How to Make Your Own Typewriter Ribbon Cartridge

Written by sheharyar khan
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How to Make Your Own Typewriter Ribbon Cartridge
Ribbons are an essential part of all typewriters. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

If you've used a typewriter for an extended period of time, you know the ribbon cartridge has to be changed regularly. And, the next time you need a new typewriter ribbon make your own with a few materials. While a typewriter may be considered a tool of the past, it can still be useful.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Roll of nylon ribbon (1/2-inch wide)
  • Scissors
  • Silicone spray
  • Cartridge
  • Ink pad
  • Ink

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  1. 1

    Unroll 9 inches of the 1/2-inch wide nylon ribbon. Carefully cut this length of ribbon from the rest of the roll.

  2. 2

    Pour ink into the ink pad and spurt a few drops of silicone onto the pad to enable the ink to stick. Draw out the ribbon in a completely elongated position and properly lay it onto the ink pad. Add a heavy object on top of the ribbon to apply pressure to it and to allow the ink to spread evenly throughout the ribbon.

    Carefully pull the ribbon out from between the heavy object and the ink pad and inspect it to ensure that the ink is not blotted or uneven in any section.

  3. 3

    Place the ribbon on a dry surface. Allow the ribbon to dry for approximately 20 minutes. When dry, carefully pick up the ribbon and insert one end into the cartridge box. Wind the ribbon into the cartridge and leave a small portion of the ribbon hanging out.

  4. 4

    Place the new ribbon cartridge in the typewriter. Apply pressure onto the cartridge until you hear a soft clicking sound meaning the cartridge has snapped into place. Ensure that it is securely in position.

  5. 5

    Unroll the ribbon from the cartridge and set it into the holding straps that secure it in place. Put the ribbon into the straps facing the paper. Wind the remaining part of the cartridge so that the ribbon is tight.

  6. 6

    Attach the cover or hood of the typewriter back onto the machine. Ensure that you have attached it properly and it is not loose or half open.

Tips and warnings

  • Each ribbon can be used for different coloured ink; therefore you can make multiple ribbons. And, make sure to extract the ribbon that has the colour of ink that you want to use from the cartridge before setting it into the holding straps.
  • Select a ribbon cartridge according to the specifications and requirements of your typewriter. This information can be found in the instruction manual of the typewriter or take your old ribbon cartridge to the store and buy a replacement.

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