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Author Topic: Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800  (Read 9196 times)
Mr. Capp
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« on: March 12, 2009, 12:32:48 PM »
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I've got a brand new Epson 3800 and after ran have started experimenting with the Ilford Gold Fibre Silk 13x19 and have noticed these micro-scratches running length-wise in the direction of the paper movement. It looks like it's happened on all of them. I've got the platen set to wider, the paper thickness at 4. They seem to show up in darker areas of the print but it's not the only case. The 8.5x11 didn't seem to have any scratches, I've tried both the sheet feeder and the rear feed, of which the rear feed seemed actually worse.

I've called epson and they said the rollers were dirty(?) I'd accecpt this if the printer wasn't brand new. The scratches did not appear on the thinner RC inkpress luster I used. I also wrote to Ilford and they said the paper was made for this printer and have never seen a problem. The scratches albeit faint are still noticable. Has anyone ever has this problem? My next step is to increase the thickness to a 5 and increase drying time(?) The paper is beautiful but if it cannot produce an unmarred print what's the point?

Any suggestions? experiences similar?
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Dale_Cotton2
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2009, 12:53:13 PM »
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Yes, I had that happen to me. Just a bit of grit somewhere in the paper path. I don't remember if I cleaned the paper path or it went away on its own. In your case apparently to the left of where 8.5" ends and 13" ends. Perhaps try using some sort of blower?
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Sharon Van Lieu
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2009, 05:34:53 PM »
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I have had the same problem with Ilford. I read all the forum posts on the is subject. The scratches did go away with a coat of print shield but it is aggravating.

If it is dirt on a roller, I wonder if running some matte paper like epson velvet would help?

Sharon
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Mr. Capp
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 05:57:08 PM »
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Quote from: pearlstreet
I have had the same problem with Ilford. I read all the forum posts on the is subject. The scratches did go away with a coat of print shield but it is aggravating.

If it is dirt on a roller, I wonder if running some matte paper like epson velvet would help?

Sharon

I did order some roller cleaning sheets. Whether it will help or not I have no idea. So, you had no real resolution other than Print shield? What is this stuff? A spray? Seems odd to have to use this on a paper designed for the 3800. Have you had any other experiences like this with any of the other papers, other than ilford? Like Harmon? I wanted to try something like museo portfolio rag or a hanemuhle photo rag. I wonder if it's a thickness issue, or a paper inconsistency.
Thanks for your reply,
Michael

www.michaelcappabianca.com
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Mr. Capp
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2009, 05:59:15 PM »
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Quote from: Dale_Cotton2
Yes, I had that happen to me. Just a bit of grit somewhere in the paper path. I don't remember if I cleaned the paper path or it went away on its own. In your case apparently to the left of where 8.5" ends and 13" ends. Perhaps try using some sort of blower?

Dale, the scratches are on both sides of the paper, and in multiple places. I think the canned air is worth a try!
-Michael


www.michaelcappabianca.com
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Dale_Cotton2
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2009, 08:29:20 PM »
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> The scratches did go away with a coat of print shield but it is aggravating.

The one time I tried Print Shield on photo black prints was not pretty; big loss in Dmax; probably doing something wrong but I'm not trying that again without further input. Sharon: curious if you had the same problem?

Also should point out, as I learned from other posters on this forum: IGFS and similar papers are incredibly delicate out of the printer. You only have to look at them cross-eyed to lay down a scratch. Really makes you appreciate RC. But they do toughen up after a few days of drying. I've learned to put each print up on a shelf for several days right out of the printer. But I guess it depends on what sort of handling your prints get. If they're just going straight into a frame, your usual routine should suffice.

Finally, and a bit off-topic: Epson Proofing Paper White Semimatte (a new product) is an incredible match for IGFS and similar warmtone white photo papers.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 08:37:04 PM by Dale_Cotton2 » Logged
AaronPhotog
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2009, 11:29:36 PM »
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I've had the same problem with the large 17" x 25" sheets of Harman Gloss FB Al in my 3800, but I figured out the cause and a solution.
When the ink hits the paper, the surface trys to stretch, and the back won't let it, so the paper buckles before it exists the print area.  It looks like an "M" shape.  Two scratches are laid down at the peaks of the "M" parallel with the direction of travel.  The scratches are perfectly straight and are typically symmetrical about the centerline.  They don't always run the full length of the printed area, but are typically found where a fair amount of ink has been laid down.  They are not head strikes, as there is no lateral scratching, and no deposits of extra ink along them.  Epson has little built-in sharp edges in the paper path I guess.  Brilliant!

This happens regardless of the relative humidity, because the paper back and front reach a sort of equilibrium after sitting for awhile before being used, but as soon as ink hits the front side, the opposing forces kick in and it buckles.

The cure is simple once you think about it.

1. Lay your print paper on a flat smooth surface (I use a piece of foamcore that I made into drying racks), face down.
2. Gently bend the sides up and over to take some of the backward center curl out if it's there, then lay it back down flat.  Be careful not to kink the paper - it kinks without much provocation.
3. With a fine mist sprayer, gently spray clean water (distilled if you prefer) evenly on the back of the paper.  Spread it out with a clean, folded piece of soft paper towel.
4. Walk away.  The print will curve upwards about an inch or so in two places near the long edges, sometimes one side more than the other.  It's OK.  Just wait.
5. Set up your computer to print.  Get the image(s) placed, all the settings right, and then go take a look at the paper.  It will have relaxed quite a bit, but it shouldn't be quite flat yet.  It should feel cool from the evaporation of the water.
6. Once it has relaxed to the point where the edge curl is a little less than a quarter of an inch, you can carefully pick it up from a short end and place it in the fully extended sheet feeder of the 3800.  Carefully position the leading edge so that it's straight and near the back of the sheet feeder at the bottom.  This is important.
7. Press the printers paper advance button.  You may have to wait a bit while the printer does some routine, or it might take it right away.  Just keep the paper straight and near the back.  All of a sudden, "whap-zap," the printer will advance it into the machine to the "starting" position.  It will then go up and down a touch, and then stop.  You should still see the green light on the printer and the word "ready" indicating that it has loaded properly.  If you see the red light, hit the advance button again, and start over from step 6.
8. Go back to the printer and complete the printing setup process.  Hit "print."  (sorry I'm being so specific - I know - I could have just said "spray the back with water and let it partly dry." This is just to make sure I don't leave something out.)
9. As the paper comes out of the printer, use your fingers under the middle area of the leading edge to just give it a little support so it won't suddenly buckle downwards.  You just need to barely feel the bottom of the paper so it won't go up, but will just slide forward.  Continue supporting it very gently until the leading edge is past the first joint in the paper tray.  Then you can safely lower the leading edge.  It should be close to the paper tray by this point anyway.  I tried to make a ramp to do this, but my hand works better.
10.  Stand back and watch your gorgeous print come out.  I use a small flashlight to check the surface for scratches now and then, looking at the reflection of the light on the surface.  When it's done, gently pick up the print by the leading corners and transfer it face up to your drying rack, again being careful not to let it kink (when it's wet it's even more susceptible to kinks).

So far, with this method, I've had no scratches whatsoever.  Before, it was an absolute nightmare.  Now, another gremlin has been vanquished from my GPH (Great Printer from Hell).

I expect this problem to appear with most large sheets of fiber based papers in the Epson 3800, and other printers that do not have a strong vacuum feed.

Give it a try and you'll be amazed.

Aloha,
Aaron
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 11:32:59 PM by AaronPhotog » Logged

Aaron Dygart,
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2009, 12:08:21 AM »
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I have had a larger scuffed mark on the Harman Gloss FB that I was able to fix by changing the platen width and drying time. I did not see any effect at all of the print shield on the Ilford GFS print. Comparing it to a non-sprayed print, there was no difference. I held it upright and applied one light coat in one direction and after it dried, I sprayed another light coat in a perpendicular direction. The very light scratch that was about 3.5 inches long disappeared and did not reappear after several days.

I'm not totally convinced that it happened in the printer. I think it might have been on the sheets themselves. When I reorder, I am going to check the next box very carefully. I was in a bind in that the print I was working on prints a thousand times better on the Ilford than any other paper and I had to get the order out.

Sharon
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 12:19:15 AM by pearlstreet » Logged

Sharon Van Lieu
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2009, 12:10:10 AM »
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Oh, and I should add that I am extremely careful with these papers. I wear gloves when handling and am careful not to drag the sheets removing them from the box. I print one photograph at a time and always put them in a safe place to dry.

Sharon
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 12:10:30 AM by pearlstreet » Logged

jasonrandolph
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2009, 11:10:49 AM »
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I noticed a similar problem with my 3800 using Epson Exhibition Fiber.  After examining the print after it came out of the printer, I noticed the fine scratches on the surface of the paper.  It didn't affect the ink laid down, but when examining the sheen of the surface, it was obvious.  I didn't discard the print though.  A few days later, i went back and reexamined the print, and I couldn't find the scratches!  I had figured that the original problem was the platen being too close to the paper, but now I'm leaning toward the "equilibrium" theory.  Regardless of the reason, at least it isn't ruining any prints I've made.
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Sharon Van Lieu
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2009, 11:22:13 AM »
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On the Ilford, the unsprayed version I ran still has the scratch after several weeks. I had hoped it would disappear as it dried but it didn't.

Sharon
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Conner999
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2009, 05:20:09 PM »
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Odd. I have that issue with large sheets of FB AL a VERY scratch-prone paper due to a similar swelling issue as described above. Get around it by feeding via front slot/ w a backer (see Eric Chan's site for details).  But with GFS (my face non-matte) - no worries. Spotless prints. Other than dirt, a solution would be to try the platen setting at 5 (will make do difference in IQ).

While darker areas will show marks more, it sounds like swelling of paper where there  is heavy ink placement.  Heavily inked area swells/tries to buckle (gets that 'wave' shape in heavy ink areas coming out of exit path) and JUST contacts pizza wheels, etc. With the tight tolerances we are talking about it won't take much in a manufacturing tolerance in the printer, paper or humidity to cause contact. I love my 3800 but my next unit will NOT have pizza wheels ;>

If wider platen setting etc doesn't work - front feed works fine.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 05:25:39 PM by Conner999 » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2009, 08:07:51 AM »
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Hi all,

I had this problem with Ilford Galerie Gold Fiber Silk (IGGFS) on my Epson 3800 when I first got it a month ago.
It occurs due to the paper arching with a relatively large ink load causing the surface to touch one (or more) of the front star wheels.  It seems that just a touch is enough to mark the surface using this paper.  The scratches were down the length of the image and could only be seen when the light is shone onto the print in a particular direction (ie. a very fine scratch in the surface).

Several people have had this problem and if you do a search I'm sure you'll find more ideas regarding fixing it.
I fixed it by locating the star wheel causing the issue (by position) and removing it.  This is quite simple to do and I can put it back if I need to (but I haven't tried yet).  The other necessity is to use a paper thickness of 5 and a platen gap of Wide.

With this "fix", 99% of the scratches were eliminated.  I now get the occasional small scratch near a darker area of a print - but not enough to make me remove any more wheels.  I have printed over 230 sheets (a4 and a3+) of IGGFS in the last month without a problem using the standard sheet feeder, without any other time consuming practices (such as bending the paper or using the front feed).  I bought this printer to print multiple sheets of IGGFS from the normal sheet feeder and it is working great with this "fix".

Hope this helps,
Richard.
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Mr. Capp
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2009, 08:10:57 PM »
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It seems like I'd have to remove just about all the wheels here. Tried some more printing today and not any good. Wider paper thickness, widest platen gap, and it's ranging from bad to worse. I have never had a clean print of GFS come through. My only hope is that other thicker papers will print okay, perhaps some rag ones.

Most of these images are dark, so using a lot of ink is causing the paper to warp and is swelling against the pizza wheels/rollers and scratching the surface, from slightly to a decent scratch. I also noticed some straight ahead pizza wheel tracks to day too.

I cannot believe this paper was designed for the 3800. It's like, is it the paper or the printer, or the humidity. I live in Massachusetts so I wouldn't think it that big a deal. Epson was full of it when they say it was dirty rollers. I printed 10 luster rc papers today as well and not a mark, perfect. I'd love to say it's just defective printer, but will epson replace it? Would that solve the problem? Is the paper a bad batch? I wish I knew.

My next step is to try the spraying water on the back and let it pre-curl, then relax before printing.

The whole Platen gap thing hasn't been too successful either.
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Dale_Cotton2
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2009, 10:23:32 AM »
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What I don't understand is why a few people are having this problem but not others. Can the star wheels be set slightly closer to the paper path on some 3800s compared to others? I didn't have this problem even during a very humid summer. Incidentally, I feed GFS through the multi-sheet feed, not the front or rear feeds.
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AaronPhotog
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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2009, 01:10:44 AM »
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First, if you go back to my earlier post, you'll see the statement that the relative humidity has nothing to do with it.  Location - no.  Elevation - nope.  Temperature, huh-uh.  Machine design and construction - yup.

What's happening here is that the back of the paper takes longer to absorb airborne moisture than the front, which is a thin layer.  Both sides expand and contract at about the same rate as the air slowly changes humidity - most of the time.  But, when moisture (ink) hits the front, it stretches a little, while the back (which is still dry) doesn't stretch very much at all and the paper buckles inside the paper path.  After the paper has dried, the opposite can occur with a sudden change in humidity.  This happened to a tiny, 2"x4" Harman FB Al print I made.  It was lying flat when a big rainstorm hit, and the air became very humid very quickly.  The paper curled into a cylinder the long way all by itself, just sitting there.  This time, the back absorbed more moisture because of its thickness and greater absorbency while the thin front coating could only absorb very little, and the print bent toward the front into a complete circle.  In this case, it wasn't the relative humidity, but the sudden change in humidity that caused the buckling.  Eventually, the little print flattened back down, again, all by itself.

Second, I don't believe that the scratches are coming from star wheels.  At first, with this GPH (for definition see previous post), I had star wheel marks in several of these new fiber-based and other glossy papers.  By running some large, fairly thick printing paper upside-down through the machine several times, the sharp edges of the star wheels (they kind of make what looks like tiny centipede tracks) polished out and the problem went away.  The star wheels still do their transporting job, and leave no marks at all.  None of the marks I had gotten that I described in my earlier post looked at all like star wheel tracks.  They were typically pairs of perfectly straight lines about 1/8 inch apart, with each pair at the high points in the paper's "M" shape after the ink had been deposited, and always in the direction of travel.  They could be gouged out by the edges of some kind of plastic wheels, but they look more like they are made by stationary ridges in the paper path.  Once or twice, the buckling was severe enough to cause a head strike in the perpendicular direction, but this was rare.  Finally, by spraying the back of the paper with water and letting it settle back down, almost, but not quite flat, the problem was solved.  Now, the extra moisture remaining in the back of the paper from the light spraying counters the tendency of the front coating layer to stretch dramatically more than the back, and you get a flatter paper coming out of the inking area inside the machine than otherwise.  

I also use "Wide and 5" for my gap settings, but I always did after reading the wonderful web site by Eric (Mad Man) Chan when I got the machine.  As mentioned in my earlier post, I also use the sheet feeder, not the back and not the front feeder, but I make sure it goes in smoothly by keeping the leading edge straight and to the back before hitting the advance button.  I don't just let the GPH grab it from wherever and however the paper wants to sit in the feeder.

Since adopting this practice of spraying the backs of large sized paper (regardless of the humidity) there have been no scratches.  None.  I recently completed printing black and whites for a gallery show with all 17"x25" Harman FB paper and I had no wasted paper at all from scratches.

I told Harman's tech rep about my procedure.  He said he was sorry I had to go through all that, but I told him it wasn't his paper's fault, and so far, I love their paper.  I had previously advised him of the flimsiness of the Harman boxes, and that I dispaired of getting boxes of the large sheet size that didn't have a bent corner or two, or three, or four.  He responded that Harman has beefed up their boxes and that the new packaging should be out in the market place now.  Another issue was also improved by Harman; that of cost.  They have had excellent sales (or so they say on their web site), and resulting economies of production, so they've lowered the prices for the Harman FB papers.  The lower pricing is starting to show up in the market place.  All good news.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2009, 02:58:24 AM by AaronPhotog » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2009, 09:58:50 AM »
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Aaron,

Thanks for the detailed description. I have just acquired my 3800 and I've been busy reading Eric Chan's info. So far I haven't made any big prints, but as I love that Harmon paper, I expect that your discussion will save me a good deal of wasted paper.

-Eric M.

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Conner999
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« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2009, 02:31:57 PM »
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Anyone care to share how you remove the pizza wheels? I've seen older thread for the 2400, etc, but nothing for the 3800.

Thanks.
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rwheat
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2009, 08:01:08 PM »
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Regarding removing a star wheel ...

First make sure that your issue is caused by a star wheel and identify the wheel or wheels in question.  It seems there may be several reasons for this issue.

If you shine a torch in the front of the printer you will see that there are two rows of star wheels, one behind the other.  On the front row all the wheels are doubles and all run with a rubber belt the other side of the paper path.  On the rear row, the double wheels run with the same belt, but there are also single wheels inbetween them.  It's these single wheels that caused my issue - it seems that when the paper swells and bends upwards with an ink load, the surface contacts one of these wheels - just enough to mark the surface but not enough to turn the wheel - hence you get a scratch down the surface of the print.  I can see that this issue may vary from printer to printer as the wheel position may differ (higher/lower) as may the resistance each wheel has to being turned by the paper surface going past.

What I did to remove the offending wheel was as follows:
I just opened the lid, put my finger in and under the back of the wheel in question - thus lifting it up on its spring runner.  Then I grabbed the wheel with my other hand and lifted it straight up.  The wheels run on a small spring so when I lifted up the wheel the spring pulled out from the holes on either side retaining it.  I ended up with a wheel and a spring.  I have not attempted to remove more than one, nor have I attempted to remove any of the pairs of wheels.
This is not a recommendation to physically alter your printer- merely a description of how I "fixed" mine.

It may be possible to temporarily lift a wheel, suspected of causing a problem, slightly out of the paper path to check if it is really the problem.  Maybe lift it with your finger and then fix it there using a bit of tape or something, without removing the spring from its retaining holes.

I hope this helps,
Richard.
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Conner999
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« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2009, 06:12:18 AM »
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Thanks Richard - my problem with FB AL is identical to what you describe. Also only happen with paper larger than letter-sized.  Figure the extra flex from the larger paper contributes.  If I print a sheet of say 13x19 FB AL and watch the exit path I can see the paper take on the 'M' shape - with the crests being the areas heavy in ink. With paper like FB, it doesn't take much contact with anything to scratch the surface - especially when still wet.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 06:14:09 AM by Conner999 » Logged
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