Inks and Printing Quality

Ink stained Fingers

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I can look up the MSDS to get an impression what's in the ink, or take a microscope to look at the nozzles to see what is happening there - or just ignore it all and hope the ink supplier has everything under control....
 

soysauce

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One of the best explanations of how ink composition affects printing quality is in the book "The Chemistry of Inkjet Inks" edited by Shlomo Magdassi. In particular I recommend Chapter 7, "Formulation and Properties of Waterborne Inkjet Inks" by Christian Schmid.
There are a couple other things I've read that offer some insights and can be downloaded as .pdf files. One is "FUJIFILM Dimatix Ink Tutorial". Another is "Ink-Jet Patterning of Functional Materials" by Xiaoran Li.
The bottom line though is that even today ink formulation relies heavily on emperical methods ("trial and error") because the interactions are so complex.
 

The Hat

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Now if I could understand it, I’d probably agree...:hide
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I did some follow up testing to see how much a particular brand of ink can influence the print quality. I'm continuing the tests above and switched the magenta ink in the L382 over to an ink by Octopus-office which they offer as a dye ink for Epson printers - R265 and younger, for various cartridge types. I found one bottle of that ink in my collection, and it is not mixed with other inks.
The right part of a color patch was printed with this octopus magenta ink, the left part was printed with the Epson 106 ink about a week later, I did not start any manual cleaning in between, the 106 ink seems to have a
nozzle cleaning effect, the dithering was not perfect at this time but much better than the adjacent print with the octopus magenta.
Ink 106-OCP.jpg


The nozzle check with the magenta ink shows the same effects as shown above already

Ink 3.jpg


all nozzles are apparently printing but with a different line thickness/density.
This shows a problem how much you can relay on a nozzle check - or not -
all nozzles are printing but actual printouts are bad nevertheless.
I'll continue this type of test as soon as another clean/unmixed ink becomes
available.
I was checking as well whether the other ink colors are causing similar effects
in this printer, yes and no - none of the cyan inks exhibit this effect - not my
cyan x-mix of various other inks and not the Epson 106 cyan ink either.
The same effects show up with my x-mix of yellow inks and the problem goes
away with a yellow ink by octopus-office purchased recently and is not visible either
with the Epson 106 yellow.
The black channel is not affected either - my x-mix of dye inks prints clean
and as well pigment inks which I use now and then to get some less water/humidity
sensitive prints - wet fingers and such.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I did a follow up test to confirm the assumption that an ink can influence the print quality and cause mirco-banding of particular colors. I bought another L382 for a special deal as a back up printer , and this printer came with a set of bottles inks - Epson 664 for this printer. This ink did not show a good fade performance but that's not the focus of this test, I printed with this 664 magenta ink for a short while and then switched yesterday back to the magenta by octopus-office , tested already above.
This scan shows a dithered red patch

with the Epson 664 magenta ___________and the octopus-office magenta

Ink 664 - Octopus.jpg


A first missing nozzle becomes visible , a yellow line (6 with less or no magenta) shows up regularly , and this effect is most likely becoming more prominent over the next days.
The nozzle check appears to be clean, but a first nozzle line is visible with a smaller width, and more will follow.

Edit:
 

Ink stained Fingers

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another day is gone with about 10 image prints (A4) with the Octopus magenta ink, the printer did some cleaning on its own, the output got better for a few pages but then worse again - the nozzle problems are growing and becoming more visible as fine lines/banding in areas the magenta ink is used - red - orange - skin colors etc.


this left part was printed today and scanned with the print (at right) of yesterday,
both with octopus-office magenta, more irregularities are becoming visible.

Ink Octopus Nozzle problems.jpg


I'm not posting again another nozzle check, it shows the same effect as reported above,
more nozzles printing thinner lines than yesterday. It is becoming more and more obvious to me
that some ink on some printers can cause nozzle problems and inferior/useless printouts.
This printer has printed about 18000 pages until now, I could not observe this effect with
printers of this type at the time of installation or early after. It is an effect slowly building up
over usage time, and the Epson 664 and 106 inks show at this time even a cleaning effect
reducing/removing this nozzle problem. I have observed this same effect with yellow, but not
with black so far, and not with cyan either, all those are a similar ink mix as the magenta
I was using until I started these tests. And these tests are done with dye inks only, and
pigment inks may show such effects as well - or not , I don't see such effects at this time with
my pigment inks which are a mix as well.....
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Based on info by @W. Fisher I ordered a set of sample inks 4x100ml
https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/dye-or-pigment-inks-for-my-new-epson-wf7710.12744/reply?quote=110149

https://www.bchtechnologies.com/refill-ink/refill-ink-for-epson/premium-400-ml-refill-ink-for-epson-id400x-ae.html making some claims about a wide gamut and fade resistance. It is a bargain ink at the discounted price nevertheless.

I tested the magenta ink in the L382, it does not cause short term clogging effects like some other inks are doing and reported above.
BCH claims a wide gamut - no, the gamut volume of this ink is actually 15% smaller than the gamut of the Epson 664 ink , both measured on the Sihl glossy paper, and worse - the black level of this ink is poor, I'm getting something like L*=3 with the Epson 664 and 106 inks on the Sihl glossy, but the BCH ink just gives me a black level of L*=13, that's not black but dark gray and visible in direct comparison, this makes a difference of 2 f-stops of the black point between these inks.
Claimed fade resistance - test patches are out in the environment.
 

W. Fisher

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Based on info by @W. Fisher I ordered a set of sample inks 4x100ml
https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/dye-or-pigment-inks-for-my-new-epson-wf7710.12744/reply?quote=110149

https://www.bchtechnologies.com/refill-ink/refill-ink-for-epson/premium-400-ml-refill-ink-for-epson-id400x-ae.html making some claims about a wide gamut and fade resistance. It is a bargain ink at the discounted price nevertheless.

I tested the magenta ink in the L382, it does not cause short term clogging effects like some other inks are doing and reported above.
BCH claims a wide gamut - no, the gamut volume of this ink is actually 15% smaller than the gamut of the Epson 664 ink , both measured on the Sihl glossy paper, and worse - the black level of this ink is poor, I'm getting something like L*=3 with the Epson 664 and 106 inks on the Sihl glossy, but the BCH ink just gives me a black level of L*=13, that's not black but dark gray and visible in direct comparison, this makes a difference of 2 f-stops of the black point between these inks.
Claimed fade resistance - test patches are out in the environment.
What I have found with the BCH ink is to load the Epson up to around 20-25% more ink load in the printer driver settings. I noticed the printed xrite and BasICColor profiling patches seemed a little bit lighter in color and increasing the ink load helped a lot. Wish there was a more accurate way to determine what the proper ink load setting is, but seems it takes watching the profile targets and determining if they are too light in color and then raise the ink load percentage until they blend as close as possible, and then continue the profile making - which also increases the color gamut too once the ink load was increased.

So far I haven't noticed any bronzing with their ink which was bothering me on some others.

Added: I just followed the link above to their site and they have the Epson ink on sale for $11.99 (Normally $23.99) for 400ml. WOW! They're making money even at $11.99 so we all now ink is a huge rip off.

W.F.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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I'm not adjusting the ink load to print the target patch sheets, I use the driver setting ICM off which does the maximum of ink for the selected paper type. And I'm running profiles for various paper settings to pick that setting which gives the max gamut volume, this is in lots of cases (for Epson printers) not the HIgh/ultra glossy setting but the matte paper setting. You can get the gamut volume calculated with software like Gamutvision, I'm using an older piece of software - Monaco GamutWorks, it calculates different numbers but as long as you use the same software you can compare different profiles.
 

mikling

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Jetting characteristics is even more complex when it comes to pigment ink and Canon printheads. The chemists don't get it either but I have invested many months of work into understanding the phenomenon of ink jetting characteristics and ink is not simply match the color and you're done. No, not at all. Soysauce is on the money with his last sentence. A lot of work is required if a good result is expected and no amount of machines and equipment will do it for you. Only experience with understanding the results of the print provides the results and remember an inkset nowadays involves many colors and how they interact at what levels. Matching one color is easy. Now match multiple across different shades and density levels.
 
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