The Epson 3880, GO, and Pizza Wheels


I’m one of those fortunate folks who never encountered the infamous ‘pizza wheels’ using OEM inks on my Epson 3880, or the 3800 that preceded it. Alas. My recent excursion into Piezography exposed that challenge. Printing on Canson’s [I]Baryta Photographique[/I] or [I]Platine Fibre Rag[/I] - both satin/luster type papers requiring gloss optimizer (GO) - revealed the tiny track marks running lengthwise, when viewed at an angle under a strong light source. The problem didn’t emerge when printing the ink itself - for which I exclusively use the Manual Rear feed - but upon applying the GO coat. I’m guessing that the GO coat is rather soft when first applied and it is that, along with the higher native acutance of Piezography, that makes it an issue.

The problem is exacerbated with those two papers because they both require a second application of GO to totally remove bronzing and gloss differential. The pizza wheels get worse on the second pass.

I also discovered, to my chagrin, that the ‘Leading Edge’ trick described under Glossy Printing Tips ( did not help. When using the Manual Front Feed on my 3880, with or without a leading edge sheet taped to my print, GO would only apply along [I]one[/I] of the margins. It resolutely refused to lay down over the printed area.

Clearly, notwithstanding the couple extra inches of paper white taped to my print, the Front Feed sensor was seeing the printed area and preventing the proper application of GO.

What I ultimately found worked was to go into the LCD Menu and set PAPER SIZE CHECK TO [I]‘OFF.’[/I] (Interestingly, the Epson manual clearly states “If PAPER SIZE CHECK is set to OFF on the LCD, you cannot load paper in the front manual feed slot” - a warning which I found to be unfounded). This apparently disables the problematic sensor.

There’s one other potential issue… the Front Feed slot design assumes heavy, rather rigid media. It’s possible for a ~300-GSM print, alone, if it has even a minute bit of curl (which it very well might, fresh off of printing and hair dryer treatment) to get hung up as it traverses the feed path. A single sheet of 2-ply mat board placed under the print (they don’t need to be taped, but simply placed carefully such that the print and the mat board register perfectly with both each other and the feed tray) solves that problem.

Now happily printing glossy with Piezography! Just wanted to share in case anyone else runs into this problem…

As a sidebar, I’d note that the Jon Cone Type 5 paper seems largely immune to the pizza wheel problem I experienced with the two Canson papers. Between its particular texture and coating - and that it consistently requires only a single coat of GO versus the two coats of the Canson papers - I find that I don’t need to use the Manual Front feed drill. Just apply the GO coat using the normal Manual Rear feed and I’m good to go. The Type 5 is wonderful on its own merits - it has the same luxuriant feel of the Canson Platine Fibre Rag, along with a rather unique rag-like quality normally only seen in matte papers. It really is a very unique, lovely paper and is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. The fact that it avoids the pizza wheel issues on the 3880 is a very nice bonus!



Hi Jeff~

Thanks for sharing your experiences, and tips you have learned with your 3880 Piezography gloss setup. I don’t regularly use our 3880 for Piezography printing (mainly because we have several other, larger printers down stairs in our studio that I use instead), but have done some printing with it over the years. I found the front paper path is good for avoiding pizza wheel marks when printing the GO layer, as it raises up the pizza wheel bar so it doesn’t touch the paper. Yes, some glossy papers such as Canson Baryta Photographique require two layers of GO for the best results, but our Type 5 paper looks great with only one layer, and I prefer the paper surface of Type 5 over most other gloss and semi-gloss papers, so I’m glad you like it too!!

Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile: