My initial Piezography woes...and solutions




First, I am excited to finally bite the bullet and buy my first Piezography system. Many first’s, first time using a Mac, first time using a R2880 (had a 3880 for a short time - wish I kept it)… First time using ABW system, first time using a RIP. Anyway, had many issues starting with the paper just feeding and ruining the paper (solved it by cleaning the grabber - I thought buying a refurbished machine from Epson it would have been clean). Prints came out nice the first day and then the inks one by one started to empty and need refilling (hence the reasoning why I wished I kept my 3880). But I ran into problems. I think this is what happened.

When I had my 4th cart go empty, I decided to refill them all so I wouldn’t have that for a while. I started printing a new job and the contrast was off. It looked like a bad print from a 60’s magazine screen print. I printed a picture that I already had printed the night before and sure enough, they were very different. The new one was much darker.

My thinking was I did one of a few things:

  1. I put the wrong ink in a cart
  2. I didn’t shake a couple and possibly got a thicker portion of a lighter color. - could this be the problem?
  3. I used a wrong syringe in filling a cart.

I thought I was careful in putting the ink in the carts, but it was late and I was tired (after I saw the prints printed differently, I capped the vents and then thought maybe if I simply clean the print heads and forgot that I had closed the vents the night before, I was frustrated and exhausted and went even more crazy before realizing this.) I KNOW I didn’t shake a couple and was wondering if that could be the problem (if the carts unshaken would dramatically effect the cart and if so, did I ruin that ink set?)

How I plan on fixing the issue. One or more of the carts has bad ink so what I plan to do is buy another set of carts and fill them when I am fresh as well as Piezoflush system. Test up to 7 inks until the culprit is found and the printing returns to its intended form. Afterwards, do a thorough maintenance cleaning of the whole printer and start again.

Once I find the culprit bad cart, I have to throw it away as I believe I cannot simply flush it out and filling it properly. I also plan on cleaning all the syringes (maybe I used the wrong syringe). The system is delicate. Writing this post, I am putting GO on my prints and I just ran out of GO, refilled it and went to print and had a bunch of lines (as if it were clogged…I don’t know - I wish I kept that 3880 - 80ML’s!!! ). I did a cleaning and still…lines maybe the air vent is clogged (I initially put the syringe down the vent hole and realized it before I pressed the plunger, but maybe a little came out and the vent is plugged up (again…end of the day tiredness when I went to fill the GO). I just left the vent open and it will evaporate I guess if that is the problem). I do know, I am done printing until I get new carts…find out the bad cart and maintenance the printer and start fresh…and always fill carts when I am fresh!

Anyway, I am excited to be here after the purchase and I am sure there are tricks to the trade that I need to learn. I would love to take the 3 day workshop, but funds are tight and I think I would get more out of it after I learn more instead of a beginner. Can anyone recommend a book or forum threads here on B&W process specifically grayscale calibration so I can have a better workflow from screen to print.

My prints were set to the Gamma 2.2 workspace and I am able to change the brightness of my monitor to 85% (but 85% of what?). How to calibrate it to Gamma 2.2? I didn’t see it in the manual. Do I calibrate it with EYEONE, Hardware (I have an old NEC Multisync 2090uxi color calibrated montitor), or Photoshop? I also want to learn contrast curves that seem to work the best for the Piezography flow. I really want to understand the B&W aspect and have proper tonality in my prints. Anyway, my printing will be down for a few days while I get my new carts and flush so I thought I could work on those areas while I am down.

I want to say the manual was easy to work with in getting the QTR RIP going, the QTR PRINT tool, setting up the printer etc. I have to look to see about the calibration next. But first I have to fix my carts, if my solution is incorrect, then please let me know and advise what I should do.

Thank you in advance

Al Cheech


All in all I will say I admire your determination!

First hint. You can simply switch the CHIPS on the cartridges (and label them with sharpie). They snap off. This documentation is on our website and on our youtube page. However, if you believe that you polluted a cart with 2 different shades, you will need to chuck it.

Second. Very soon we will be publishing a brand new manual book that will constantly be updated and is much more edited! Working hard on it. Stay tuned.

Third. More updated curves for all printers can be found at (don’t use the QTR default piezo curves, they are old and will be taken out of the next release). will soon be relaunched with our full curve archive, documentation, targets.

Fourth. Piezography Professional Edition (+ deluxe manual) will also be launched soon to enable full high-quality linearization (calibration) of piezography just with an eye-one.

Fifth. The QuadtoneRIP yahoo group (google it) is a great resource for information. I recommend searching that archive. Google is always your friend in this regards.

I am in process of gathering up curves, documentation, and workflows and putting them all in one place (and one download) to simplify the process of getting started with Piezography. I would say it’s 88% percent. You came at a time of rapid transition.


ps: more reply coming later, right now I need to get dinner as I just got home.


More updated curves for all printers can be found at (don’t use the QTR default piezo curves, they are old and will be taken out of the next release). will soon be relaunched with our full curve archive, documentation, targets.
Walker, where exactly at we can find the updated curves? I could find only glossy and P2 curves on the support page, but not matte K7, which are the ones included with QTR.


The 2880 and 3880/7880/9880 curves are actually interchangeable (recently confirmed). :slight_smile:

I do suggest checking out the P2 curves however if you have the interest. They are the newest. The matte P2s will work with your current ink-set. I will be updated all curves over the coming year and will ideally be lowering the cost of custom profiling a bit.

also, one can now linearize with Roy’s QTR-Linearize-Quad (if you have a spectrophotometer). There is an intermediate step requiring a tool we are building at InkjetMall to do it at the “piezography” level, so this will also be published soon.



Wow … thank you for the info as well as the compliment on determination as it took me 6 months to simply pull the trigger on this purchase.

I often fought with my thoughts that “Piezography is overkill” K3 is fine (especially since most of what I print currently originally was scanned from prints, sometimes small at that) so the separation of tones is minimal, but often these can be brought to life in Photoshop which I am learning and I loved the fact that Piezography is true B&W. I also have an massive archive of original B&W 2.25 negatives that I can scan and make prints from (my goal there is to purchase an Imacon 848 and wet mount the film - the later Imacon’s have a diffused light source which make dust and scratches less noticeable but the light source also takes away the data of the histogram. I know in most cases that even the Imacon will also be overkill as I mostly print 8x8 and at largest 12x12, but if the data is there, why not grab it? It makes the data more valuable if I sell the original negative. A drum scanner I believe would be too slow as I have tens of thousands of original negatives worthy of scanning…and even more that are not.

I own an old archive of original film and prints from the 1960’s and 1970’s of pinup and b-film stars. Some of the 8x10 prints are really cool from a famous photographer Serge Jacques and these were used to make the pages of the magazines themselves and what the publisher did was make the print stand out in those magazines was airbrush with actual paint to touch them up (Photoshop of the day).

My goal was and is to preserve this era which began in 2008 I wanted to preserve Bunny Yeager’s archive as she lost all of her original film in Hurricane Andrew. I had film made using a CRT film recorder Solitaire 8XP so she could use darkroom techniques again instead of cheap inkjet prints. Even if her film hadn’t been lost in hurricane Andrew, I think most of her film was nitrate “pre-safety” film and would have already started to disintegrate. Another deciding factor in Piezography was the ability to again have a darkroom process worthy of the darkroom as the CRT negs were not quite as good as the original an LVT film recorded negs would have been close to the original but too expensive. Piezography Digital Negatives completes the preservation as they can exceed that of the original negative with the curves of all types (so I am told).

Anyway, that is enough about my reasoning for Piezography and am excited about my purchase…Now got to go to the inkjetmall and buy some carts, paper and flush…



Your ink-set will also work with the newest generation of Piezography Digital Negatives called “PiezoDN”.

Specifically built to surpass most if not all LVTs in quality (for sure the solitairs as they were CRT based), and most definitely in adaptability.



From your forum the r2880 is not yet support PiezoDN. I can use your second revision of digital negatives by replacing two carts with 2.5 and 4.5 shades. It was why I sold my 3880 and bought the r2880 because I was planning on doing a lot of switching back and forth and the small format printers do not waste ink like the pro series when switching inks out. But in looking at the FAQ with the I should have kept my 3880 as it seems the new system doesn’t require ANY ink switching in making piezodn negs AND the 3880 is already is supported… NOW I AM REALLY KICKING MYSELF FOR SELLING MY 3880 (LOL).


[QUOTE=walkerblackwell;11806]The 2880 and 3880/7880/9880 curves are actually interchangeable (recently confirmed). :)[/QUOTE]

Can I just clarify something? I seem to recall that recently you were concerned about different dithering between the desktop and Pro printers, which would mean that curves were not interchangeable, despite these printers using the same (DX5?) print head. I take it from this comment that you’ve satisfied yourself on this issue? Have I understood this correctly?


I believe you stated that the dithering occurs on the top and bottom one inch of the print if not mistaken. I normally don’t print in those areas so it is not much of a concern as of now. It might be if I print 12x12’s (half inch on top and bottom)… Is that the reason it stated in the manual to not print on the top and bottom one inch?

In reading your blog about choosing a printer, I think the pros are not for me. I think just having a few sets of carts with my r2880 will be fine. I may look into just setting up my printer as a K6 (I think you convinced me on the shade 7 not being necessary and if I print matte. I may look also into getting a r2000 as color/ABW and see if Piezography is really necessary for my needs (I print mostly glossy small prints and maybe I am not justified with a dedicated B&W printer. I could switch either r2880 or r2000 back and forth from color to Piezo if not mistaken. Probably flush the channels would be best or simply a head cleaning?

Thank you again for your information.



@brian So far I see linear results between 3880 and 2880 on P2.


[QUOTE=AlCheech;11820]I believe you stated that the dithering occurs on the top and bottom one inch of the print if not mistaken. I normally don’t print in those areas so it is not much of a concern as of now. It might be if I print 12x12’s (half inch on top and bottom)… Is that the reason it stated in the manual to not print on the top and bottom one inch?[/QUOTE]

Dithering is different to microbanding. Microbanding is what you read about on my blog and what you get on in the first and last inch when printing with QTR on a desktop printer.

Dithering refers to the algorithm whereby the printer puts the ink dots on the page. QTR expects 720 pixels per inch (and will resample one way or another to get it if you don’t send it), and you normally print via QTR at 2880 dots per inch. Dithering is the algorithm that translates from one to the other. At least that’s my understanding.

There was a question raised a while back about whether desktop printers have a sufficiently different dither algorithm to the Pro printers like the 3880 to make it difficult to use Piezography curves from a 3880 on an R2880. Walker now seems to be of the view that you can. This is a side issue to the ones to raised, and I only temporarily diverted the thread onto this question because Walker seemed to imply that he had formed a view on the matter.

@Walker - thanks.


Thank you @Brian_S and @Walker. I am now becoming more understanding of the “lingo” (initially though, I was talking about dithering with spacing and later maybe talked about microbanding and now I understand what that is and why it is an issue for non-pro printers (firmware handles the pro’s and QTR doesn’t have the device driver code for the non-pro’s; hence microbanding). It is not much of an issue for me as I mostly print square. My other sizes are 1 x 1.5 ratio (35mm film scans) and I will just reduce them a notch as to not go over the one inch.

Here is where I am at:
Got the Piezoflush Kit and did a full maintenance with the printer according to the instructions
I also flushed the syringes in case I used a syringe for 2 inks and the syringe became contaminated.
rinsed them with water and dried them with a papertowel

Tomorrow I am going to fill one set of carts, install and do 2 head cleanings to clear out any Piezoflush.

Then “I hope” that I am good to go.

My only concern was if I used the wrong syringe that I contaminated one of the inks sets, but I can’t see the tiniest amount of ink causing that much damage (am I wrong?)

How do I test the output from the inks that I will be installing? TIA everyone.


…From Bad …To worse!!! I cleaned the printer according to the instructions. I even cleaned the syringes. Put new carts… Prints come out the same… And now a new problem Ink was ALL over the print. I had just cleaned it perfectly and now there is ink on the bottom where the heads go over. It seems the most of the problem is on the left side of the printer (opposite the heads)… Maybe all the head cleanings filled the pads and now overflowing… maybe I did something wrong in maintenance (I don’t think so, I followed the directions to the T). The ink getting onto the print is less and less.

After the 3rd print, and wiping down the rail with a paper towel up came a piece of paper pad (a 4 legged spider) from the left side and underneath was a sponge and now I don’t know what to do.

I am afraid to do anything right now with that piece of paper pad outside the printer that was inside it before. I’m at wits end. I have ink all over my hands… print orders to fulfill… spent $700 so far with no end in site on how to fix this issue…

Is it possible to get a QTR calibration print on Type 5 paper as that is the paper I have been using so I can compare when I print mine. BTW, how do I print out the ink separation page using QTR calibration mode? I just can’t keep throwing money at this!!! My fear is I contaminated actual 110 ML bottles by using a wrong syringe and put some in. All the settings are right (Gamma 2.2 tif files - correct paper type… just output is horrendous) IDK…

I made it so contamination of ink bottles could never happen again (I now keep each syringe with the ink)… and I made a nice filling station (where the inks can’t tip over)… I even bought 10ml syringes that I can simply throw the syringes out after I fill carts…

I was planning on buying a waste bottle the next go around (seems now I have to do it sooner than I had planned) but I don’t know what to do with the ink problem I am having and now with the pads not in the proper place…and no money to buy more ink to figure out. Any help would be appreciated!

Thank you,

Black Hands Al…


found the QTR calibration page… sponge on the bottom was coming apart … can I replace that? I think it mostly is for borderless printing overspray (which I obviously do not do as QTR doesn’t allow it.


Did you put a pad of paper towel down under the head before you flushed it !?!? Otherwise, yes, you will get ink everywhere.


Please tell me the exact inks (their shades and their hues and placements for example: Shade 2 Selenium in Cyan cartridge). Then tell me what .quad you are trying to print with. Remember, Piezography requires 2 print passes. 1 for the ink and 1 for the gloss optimizer.



GO only shows on gloss papers. So make sure you do a nozzle check on gloss paper and look at an angle to see the nozzles printing. Also (as stated above) you need to do second pass printing using the GO curve with Piezography.

I think what is happening as that you are entering a professional system without fully reading the documentation and writing involved. The manual and will help some. The upcoming one will help a lot. Reading the manuals on this forum will help a TON.

Everything is spelled out here. Also on the website.



Inks are as follows:

Position 1: LLK - GO
Position 2: LM - 5
Position 3: LC - 3
Position 4: LK - 6
Position 5: Pk - 1
Position 6: C - 2
Position 7: M - 4
Position 8: Y - 7

Type 5 Glossy.quad is what I am printing

Yes I do know that I need to do two passes for Glossy (I blow dry if I GO the same night). Like I said I initially got great results.

I AM reading the documentation thoroughly. VERY THOROUGHLY! Yes I put the paper towel down when doing the maintenance. I went through second by second on the maintenance on Youtube. It seems one or more of the heads clogged AFTER I did the maintenance. Cyan was totally blank. (that is what I think must have leaked onto the page for some reason.) Now the nozzle check shows a partial for it. I’ve done 10 or more cleanings and it still doesn’t show a clean nozzle check for CYAN.

When I did my maintenance I piezoflushed every channel properly. Prior to maintenance, I had a perfect nozzle check. After it was terrible (probably initially it was the P flush as I didn’t even do a nozzle check until after the 3rd cleaning). I did a calibration page (I initially just printed it and then printed it in calibration mode set in the RIP.) The first shows the ink leak on the page, the second with printing in calibration mode showed lines on every channel and cyan totally blocked (I had already done 3 cleanings at that point). I did 5 more and still CYAN was not perfect. The nozzle checks had a partial dark shade 7 (maybe cyan leaked over)…IDK After 10+ cleanings I am still not getting a clean cyan channel… where prior to maintenance it was fine.

I know many people are excited with something new and don’t read properly, but I read it very thoroughly…watched the videos and then went through it pausing along the way. The only thing I believe I had done wrong was put the wrong ink in a cart and possibly from a syringe to a bottle (IDK). I was tired from not sleeping the day before after the excitement of the initial results. I’ve now eliminated that by placing the syringes with the inks so I can’t use wrong syringes and I plan on changing all the inks when one goes so I don’t run through cleaning cycles wasting ink (like I had to do tonight).

I’m reading blogs and learning. I know I am a beginner, but I am learning. I understand why you can’t print on the top and bottom inch in QTR due to the device drivers for the older printers (firmware fixes the pro series). I was learning calibration so what I see on my monitor is close to what I see on the page (still have a lot to learn, but I am reading and taking my time). It was just frustrating to see my ink all over the page and the bad results of the initial prints… scary in fact, but now I am at least getting a better calibration check (just cyan is still not giving a perfect nozzle check)

Why would a channel totally clog after doing a maintenance…flushing each of the channels with P flush?

I did a thorough cleaning…I even cleaned the syringes… I did 3 head cleanings before printing anything. Like I said I had a perfectly clean nozzle check prior to doing the maintenance cleaning WHICH I FOLLOWED TO THE T…even went out and bought Bounty paper towels!

My question when I flushed the cyan channel which gave a perfect nozzle check prior to the maintenance now could it have lodged something that was in the head and caused a bad nozzle after flushing it? I will scan everything to show the process of what I went through so you can better see what might have happened.

Also, where is the Piezo 2 glossy files? I thought that if I contaminated number 7 then that would be the easiest fix by bypassing it all together by using K6 curves. So I do read. I just can’t find stuff sometimes like the K6 .quad files. It is likely all right because it is the lightest in the calibration mode now. And maybe they all are all right.

In the future if I have a seemingly clogged head (like the cyan I had), should I simply flush the channel again so I don’t waste so much ink? 10 cleanings is a lot.

Thank you for getting back to me.


In looking at my last Calibration test after 10+ cleanings. Cyan still has lines and its shade 2 is lighter than shade 3. The lighter lines in the pattern are close to that of shade 4 (which is directly below it). So until I get direction on what I should do with Cyan channel to get a clean nozzle check (Piezoflush the channel or continue head cleanings)…I’m not going to print until tomorrow.

Thank you again


What I think is happening is you are getting cross contamination in the channel walls of the print-head. Often this looks like a combination of clogs and then half of one shade will actually print a mixture of itself and a shade next to it. This [I]can[/I] happen with this printer if it’s old, but it is rare. I have one in lab that actually does this but I use it every day successfully: Basically you need to empty your carts and refill from the correct bottles. Reset them and place them back in the printer. It will do 1 cleaning. Do one more cleaning and let the printer sit for an hour. Then print a nozzle check. If the nozzle check is good, print an image to see if all is well. If the check is bad do one more cleaning and let sit.

If cyan is clogged, you very well may have in-advertently gotten a particle in the ink inlet. Put the small format flush kit over that inlet (with a small amount of piezoflush primed through the flush device) and suck up instead of pull down. This can dislodge gunk that got partially into the inlet. I down this so do the first procedure first.



It’s hard to follow all this, but what I’d say is that in these desktop printers, not all nozzle gaps are clogs. Often they’re air gaps, especially if they move around and especially after cleaning routines. This is particularly true if a channel is missing completely after a cleaning routine. As per my lessons I’ve learnt, patience and printing purge patterns are better in such situations. Patience to let air settle is hard when all you want to do is get on and print, but it still is often the best medicine. This is also true when refilling and reinserting carts - as per the instructions let them rest after filling and then rest again after inserting in the printer. Failure to do this can result in leaks.

Walker is often cautioning about not printing when you’ve had a clog, as you may burn out those nozzles. This is not something that I’ve ever experienced. But many times I have experienced having air in a desktop printer, as evidenced by nozzle gaps that move around, and only patience interspersed with purge patterns has resolved the matter. As the lessons say, head cleans usually made matters worse in such circumstances.