perfect" nozzle pattern. I was relieved and very pleased, to find upon starting the printer and waiting for it to initialize, that no subsequent head cleanings were necessary in getting another "perfect" nozzle pattern.

Out of habit, I will always check the nozzle pattern before printing transfers, but from my admittedly short relationship with the Jetblaster bulk ink system for the Epson 1520 printer, my personal experience tells me that once the system is functioning properly, there seems to be no stopping it.


Copyright 2001 David Lavaneri and Robyn Lavaneri (photos) .  All rights reserved, and may not be copied or reproduced without the written permission.

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