Black ink issues- other users or Dana?

[QUOTE=jon;8691]We also recently improved the glossy performance of SEL1, and an unforeseen consequence of that was an improved dMax on matte media. But SEL1 is not intended either to be a matte black.[/QUOTE]

I was drafting an email about a possible swap, and looking those black is the new black numbers again, I’m surprised that SEL1 does so much worse (1.90) than the other blacks (2.3) on baryta. Are those numbers still current? Do they reflect the reformulation that you spoke of, or were they done before that? (I’m also surprised about the OEM number, but that’s not really relevant here.)

Those measurements were made in Sept 2014 from ink formulated much earlier that year. We have formulated both WN1 and SEL1 since then. We will update the black is black post as soon as we can. But, we do not have a ton of users who are experimenting with a photo black as a matte black, so this is not on our front burner. Also, these are bare naked measurements and may not reflect the actual dMax of using black ink in conjunction with the 3-4 shades of ink that are underlying the black ink when a Piezography curve is used. The actual use of Piezography, whether using Sel1 or WN1 produces much more than a convincing black in actual use. These numbers are more informative for those who are capable of producing their own Piezography curves architecture in order to take advantage of more available dMax.

Well my problem is that I have a full and unopened recently-purchased 220ml bottle of WN1 that isn’t going to be much use to me. If I’m going to do a swap then I need to move on it asap, or it’s not going to be possible / reasonable. I need to decide what to do / ask Wells for in the next day or so. I don’t want to take a punt, or import all the shades 1, test them and dispose of those that give the lowest results . I need advice.

By way of explanation, I don’t do a lot of gloss printing, although I’d like to have the option of printing on gloss without having to swap carts and trigger a head clean. I often want to compare a gloss and matte print of the same image, and if I have to change carts and do a head clean every time it’s going to be a pain. K7 for gloss would cease to be a viable option.

Yes, I know that the dmax of an actual k7 curve is make up of 4 shades of ink, and in fact on the 3880 hardly any shade 1 is used at all. But on the R1900 there is a reasonable amount used in the shadows and Tyler’s measurements above indicate that the impact of the new WN1 is modest but non-trivial. So that’s my concern.

for me at least, the problems in my setup have been explained, and a way to go forward with Jon’s generous attention. Should be up and going soon, all we needed was info. Actually this is a pretty small hiccup now that we know what’s happened, and the kind of thing I’ve found I have to absorb when doing unconventional setups. It has been maddening though, until we had our answer.
Brian, why not just go forward with the new Sel1? Seems to me the answer to what you want to do, and now the only ink option for use as an occasional unofficial universal black anyway.
Thanks to all for the help, and to Brian for the measurements, actually that was what I came here for in the first place…
Tyler

You’re welcome Tyler. The reason I didn’t just ask for a SEL1 for WN1 swap straight-away is that I don’t know how the current batch is going to perform in my setup. Jon says that the ink has been reformulated, and that the published measurements are out of date. I feel like I’m flying blind. Shipping inks back and forth half-way round the world is not as simple as shipping them around continental US.

You are asking for advise. My sage and wise advice is that you use matte black (NU1) for matte printing and photo black (SEL1 or WN1) for gloss printing. The current WN1 is darker on glossy if that is essential to you. Why not just go with a P2 system so that you have MK installed and PK installed. You can simply test a P2 curve with your current setup to see if you can visually tell the difference between K6 and K7 in your printer. This way - you will at least be using the system correctly and especially so after saying you do not do much glossy printing.

Coincidentally I was thinking the same thing myself today. There are two problems with P2 from my perspective, both reflecting a certain lack of completeness of the system.

First, there are a number of notable gaps in curve availability, as discussed here. For example, there’s nothing for EEM (or whatever Epson now brands it as), nor for IGFS or ISCHW. These are pretty standard papers, especially EEM & IGFS, and surprising omissions. Second, P2 is not available for all printers. You’ve suggested P2 to me at least once before only to discover that I’m using an [B]R1900[/B].

Now I think I can solve the second problem. I’ve already had success in remapping x880 curves to match the ink placement of the [B]R1900[/B], and the linearity was as good or better than the equivalent [B]R1900[/B] curve. So I imagine that I could do the same to the P2 curves. The major impediment is curve availability in order to do the remapping.

I guess the advice I’m looking for is numerical (dmax) in nature and inevitably that takes time. I still need to deal with this 220ml bottle of WN1, which is considerable in excess of my requirements now, even if I were somehow to take your advice and switch to P2. Perhaps I could start the RMA process and the shipping delay would leave a little time to ponder the best option. I will email you and Wells.

P2 is available for any X800 or X880 printer. The 3880 happens to have two blacks already installed so we do not include it as a possible candidate because the user can automate black ink changes by installing NU1 in the MK position and one of our two photo blacks in the PK position - whereas a 7880 user would have to manually affect a black ink change because there is only one cart slot for black - where the 3880 has two. But there is no reason that a 3880 can not be converted to a P2 printer and that is how we often run the 3880s in our Santa Fe workshop. We also run the R2880s this way to make best use of our time.

You can measure your own dMax if you have a densitometer or a spectro and convert L to density. Our measuring our dMax may not reflect your current conditions. Even the measurements of our dMax today would not necessarily reflect the measurements in our print room a week from now. Certainly not last week when we hit 60% humidity which was an intolerable situation for using some of our more favored papers. We do not have a means to subtract water - only add it - as we are usually very low humidity.

If you have ever tried to linearize an Epson color printer on a daily basis - or to linearize an Epson color printer to match another Epson color printer of the same model, you will soon realize that Epson color printers fluctuate often on a daily basis. The reality is that the human eye is not sensitive enough to notice this until fluctuations become great. Monochromatic printing is much easier for a human to detect fluctuation of course. In some D50 environments and with presspersons of great experience, they may notice a deltaE difference in color fluctuation of only 2. But, the average printer operator who is not operating in a D50 environment or matching press proofs on a daily basis would probably not notice until delta E differences are quite high.

You want to have finite measurements that stay consistent from day to day or match a certain set of specifications - which we simply do not publish. The fluctuation in printers is too great. Because of this, we came up with the K7 curves architecture which has many overlaps and a long receding tail to minimize the effects of fluctuation. We believe that the linearization needs to be fairly straight. But if you map an ABW printout - you would probably be shocked by the linearization (or lack thereof). You may be striving for perfection and that is certainly your right to do - but you should engage that by using a tool like Roy’s droplet on a daily basis - or creating your own toolset as some have.

I think that it would be wise for you to use the system as we designed which is to install Neutral shade 1 matte black as your matte black. Then choose a Photo Black from between our two choices. I realize that you do not often print glossy - but I do not understand why you do not have matte black. Or do you and I am not quite getting it?? I am only filling in for Dana and Kelly who have been both absent due to illnesses - so I am not certain if you are running a 3880 as a matte printer with a photo black when you could run both blacks simultaneously. Is your system customized beyond this? Are you running a straight Piezography ink set such as Selenium K7 or Neutral K7 but choosing not to run a matte black ink when you print matte - or are you also running with some type of custom Piezography ink set where you are using shades from mixed tones? Why do you not just use our Matte Black for matte printing? That bit is escaping me - and if you do not mind telling me - it will prevent my having to go back through all the correspondence. And please excuse me if I am missing something even more obvious about what you have been trying to do - as I do not monitor this board as often as Dana and Kelly do.

best,

Jon

You don’t need to tell me this. I know. What it also shocking is the way in which it varies from model to model, e.g. 2880 to 3880.

[QUOTE=jon;8721]And please excuse me if I am missing something even more obvious about what you have been trying to do - as I do not monitor this board as often as Dana and Kelly do.[/QUOTE]

I hate to say it, but I think you may have confused Jeff and I. Although we post on similar topics, and sometimes in the same thread, we not only look quite different, but also have different piezo printers. Jeff has a 3880 and I have an [B]R1900[/B]. I think that this is the point that you really missed. I’ve edited my previous post to highlight this.

I have two specific problems with your suggestion to use P2. The most serious one is that P2 has not been created for the [B]R1900[/B]. While you were sleeping I have solved this problem myself. I took the x880 P2 curves and remapped the shades into the correct places for the [B]R1900[/B] and checked linearity for CRP & HPR. Allowing for the fact that my printer has drifted a little over the years it’s not bad, and easily re-linearised with Roy’s new droplet. So I can now use P2 with the [B]R1900[/B].

However I am missing P2 curves for EEM, IGFS and ISCHW. Can we please get these curves?? Soon? As it stands P2 is an incomplete system, because it’s missing these curves. With them I can map to the [B]R1900[/B] as I have already for CRP & HPR, and then I can take up your suggestion to use the NU1 for matte and either SEL1 or WN1 for gloss.

(Although I’d still prefer a universal black. In fact, we had one, but no more it seems.)

the R1900 takes about 30 seconds to pull out the mk cart and insert the pk cart.
this is how Piezography users have been printing with the R1800, R1900, R2400 and R2880 since many many years ago.
why reinvent the wheel?

just pull out the MK to print glossy and put in the PK - GO should be in the LLK position already.
then put the MK back in when you want to print matte.
No head cleaning other than inserting the cart is required.

that’s how it is designed to be used and how it has been used for many many years.
i’m not certain why you are trying to use it in the way that you are.

and yes I do confuse you and jeff
but not you and tyler! :wink:
tyler i know and is a long time friend
both you and jeff i have not met - and know you only through this tech support forum!

I’ve been a lucky guest at Jon and Cathy’s place in Vermont 3 times, and in his company a few other times and places… I can assure you- THE NAVY SEALS OF PIEZOGRAPHY NEVER SLEEP

OCD on something else for a bit perhaps…

sorry, back to all the bummer stuff

I explained in #34 why I’m trying to use it the way I am.

You didn’t address the key question of when we might getting the missing P2 profiles - EEM, IGFS, ISCHW. These are pretty standard papers. Without them P2 appears like an incomplete system.

p.s. The “we look completely different” was supposed to be humorous. We do a rather droll style of humour in this part of the world.

We have a lot on the burners including Piezography PRO, the new 1400/1430 digital negative for silver and platinum/palladium, and re-profiling the five ink sets for P2 as well as PRO. Unfortunately, for product development, we spent the Summer printing for clients. Cone Editions Press got and is super busy right now. So, when my attention is printmaking for others - development stops.

If you would like to install P2 on your system and print the targets - I would be delighted to make your custom curves gratis.

Thank you. I will probably take you up on that generous offer. But first I need to obtain some NU1.

Also, it may make more sense to do it in conjunction with Jeff, as P2 curves made on his 3880 would be better. They could be used more widely, and as his printer is newer and they therefore would presumably be more linear. I can easily handle the remapping to my R1900 and relinearisation. Assuming Jeff keeps it his 3880, that is.

I do hope that your esteemed colleagues recover from their illnesses quickly. We miss them. Which is not so say that we have been unappreciative of your efforts to hold the fort, as you bring an additional element to the discussion.

P.s. I could always scan the targets myself with my i1, as we used to be able to, if that reduced the workload on IJM. Would be a lot faster too.

I think in the long run (as we say), when we see the actual targets themselves it allows us to spot potential issues and may save a lot of time. Also, the target is designed for a DTP70 auto scanning spectrophotometer - so the patches are tiny. But, Roy’s new droplet is great. I would use that perhaps with one of the other curves using your i1 and see if you can’t be self sufficient. The HPR curve is a good base. As is the Type 5. Glossy curves should be made with the target go printed.

I’ve sent you and Wells an email about the ink swap needed to move forward on this. Hopefully we can work something out. I’ll post separately about the switch to P2.

[QUOTE=jon;8733]the R1900 takes about 30 seconds to pull out the mk cart and insert the pk cart. this is how Piezography users have been printing with the R1800, R1900, R2400 and R2880 since many many years ago. why reinvent the wheel?

just pull out the MK to print glossy and put in the PK - GO should be in the LLK position already. then put the MK back in when you want to print matte. No head cleaning other than inserting the cart is required. that’s how it is designed to be used and how it has been used for many many years. i’m not certain why you are trying to use it in the way that you are.[/QUOTE]

I’ve been reflecting on these comments. There’s a deep irony here. It’s not clear whether you were allowing for this, but there is a mandatory head cleaning required by the printer when you switch carts on these cart-on-head printers, unlike the printers with ink lines and dampers. And this is the source of the irony. Let me explain.

Once upon a time I was printing with a 2100 (K2), printing colour on gloss and B&W on matte using QTR. However if you swap often enough then you quickly get sick of the mandatory head-clean as part of the MK/PK swap, esp at OEM small cart prices.

So I thought that having a dedicated B&W matte printer was the way to go. I researched B&W inksets and opted for piezo over the much cheaper Roark inksets because of the reputation of the latter for clogging.

This was at about the time that the 1400/1410 came out and you were talking up its 1.5pl drop size. It was an inexpensive introduction, so I had the 2100 for colour gloss and 1410 for B&W matte.

In a moment of rashness, a few years later I upgraded to the R1900, partly to get K7 rather than K6 (more on this below), but as I recall it was still all-matte for piezo at that point.

Fast forward a couple more years and you could do gloss piezo, but you have to swap MK & PK. Fortunately by the time I got around to doing this, it was known that WN1 didn’t lose any dmax on matte, and so I was in the happy position of being able to have both a colour and B&W printer and still not have to do the dreaded MK/PK swap.

But those happy times are over. Or are they?

The irony in all this is that I took up piezo precisely in order to avoid what what you are encouraging me to do. If I was prepared to “use the system as it was intended”, i.e. flush ink down the waste tube at every ink change, then I probably wouldn’t be here in the first place. That’s the irony.

As Jeff said in another thread, we’re just as concerned as anyone here about print quality. That’s why we’re here now. But speaking for myself, I have an aversion to unnecessary waste. I really don’t like flushing ink down the tubes. Yes, if we’re going to print then we’re going to have to consume ink and paper and carts - you can’t make the proverbial omelette without breaking the proverbial eggs. And not all of it is going to be productive - there are drafts, proofs, linearisation plots, unavoidable head cleans, etc. But I really object to the MP/PK swap waste.

And the 3880 is worse. If you need to do the swap every two weeks to keep the ink flowing then that’s 6ml for the round-trip each time, and over 12 weeks that’s 36 ml of ink and in six months you’d have flushed an entire cart’s worth of ink down the tubes. Seriously?

Discovering that I can get P2 to work on the R1900 was a great relief. I think it makes even more sense on the 3880. I have never seen a benefit from switching from K6 to K7 and to be honest I felt initially like I wasted my money when I upgraded to the R1900. I don’t really feel that way now, as there is a much better build and the option for gloss, but I have always regarded shade 7 as an unnecessary extravagance. Perhaps those printing a lot of high-key images in large sizes might benefit, but who else?

Why am I engaging in this rant? Because I think you have the solution already available. I think P2 is the answer. In my view, in the absence of a universal black, P2 is a less wasteful form of piezo. My suggestion is that you promote P2 to a greater extent, even in printers where you feel that it is not needed, and complete the set of P2 curves for common papers.

You do realize that in just normal operation 30-35% of all Epson OEM inks end up in the waste pad or waste tank? That is just with normal operation using OEM inks.

I think that trying to avoid the small amount of ink waste is about a small incremental amount of waste - rather than avoiding the 30-35%.

I appreciate your rant, none of us like ink wastage. But, it should be directed towards Epson to give you control over the amount of auto-cleans and the cleans it performs based upon time intervals, startup, and length of prints. That is where you should experiment with turning them off, decreasing ink wastage, and dialing in the amount of autocleans that best suits your environment. That’s my rant!

I have not forgotten the blog article you posted some years ago, in which you estimated around 50% wastage in an R2400 using OEM carts. Seven years and several generations of printers later, I still point people to that article, although based on printers that I have owned, I have a hunch that the R2400 was the worst of the bunch.

What [I]has[/I] made a difference IMHO is the ability to use chip resetters for these head-on-carts printers. Being able to reset [I]all[/I] the carts at each refill, I find that I get very few random head cleans. There’s not much going into the waste ink tank at all, only at refills, and it doesn’t seem that much. Keeping the printer ticking over certainly helps, and I easily deal with the odd nozzle gap with a targeted purge pattern. So in my case, regular MK/PK swaps would significantly boost ink wastage, which at the moment is minimal. Hence my concern.

Out of interest, have you ever measured the wastage on a 3880? I guess the measurements you get re the maintenance tank makes the exercise easier. With all the random noise it makes, it’s hard to tell when it’s doing a random head clean. The need to do the MK/PK swap regularly will increase wastage, and of course doing power cleans must be one of the most efficient ways ever invented by Epson to waste ink, so perhaps it’s harder to do an apples-with-apples comparison with the earlier printers.

p.s. Thank you for the offer of support, which is greatly appreciated and certainly more than I expected.