Swapping inks and dealing with the residual in the lines

I did a smear test with the PK and MK carts, and the SEL bottle. They all smear a little before GO. The bottle smears more but it is a thicker coating. The two carts hardly smear at all. I wiped them with a Q tip. I just GO’d them and will report back later.

After GO, none of them smear.

Just to verify, the lab values you are supplying are L values, correct? What are you measuring with for a device? Can you supply me with all the LAB values, so I can compare color as well?

It is very unusual that your printer would be putting down ink onto the paper that smears off with GO applied, BUT the inks (BOTH SEL1 & NU1) when swab tested outside of the printer do NOT smear off the paper with GO applied. I am baffled at this situation to say the least. THANK YOU for doing this test for us, this REALLY helps me determine where to from here. With this simple test we have eliminated the inks as possible causes.

I don’t think that your regular practices are out of the normal, you are doing everything correctly. We don’t need to pursue that avenue any farther. You are using your printer regularly, you are agitating your carts regularly and keeping the system in working order.

Did you flush this printer prior to installing the K7 inks? I am wondering if maybe there is some residual flush looming in your system that is causing all this problem. Did you perform any initial fills after installing your K7 inks to chase the flush out???

Since I stay up later than Jeff, I can quickly clarify a couple of points.

Jeff uses an I1 Photo V2 and iProfiler.

He has used the printer regularly, but the PK line went unused for about three months.

Although he refers to “flushing” the lines, it’s my understanding that he has never put carts with piezoflush solution into this printer, well not so far. This printer never had OEM either. It started life from new as a K7 printer about six months ago and has stayed that way ever since. By “flushing”, I believe that he is referring to head cleans, power cleans and printing purge patterns in an attempt to move ink though the PK ink line, in line with the advice provided here.

Thanks Brian and Kelly. To confirm, I am using an i1Pro2 on an i1io2 table, with the latest version of i1Profiler. This printer has never had anything but K7 Neutral near it. I will print an inksep and measure it both pre and post GO and post the result. Brian and I have discussed this at length over the last little while. I have developed a theory with his help, which may be be crazy but may just have some truth. Here it is:

Settling in the lines to the head is inevitable with K7 inks. If a printer uses only MK for an extended period, then settling will happen in the PK line. The way to avoid this would be to swap and print an unknown amount weekly. I haven’t done this.

There is very little shade 1 used in any print. It only kicks in in the darkest part of an image. Most people would probably not notice the difference between where my ink was three months back, and what it is now. I happened to switch to PK and immediately printed and measured targets. What I was trying to do was linearise and build ICC profiles for different amounts of GO.

So what I am seeing is normal. That leaves the question of how to avoid it. As I see it, that would need a weekly swap of PK and MK and some printing. How much, I don’t know.

I’m happy to be told that this is crazy.

Here’s EEF after 3 hours drying and a quick hairdryer. The issue with EEF going blotchy in the 100% patch is still there, hence the jump backwards.

Here’s the GO version after a couple of hours and a hairdryer.

After a little printing over the weekend, I printed and measured another 21 patch set on IGFS. The 100% patch is now down to 4.16.

I broke out the champagne too early. After yesterday’s promising result, I restarted my GO tests and printed 21x4 targets. After leaving them overnight, I am now back to 6.15 this morning. I’m over this until Dana returns.

It’s not unusual to measure different results on a daily basis from an Epson printing system - in that the system is effected by the printer itself, temperature, and relative humidity, as well as the conditions reflected in the media itself which is also subject to temperature and humidity.

Can I ask if you are printing any images, or are you just running tests?

Jon, I understand variation. Is that what you are saying the issue is? In the absence of any indication of what constitutes normal variation, I have asked the question. I haven’t had any response from IJM since the 12th when Kelly asked a number of questions that I have answered. I have also asked a number of questions which are also unanswered.

I do actually print. As I said earlier in this thread, the only reason that I made the discovery is that I wanted to look at linearising for amounts of GO. I have also said that it is quite possible that I may not have noticed any problem if I had not done the measuring. Measuring is akin to letting the print speak for people of the digital age, IMHO. I would expect to be able to measure and get comparable results. This process would be a lot easier if norms were published.

I have also asked the, as yet unanswered, question of exactly what the maintenance requirement is for a 3880. How often does the ink need to be swapped between the two shade 1 inks, how often and how much printing needs to be done to ensure that no sedimentation occurs in the lines to the head.

Along the line it was suggested that a P2 system might be better for me. I would gladly switch to that if it were a complete system. Taking a look at the available curves is a very disappointing exercise.

Until I get some answers, I don’t know which way to go with my setup. I don’t know if I have a problem, and how to avoid it if I have.What I need is some very clear instructions that are missing from the available documentation on this site.

To be asked if I am actually printing after a pause of a week is rather condescending and certainly undeserved. It would’t pass as humour down here.

Hi Jeff,

Dana and Kelly have had illnesses - and so they are not that available lately. I am filling in and will try and answer your questions.

In regards to maintenance of a large format printer. Pigment ink settles regardless of the manufacturer. You will be hard pressed to notice pigment settling in a color printer because you would have to decipher between millions of colors - certainly 100s of thousands of individual colors to determine how settling is affecting the colors. With monochromatic printing - pigment settling is immediately noticeable because a delta E difference of 2 would be noticeable to a b&w photographer. Certainly 5 would be. With this in mind - you would want to shake your carts every two weeks. You would want to print with a large format printer regularly so that ink does not remain in the ink lines for more than two weeks. Now I am talking about maintaining the highest standards - and I can not speak in “OK”, “Pretty Good”, “Not Bad”, “Not Too Bad”. So - from that perspective if ink has remained in the ink lines for two weeks - and you need to make the highest possible standard prints whether Epson color or Piezography BW - you would then want to freshen the ink in the ink lines with an INIT FILL or three Power Cleans after shaking the carts.

With that in mind - you can - and many customers come to us with permanently clogged Mk/PK ink exchangers when using OEM inks. So it is not indicative of Piezography - but of the printer itself… you do not want to run matte ink only for several months - then have to make a perfect glossy print. Were it my studio, I would run the two black ink changes once a week.

If you are not printing often enough to not allow ink to stagnate in the ink lines - then you may consider putting the printer into flush until you need to use it.

The printer is probably more technical than most things in your house, but I bet you a donut that you probably shake your milk or orange juice each day before drinking it. Something like that is necessary for a person to maintain a printer. It has to be out of habit - although our parents taught us to shake and smell milk before gulping it down. No one hands down advice on a printer.

Depending upon the lint in your paper, and dust in your printing room - you will need to thoroughly clean your printer’s capping and cleaning station at least every six months. You should replace your ink exchanger on an annual basis (according to Epson). Finally - the paper paths and rollers and pickup wheel should be dusted and cleaned every month or as needed.

What I have told you is - not for running a Piezography system - but for maintaining an Epson Pro printer as a best practice.

Hope this helps!



Hi Jon,

Thanks.That makes it a lot clearer. So clear, in fact that it makes me wonder whether I should buy an R2000 and sell the 3880. That would give me a printing solution that is easier to hibernate, has no ink lines and can produce print quality as good as any other printer. I go through periods of printing a lot and then not so much. It occurs to me that an R2000 would be a better fit for me.

The downside is cart size, no A2, and micro banding on the first inch. I could live with that. Am I missing something else?

All of the printers we support will produce the same quality when Piezography is installed. So an R2000 would match the Pro 3880. The R2000 would allow you to use two sets of cartridges - one for PiezoFlush and one for Piezography inks. When you are not printing install the PiezoFlush carts and run two head cleanings and turn it off. To do the same in the Pro 3880, you would install a set of PiezoFlush filled carts and run three POWER CLEANS and shut it off. You can restore either model back to ink by installing the ink carts and running the same procedure that you did with the flush.

With the R2000 you are limited to paper size of 13". So you give up width. Also it will not want to handle thick paper as easily - but they can be made to.

Thanks Jon. The R2000 sounds like the way to go for me. It will make it a lot easier to try other ink sets along the way, and will make following best practice easier too.

And the bad news for anyone trying to convert a Piezography printer back to colour is that two power cleans doesn’t flush the PZ inks. I have just tried building a new ICC profile and it’s quite different to my old colour 3880

Then do three! Which is what we recommend in the installation instructions for the 3800 / 3880. Two does not bring the ink fully to the head - and you will have partially exchanged inks.

Thanks Jon. Somehow, I had 2 in mind. Is that 3 per K channel or are the blacks less of an issue?

The Power Clean is a function that does all channels at one time. You can not separate one channel at a time. So you run the POWER CLEAN three times.

Epson 3800/3880:
NOTE: 3-4 Power Clean Cycles can be done thru the printer’s control panel, which is the equivalent of doing 1 Initial Fill Cycle
To do a Power Clean Cycle, push the Menu button on the printer, scroll down to select Maintenance, then scroll down to select Power Clean, then push the center circle button to start the cycle. NOTE: Power Clean Cycles will only flush the black ink channel that the printer is currently in the mode of (where as the Initial Fill will purge ALL channels at once, including both blacks)

I think Jeff is referring to the MK/PK switch. Are you suggesting three power cleans for one K and then do the switch and do three for the other K?

I am referring to PK and MK. I understand that the Power Clean will only purge PK or MK. My question then is whether I should get the 3880 adjustment program and run an initial fill to flush all inks or to persist with power cleans. Additionally, should I load a set of cart with flush and do the initial fill with them and then follow that with Epson ink?

My first exercise with the new printer is to build profiles. I really need to know that I am back to square one before starting down that path.