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DIY Print head recovery system - Epson DX4 / DX5 heads, etc.

Discussion in 'Mimaki' started by Atari, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. Atari

    Atari Member

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    Apr 25, 2013
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    I've seen a few print head recovery systems out there priced from $1000 to several thousand dollars. After studying photos of them, they seem to be of pretty basic construction using readily available components like ultrasonic cleaners, solvent pumps, pressure regulators, etc. So I thought I would start a thread here for like-minded "makers" who might want to adventure down the path of creating a more economical version of one of these.

    So I'll jump in to the components & thoughts I have so far:




    • Solvent Ink Pump for pushing cleaning fluid through the head:
      • HY-30 Inkpump (~$20 each) -- or perhaps the HY-10 or HY-20 if HY-30 is too much power? Depending on your hose hookup, you could either forward or reverse flush?


    • Pressure regulator to control cleaning fluid pressure (I've read > 5psi is bad for DX5 heads)
      • *haven't found a good candidate for this yet (maybe something like this?) but I'm not sure if a gasoline pressure regulator would be "solvent friendly", there is probably a better option for this component out there. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
      • A cheap electronically adjustable regulator would be awesome if possible. Coupling this with the logic controller, would allow to create automatic cleaning routines
      • Something adjustable closer to the range we would want (maybe 0-30psi?) would be better than 0-140psi found on these automotive fuel pumps anyway.


    • Air / Ink filters to prevent gunk that's unclogged from recirculating back into the cleaning solution


    • Programming / Logic controller
      • e.g. if you wanted to push fluid for .5 seconds, pull fluid for .5 seconds, repeat, etc.
      • I suppose you could use some sort of timer chip (?) plus some switches to control power to 2 of the HY-* inkpumps?
      • Or even an arduino board, rasberry pi or similar if you wanted to get fancy -- but probably way overkill. I could see using rasberry pi for the ease of programming (e.g. if you didn't know your way around purpose specific electronic components.
      • Something that would be REALLY cool would be a way to measure the fluid flow rate (and monitor changes towards it)... that would give you feedback towards % improved.


    • Solvent friendly tubing & connectors to make all the needed connections


    • Adapter plate to secure print head over cleaning solution bath
      • should be height adjustable
      • 3d printing? Anyone have a 3d printer?... I think if we had a 3d printed prototype (for each unique head type) it would be fairly cheap to have a small qty cut in metal.
      • Or maybe something cheap (e.g. some harborfrieght tool/s) could be repurposed for this task?

    Any thoughts?

    I'm guessing the parts list above would be around $200-$250 for what would be a pretty "professional" head cleaning system.
     
  2. Atari

    Atari Member

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    Apr 25, 2013
    Sacramento, CA
    Electronic / Digital flow meters

    Here's some things to think about towards a digital flow meter I suppose....
    (but the thing would need to be spec'd for solvent & the PSI and flow rates we need)

    Basically the flow meter would have an input, an output, and an interface (a couple of wires) to read the electronic data of the current flow rate....

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/PARKER-PART...130?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19cf7f4a02

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Teledyne-Ha...410?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d34887c0a

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Flow-Scout-...702?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a7ebe8a96 (for $20 this might work? but the solvent would probably kill it quick?)

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Flow-scout-meter-Digital-thermometer-for-Water-Liquid-cooler-system-CPU-CO2-/171122633508?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27d7b42b24


    something like this is probably more ideal:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NT-Internat...976?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19e30deca0
     
  3. Dakotagrafx

    Dakotagrafx Member

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    Jan 6, 2011
    Michigan
    I suppose first I would have to believe it is even possible to restore a solvent head to an acceptable level using any machine - Tried to clean the heads on my first printer when I was pretty gullible and naive, now believe it is just better to pay for the new head. Just my 2c
     
  4. FatCat

    FatCat Premium Subscriber

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    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    If we're talking about DX4 & DX5 heads using eco-solv inks, I think the idea of a head cleaning machine is a waste. Why? In my experience, eco-solv inks are very forgiving and not at all as harsh as mild solvent or full solvent inksets. I've personally never done a DX4, but I've recovered a DX5 (more difficult) that was only shooting about 10% of it's nozzles when I bought it and got it back to around 97% and still running fine today. (This is after it had been sitting for over a month and the previous owner had no idea how to properly care for an eco-solv printer). All it takes is a little common sense and a lot of patience.

    If you're talking about trying to recover a head that's been sitting for like 6 months or more, then I feel at that point you should already know a new head is probably in order, but I would still say there would be no harm in trying.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. b6hs

    b6hs Member

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    Apr 23, 2013
    Recover nozzles

    So what is the best way to recover a cjv30 dx5 printhead ??
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Vinylman

    Vinylman Very Active Member

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    Berlin Center, Ohio
    There are NUMEROUS threads that you can find with a little searching.
    IF you can't use the search feature here on signs 101, you probably won't be able to follow the detailed instructions for correctly restoring a clogged head. The process has been revealed in several good blog entrees. The heads are VERY DELICATE, and require hand eye coordination as well as deft control of every phase of the process.
    PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

    I have done it several times and am still using my original printhead after over 4+ years.
     
  7. player

    player Major Contributor

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    Toronto
    Hmmmm

    I don't like to read this response to a question. If they are so easy find why not just link to the threads instead of a backhander?
     
  8. Vinylman

    Vinylman Very Active Member

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    Berlin Center, Ohio
    Perhaps for the same reason that I don't still provide basic instructions to my grown children how to find food.

    At some point we all need to work for the rewards of being in business. The rewards of hard work are better enjoyed after a reasonable attempt at SELF instruction. The greatest instruction comes from SELF reliance on ones own ability to RESEARCH and follow the appropriate found instruction.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. player

    player Major Contributor

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    This is a forum for people to ask questions I thought.

    If you don't like answering the beginners, don't.

    Why try to get a jab in?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. FatCat

    FatCat Premium Subscriber

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    Columbus, Ohio
    Which inkset was your Mimaki running? (Eco or Mild solvent?)
     
  11. b6hs

    b6hs Member

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    Apr 23, 2013

    Hi fat cat

    it is running mild solvent ss21 ink

    First i lost nozzles on black and yellow..
    Then blue disappeared..

    Today i clean it with low pressure seringue and then change three dumpers..
    As a result nothing fired right now…
    I can't product anymore, (its a cjv30 mimaki)

    Its seems to be air in inclines…
    I tried to pull it up but its difficult … If you can help me better than propose me to search on various threads I'm thanking you in advance...
     
  12. FatCat

    FatCat Premium Subscriber

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    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Hmm, I'm trying to follow your thread and wondering if there is more going on than just clogged nozzles?

    The SS21 ink is a little hotter than eco solvent, and therefore can be a bit more challenging to clean. I would continue soaking the head, trying to gently flush solvent through it with a syringe and keep doing cleaning cycles with the printer. *NOTE - you will want to be certain all your drain lines are clear, you have a good tight seal on your capping station and that your pump is working correctly. WIthout that the pump will not be able to pull the plugs from the nozzles.

    **Realize, sometimes it takes days of hard work and effort to clear a head. I know I had nearly a week of soaking, cleaning, soaking, cleaning, etc. before I got my DX5 back to where it needed to be.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. b6hs

    b6hs Member

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    Apr 23, 2013
    Good news i recovered 90% of firing ..
    i Will continue with soaking / flushing and air purge ..
    i changed pump 3 months ago ...
    its really hard to recover...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Vinylman

    Vinylman Very Active Member

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    b6hs,
    Is there any possibility you can take a GOOD photo of what your printer can produce right now?

    photos are very helpful to those who are trying to help you with your problem.
     
  15. b6hs

    b6hs Member

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    here we are

    I was 95% today i tried a last time to recover the missing lines on yellow and lost the rest damn photo.jpg !
     
  16. Vinylman

    Vinylman Very Active Member

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    h6bs;

    How did you get in this situation?

    What was your first indication there was an issue with the Mimaki?

    Could you give us a CLEAR detailed report as to what you have done up to this point? STEP BY STEP

    Many times you will find help here , BUT, you must stay on track with each issue handled SEPARATELY. Otherwise we start chasing different issues without moving through your situation in a STEP BY STEP manner.

    Think abut it this way. If you had a Mimaki Tech in your shop working on this situation he would go through a thorough check list and verify each step, eliminated issues as he goes.
    If you are jumping around, trying to fix numerous issues at the same time, no one here will be able to follow your position. Therefore you may be getting incorrect help.

    If you help us clearly understand how you got to where you are, THEN we can start and hopefully get you back to running your printer correctly.
     
  17. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    Racine, WI
    This is a great thread, love the ingenuity!

    p.s.
    :thread use the search function, or start your own thread.
    ....or lets continue burying good threads like this in unrelated nonsense.
     
  18. b6hs

    b6hs Member

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    Hi Vinylman (here is the beginning of the issue http://www.signs101.com/forums/show...upply-missing-black-and-yellow-lines-on-print).
     
  19. Vinylman

    Vinylman Very Active Member

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    I read through that thread several days ago, which is why I wrote the last reply to you.

    By looking at problems such as yours in a specific chronological manner it helps everyone to follow along. It also generally lets others who may experience similar issues to see how to work through a problem.

    At this time {if I understand correctly] you have corrected ALL your electrical issues? YES or NO.

    If that is correct it is time to systematically work through getting your print head working to full capacity.
     
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