Daily Print Workflow

piezography

#1

As I indicated in a previous post, I will provide details of setting up a daily print workflow on a Mac; it should largely eliminate the need to perform nozzle cleans. The idea is, of course, that keeping the nozzles juicy with ink will prevent head clogs.

The first step is to choose the image to be printed. A pretty landscape will not get the job done because one or more of the (7) shades of gray may not get exercised sufficiently or perhaps not at all.

The obvious choice is the qtr ink separation file (inkseparation8.tif), or a portion of it. In my case, I’ve opened this file in Photoshop and cropped the portion shown below. It was then printed through qtr in Calibration Mode. The same procedure will be followed to create the Automator workflow.


This is much more ink than one would put down by simply printing a nozzle check pattern. But it pales in comparison with the amount of ink lost to even a single head clean. And a single head clean may not be sufficient to clear a clogged nozzle. Just watch your external waste ink bottle fill up from those cleaning cycles. (You do have an external waste ink bottle, right?)

We’re now ready to create a daily-print workflow that will print the above crop using Automator.

The new file, InkSepCrop, is a psd file with its icon on the Desktop, placed in a corner position so that it will not be obscured by any open windows. Also, open iCal and hide (Cmd-H) it

Open Automator and choose the iCal Alarm template. On the next screen, note the red Record button. When you click this button, you will proceed through the steps to print InkSepCrop by accessing the qtr Calibration mode through PS. The recording is being tracked by a window elsewhere on your screen, probably in the upper left hand corner.

When the printer begins to print, you may turn off the recorder and Save the Automator workflow as, say, Daily Print. iCal will open with a window called Daily Print in Edit mode. See the screen shot below.


On the first line choose the time of day that you want the InkSepCrop to be printed, perhaps during dinner time or some other time when you will not be at your computer. “from” and “to” will be the same. Under “repeat” choose Every day and Never under “end”. Under “show as” choose Free. Finally, under “alarm” choose Open file, then Daily Print, then 1minutes before. You’re done, so click the Done box and hide iCal.

Added note: You can test the workflow by opening iCal and double clicking Daily Print. Change the time on the first line to about 5 min later than the present time. You’ll be asked if this change is for all events or just this one time; choose the latter. In five minutes, you should see Automator take control of your screen and print Daily Print. If it doesn’t, start all over.

Edit: Presumably, as an alternative to the above, one could test the workflow by selecting the Run command in the Automator window. Resist that very reasonable impulse. Every time I have tried this, an error was generated.

Good luck,

Harry


#2

I am surprised at not having received any comment on my post above. But then I thought, maybe clogged nozzles are greatly exaggerated in my mind. So be it.

The yesterday I “upgraded” from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, and the issue is now moot. Mountain Lion completely breaks Automator, as confirmed by comments on the official Apple Support Communities.

If you’r till on Snow Leopard, you should be good to go, unless the issue of nozzle clogs has disappeared. :wink:

Harry


#3

Hi Harry, and thanks for your input.

It may be that most people are happily printing as per our recommended guidelines, and are not having issues to make them feel they need to set up an automatic daily print.
If you print weekly, maintain proper humidity and temperature levels, don’t allow cartridges to run dry, and keep your printer clean following our guidelines- you should have years of happy and successful printing :slight_smile:

Are you happily printing, or is there anything I can do to help?

All the best~ Dana :slight_smile:


#4

I agree with Harry about the desirability of avoiding wasteful head cleans. (Didn’t Jon once measure the proportion of ink that went into the waste bottle with one desktop printer and found it was around 50% ?!?!??!) I agree that printing the calibration chart when not printing regularly is a good idea. Printing just an extract is also a good idea.

I wouldn’t have thought that it should be necessary to do it daily, so long as the inks and carts are not old and under normal temperatures and humidity. I was in the position of having to do daily prints like this recently, but my inks and carts were old and fresh sets seemed to have solved the problem.


#5

[QUOTE=Dana-IJM;2861]Hi Harry, and thanks for your input.

It may be that most people are happily printing as per our recommended guidelines, and are not having issues to make them feel they need to set up an automatic daily print.
If you print weekly, maintain proper humidity and temperature levels, don’t allow cartridges to run dry, and keep your printer clean following our guidelines- you should have years of happy and successful printing :slight_smile:

Are you happily printing, or is there anything I can do to help?

All the best~ Dana :)[/QUOTE]

Dana, might I remind you that Jon requested I share the daily-print workflow if I were successful; I was, and I did.

More importantly, you seem to imply that clogging is a non-issue in spite of the fact that you field numerous posts requesting help with clogged nozzles. Do you really believe that everyone can maintain the high humidity you recommend in their home “studio”? Do you really suggest a complete recharge (say, in the R3000 and pro printers) with flush fluids when one takes a 2-week vacation or is away on a business trip? And suppose a cartridge fails to print for some reason (recall any posts on that subject?), and the user happens to skip printing for the requisite 7 days? Eight days, say, of drying time for the ink in that channel - in a humidity of 30% (as I maintain) or less, rather than your recommended 40-60%.

I feel a little foolish defending my proposal against a panglossian view of the amateur’s actual working environment, so I won’t take it any further. But if you look at [I]my[/I] purchasing history, you’ll see that I have some years of experience using piezography printing, and my recommendation is not without an historical perspective.

But, frankly my dear,… well never mind.

Harry


#6

Harry~

I feel the need to clarify my statement and thoughts behind it, because it seems you are offended by my response, and that was certainly not my intention.

Yes, I help lots of people with all sorts of printer issues, including clogging, poor flow, mis-firing nozzles, cartridge troubles, alignment issues, mechanical problems, etc… I am absolutely not saying there are no problems, and feel I have a very realistic perspective (though, thanks for saying I’m overly optimistic- I wish that was true). From my experience of working in our professional studio, our R+D area (which doesn’t have the same conditions as our studio- essentially simulating an average “home studio”), and working with thousands of customers over the years- I have learned many ways to 1. help prevent issues, and 2. help resolve issues when they do occur. I have worked with many Epson printers over the years, including the 1160/860, 1200, 1280/1290, 2000P, 3000, 1500, R800/R1800, R2400, R1900, R2000, 2200, R3000, 1400, 1430, Artisan 50, Workforce 1100, WP-4020, B510-DN, NX625, 3800, 3880, 4000, 7000/9000, 7600/9600, 7800/9800, 7880/9880, 7900/9900, 4900- so have learned a lot that I enjoy using to help others.

Everyone’s conditions, workflow, equipment, etc… are different (as are personalities, preferences, and life in general). I have learned that maintaining proper humidity levels, and in-suspension inks, keeping the equipment clean/maintained, and regularly exercised will give the best and most consistent results, and extend the life of the printer. We publish what we learn, and our recommended practices to help others- obviously it’s up to individuals to decide if they care to follow our recommendations, or learn for themselves. The majority of printer issues I help troubleshoot are related to very dry climates, old ink/carts, old printer parts, or infrequent use of the printer- which are avoidable problems, so we want to help people avoid these frustrating experiences whenever possible.

There is not only one “right” way to print or care for your printer, and the more you learn about different printer models, the more you can fine tune your own workflow. For example desktop vs. pro model printers: they have many similarities, but also many differences. We tend to generalize our printer maintenance info, because adding every little detail would make it VERY long and hard for many to read/follow. Obviously, it’s easier to flush a desktop printer that doesn’t have ink lines and dampers- so, it’s worth installing flush carts when the printer won’t be used for a while for safe storage. With a pro model that has ink lines and dampers, it’s wasteful and can be hard on the printer to flush too frequently, so we feel it’s best to use the machine regularly, and maintain proper humidity levels to keep the printer in good working condition, instead of flushing then reinstalling inks. We only flush our pro model printers if we know they won’t be used for several months- otherwise, I keep track of when each printer was last used, and check them by doing a nozzle check and print every week or two.

I am well aware of your history, and know you have experience using Piezography with the R2400 and R3000 printers, we have worked together many times over the years, and as I said before- I/we DO appreciate your input. I know many people have set up some sort of automatic print workflow to help keep ink flowing to prevent drying/clogging while they are away, or not able to print regularly. I think this is a great idea, and like that people share what they’re doing with this support community. Although I don’t think it’s necessary to do daily- this is your workflow, and I hope it gives you the desired results. I replied to your post after you were surprised that nobody had any comments, by thanking you for your input and suggesting maybe nobody had commented because your workflow doesn’t fit their needs, and pointed out other great ways to have good results with your professional pigment ink setup. I’m sorry if you were somehow offended by my post, and hope clarifying my extended thoughts makes more sense.

Best regards and happy printing!
Warmly~ Dana :slight_smile:


#7

Thank you for your response, Dana.

Harry


#8

Where do i find “accessing the qtr Calibration mode through PS.”?


#9

Instructions for printing with QTR Calibration Mode can be found here: http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/content.php?144-Print-Ink-Separation-Image-thru-QTR-Calibration-Mode
and for using QTR to flush individual channels, here: http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/content.php?166-Flush-individual-channel-using-QTR-Calibration-Mode


#10

I left a comment on http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/content.php?166-Flush-individual-channel-using-QTR-Calibration-Mode that the file names in those single channel calibration print files don’t actually match up with printers like the R1900.


#11

I responded to your comment, with information provided by Roy Harrington.


#12

[QUOTE=Dana-IJM;2872]snip–> …We only flush our pro model printers if we know they won’t be used for several months- otherwise, I keep track of when each printer was last used, and check them by doing a nozzle check and print every week or two."<–end snip[/QUOTE]

Hi Dana

I am thinking of replacing an old R2400 with a new printer and the R3000 looks good and with the current Epson rebate has an attractive price too.

Upon researching the printer and it’s reported issues I’m having second thoughts. In particular one blog entry (http://www.inkjetmall.com/wordpress/maintenance/pigment-settling-and-printer-maintenance/) and the statement about printing 25 13"x19" prints a week with the pro printers is rather daunting. However, your statement, quoted above, leads me to wonder if “a print every week or two” would be enough to keep the printer functional. I can manage that, but not what the blog entry suggests.

So what can I realistically expect… I live on the west coast of British Columbia so cool and damp describes the weather pretty much year round (think Seattle without the traffic) My darkroom averages 60-70% RH and temps around 68F.

Will a print or two a week keep the ink flowing and the pipes unclogged?

Thanks, Dave

p.s. The other printer I’m considering is the 1430. As I expect to be using the printer for only digital negatives, running an all-black ink set, it’s small droplet size as well as recommendations by a number of folks I respect make it appealing too - but now I read about firmware issues related to after market cartridges (I’ve posted about this separately). I was looking at the R2000 but it appears you don’t carry refillable cartridges for it at this time.


#13

Hi David,

I have a 3880, which is pretty much just a bigger version of the R3k. During the winter months, it doesn’t get much use. I try to maintain humidity in my printer room, but that’s pretty challenging in the winter. My temps typically vary between 60-70F and humidity is 30% or higher. At least in my experience, 3 head cleanings will get it back in business whenever a head goes wonky (usually PK for me). I will admit to not using it enough during the winter, but try to do some prints at least once a month. I haven’t had any killer issues so far in 2 years of ownership. knocks on wood

So, I would say that printing a couple Letter sheets should be perfectly fine.

If you’re considering the 1430, be on the lookout for refurb R2880s on Epson’s website. I grabbed one recently and have been happy with it. The dot pitch is better than the 3880, and the ability to easily swap inks without charging ink lines is nice.


#14

We do have R2000 refillable carts, here: http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.362672/it.A/id.5826/.f (and without filling syringes, here: http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.362672/it.A/id.5754/.f)
60-70% humidity is pretty high, so you won’t experience any drying/clogging issues, but keep in mind you may experience issues due to excessive humidity, causing swelling.
It’s recommended to use any printer every week or two, ideally weekly. Pro model printers with internal ink lines will experience settled pigment in the ink lines and dampers if left sitting unused for a few weeks or longer, where as desktop models such as the R2880 have carts that install directly onto the print head, so can be easily flushed for safe storage with a et of flush carts, and/or ink carts shaken and a few cleaning cycles done to get ink back in suspension for accurate output.

I hope this helps.
Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:


#15

On the IJM site, when you “shop by printer” for the R2000, you’re only offered paper. This is confusing. The R2000 carts are not easy to find. I’ve had to give people that I was recommending them to a precise link, just as you did. And given this, it’s not obvious that the R2000 printer is supported for piezo, as there’s no piezo inks listed for it, unlike the other 13" desktop stylus photo printers.

In another thread recently you commented that there hadn’t been a lot of interest in the R2000 and I can understand why. It appears to be unsupported by IJM - there’s no ConeColor ink for it (which is right I think) and it appears like there’s not piezo ink (which is wrong) and the carts are hard to find on the site.

I think the R2000 is the best option for someone starting out in piezo, unless you’re a high volume printer and want 17", in which case there’s the 3880, but without the roll paper option.


#16

The R2000 [I]is[/I] a supported Piezography model, and uses the same curves as the R1900.
I have forwarded your message to the people who make SKUs/products in our system, so we can add Piezography inks to the R2000 printer, and make that easier to find.

No, there is no ConeColor or InkThrift option for the R2000.

Warmly~ Dana :slight_smile:


#17

Ok, so here’s the deal- we had the R2000 carts with Piezography ink on our website for more than a year, and only sold one set… The R2000 cartridge chips use batteries, which have a limited life, so due to the age of the carts, the batteries are now old and need to be replaced. The demand wasn’t/isn’t high enough for us to replace all the chip batteries in hopes to sell the remaining carts we have in inventory, and don’t expect customers to have to install batteries when they receive carts, so discontinued them. So, we have carts if you want to replace the chip batteries, but won’t be adding them back to our website.

~Dana


#18

Ah. Ok. That makes sense. Well, up to a point. I really am surprised that you only sold one set. I think it’s a really good piezo option. It’s my intention to get an R2000 should my R1900 fail. I hope that the carts are still there if and when the time comes. I didn’t realise that the R2000 cart chips took batteries, but I think that’s the lesser evil, rather than dealing with ink lines and not being able to change inksets easily.

If you decide to give up on these carts completely and offload or discard the stock (heaven forbid), let me know because I may order several sets as a precaution, even though I don’t have the printer.


#19

We were pretty surprised too, since they’re good desktop size printers. I will ask what the plan is with the remaining R2000 carts, and let you know.

~Dana :slight_smile:


#20

I have a friend who swears by the R2000. But since it uses such a different inkset than the K3Vivid which I already use, I avoided it. Last time I searched for carts (I do so randomly sometimes), the R2000 ones were $90 per set?! The R2880 sets are $30. That might have been part of the issue with them not selling :wink:

Random question for Dana: I just tried switching my Black cart from Photo to Matte. The printer still claimed it was photo black installed, even though it was the matte black cart. I haven’t tested my other matte cart (trying to avoid the automatic ink charge on cartridge swap), but perhaps you can tell me if all Black carts show up as PK, or if there are supposed to be PK and MK chips.