Ink sets and MK


Regarding the PK/MK switch, if I use PK almost exclusively, would it be reasonable to fill an MK cart with piezoflush and install that? I assume I’d have to do an PK/MK switch to feed the line, then switch back to PK.
Because I have my R3000 for glossy color prints, and my R2000 for piezography, it would make a lot of sense if I could purchase the bulk ink for the R3000 with PK only. As of now, the only sets available (for a bulk discount) include both MK and PK. Whoever bottled that MK pretty much wasted their time on me because I’ll probably never use that bottle. Has there been any thought to make a discounted set of 8 (with MK or PK)?


Hi Larry,
Your R3000 has a very weak black ink exchanger that is prone to early failure. What keeps it working is frequent black ink changes. It was designed by Epson for users who shift back and forth each day between matte and glossy just like the Epson engineers do in R&D. They did not conceive that a user might print for a month or a year on only PK and then wish to do the switch. So, if you are going to heavily print glossy and consider only the occasional matte print - I would be prepared to experience a failure. Putting PiezoFlush in that position does not really help as much and you would need to waste a lot of ink to get that in and out of the system. The only thing that helps is to print matte and glossy with frequency. So perhaps the best thing to do is simply install this system as a glossy only and keep the OEM MK cart in that position just so the printer operates. We may bundle kits with PK only or MK only in the future.

Jon - a couple of years ago, when I was considering an R3000 on run-out, you commented on the internal similarity of the R3000 and the 3880. Does your latest comment mean that the ink exchange is different in the R3000, or that the 3880 also has a weak one?

If I use piezoflush in the MK position and do the ink swap once a month, would that be sufficient? 30 mL of piezoflush is cheaper than 30 mL of MK. Also, when looking at how the R3000 swaps ink, the head takes a really good piddle on the left side. This happens from time to time, especially with a PK/MK swap, but has never been addressed as a potential maintenance cleaning issue.

So, do you know how the R3000 clears out the MK/PK line? Does it fire it through the nozzles in the piddle zone until a required volume has passed through? Or does it use the suction at the capping station to suck the required volume of MK or PK? Combination of both? If it uses the suction at the capping station mostly, I assume that other inks will be consumed during the process. If it relies on the piddle zone mostly, it will conserve the other inks, but use muck up the sponge directly underneath the head. If I use piezoflush in that channel, that would provide some cleaning of that area that I could mop up immediately after a switch to MK. This could be an effective maintenance routine for the sponge underneath the head.

Just a thought.


We get a lot of OEM users coming to us for PiezoFlush in the case that they have not used one of the blacks for years - and then suddenly do a black ink change and lose the entire black channel. We get these from both 3880 and R3000 users and these two printers share that component. So, it is a known issue but usually falls outside of warranty taking more than 12 months to occur. And in most cases PiezoFlush can not recover the black ink exchanger. Two Epson field techs have confirmed that this failure is common from not performing black ink changes. The entire ink exchanger which includes the black ink exchanger is about $187 and it also contains filter dampers for all the ink channels. Epson sees this as an annual or semi-annual replacement part.

I think that that would be beneficial on a regular basis. But also, if you NEVER EVER do the black ink change the PK will probably keep printing as long as you do not perform a black ink change.

The R3000 does an INIT FILL or INK CHARGE on just the black channel using strong suction (which is healthy for the head and ink lines.) The other inks are not consumed, or at least not in the same quantity. It is supposed to be limited to the black ink exchanger.

Thanks for that clarification Jon. It’s consistent with everything I’ve read about the MK/PK switch in these printers. It was just that your comment read as being specific to the R3000.

If you plan to “NEVER EVER do the black ink change”, then I’d have thought that flush in the unused K channel would be the best option as it would most likely give you the best chance of success should you ever change your mind. This is what I’d do if I had a 3880 running P2.

If it uses the suction at the capping station mostly, I assume that other inks will be consumed during the process.

It’s my understanding that in these ink-lines-and-dampers printers, the MK/PK switch only consumes the black ink being switched to, and none of the other eight channels. So in that respect it’s different to desktop printers like the R2880 and earlier, and also different to switching black cartridges in your K7 R2000. I can’t quick find official figures for the R3000 ink wastage, but Keith Cooper in his review quotes:

[I]Black ink conversion times

. Matte to Photo Black approx. 3 min. 30 sec
. Photo to Matte Black approx. 2 min. sec

Ink used during conversion

. Matte to Photo Black approx. 3 ml
. Photo to Matte Black approx. 1 ml[/I]

Maybe the PiezoFlush is a good idea because no solids to get sludgy over time. We do have a lot of customers installed with it who prefer matte over glossy or visa versa. And we have not had any complaints on it. But that is the extent of the data we have.