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New Guy Extreme Newbie - Questions on Mimaki JV3-160sp

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by Cabbage Baron, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. Cabbage Baron

    Cabbage Baron New Member

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    Hi there folks!

    Newbie here. Just thought I'd introduce myself.

    I'm totally new to large format digital printing - as far as actually running the machines. But I've been a graphic designer for 15+ years, worked pre-press at a printing company (all sheet-fed and web presses), and my current job deals with some screen printing and vinyl cutting - for which I prepare the files and often troubleshoot the machines.
    I'm not afraid to dig in and take things apart if necessary, but would rather do the least invasive fix possible...which requires knowing what the fixes are for certain problems!

    I recently acquired a Mimaki JV3-160sp.
    Yep, it's old, and it shows. But it works pretty well, and I hope to keep it that way.
    I also got the computer it was running off - a Win XP box with FlexiSIGN-PRO 10.5.1
    Also old, but free!

    First question: How do you fix mis-registration? Or is it called something else with inkjet technology? Is it all based on how clean the print heads are, or is there any "head alignment" that can be done?
    If there's already a thread somewhere about this, feel free to point me in the right direction, because I haven't found it. Maybe I'm using the wrong terms to search.

    Thanks!
    KR
     
  2. HaleYeah

    HaleYeah New Member

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    Are you needing to calibrate the machine? What do you mean by mis-registration. If you need to access the service mode of the printer, while the printer is off hold the buttons "function" and "remote" at the same time then power on the machine, you will hear a beep you can release the buttons and the machine will power on now you're in service mode. When you browse thru the menus you can see you have more options along with the print adjust and head adjust etc. These would be the steps needed when you're installing the new print head.
    If its a print and cut registration issue you're having then make sure everything is calibrated correctly and I always left the print comp to 0. Smaller sheets / section will always cut better than larger / longer graphics. I have had tons of luck with that printer printing and cutting graphics 8-9-10' long contour cuts with the correct file setup it works perfect.
     
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  3. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

    :welcome: 2 :signs101smilie:
     
  4. Cabbage Baron

    Cabbage Baron New Member

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    Jun 10, 2020
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    By mis-registration I mean slight halos around printed elements that should have sharp clean edges. Like I said, I could be using the wrong term, but that's the what it reminds me of from press printing. Like when you are laying down the CMYK and the plates aren't lined up exactly, so the edges are fuzzy because of the mis-alignment. I should have sent pictures to begin with, but here are a couple. On the rainbow circles the line is crisp between the yellow and green, but not as good on the other colors, which makes me think magenta is off a bit. With the picture of the letters, again the magenta sticks out most to me, but I do see other colors show up around the edges too.

    I'm guessing I need to calibrate the machine. I have the manual, but haven't seen a mention of service mode so I'll see what I can find in there, thank you!
     

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  5. Solventinkjet

    Solventinkjet DIY Printer Fixing Guide

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    Denver, CO
    What you're looking for is called, "Drop Position Adjustment" or something along those lines. It's going to be in the Setup menu. It prints 8 patterns of 2 lines. You input the number of the line where the 2 lines overlap perfectly for each pattern.
     
  6. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    greetings from Racine, WI. :welcome::signs101smilie:

    I've still got my jv3-160 in storage.... and plenty of threads on this forum related to your issue.
    you need to run "Printhead Alignment" procedures, for both bi-directional and uni-directional, if your having registration issues unrelated to printhead errors themselves.

    mis-registration between passes themselves as the media travels through the printer (white lines, or dark lines), if that may be the case, would be called "Media Compensation".

    what does your nozzle test print look like?
    if the heads are misaligned, you'll also see it there as well, but it could also reveal deflected nozzles that may be causing your issue
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
  7. Jim Hancock

    Jim Hancock Member

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    You need to do your head alignments first, then the bi-directional for both thick & thin in user mode. The attached files should be done in the order of the file names.
     

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  8. Cabbage Baron

    Cabbage Baron New Member

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    Hi Mike!

    My nozzle test prints show some clogging. A few persistent areas in the black, and a pretty big chunk in the yellow. The other ones look pretty good.
    So far, I've only managed to do the basic manual swabbing around the capping station and wiper, the nozzle wash, plus the test & clean (on strong) quite a few times.
    That hasn't managed to change the black and yellow clogs, but cleared up the others pretty well.
    I don't think I currently have the right cartridges for a head wash - I received a lot of misc. supplies, parts, and pieces with the machine, and have yet to sort it all out.

    I ran the print alignment as suggested, and it maybe helped a bit. The magenta is what seems to still be causing the trouble.

    Also, I know the machine was previously used a lot for vinyl, and I plan to run it more for canvas, so I have media thickness and color profiles to figure out as well.

    I appreciate the help! I'll keep reading threads too. I feel like I haven't had much luck doing specific searches, but maybe I need to browse more until I get more familiar.

    Thanks!
    KR
     
  9. Cabbage Baron

    Cabbage Baron New Member

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    Thank you Jim! I'll read through these and try running them tomorrow.
     
  10. Cabbage Baron

    Cabbage Baron New Member

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    Jun 10, 2020
    Wisconsin
    Thanks!
     
  11. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    media thickness only has two settings high for thick and low for regular media.
    ....and i pretty much ran it fulltime on high without issue. it actually helped reduce headstriking on most media and the quality reduction was almost nonexistent.

    also, if youre nozzle check isn't firing close to 100% then DO NOT RUN ALIGNMENT PROCEDURES
    your current issues could simply be related completely to the condition of your printhead nozzles and trying to align misfiring heads will yield obnoxious results.


    also, look into homebrew cleaning solution posts on this forum. The ratio evades me (15-30% acetone, 70-85% butylcellusolve...i think) but you essentially stock acetone & butyl cellusolve gallon jugs and make your own mixtures for printhead/capping station swabbing and milder-mixture for flushing the system with the cleaning cartridges (I had the same cartridges for nearly 10years and just kept refilling them with a syringe.)
    I think i was making like 5 gallons of cleaning solutions for the cost of two pints of the name-brand mimaki stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
  12. Cabbage Baron

    Cabbage Baron New Member

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    Thanks for the advice Mike! I have a feeling you might have helped out the guy I got my printer from too. He's the one that recommended this site to me, and mentioned a guy "down by Milwaukee" that told him about a homemade cleaning solution.

    I'm excited to get to work on this thing, but my regular job(s) are keeping me from really getting at it right now. Hopefully soon I'll be able to make some headway.
    I ran a full 99 min nozzle wash the other night and afterwards, the test prints had a lot of crossover (lots of magenta in the black bars, yellow bars were totally green). Is that normal after they've been submersed in the capping station for that long? It still didn't clear up the clogs in the yellow head either. I'm thinking more drastic measures are going to have to be taken on that one.
     
  13. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    hah, i think i know exactly whom you're talking about. :)
    so you're most likely rocking a mimaki jv3 160sp or similiar. right up my alley.

    ink contamination would be result of a dirty wiper blade & or capping station, unless there was some crazy stuff going on like swapping dampers.
    can you post pics of the nozzle test & condition of the cappingstation/wiper/printhead carriage (specifically where the dampers are above the printheads)?
     
  14. Cabbage Baron

    Cabbage Baron New Member

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    Jun 10, 2020
    Wisconsin
    Yep, jv3-160sp, and he threw in a 130spii for parts, but there are no heads, the whole carriage is removed, and I don't think he ever used that one. So I don't think it would have anything for me to pull for my current problem.

    It really was working pretty darn good when I picked it up. There was some color crossover the first time I fired it up after getting it home, but that wasn't a surprise. Our moving of both machines was hardly a precision operation.
    I did some cleaning and testing while it was in the garage, but I knew we were going to move it one more time before I'd really start using it. (from garage to basement).
    I've cleaned out the wiper area quite a bit. There was a lot of solidified solvent build up, and I don't know if the wiper needed changing - it looked pretty good after I cleaned things up - but I did put in a new one. And I think there was a sponge at the back, but it was in bad shape - I actually thought it was more ink build up and pulled it out - so I just cut a small piece of sponge to fit and stuck that in there...seems to be ok.

    So, now that it's in place and I'm ready to get it cleaned up and running as good as I can, I actually seem to be making things worse!
    And since this is my first time actually looking at the innards and working on one of these machines, I don't have the experience to know if what I'm looking at is ok, bad, or "not technically right, but if it's like that it's not a big deal."
    It's an old, and much-used machine, and I'm totally cool with that. For what I paid, I don't have to worry about possibly ruining a huge investment.
    But I'd love to get it running as good as I can, if I can.

    The test prints on vinyl are from when it was in the garage, and things were looking pretty good except some misalignment and haloing of colors around the edges.
    The test prints on canvas are after it was moved to the basement, and it looks like that's when the clogs started showing up in the yellow.
    I haven't had time to print a sample image after the bad test prints on the canvas, but hopefully I'll get some time this weekend to play around with things.

    I appreciate you taking the time to help me!

    KR
     

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  15. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    regarding cross-contamination, that black wiper-compartment might be a good start... ink build-up is normal, but when its starts getting gooey in there, it will transfer back to the printheads. What you see in the photo isn't the worst part, its right up under the top of the black housing that you will see a mound of ink forming & making contact with the wiper blade during operation.

    I used to chisel chunks of dried ink out of that mechanism/housing about once a year, cleaned the wiper blade a couple times a week, and replaced the wiper blade about every other month or two.
    there's also a little switch inside the wiper mechanism that will build-up ink and eventually throw you errors when its not triggering during its cleaning cycle.
     
  16. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    solid looking machine tho, carriage looks clean & wiring looks in order. capping station is clean too. only place i could see where the cross contamination coming from would be either the wiper blade or you could also have some gooey bits built-up around the printheads themselves.

    i gotta put some thought into what would make the nozzles start misfiring after moving the machine, however. it could be as simple as the printheads not making a good seal on the capping station when the ink pump refreshes the ink siphon to the printhead. Those black rubber caps on the capping station are able to be manipulated, and pulled-upward ever so slightly, so they make a tighter seal when the printhead carriage parks on it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  17. Cabbage Baron

    Cabbage Baron New Member

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    Jun 10, 2020
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    Thanks Mike!

    I'll dig into that wiper compartment and see if there's anything more I can clear out of there. I definitely pulled out a lot of gunk from both that area and down under the bars it slides on...there was even an old wiper blade down in there that was embedded within the old ink. I've been trying to keep the wiper cleaned off every time I do anything with the carriage out. I don't think I've heard any air leaks when the carriage is over the capping station, but I haven't been specifically listening for it either.

    As I'm learning more, I'm understanding the relationships between the cartridges, heads, and capping station better. The cross contamination is really only happening after I've done a long nozzle wash, when they've been sitting on the filled capping stations for a longer time. First couple test prints have a lot of crossover in the KM, and the CY heads, and now that I understand that those colors share heads, it makes sense to me that my yellow will come out green a couple times after sitting in the CY fluid for awhile. But does that indicate an issue with suction?...that so much green is still sitting in the head after a nozzle wash?

    My current issue is mostly with the KM head. I was getting absolutely nothing in the k & m portions of the test print for awhile - not a single drip, smear, or speck. After some fiddling, I think it was an air lock in the lines. When I pulled ink from the back of the machine, the KM line took some time to get any ink.

    But now, M is about back to pre-moving status, but my K test is BAD. It's only printing about 1/4 of the test grid, and it changes every time I do a strong clean and test again. One test it will be 1/4 coverage mostly towards the top of the test area, clean and test again, and it is printing roughly the same coverage, but now in the lower 1/4 of the test area. Like every cleaning moves the clogs to a different area, which seems bizarre.

    So, I'm wondering if that head just finally went bad? In reading it sounds like that's usually the one to go bad most often because it takes the brunt of head strikes and such.
    Then, because I'm setup with CMYKlmlcWW, that means the 4th head is just running cleaning fluid through it, right? Is it possible, or does it make sense to switch heads 1 and 4, so the theoretically clean 4th head goes into position 1, and the clogged 1st head starts getting cleaning fluid put through it all the time?
    My initial thought is "woohoo, that's a solution!" but them I'm thinking you don't want to put a clogged head in the wash position because whatever clogs you're cleaning out are getting spread around when it pushes through cleaning solution for the standard cleaning functions. And I haven't found anything about "rotating print heads" when I search, so I'm guessing if it was a thing, I'd have come across it somewhere.
     
  18. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    if your 4th printhead is just cycling cleaning solution, then hell yeah you can always use it to replace a bad printhead in the system. they're all the same, BUT printhead replacement is a whole 'nother beast that I can walk you through or at least find the documentation that I used myself at some point.

    however, if cross-contamination only happens after a long soak then that sounds about right considering the heads are being shared between two different color channels. might be especially critical to always keep the wiper pristine.
    you may also want to run a "fillupink" as a proper conclusion to a long headsoak to confirm that you've got stock ink flowing-through the printhead at the time you want to finally start running a print.

    as far as the random dropouts of the KM, it still could be a capping station issue not making a proper seal when it goes to refresh the head OR the printhead manifold might be cracked (plastic part of the printhead that the damper sleeves-onto) and inhibiting the draw of fresh ink onto the printhead OR your ink pump might just be bad. you can always confirm that the problem isn't electrical by simply swapping ribbon cables at the slider board to fake the machine into sending the data to different printheads without having to swap other tricky stuff like ink lines....with the machine powered-down & discharged, of course. threads on here explaining "data swapping" on the jv3 with diagrams by artbot.

    regarding the manifold, the ink system is designed to operate on a siphon-effect, refreshed by the ink pump, and any introduction of air to the system will inhibit the flow. above the damper, you'll see bubbles in the ink lines and easy to fillupink to get them out, but a cracked plastic part inside of the printhead/damper connection easily gets overlooked.
    its a tricky beast to diagnose since removal to inspect requires reinstall & realignment, and BUT its a $20 replacement part that will restore a $600 printhead. they crack easily when manipulating the dampers if you don't pull them directly-upward or press them directly-downward. Any bending/tipping of the damper would easily cause it to crack and then that gremlin will rear its ugly head at the wrong times, and randomly disappear while you're ruling out other causes for ink dropout. people break them all the time when they think they're simply replacing a cheap damper, and many times will just simply order a new printhead thinking its just gottttta be the root cause of their issues.

    regarding the ink pump, you can confirm its proper operation by opening up the back of the printer and watch it drawing fluid during a fillupink or diswaywash procedure. you may not even have to take that step, if you notice a pool of ink underneath them as soon as you open up the machine.
    those ink pumps are garbage in the long-run. pretty much everything in the print system is designed to last forever with proper maintenance BUT the ink pump operates by pinching/rolling an ink line to draw ink through and into the waste tank. Introduce solvents & plastic tubing to this frictionally-operated mechanism and it eventually wears-down, dries-out the plastic & splits open. The waste ink line that runs through the pump has cracked on me a few times over the years, and thus loses the power of its draw like a hole in the side of a straw. Easier to replace the whole pump in a pinch, but its also possible to just re-weave some new "fuel line" through it to save a few bucks...though i think a new ink pump, with the line threaded through the rollers, is only like $30.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
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  19. Cabbage Baron

    Cabbage Baron New Member

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    Jun 10, 2020
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    Hi Mike!

    Could you send that documentation you mentioned about replacing/changing a printhead?
    I am at a loss with this KM head.
    The pump seems to be working fine, I'm not seeing any pool of ink under the pump, and things seem to be flowing fine during a diswaywash or fillupink.
    I've swapped a couple data ribbons and things seem ok...except it's very difficult to get the strip seated into the sockets on the KM head specifically. I mangled the end of the strip on one ribbon, but fortunately have quite a few new strips that came in the box of extra parts/pieces, etc.
    I'm guessing the chip and connectors on the heads themselves can go bad, but is that likely?

    I haven't messed at all with the dampers, so if the manifold is cracked it has to have been for awhile. They look pretty secure and don't seem like something that could get bent while moving since it's a pretty well protected in there. If it can cause intermittent problems, that could definitely be the culprit. I feel that KM head is the one that has been the issue from the beginning. It looks like I have a few extra manifolds from the jv3-130, so I would have that part if necessary.

    Thanks!
    KR
     
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