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Author Topic: Running HP inks through an Epson printer  (Read 8959 times)
shadowblade
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« on: July 09, 2013, 05:24:15 PM »
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I've been wondering - would it be possible to run HP Vivera pigment inks through an Epson piezo print head, in combination with Cone black-and-white inks and a custom profile to tie them all together?

Obviously the reverse (running Epson inks through a Canon or HP printer) is unlikely to be possible, as Epson inks aren't formulated to withstand the 200+ degree temperatures in a bubblejet print head, but is there any reason a HP ink should be incompatible with a piezo head, which, after all, doesn't stress the ink or pigment particles to the same degree?

Has anyone tried it?
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2013, 06:49:27 PM »
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I haven't tried it but your logic above makes it sound like a terrible idea.  If the other inks are designed for 200+ degree temperature heads, and you force them through a "cold" head, it sounds like a clogging wonderland will ensue.

Sal
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shadowblade
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2013, 09:30:26 PM »
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I haven't tried it but your logic above makes it sound like a terrible idea.  If the other inks are designed for 200+ degree temperature heads, and you force them through a "cold" head, it sounds like a clogging wonderland will ensue.

Sal

Why should it necessarily cause clogging? A piezo head's ink line isn't necessarily any narrower than a thermal head's line, and there's no ink constantly vaporising and condensing. Canon and HP inks flow just as normally at room temperature as Epson inks do - the heat doesn't serve to decrease the viscosity of the ink, but to vaporise a small amount of solvent in the ink, to produce a shockwave that propels a small amount of ink at the tip of the nozzle (distal to the heating element) onto the paper, in much the same way as the piezoelectric transducer does in a piezo head (only via direct mechanical action against the solvent, not by vaporising a bubble of solvent). The ink actually flowing through the thermal head, and the ink that is ejected onto the paper, isn't heated - heating and vaporisation is merely the mechanism by which electrical energy supplied to the head is converted to ink flow.

I'd have imagined that differences in pigment particle size would cause more clogging issues...

It'd be nice to be able to use the most durable inks on ultra-thick media.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 12:04:04 AM by shadowblade » Logged
MHMG
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2013, 08:20:15 AM »
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Why should it necessarily cause clogging? ...

I'd have imagined that differences in pigment particle size would cause more clogging issues...

It'd be nice to be able to use the most durable inks on ultra-thick media.

The likelihood of an end user just substituting HP Vivera pigmented inks into an Epson printer without running into trouble is very low, IMHO, for many reasons. One basic reason is that the glycol and surfactant concentrations are different. A second reason is that HP inks do clog with regularity in HP printers, maybe even more so and would likely do the same in an Epson, but the thermal head technology used by both HP and Canon mitigates the dead nozzle issue by providing many spare nozzles which become available to the print head as needed.  Additionally, once a print head is sufficiently damaged such that new nozzle remapping won't fix the problem, then HP and Canon heads are user replaceable whereas the Epson heads are not.

All that said, it would seem to be a more straight-forward engineering solution for Epson or another third party vendor to simply offer the Ultrachrome ink customer base an improved stability yellow ink that will run on existing K3, K3VM, and HDR printers. Yellow is the significantly weak link of the current K3, K3VM, and HDR ink sets with respect to light fade resistance. Improving just the Ultrachrome yellow's light fade resistance would go a long way to bringing parity between HP and Epson overall light fastness performance. So why hasn't Epson in particular chosen to make a more stable yellow ink available? Most likely because customers aren't requesting it. Few customers are even in a knowledgeable enough position to identify the need for an improved yellow ink with superior lightfastness. IMHO, it has a great deal to do with the retention of beautiful skin tone quality in a print over time.  Yellow is a critical colorant in those skin tones and when it fades preferentially faster than the other colorants, skin tones turn purplish-blue. The most widely cited light fade test method used by industry today to make print longevity claims doesn't even test for skin tone color stability. Thus, from a marketing perspective Epson management would have to be more proactive in spending R&D dollars on this issue since it's not easy for the majority of its customers to even recognize or articulate the need for any improvement. This situation leaves a clear opportunity for third party ink formulators should they care to take up the challenge, but most third party ink formulators are way behind the R&D curve when it comes to a proper evaluation of light fastness properties.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 08:24:15 AM by MHMG » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2013, 08:32:00 AM »
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Mark, based on your observation from years of testing, do you have a view on how many years a print made with Epson Ultrachrome HDR inkset on a baryta-based paper such as Ilford GFS or Canson Baryta Photographique would endure in "dark storage" (box, album) before yellow fading would be far enough advanced to obviously disturb skin tones?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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MHMG
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 09:20:24 AM »
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Mark, based on your observation from years of testing, do you have a view on how many years a print made with Epson Ultrachrome HDR inkset on a baryta-based paper such as Ilford GFS or Canson Baryta Photographique would endure in "dark storage" (box, album) before yellow fading would be far enough advanced to obviously disturb skin tones?

Mark, based on your observation from years of testing, do you have a view on how many years a print made with Epson Ultrachrome HDR inkset on a baryta-based paper such as Ilford GFS or Canson Baryta Photographique would endure in "dark storage" (box, album) before yellow fading would be far enough advanced to obviously disturb skin tones?

Thermally induced colorant fade in a dark storage environment typically isn't an issue for modern inkjet dyes and pigments (it was a big problem for the dyes created in processing using silver-halide color chromogenic papers). Typical thermal aging reactions actually tend to produce an increase in yellowing or brown/yellow stain formation due to thermal breakdown of the media itself, not much related to any temperature induced fading of the pigments. Ditto for humidity (although humidity related colorant migration issues are of concern for all dye-based systems). For paper base degradation reactions, the usual culprits are lignins and other acidic wood pulp by-products, but most fine art papers today, even those that are not cotton-fiber sourced, have been manufactured with enough know-how that the base will be pretty stable under reasonable storage conditions for many centuries. It's the modern polymer coatings and binder chemistries (including the PE layers of modern RC media plus incorporated anti-oxidants, plasticizers, etc) where we need to pay particular attention.

My bigger concern for modern microporous coatings is not so much strictly thermal-induced  paper degradation, but yellowing/discoloration caused by air contamination. That many of us here on LULA who print routinely and provide prints to customers or friends and relatives have witnessed at some point or another some noticeable media yellowing under real world circumstances where the print was exposed to relatively low doses of other chemical vapors (like various adhesives, paint solvents, etc), is a wake up call that microporous inkjet coatings are hyper sensitive to air borne contaminants which have traditionally taken far longer to react with traditional high quality papers. My concern over these anecdotal experiences is why I'm turning my attention more and more these days to the benefits of top coats including but not limited to acrylic sprays, gloss optimizers, etc. It may well be that the best practices for longevity of modern inkjet media is going to require that the microporous particles get sealed somehow to reduce the issues of air-induced yellowing/discoloration over time.

best,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 09:22:37 AM by MHMG » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 09:42:27 AM »
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OK thanks - so my take-away from all this is that if I keep my prints (made on Ilford GFS in an Epson 4900 with Epson HDR inks) stored in albums or boxes in conditions of moderate humidity (range 25%~40%) and temperature, many decades from now my heirs and successors will likely see these photos in the state they are meant to be seen long after I depart this Earth. Right?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 09:55:38 AM »
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Why should it necessarily cause clogging? A piezo head's ink line isn't necessarily any narrower than a thermal head's line, and there's no ink constantly vaporising and condensing. Canon and HP inks flow just as normally at room temperature as Epson inks do - the heat doesn't serve to decrease the viscosity of the ink, but to vaporise a small amount of solvent in the ink, to produce a shockwave that propels a small amount of ink at the tip of the nozzle (distal to the heating element) onto the paper, in much the same way as the piezoelectric transducer does in a piezo head (only via direct mechanical action against the solvent, not by vaporising a bubble of solvent). The ink actually flowing through the thermal head, and the ink that is ejected onto the paper, isn't heated - heating and vaporisation is merely the mechanism by which electrical energy supplied to the head is converted to ink flow.

I'd have imagined that differences in pigment particle size would cause more clogging issues...

It'd be nice to be able to use the most durable inks on ultra-thick media.
I was mostly thinking about viscosity issues caused by ink designed to be heated to 400+ degree temperatures.  Surely that would affect ink flow.  Just guessing.

Sal
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John Nollendorfs
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 04:44:48 PM »
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Actually, thermal inks in a piezo printer have fewer problems, than the other way around. There is a viscosity/surface tension mismatch though. You could mitigate that to some extent and make the inks work with the addition of some isopropyl alcohol. But quite frankly, why would you even want to try? Both Epson & HP inks are bound to last more than 100 years on the proper media without significant fade. Compared to traditional photo processes, this is almost eternity. The one thing I really like about the HP system is their neutral matched grays. Their gray component replacement scheme/algorithm creates very neutral looking prints, that should stay much more neutral looking in time.

Mark is right on about the yellow being the weakest link in most inkjet inks. But even more so, his words of caution about the microporous media we are printing on. Unless it's sealed, there are all kinds of nasty things that could cause our "near permanent light fade resistant" inks to self destruct.
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shadowblade
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2013, 05:24:10 PM »
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Actually, thermal inks in a piezo printer have fewer problems, than the other way around. There is a viscosity/surface tension mismatch though. You could mitigate that to some extent and make the inks work with the addition of some isopropyl alcohol. But quite frankly, why would you even want to try? Both Epson & HP inks are bound to last more than 100 years on the proper media without significant fade. Compared to traditional photo processes, this is almost eternity. The one thing I really like about the HP system is their neutral matched grays. Their gray component replacement scheme/algorithm creates very neutral looking prints, that should stay much more neutral looking in time.

100 years may be a long time, or a short time, depending on who you're printing for. For an individual, it may be a lifetime (although, with developments in biology, medicine and cybernetics, possibly not even that these days). But if you're printing for a mediaeval castle or fort which has been there for 600 years, or a Buddhist monastery which has been there for 500 years, or even a museum which has been there for more than 100, a century isn't a very long time at all.

After all, we still have works from Italian and German renaissance artists, as well as millenium-old Japanese, Chinese and Tibetan manuscripts, many of which are ink-on-paper.

Quote
Mark is right on about the yellow being the weakest link in most inkjet inks. But even more so, his words of caution about the microporous media we are printing on. Unless it's sealed, there are all kinds of nasty things that could cause our "near permanent light fade resistant" inks to self destruct.

Hence my interest in printing on plain, uncoated media, expressed in other threads. Pigment inks are very resistant to oxidative attack, but it's not much use having a durable pigment if the layer the pigment is printed on disintegrates. I believe most inkjet receptive layers are made from silica that's bound together, and to the paper base, by a polyvinyl alcohol binder. And the proportion of polyvinyl alcohol to silica is quite high, since, with a low ratio, the layer becomes brittle. Silica, obviously, will last for millions of years, but how durable is polyvinyl alcohol?

There's some current work with self-binding silica nanoparticles, which could improve things.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 05:29:21 PM »
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It's an original idea, so I'm curious to know exactly what it is you are trying to achieve by running other vendors' inks through an Epson printer, what model printer you are thinking of trying this with, and whether you think the risk of replacing a print head (if worst comes to worst) is worthwhile in terms of your objectives.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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shadowblade
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 05:36:01 PM »
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Thanks for your insight into this matter.

The likelihood of an end user just substituting HP Vivera pigmented inks into an Epson printer without running into trouble is very low, IMHO, for many reasons. One basic reason is that the glycol and surfactant concentrations are different. A second reason is that HP inks do clog with regularity in HP printers, maybe even more so and would likely do the same in an Epson, but the thermal head technology used by both HP and Canon mitigates the dead nozzle issue by providing many spare nozzles which become available to the print head as needed.  Additionally, once a print head is sufficiently damaged such that new nozzle remapping won't fix the problem, then HP and Canon heads are user replaceable whereas the Epson heads are not.

Does Epson, or other printers using Epson heads, use nozzle remapping technology?

Also, would it be possible to simply take the HP pigment particles (e.g. by spinning it down in a centrifuge, as you do to separate blood cells from plasma) and put them in an Epson-optimised solvent mixture?

Quote
All that said, it would seem to be a more straight-forward engineering solution for Epson or another third party vendor to simply offer the Ultrachrome ink customer base an improved stability yellow ink that will run on existing K3, K3VM, and HDR printers. Yellow is the significantly weak link of the current K3, K3VM, and HDR ink sets with respect to light fade resistance. Improving just the Ultrachrome yellow's light fade resistance would go a long way to bringing parity between HP and Epson overall light fastness performance.

I thought the other issue was that Epson inks aren't pure pigment inks - they're a mixture of pigments and dyes. So the dyes fade first, leaving the pigment there for a much longer period.

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So why hasn't Epson in particular chosen to make a more stable yellow ink available? Most likely because customers aren't requesting it. Few customers are even in a knowledgeable enough position to identify the need for an improved yellow ink with superior lightfastness. IMHO, it has a great deal to do with the retention of beautiful skin tone quality in a print over time.  Yellow is a critical colorant in those skin tones and when it fades preferentially faster than the other colorants, skin tones turn purplish-blue. The most widely cited light fade test method used by industry today to make print longevity claims doesn't even test for skin tone color stability. Thus, from a marketing perspective Epson management would have to be more proactive in spending R&D dollars on this issue since it's not easy for the majority of its customers to even recognize or articulate the need for any improvement. This situation leaves a clear opportunity for third party ink formulators should they care to take up the challenge, but most third party ink formulators are way behind the R&D curve when it comes to a proper evaluation of light fastness properties.

Which is pure ignorance on the part of customers. I'd bet a lot of them have seen their grandparents' wedding photos. Often black-and-white, generally not terribly faded.

Do they want their own wedding photos to have the same longevity? After all, they only have the prints - often, they won't have the digital files as backup. And the photographer isn't going to keep the digital files around for very long either.
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TylerB
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2013, 05:40:42 PM »
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you might want to talk to Paul Roark, who is generally on the yahoo B&W list. I believe he has done some with with HP inks in Epsons. Also, at Aardenburg, there are 2 tests going I submitted to Mark on uncoated Arches Watercolor paper, both color and ABW, Epson. A test with the Cone carbon set would have been good to run. There is fade, so I'm not sure there is an advantage there. There are other factors worth considering though regarding the coatings, they are certainly not physcally robust at all, and their hydroscopic nature seems to pull everything nasty out of the air...
Tyler
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shadowblade
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2013, 05:43:14 PM »
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It's an original idea, so I'm curious to know exactly what it is you are trying to achieve by running other vendors' inks through an Epson printer, what model printer you are thinking of trying this with, and whether you think the risk of replacing a print head (if worst comes to worst) is worthwhile in terms of your objectives.

What I'd like to do is combine Cone and HP inks, using a custom RIP.

Use six- or seven-channel Cone carbon inks to control luminance values, while using the colour inks purely to control colour value. The black-and-white inks will give you an image that's essentially permanent - if the luminance values of the print are entirely controlled by the black carbon inks, then you'd have a permanent black-and-white image, with all the correct luminance values, even if all the colour has completely faded. This wouldn't be a bad-looking black-and-white image on its own, and also makes for much easier restoration for anyone with a degree of common sense (e.g. sky is blue, sunsets are orange, grass is green, and you already know how bright everything was).

The colour inks would be to add colour (the a and b values in the Lab system) to the black-and-white luminance layer. Naturally, you'd want the colours to all be as durable as possible, hence the HP inks. Custom Cone pigment inks, or the Symphonic system by American Inkjet, would be other options, but no-one's really done any durability testing on those.
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TylerB
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« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2013, 06:18:21 PM »
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actually you could do that just with QTR, in fact it's perfect for that...
Tyler
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2013, 06:20:54 PM »
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OK thanks - so you are basically trying to extend longevity using other inks. You probably know about the experience running Cone inks through Epson printers as quite a few people do it; however the real novelty would be running HP inks through them, along with the custom RIP. Where do you intend to get the custom RIP configured? Can you do this yourself? If your research indicates that this is a completely novel concept with no assurances of whatever outcomes, are you planning to experiment regardless? And once done, how do you intend to get the comparative longevity tested?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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shadowblade
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2013, 06:35:09 PM »
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OK thanks - so you are basically trying to extend longevity using other inks. You probably know about the experience running Cone inks through Epson printers as quite a few people do it; however the real novelty would be running HP inks through them, along with the custom RIP. Where do you intend to get the custom RIP configured? Can you do this yourself?

Can't QTR do this, using a spectrophotometer?

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If your research indicates that this is a completely novel concept with no assurances of whatever outcomes, are you planning to experiment regardless?

That's the whole point of experimentation, isn't it? If it's already done and proven, it's no longer an experiment.

And, really, to me, the current options aren't that satisfactory. Not only do you get colour shifts, but, since the colour inks are used for luminance as well as chroma, you get luminance shifts between various parts of the image, too, so that, when the colour fades, the remaining black ink doesn't give you a black-and-white image that looks anything like the original.

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And once done, how do you intend to get the comparative longevity tested?

Firstly, the rough-and-ready bush method - make three test prints using this method, keeping one unprotected, coating another with protective spray and framing the third under museum-grade acrylic or glass, and do the same with one or two normal colour prints using Epson or HP inks and printers. Then stick them on my rear windshield and drive around for a few months under the Australian sun, exposed to the atmospheric pollutants in a big city, and measure each of the colour patches again using a spectrophotometer. You could also do further tests, exposing prints to various concentrations of bleach and sulfuric acid for various lengths of time and comparing the fading exhibited to that exhibited by regular prints.

If the tests are positive, then the next step would be to submit some test prints to Aardenburg, together with detailed printing methodology so that it can be replicated by anyone else using the same inks, and getting some formal testing done.

Now I just need to get access to a printer I can tinker with - as I currently can't justify the cost of maintaining a printer at home, I outsource all my printing, often having printers print images using all sorts of methods and print surfaces. But this is something different entirely!
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shadowblade
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« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2013, 06:42:56 PM »
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you might want to talk to Paul Roark, who is generally on the yahoo B&W list. I believe he has done some with with HP inks in Epsons. Also, at Aardenburg, there are 2 tests going I submitted to Mark on uncoated Arches Watercolor paper, both color and ABW, Epson. A test with the Cone carbon set would have been good to run. There is fade, so I'm not sure there is an advantage there. There are other factors worth considering though regarding the coatings, they are certainly not physcally robust at all, and their hydroscopic nature seems to pull everything nasty out of the air...
Tyler

I saw those results - I get the feeling there that the limiting factor was the inks, not the paper. Epson inks are a mixture of pigment and dye - I'd have to check the results again way past the 'failure' point, but I get the feeling that the dye components would degrade quickly (causing the 'failure' according to the arbitrary criteria set by the test) but that, once the dye components have faded away, the remainder pigment component would fade much more slowly. As in, the test may have still 'failed', but the rest of the print could stay at the 20-30% fade level for the equivalent of centuries.

Also, we know that the Arches Watercolour paper is gelatin-sized, but what do we know of the rest of its surface chemistry? Anyway, the uncoated paper discussion is a separate issue and a little off-topic - I've discussed it further in a separate thread: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=80179.0
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shadowblade
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2013, 06:54:57 PM »
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It's an original idea, so I'm curious to know exactly what it is you are trying to achieve by running other vendors' inks through an Epson printer, what model printer you are thinking of trying this with, and whether you think the risk of replacing a print head (if worst comes to worst) is worthwhile in terms of your objectives.

If it works, the ideal printer to do this with would be the Roland XF-640. It has 16 print heads, so you can run the full K7 Carbon system, including both matte and photo blacks, plus all eight Vivera colour inks (not the black/grey inks, since that's what the Cone inks are for), plus the gloss enhancer. If you don't need both matte and photo black, you'd even have a spare head to run an extra colour ink of your choice (white?), or for extra gloss enhancer (since prints tend to burn through that).

On a similar, but separate note, it would also be interesting to see what you could do using a multi-head 3D printer to spit out a layer of pigmented gelatin or gum arabic, to produce the 21st-century, digital equivalent of a gum or carbon print.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 06:57:58 PM by shadowblade » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2013, 07:03:34 PM »
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Thanks - it will be interesting to follow your results.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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