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During pandemic lockdown, I noticed several issues with my home, including the broken sprinkler head, dog stains on the carpet, and my mother’s spice cabinet. My mother has a metric ton of spices that used to have labels that have rubbed off after constant use. I bought a portable label maker to replenish the labels and make it easier to find spices (which means we can eat sooner). This product is cheap, portable, and aesthetically appealing, and I figured it was about time to see what was happening on the inside.
The LW-300 is marketed as a portable label maker that can print in many different fonts, colors, and styles. It is compatible with all Epson cartridges and uses a full QWERTY keyboard, along with a monochromatic LCD. The colorful print and cut buttons, as well as the rounded corners project the image for an easy to use experience. Diving inside, we’ll be focusing on the following:
Upon opening the label maker, we identify two main sub-assemblies: the ink-cassette housing and the blade assembly.
It is evident that Epson made some calculated decisions to make sure its label maker would be long-lasting and print labels consistently and precisely, without many flaws. The use of high impact polystyrene for the backplates allows the label maker to take a beating, and, combined with the metal cassette bracket, ensures rigidity in different printing scenarios. The use of a compression-molded keyboard cover gives Epson the flexibility to distribute the product across regions with different languages by simply screen printing new graphics, instead of molding a new part every time.
Though the letters may scrub off after time, it is an understandable cost-cutting measure. Finally, the use of off-the-shelf components, paired with only one custom IC, allows Epson to simplify the overall inventory of their line of products and saves the trouble of producing electronics specific to different applications. The amount of thought and dedication that can go into a product as standard as a label maker is noticed by its variety of users. Epson has shown with the LW-300 that diversified manufacturing processes can help bring costs down yet still provide a reliable, inclusive product that can help anyone anywhere make their life a little less chaotic.