New 3880, LLK cart prints PiezoFlush?

I have installed a new 3880 with K7 and Quadtone RIP. The Gloss Black and LLK ink positions have PiezoFlush in refillable carts installed. All other positions have the specified K7 shades in refillable carts.

After printing enough to need to refill carts, I notice that the PiezoFlush cart in the LLK position is empty and needs refilling too. The PiezoFlush cart in the Gloss or Photo Black position is nearly full. I am printing a Matte ink set and Matte ink is indicated as the printer setting.

I realize that SOME of the charge of EVERY cart will be consumed in cleaning cycles but what has happened doesn’t seem right, as if I’ve been “printing” with PiezoFlush, right along.

The first print made on this printer is excellent, and many more have been. As I’ve been fine-tuning my practice I’ve also been unsatisfied with some prints that seem flat, or in which the darker grays and blacks seem weak despite careful adjustment, black masking, and so on.

But the consumption of PiezoFlush from the Light Light Black position does seem wrong. Help?

Hi Bob~

The 3880 printer has two black channels, and only the one that the printer is in the mode of will be used when printing, cleaning and printing nozzle checks. With your printer in MK mode, the PK will not be used at all (which is why that cart is still full). The LLK position isn’t used for Piezography printing, but will be used when you do cleaning cycles and print nozzle checks, which is why the fluid level in this cart has gone down. If the LLK channel was printing along with the others, you would notice an obvious pink cast to your prints.

What papers and curves are you using? Which are you pleased with and which seem flat to you? Are you printing from a Mac or PC? If Mac, what OS and are you using QTR Print Tool or printing from Photoshop to the QuadTone RIP? What resolution and speed are you selecting in QTR when printing?

Please let me know so I can help you move forward with happily printing.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

Hi Dana, thank you.

What bothers me about consumption from LLK is that if it has drained just because of cleanings, I would expect some (but really, ALL) the other carts to have been drained too – and the ones used in printing, much sooner. Still seems odd to me.

To your questions:

I print from Mac to QuadTone RIP. I have QTR Print Tool but don’t need the page imposition features so have bypassed it. Is that a mistake?

I usually print at 2880, unidirectional; sometimes 1440, unidirectional. I can (rarely) see a difference in the prints but stick with the higher res mostly. Select “Send 16-bit data”.

I’m selecting only Curve 1 as “K7-2880-JonConeStudioType2”

For papers, I AM using Jon Cone Studio Type 2, which I like, although at times I’m not “there” yet in what I see. (Slight perfectionism.)
Also use: Firefly dual-sided 220 gsm; Arista Natural White Medium Weight Inkjet Paper, 210 gsm. And assorted odd lots, but my attention is on the performance of the Cone paper above all. I’ve used the same curve in all cases to date.

The “flatness” had been bugging me most the last 3-4 days.

You are welcome Bob, thanks for the additional information- it’s very helpful.

You should get very high quality output with high dMax and good contrast on Type 2 paper with the Type 2 curve, but I do know the Firefly paper will produce a flat print. I have no experience with the Arista paper you’re using. Have you tried Canson Rag Photographique? If not, I suggest you get a sample pack and try it out. You can also check your output linearization to see if your system is printing to it’s full capabilities :slight_smile:

If the LLK cartridge emptied faster that the other cartridges that are used for printing, then that does not sound normal and I have a few questions/things for you to check:

  1. What was the remaining fluid level of the LLK cart vs. the carts that re used for printing (MK, C, M, Y, LC, LM and LK) when you removed the carts to refill?
  2. Is there any PiezoFlush on the LLK cartridge or in the cartridge chamber that may indicate the cartridge is leaking?
  3. Does the printer pressurization pump turn on frequently?

Please let me know, thanks- Dana :slight_smile:

Hi Dana, I’ll mull over the paper suggestions.

To your questions:

No, the LLK cart looks ok, no leaks. It was flat empty when I checked things out and refilled all carts. The PK cart, with PiezoFlush, was perhaps 1/3 down. The other carts varied from about half full still (MK) to empty. Only one or two channels had some remaining ink and I didn’t note which. (Obviously now that I understand the visual control bit, I’ll need to check on things regularly.)

The pressurization pump – not sure I have noticed it. Maybe that means the answer there is ‘No’?

I’ll take a good look this weekend after I have used the printer a bit following the global refill, and keep you posted. Thank you for your guidance.

Thanks for the update Bob.

Yes, you would likely notice if the printer’s pump was running frequently.

Have you ever cleaned the printer’s capping station, wiper blade and/or bottom of the print head? I ask because 1. printer maintenance is important for keeping the machine in good working condition and lasting a long time, and 2. if there’s gunk on the capping station and/or bottom of the print head, this can cause ink to wick out of the cart(s). We have a few written cleaning procedures and a video showing the written procedures and several other cleaning procedures demonstrated on a desktop video- this can be found in the Articles section of this forum, under Product Manuals and Instructions.

Please keep me posted and let me know if you have questions or if there’s anything else I can help you with.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

Yes, Dana. I’ve reflected that POSSIBLY I filled the LLK cart less than the others. But still…

I will learn the maintenance drills and apply them as soon as I can. The printer has been in use since January, consuming a full set of OEM color carts, now through one cycle with the K7. Does that seem like a lot?

Dana, and??? I just looked on Inkjetmall and don’t see hide nor hair of Canson anything. See what you’re dealing with here? :slight_smile:


We have been using Canson papers for years, and love them. Recently, we started discussing and planning to make more of a connection with Canson and their incredible papers, and expect we’ll carry Canson papers in the near future. You can do a Google search for Canson paper, or go to the Canson site to learn more and click “where to buy” to find a reseller. I recommend getting the Discovery Packs to try a range of their media and see what you like best. We use a lot of Rag Photographique, Edition Etching Rag, BFK Rives and Baryta Photographique in our studio, Cone Editions Press.

Your ink consumption being “normal” depends- how much printing have you done since Jan? After installing Piezography inks, you had to do a few Power Clean Cycles to purge color ink from the printer, which used some K7 ink for the initial startup, but now you will just be printing and refilling carts as needed, based on visual inspection- I recommend every morning before printing.

Routine printer maintenance is key to getting the best quality output and longest life from the printer (proper maintenance makes ANY machine work better and last longer).

Please let me know if there’s anything further that I can help you with.
Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:

Hi Dana, again, thank you. No need for you to reply to this reply (?!) at least for now. I’ve ordered some Canson papers to try – I’m quite pleased with the Cone paper, and actually with the others I’m using. It’s not that I’m utterly failing to make good prints. The best are stunners.

I’ll be following up on maintenance, linearization, the rest. And monitoring the printer much more carefully.


Oh – but – drat – I do have this question. I watched the video starring you on how to clean the capping station and printheads. The model in use there is the 1400. But I don’t see, for now, the equivalent areas to clean, nor how to access them, on the 3800. So far as I can tell the printhead and the area where it moves are completely enclosed. What am I missing?

We have not yet a video for Pro model cleaning/maintenance, but many of the procedures demonstrated in our desktop printer maintenance video can be translated to be used on other printer models- but the print head cleaning can only be done on a Pro model printer if you disconnect the dampers from the print head (which is not quick or easy to be a routine maintenance procedure). To access the capping station and bottom of the print head, please refer to our written instructions (which you can find in the Articles> Product Manuals and Instructions section of this forum).

We do plan to make a pro model printer maintenance video, as well as MANY other videos demonstrating use of our products, and other helpful procedures- as soon as we have the time :slight_smile:

Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

Hi again Dana, I’m on “monitoring” mode and in a few days will report back. I’ve marked the PiezoFlush carts so I can see exactly what’s happening.
Another question now. Maybe for another thread but I hope there’s a short, definitive answer.

Looking at your various tech articles the most recent advice for print settings refers to Mac OS10.7.4. I’m using 10.8.3. Given that the article gives very strong emphasis to how Apple keeps moving the goalposts on color management, what IS the correct setting(s) in the print dialog, once K7 is selected as the ‘printer’? Note I’m asking about the settings if I send to print from Photoshop directly, selecting K7 as the printer, and NOT using QTR Print Tool. I’m confused about Color Handling in the Print Dialog – Photoshop Manages, or ???

So my related question is, MUST I use Print Tool? (I find it one more time-consuming and awkward step, for the great majority of cases where I will print one image on one sheet.)

Thank you.

((((PPPSSS)))) May I most gently add, or observe, that, in spite of the large number of articles, forum posts, and the rest, the “instructions” for best practices for Piezography need the brute force attention of a good EDITOR. It is not possible to find all the pieces in one place. Worse, it IS possible to find duplicate bits, some of which either disagree with others one had crossed previously, or, at the least, spark doubt. This is terrible! I would offer myself as the sacrificial beast to put thing right, were I both more fluent in the “PZ lingo” and seeing a block of open schedule ahead. But please for now privilege my question above in your reply.

A further confusion: in the “Printing from 10.7.4 with CS5+6” article referenced above, there is the instruction “Make a custom gray working space of Gamma 2.0 in Photoshop’s Color Settings.”

I don’t see how this is possible. In my Photoshop CS5 Color Settings dialog the ONLY Gamma choices are 2.2 and 1.8. Help?

Hi Bob~

You will notice our Piezography blog posts are made in chronological order, and updates are made as new versions of software, etc… are released, and how various things effect Piezography printing.
Prior to our blog titled “Comparing Apples to Apples”, we did a LOT of testing with various Mac OS’s and Photoshop versions to find the best workflow/settings to get the best quality print, but in the end determined using the QTR Print Tool with 10.6.8+ produces the most consistent and highest quality output across a range of OSs’- so, we recommend all Mac users with 10.6.8 o higher use QTR print Tool for the best results (which prompted the next blog post about QTR Print Tool). It is not mandatory, but we do spend a great deal of time testing, and this is the workflow we recommend for Mac users. In my mind, an extra step to get it right in the beginning, is one less step needed to get to the final print. Certainly, you can do what you prefer or what works best for you, but we give recommendations based on our long experience and high quality standards printing Piezography.

It can be tricky to provide instructions that are easy for everyone to follow and learn from. We frequently update our instructions based on common feedback we get from customers (things people have a hard time understanding, or things many people overlook, etc…). We have a LOT of valuable knowledge to share- both on how to use our products in a factual way (ie: how to fill and use refillable carts), as well as tutorials on how to get the best pint output, how to maintain and get the most from your equipment and lots of background information for those who wish to learn all about what they/we do. Over the years, we have learned that everyone learns and understands differently. Some people get overwhelmed by too much information at once, where as others want everything related to a topic to be together. To satisfy the range of people we work with every day, we carefully construct our instructions and tutorials to work best for the range of people we work with, and have instructions available in multiple places so the useful information we provide is not overlooked or wasted.
What specific document(s) are you referring to? Have you read our latest Piezography manual, where Jon combined many smaller tutorials into one, all inclusive document? We can certainly continue this conversation via email, as we are certainly open to feedback and are always working to make things as clear, easy and high quality for our customers.

Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:

Thank you Dana, yes, I have the latest Piezography manual. And still these have been details that called for more digging. And yes I surely appreciate how with the continual changes (not all improvements) to OS’s and the rest it’s a handful. You do very well.

AND I’m one who can be overwhelmed, too. :slight_smile:

I will take the advice to use Print Tool and go ahead with it. Of course – another step for the best work is part of the deal. Again, this was a detail where the APPARENT mechanisms, as far as how Photoshop, QTR, Piezography, and the printer all work together, looked as if under the hood the processes would come out the same, in ink on paper, regardless.

You are telling me your experience is different. That’s what I needed to know!


You are very welcome Bob, and thank you for recognizing what a project it is to keep up with the constant changes in software and hardware we deal with in this industry. There are unfortunately, both back and forward steps- and we need to be aware of and have a solution available for whatever is thrown us :wink:

We do have a LOT of information available, as Piezography is a professional system, so please let me know if you get lost or stuck and I can point you in the right direction again :slight_smile:

Over months of nearly straight testing of various OS and Photoshop version combinations, I discovered that every combination seemed to produce different results- some dramatically different, and some only slightly different (I can detect slight differences by measuring the output data and comparing). Some OS/PS combinations are stable (for example, 10.4.11 and CS3), but instead of painfully testing all the combinations and listing workflows for each, we decided to make it easy and stable by simply saying all Mac users with 10.6.8 and higher should use the QTR Print Tool for the best results.

Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:

Dana – again – to say the whole thing just works. The best prints are really good. To MY eye and I’m a stinker for perfectionism. I see, also, I am learning, learning. The room for refinement, elaboration, is huge. I thank you all for your advice and support, for sure. I’ll be looking up the maintenance stuff – so there is just one more item, one which I can’t so far find in your online store: more hours to add to my workday.

Excellent Bob, I am happy to hear you are pleased with the prints you are making, and are learning a lot (and I hope you’re having fun doing it- seeing the possibilities open!).

If you find a good source for adding more hours to your workday- I could certainly use a few because I never seem to have enough!!! :slight_smile:

Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.
best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:

Actually Dana there is one thing. In the black, position 1, there is one (1) segment that is blocked – clogged. This has been so for some time, and neither repeated normal cleanings nor power cleans help. I have cleaned the capping station and the printhead, via the PiezoFlush paper towel routine. And this one missing segment remains.

I did an “Auto Head Cleaning” from the panel on the printer – the one segment remains blocked and the printer reports an “error” since it still finds the blocked nozzle at the end of the procedure.

So? What now? Would be best to resolve; for now I am printing of course and wonder just how much difference the one blocked nozzle makes.

Any advice helpful. One thing comes to mind is to use the Print Ink Separation Image thru QTR Calibration Mode strategy. It occurs to me to swap the Position 1 black cartridge for the Position 2 Gloss Black cart, which contains PiezoFlush, and print the Separation Image as described to print just Position 1; swapping the chips on the two carts of course.