The noise of a dot matrix printer is probably as synonymous with 1980s computing as the modem handshake would become with the desktop experience a decade or more later. But unlike the computers that would have driven it, a dot matrix printer can still be a very useful device here in 2023. And why not? They’re cheap to operate and can produce surprisingly good quality when paired with suitable drivers. There is a snag though; while cartridges for popular models can still be found, there are plenty whose consumables are long gone. [Drygol] had an Apple ImageWriter II with exactly that problem, and after finding all his cartridges were non-functional, took a look at how to bring them back.
Inside a dot matrix cartridge is a fabric ribbon similar to the one that might once have been found on a typewriter. It’s not on a roll but folded into the space, and it’s drawn through by a pair of rollers. Not only had the ink on the fabric dried out, but the foam on the rollers had also disintegrated. Some careful dismantling, and a solution presented itself in the form of O-rings to replace the rollers. Those and a bit of mineral oil to soften the ink had the vintage Apple printing again as though it was the ’80s once more.
It’s a subject we’ve looked at before, as it turns out WD-40 makes a good ink solvent.
Source : https://hackaday.com/2023/05/27/restoring-dot-matrix-printer-cartridges-for-2023/