The thing about nozzles…

I realize this hardly rises to the level of issues we love to talk about here , but I run into this so often it’s worth noting in the hope it saves even one person some inkjet grief. I run into this time and time again, someone calls, their color is not right from their Epson and they want to troubleshoot the entire system, wonder about recent paper batches, ink batches, and usually want new profiles. Given the dramatic failure of the digital graphics community to keep color management viable, from Apple to Adobe to Epson messing something up with almost every update, no wonder the assumption is that something has gone horribly wrong.

Immediately I ask the age old question- have you done a nozzle check? Nine times out of ten they have not. In fact nearly that often they have NEVER done one in the life of the printer nor even know how to. Contrast that with the practice of many of us professional printers, I do a nozzle check before every print, that’s right, every one.

One friend had a nine year old 2200 he purchased new and had never checked the nozzles, that’s nine years! Man did his prints look wacky! He was willing to pay me by the hour to come over and troubleshoot and/or make profiles. He was back to normal with a nozzle check and a cleaning or two. Many tell me they are afraid of using up ink. Well, I wouldn’t care to figure it out, but can a nozzle check’s worth of ink be more than a penny? So then, is the fear that if the nozzles check bad, they will go through a bunch of expensive ink doing cleanings? Ok, yes, the ink is expensive, but if ink proper delivery is impaired, it must be fixed! How much expensive paper will you go through altering a file and test prints to try to make a print you like from a printer with impaired ink delivery? How much more when nozzles clear up or change and you have to re-edit the file to try to match previous prints? There is no way around it, using ink for nozzle cleanings is part of the cost of inkjet printing, as is using up ink to actually make a print.

Even if you don’t care to be as picky as I and are willing to make many prints in a row without checking nozzles, the rule is-

Whenever prints don’t look right the FIRST thing to do is a nozzle check.

If it’s not perfect, cleanings are required… until it’s perfect.

OK, no back to weightier matters.