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Author Topic: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels  (Read 5043 times)
John Caldwell
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« on: February 18, 2013, 08:06:13 AM »
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Some of us have the habit of printing an image or nozzle check, for the sheer sake of keeping the liquids flowing in the heads, with the goal of avoiding head clogs. A lot has been said about the risks of Epson printhead non-use, particularly when it is of long duration and in arid conditions, of course. I think Wayne may have mentioned that he devised a multicolor gradient, or some sort of equivalent, that spent similar amounts of ink from his Epson 900-series machines. Do you all have such a file that you'd feel comfortable sharing? I'll create one myself if needed, but I thought I'd politely pilfer such a thing if anyone is willing.

Many thanks,

John-
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 08:20:17 AM »
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John, I simply created a bunch of colour-fill layers in Photoshop and collated them onto one letter-size sheet for my 4900 (not attached; the up-loader wouldn't work although the file is smaller than the ceiling allowed). For each patch I dialed-in the colour of the ink it is supposed to represent. That said, these printers mix inks to produce different colours, so I'm not convinced that what I did simply exercises one colour tank per one colour patch. I am reasonably confident however that one way or another all the inks get exercised. I only use this between cleaning cycles when I need more than one cleaning cycle. Needless to say, the most economic way of "killing two birds with one stone" (when all is still well), is to make real prints of real photographs at frequent intervals :-)
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
John Caldwell
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 08:23:29 AM »
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Sure, but the real photograph printing rarely exercises all channels equally and maybe some not at all. So this is why I was attracted to the idea of a dummy equally-weighted image.

Thanks, Mark.

John-
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 08:30:25 AM »
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Some of us have the habit of printing an image or nozzle check, for the sheer sake of keeping the liquids flowing in the heads, with the goal of avoiding head clogs. A lot has been said about the risks of Epson printhead non-use, particularly when it is of long duration and in arid conditions, of course. I think Wayne may have mentioned that he devised a multicolor gradient, or some sort of equivalent, that spent similar amounts of ink from his Epson 900-series machines. Do you all have such a file that you'd feel comfortable sharing? I'll create one myself if needed, but I thought I'd politely pilfer such a thing if anyone is willing.

Hi John,

While it isn't quaranteed to exercise all nozzles equally, they will all be used when you print something like a Granger Rainbow (as attached).

Cheers,
Bart
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 08:36:30 AM »
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I don't think it's necessary to print all channels equally. As long as some ink flows through them all it should be fine. Bart's solution looks fine too. I also think that most real-world photographs do use all the channels (except the inactive black) save for unusual kinds of images and B&W, but even the latter still exercises several colour channels if using the standard driver. If you were ever to examine your prints say through a 30x Microscope (just for fun, the ultimate in dot-peeping) you would begin to see how complex the ink-mixing is. A lot more goes on than meets the (unaided) eye.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
chez
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 08:50:48 AM »
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Don't the Epsons have an automated head cleaning feature that does a periodic head cleaning? I use this with my HP printers and they never have problems with clogging?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 09:01:28 AM »
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Don't the Epsons have an automated head cleaning feature that does a periodic head cleaning? I use this with my HP printers and they never have problems with clogging?

Yes and there are multiple threads on this website all about that. Many people turn it off, including me, because it triggers cleaning quite often. Every one needs to test for themselves whether automatic cleaning or manual management works better in their conditions. Epson provides for both.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
John Caldwell
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 09:15:03 AM »
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Like Mark, my auto head cleaning and checks are turned off. I couldn't believe how quickly my 4900's maintenance tank got full with the ink that burped into the sewage drain through the Auto Nozzle Check paradigm - so it's turned off now.

My HP Z3200 never clogs, but I don't think it's an apple to apple comparison with Epson (wish it were).

Ok I'll accept that we don't need equal depositions of all ink channels to maintain patency, so I appreciate the Granger Rainbow reference, Bart.

I've never seen microscopic examination of our current prints, and how "apparent" colors are created, Mark. I'd like to see that someday.

Thanks to everyone,

John-
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 09:19:04 AM »
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I've never seen microscopic examination of our current prints, and how "apparent" colors are created, Mark. I'd like to see that someday.

Thanks to everyone,

John-

When "Radio Shack" still existed as such, I bought a real cheap plastic 30x Microscope with an embedded light, made under the brand name "Micronta"  - amazing little gadget that really works. You put it on the paper, turn on the light, focus it and see all kinds of stuff. That's all there is too it - at least as far as that goes.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Wayne Fox
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 12:25:30 PM »
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Some of us have the habit of printing an image or nozzle check, for the sheer sake of keeping the liquids flowing in the heads, with the goal of avoiding head clogs. A lot has been said about the risks of Epson printhead non-use, particularly when it is of long duration and in arid conditions, of course. I think Wayne may have mentioned that he devised a multicolor gradient, or some sort of equivalent, that spent similar amounts of ink from his Epson 900-series machines. Do you all have such a file that you'd feel comfortable sharing? I'll create one myself if needed, but I thought I'd politely pilfer such a thing if anyone is willing.

Many thanks,

John-

Here's the current version of my file.  I tweak it a little each time to try and get a perfect balance of all colors but it's getting pretty close now.

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plui
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 01:35:05 PM »
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Hi, there are some great test images with explanations on northlight-images.     http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/test_images.html
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 02:24:01 PM »
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Here's the current version of my file.  I tweak it a little each time to try and get a perfect balance of all colors but it's getting pretty close now.

Wayne, Thank you for your kindness in sharing this file. It's quite interesting that this consumes ink in even to close to even quantities. If I have it right, you tailored the file so channel by channel usage is similar across all 10 colors in your Epson 900 series machines. True?

Thanks again, Wayne.

John Caldwell
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 03:14:16 PM »
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yes, similar ink levels for all colors.  That's why the odd patches of grey through parts of it.  There are still a couple of colors that use more or less, and I keep tweaking it to try and get it closer.  This is the current version. When I do a nozzle clean, I throw in the sheet of paper from the last nozzle check and run this right after the clean. I just use plain paper, but set the printer as though it's using luster.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 03:29:24 PM by Wayne Fox » Logged

alain
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 05:03:08 PM »
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Thanks Wayne a good tip to tweak and calculate.

Wouldn't it be better to print some more on the least used nozzles?
I expect that on a low volume printer there's printed something from time to time and this will "advance" the ink that's used.

 
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 07:44:32 PM »
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I remember those "microscopes" Mark. In a previous life I managed a few Radio Shack stores. I wish I knew where I put mine.
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davidh202
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2013, 08:13:20 PM »
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John,
Absolutely no need to get over technical, just do a screen shot, copy & paste into a file, and print out an 8 1/2 x 11  page of any group of these  on plain office paper, and it will be more than enough to exercize all the colors!
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=color+wheel+chart&qpvt=color+wheel+chart&FORM=IGRE

David
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MarkH2
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2013, 11:49:26 PM »
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John,

There are some purge print images from Ross Hardie that do just what you're asking.  I use them with my Epson.  See his purge images in the pdf:  http://www.inkjetcarts.us/support/article/how-to-test-and-solve-problems-with-inkjet-printers-avoid-head-cleanings-100.html

Mark
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 12:06:55 AM »
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Thanks Wayne a good tip to tweak and calculate.

Wouldn't it be better to print some more on the least used nozzles?
I expect that on a low volume printer there's printed something from time to time and this will "advance" the ink that's used.

  

The problem I'm trying to address is the issue of after cleaning nozzles, some air sometimes get pulled back in.  So the following nozzle test "may" show different nozzles clogged.  Unfortunately the term "clog" has come to cover anytime a nozzle doesn't print, but in reality frequently the reason isn't a clog, but air.  So my idea was to print a small amount of ink out of every nozzle in the head ... trying to not use up too much ink but enough that when you run the nozzle test the issue of the air is no longer there. I believe Epson recommends printing something before running a nozzle check to make sure this doesn't happen, I'm just trying to create a page that insures that happens.  I'm probably going to reduce it down to half a page because this should be enough to accomplish this.

The idea for the page was to make sure every nozzle was getting used.  I also thought it would be better if it happened sort of randomly, that's why the gradient goes from side to side instead of top to bottom.  After the first inch or so, every nozzle should be pushing out a droplet on every pass.  Of course, since I'm no engineer and am clueless how the Epson dithers this thing, I could be totally off base, but it seems a logical assumption.

Personally I think Epson should design this into the firmware ... whenever you print a nozzle check it first prints a small block of each ink color.  Would take very little ink, and each block would be one individual ink so it may even help diagnose problems.

I didn't design this as a way to purge ink lines (I'm trying to use as little ink as possible) , although what you suggest might be a good idea, because some colors see very little usages in normal photographic printing.  I can't imagine anyone who invested this much money would print that little, but then again for some it's not about the money but the quality.

If any Canon or HP users are lurking here, those printers nozzles actually clog just as easy as an Epson, but instead of clearing them it remaps to spare nozzles. This would be a big problem except the printers actively maintain the nozzles with trace amounts of ink as long as you leave it powered on.  If I still owned a Canon I would probably never turn the thing off, even if I wasn't using it for a couple of months.  Takes extremely little power and very little ink, and your nozzles will thank you. (and your heads probably won't need replaced as soon).
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 10:14:49 PM by Wayne Fox » Logged

davidh202
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2013, 08:13:53 PM »
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Just thought of something so obvious.  
Why go through so much trouble to use anything but the feature already built into the machines...

Just printing a nozzle check itself , effectively exercises every single nozzle in every channel evenly, with no worries of backflow , and at the same time uses the least amount of ink!!
The only channel that won't be used no matter what youuse for a exercise print, is whichever black is not set at the time.
I've made it a habit of periodically switching  MK/PK channels also, just to make sure they get the needed flow.  
David
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hugowolf
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2013, 09:08:19 PM »
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Just thought of something so obvious.  
Why go through so much trouble to use anything but the feature already built into the machines...
I think the question is 'does a nozzle check print use enough ink to exercise the nozzles sufficiently to prevent clogs'?

Brian A
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