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DTF Printer

DTF Printer Maintenance Guide

by David K. 07 Jun 2024

Daily Operation

Daily Use Environmental Requirements

  1. The printer operates best at temperatures above 22℃ (71°F). Low temperatures can negatively affect the fluidity and performance of the ink. If you live in a cold area, please ensure the printing environment is adequately heated to maintain optimal printing conditions.
  2. Maintain a humidity level above 50%. A dry environment can accelerate the evaporation of ink solvents, increasing the likelihood of printhead clogging. Use a humidifier if necessary to prevent excessive dryness.
  3. When using the printer, be aware that oven baking may generate odors. To minimize any potential odors, it is recommended to place the machine in a well-ventilated area. This will help dissipate any smells and ensure a more comfortable working environment.
  4. Protect the printer and ink from direct sunlight. Exposure to direct sunlight can lead to ink deterioration, affecting print quality. Keep the printer in a shaded area or use appropriate coverings to shield it from direct sunlight.

Standard Operation Procedures

  1. Opening & Printing Steps:
  • Turn on the power button located at the back right of the machine.
  • Press the start button on the front of the machine. Wait for it to flash, indicating that the startup process is in progress. Once the light becomes constant, it means the startup is complete, and the printer is ready for printing.
  • Use the forward button on the right side panel to load the print film. Alternatively, use the backward button to adjust the position of the film.
  • Perform a print head cleaning either through the software or by using the controls on the right side panel.
  • Execute the nozzle check task using the software.
  • Inspect the results of the nozzle check. A standard good state is achieved when the line drawings are clear without any breaks or color streaks.
  • Send your design to the rip software and commence printing your pattern.
  1. Closing & Maintenance Steps:
  • Ensure that all print jobs have been completed or deleted before proceeding with the closing and maintenance steps.
  • Carefully clean any ink spills around the print head and at the capping station. Additionally, clean the encoder strip to maintain optimal performance.
  • Check and ensure that the print head and capping station are properly sealed to prevent ink drying or clogging.
  • Press the start button located on the right-side panel to turn off the printer.
  • Finally, switch off the power button located at the back of the printer to completely power off the machine.

 

Maintenance Plan

 

Task

Daily Beginning

Daily End

Weekly

As Needed

Turn on White Ink Circulation

 

 

 

Nozzle Check

 

 

 

Printhead Cleaning

 

 

 

Clean Around the Printhead

 

 

 

Clean Wiper Blades

 

 

 

Clean Capping Station Top

 

 

 

Flush Capping Station Top

 

 

 

Empty Waste Ink Bottle

 

 

 

Clean Pinch Roller

 

 

 

Clean Encoder Strip

 

 

 

Fill Ink

 

 

 

Grease Carriage Rail

 

 

 

Clean Encoder Disk

 

 

 

Power Ink Flush

 

 

 

The Capping Maintenance

 

 

 

Ink Cartridges Replacement

 

 

 

Every 3 Months

Ink Pad Replacement

 

 

 

Every 3 Months

White Ink Filter Replacement

 

 

 

Every 3 Months

 

Task Details

  1. Turn on White Ink Circulation: To prevent white ink from settling, it is recommended to activate the white ink circulation system on a daily basis.
  2. Nozzle Check / Test Printing:Before initiating a print job, it is essential to perform a nozzle test to ensure consistent and high-quality prints. A poor nozzle condition can lead to issues like banding or overspray in the printed output. It is advisable to proceed with printing only if at least 90% of the channel nozzles are functioning properly.
  3. Printhead Cleaning: If the nozzle test reveals that less than 90% of the channel nozzles are functioning properly, it is necessary to perform a printhead cleaning. This task involves draining the capping station, wiping the print head surface, and preparing it for the nozzle test or printing. Once the printhead cleaning is completed, it is recommended to perform another nozzle check to ensure that at least 90% of the channel nozzles are functioning properly.
  4. Clean Around the Print Head:It is crucial to clean around the print head at the end of each day to remove any ink build-up. Ink accumulation from the wiper can potentially damage the print head if left unattended. Avoid using alcohol for cleaning purposes.
  5. Clean the Wiper Blade:Similar to cleaning around the print head, it is important to clean the wiper blade. A clean wiper blade is essential for achieving a good nozzle check. Any residue build-up on the wiper blade can potentially harm the print head and hinder the effectiveness of the head cleaning process. Avoid using alcohol for cleaning purposes.
  6. Clean the Capping Station Cap Top: Regularly cleaning the capping station cap tops is one of the most critical maintenance tasks. If there is a significant build-up of ink, your head cleaning may not be effective, and the printer may not draw out the proper amount of ink. Avoid using alcohol for cleaning purposes.
  7. Flush the Capping Station Cap Top:After completing the daily maintenance tasks, fill the cap with a cleaning solution and use the clean button to flush out the cap immediately. This ensures that the print head is properly seated on the cap. Avoid using alcohol for cleaning purposes.
  8. Empty the Waste Ink Tank:If the waste ink bottle becomes full, it can result in overflow, leading to a dirty work surface. Additionally, ensure that the waste ink tube are not in contact with the waste ink in the bottle to avoid negative pressure. Otherwise, the waste ink might reverse its flow and potentially contaminate the printhead, circuit board, and other components. This can result in damage to the print head, motherboard, and other critical printer components.
  9. Clean Pinch Rollers:Film residues or debris can cause the rollers to miss turns, resulting in misalignment on the white and CMYK heads. To clean the pinch rollers, use a dry microfiber cloth or lint-free wipe. However, when replacing the film with a new one, clean the pinch rollers thoroughly by rotating them 360 degrees while cleaning to ensure a complete and effective cleaning process.
  10. Clean Encoder Strip: The encoder strip, which is responsible for providing position feedback to the printer, can be cleaned using isopropyl alcohol. Wipe both sides and confirm there are no dents or ink splash.
  11. Fill Ink:R1390/L1800 printer are equipped with an ink visualization function next to the ink tank. Please keep a close eye on your ink levels. Please add ink in time to avoid empty ink when the ink remaining is low to avoid nozzle clogging. Please note that InkSonic™ printers only support the use of InkSonic™ ink for after-sales support. Any issues or problems that arise from using other brands of ink are not covered in Warranty.
  12. Grease Carriage Rail:If you hear a squeaky noise, it's time to grease the rails. Use a heat-resistant gel or paste-based grease. Avoid using the sprayer.
  13. Clean Encoder Disk:Gently clean the encoder disk using a lint-free cloth or cotton swab lightly dampened with isopropyl alcohol. Be careful not to apply excessive pressure or scratch the surface of the disk. Rotate the encoder disk as you clean it to ensure that the entire surface is thoroughly cleaned. Check for any debris, dust, or ink residue on the disk and remove it using a cloth or cotton swab. Allow the encoder disk to dry completely before plugging in and powering on the printer.
  14. Power Ink Flush:If you observe significant missing nozzles or more than 50% of channels are not functioning properly, it is recommended to perform a power ink flush. To carry out this task, use a syringe to draw 3ml-5 ml of ink from the ink sac and 10ml of ink from the waste ink tube. Then, initiate the ink flush task. This procedure helps clear any potential blockages in the ink system and ensures optimal ink flow.
  15. The CappingMaintenance: When performing nozzle extraction or cleaning tasks, ink can drip inside the capping or onto the metal frame. To maintain the cleanliness of the capping, regular wiping with alcohol is needed. There may be ink residue left after scraping the nozzle so it should be promptly cleaned using a dust-free cloth.
  16. Ink cartridges Replacement:Regularly check for any signs of a broken ink sac or ink leakage. If you notice any such issues, it is important to promptly replace the ink sac to prevent ink leakage onto the print head. Ink leakage can potentially damage the print head and lead to its burnout. Regular monitoring and timely replacement of the ink sac help maintain the integrity of the ink system and prevent any potential damage to the printer components.
  17. Ink PadReplacement:The ink pad is designed to absorb and contain the ink that is not used for printing or that is generated during cleaning cycles. Over time, the ink pad can become saturated and reach its maximum capacity. When this happens, the ink pad needs to be replaced to prevent ink overflow, which can lead to ink leakage, smudging, or other printing issues.  Ink pad replacement every 3 months is necessary for DTF printers due to the accumulation of excess ink and waste ink during the printing process.
  18. White Ink Filter Replacement: White ink used in the printing process often contains particles or impurities that can clog the printer's printhead or cause inconsistent ink flow. The white ink filter is designed to trap and remove these particles, ensuring that only clean and smooth ink passes through to the printhead. The white ink filter can become clogged with accumulated particles, affecting the performance and print quality of the DTF printer. When the filter is clogged, it can lead to issues like nozzle clogs, ink flow disruptions, or inconsistent white ink coverage on prints. Regularly replacing the white ink filter every 3 months helps maintain optimal print quality and prevents potential damage to the printhead.

 

Notice & Tips

Printer & Consumables

  • Avoid Exposure to Sunlight and High Humidity: It is important to prevent direct sunlight exposure and keep the ink, film, and powder away from humid areas. These conditions can deteriorate the quality of the consumables and lead to potential issues.
  • Storage and Protection: Store consumables in containers with lids to protect them from environmental factors. Additionally, using silica packs can help absorb moisture and maintain the quality of the consumables.
  • Use Proper Consumables: It is crucial to use the recommended consumables specified by the printer manufacturer. Using other branded films, ink, powder, cleaning solution, swabs, etc., can potentially damage the printer. Mixing different brands of consumables, particularly ink, can cause blockages in the print head and affect print quality.
  • Original Print Heads: Opt for InkSonic original print heads rather than low-cost, substandard alternatives. Refurbished print heads obtained through aggressive cleaning processes may have a shorter lifespan and pose a risk of damaging the printer's motherboard.

Operation

  • Proper Film Placement: Please ensure that your printing film is placed close to the starting point of printing, which is the right side of the printer If the film is not positioned correctly, it can crease, leading to a head strike that may damage the printer. Take care to align the film accurately to avoid any issues during printing.
  • Avoid Touching or Moving the Film: It is important not to touch or move the film while the printer is in operation. Doing so can result in a printhead strike, potentially causing damage to the printer. Allow the printer to complete its printing process undisturbed.
  • Park the Print Head Carriage Properly: At the end of the day or when the printer is not in use for an extended period, make sure to park the print head carriage to the capping station or the home position. Failing to do so can lead to the drying up of the system. If unsure about the print head's position, perform a head cleaning operation from the printer's menu to move the print head back to the correct position.
  • Perform Print Head Cleaning after Extended Idle Time: If the printer has been out of service for more than half an hour, it is recommended to perform a print head cleaning task before resuming printing. This helps avoid the situation of broken ink and ensures smooth printing results.
  • Use Appropriate Syringe Size: When performing ink extraction tasks, avoid using oversized syringes as they can cause damage to the print head due to excessive suction. A 10ml syringe is typically sufficient for ink extraction purposes.

Maintenance

  • Regular Operation: It is recommended to operate the printer at least once every three days, even if you're not actively printing. This helps prevent ink from drying up in the print head nozzles and maintains the overall functionality of the printer.
  • Moisturizer Device: If you plan to go on holiday or leave the printer unused for an extended period, consider using a moisturizer device to protect the print head. The moisturizer device helps prevent the ink from drying out and ensures the print head remains in good condition.
  • Timely Ink Refilling: Refill the ink promptly and avoid letting the ink level drop below one-third. This prevents air from entering the ink system, which can lead to printhead clogs or poor print quality. Prior to adding new ink, make sure to shake the ink bottle several times to prevent ink settling. Properly seal the remaining ink and store it in a well-ventilated area protected from light.
  • Avoid Manual Injection of Cleaning Solution: Do not manually inject cleaning solution into the print head's nozzle position using a syringe. This operation can easily damage the print head and motherboard. Follow the manufacturer's recommended cleaning procedures and use appropriate cleaning methods to ensure the longevity of your printer.

Avoid Machine Modification: It is important not to modify the printer yourself. Any unauthorized modifications to the machine will automatically void the InkSonic warranty, and the machine will no longer be covered under warranty. To maintain warranty coverage and ensure proper functioning, rely on authorized service centers or technicians for any necessary repairs or modifications.

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