Seven points to perfect printing
Wouldn’t it be great to get consistent, predictable and high quality output from your large format printer every time you hit the print button? Well, the following points will help you achieve and maintain a high level of print quality that your clients will appreciate and will make them come back with new orders.
Perfect your printing with these tips
Wipers are the single greatest asset you have for clean print heads. Too often so-called print head failures or print quality issues are the result of dirty wipers. Our advice is to change your wipers early and often.
2. Cleaning liquid
Make sure you always have a bottle of the appropriate cleaning solution for the ink in your printer. Inspect your print heads once a week and clean them with a foam swab soaked in cleaning solution. You can see ink buildup disappear and your heads return to pristine condition. Please remember never to use a swab to rub the bottoms of your print heads, only the sides where the ink has built up. Let the wipers clean the surface of the head.
3. Schedule maintenance
Regular inspection and cleaning of your printer will ensure consistent high-level print quality. Clean the heads, wipers, and captops (the small assembly that supports the head when it is not active). Wipe any excess ink off the platen and make sure there is nothing impeding the path of the media. We recommend you to maintain your Roland printer once a week. It only takes 10 minutes.
Each media you use on your printer has unique properties. For example, a 2mm cast vinyl has a different thickness than a 500g block-out banner. The distance from the surface of the head to the surface of the media is different as is the way each media feeds through the printer. So, it is critical that you recalibrate your printer for each type of media you use. The two basic calibrations are feed calibration (called “Calibration” on your Roland printer) and BiDirectional Calibration. Feed calibration adjusts the distance the media travels through the printer after each print pass. Bidirectional calibration ensures that the print heads are placing dots in the exact same spot in both travel directions of the head carriage (each “pass”).
You can set default characteristics for each media you use. You can calibrate your printer for a specific material and save those calibration settings as a Preset. The next time you switch to that media, you only need to load that Preset and the printer will adjust its calibration settings to that media. Newer Roland printers will even allow you to name the Presets for easy identification (Banner, Cast, Clear, etc). This can be a great time saver and allows less experienced users to operate the printer without having to rerun calibrations.
Use original Roland inks! We know that in this tough economy the temptation is strong to save money wherever possible. Ink is not the place to economize. Regardless of what the manufacturers tell you, 3rd party inks will change the colour output of your prints, which will force you to find or create new profiles. Issues like density, dry times and potential damage to sensitive components of your printer (print heads cost approx. €2400 to replace - travel and labour included) will ultimately affect your ability to create consistent prints and may end up being much more expensive than the savings you realize by purchasing these inks over the original inks.
Develop a strong relationship with your Roland dealer. If you don’t have a dealer or know who your dealer is, you can find them through the Dealer Locater on our website. Building a good relationship with your dealer will provide you with a valuable resource for sourcing out new media, answering technical questions about your software/hardware, and repairing your printer should that become necessary.