Monday, February 20, 2012

Current Status..

So I know it's been awhile since I posted here, and that's because I've been busy busy busy! The printer has been working great so far, and with the tweaks I've been doing here and there, it's really working well.

My current issues are:
  • Black nozzle deflections - These are pretty bad. I'm going to try a head soak to fix it.
  • Color profile - I have a GretagMacbeth i1 Spectrophotometer on the way so that I can build my own profile in Flexi. This should help immensely for the color issues I'm having.
I've had a bunch of trial-and-error type problems happen, and so I'm going to try and document as much of it as I can on the wiki that I've started, Mutoh Wiki. I will most likely change this URL at some point, when I get a domain for it, but for now it just redirects to my local server.

I've got a lot of info on there so far about calibration. This is a big thing since the manuals which are circulating around are not that good at explaining the calibrations. The one I have actually conflicts with itself on several occasions throughout.

Some happenings which are of relevance:

After getting everything aligned, I noticed that I was still having problems getting ink to stay in the Light Magenta damper. I decided that either the o-ring or the damper was causing issues, so I ordered a new damper off eBay (to see what those were like) and then installed the o-ring upside-down, to switch up the contacting surfaces in case they had become worn. This solved the issue, and I found that the big difference between the ones I bought from and the ebay models is that the ones from eBay seem to have larger threads or ones that were not cut as well as the ones from CMYKParts. They are harder to thread the brass nut onto, however, mine did work. I never used tools, but did have to go at it with my finger to make things fit right. Ink is now staying in the new damper and I'm able to use both my light colors properly.

The new silicone wiper is very easy to keep clean, just a quick swipe of a cloth over the wiper and it's clean. Helpful for keeping that gunk out of the print head; I clean it every time it uses the wiper. Really easy to do and gives me some peace of mind.

My black test prints have gone way downhill, and I'm not really sure about the source of the nozzle deflection on the black head. It seems to have adequate ink flow, and the test prints show all nozzles are present, just not printing straight. I'm curious if a head soak would fix the issue, so I'm getting some coffee filters in today to test this theory.

Our contour cutting has been going great as well! I have a crappy old Roland ColorCAMM PC-60 which does not have any sort of features for aligning registration marks for cutting. I could get a small 24" Graphtec for about $1200 locally which has that feature, but I'd rather save that money and spend it on something wider so that I can print out full sheets without wasting the space we are now.
For now, we've been printing our own registration marks on the corner of each thing to be cut, and then manually aligning them laterally on the cutter, using the blade as the reference point. Then, we just set the origin to that point, and can cut multiple rows of objects at once. It's not perfect, but it'll get us by until we can afford something better.
On a side note, if anyone has a 48" or wider cutter they'd be willing to sell for cheap.. I'm interested. Must have optical registration sensor.

My apologies for the lack of photos on this post. I'm planning on a whole full-photo write up for the calibration procedures on the wiki, which should make this stuff a LOT easier, so that you can see what the machine will actually spit out for each menu item, and then know exactly how to move the numbers in the calibration menu.

Oh, one other thing, and this is the type of stuff I'd like to include on the wiki.
I noticed last night while I was trying to find the source of a large amount of ink splatter on the inside wall of the printer, that the side of the right print head was absolutely covered in ink. I could not figure out why. I cleaned it all off and wiped up the ink on the wall, and then started checking around. i found that ink had begun to deposit itself near the spit cup, and that even though I'd aligned the flush points to the cup, I couldn't figure out why it wasn't working right. After a bit more playing around, I learned two things:
  1. The spit cup sponge is not supposed to sit far down inside and be gripped by the plastic protrusions on the inside walls. Those are meant to hold the sponge up above the bottom of the cup, to get it closer to the nozzle so that the splashes of ink are contained within the sponge, instead of splashing back against the head.
  2. The calibration names are not conducive to their adjustments, at least, they aren't what some people may think. Left flushpoint and Right flushpoint are not left and right bounds of the flush point, they are left and right head flush points. Meaning, you adjust the flush point for each head individually. This info will be added to the wiki.
After doing this and cleaning up the area around the spit cup, and running off a bunch of pictures, they are coming out great now. Also, the area near the cup is clean, and the head seems to be staying dry as well, though I will keep an eye on this part to see if there is something else I need to fix.

I'll try and get some photos up of the output and the fixes I've done so far shortly. Most likely will get them taken during the work we do today.


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