Hi all, I'm new to the large format printing world so forgive my ignorance. I have a HP 315 print/cut solution. I've been printing on Orafol 3165RA without any issues for a good while. Recently the red/orange/yellow colors are getting washed out. 100% red (0 100 0 0) will produce a pinking red. Pure yellow (0 0 100 0) produces a faded banana yellow. It seemed to come out of nowhere. It was recommended I do a color calibration so I ran that. A couple things...
1) Does it self calibrate or do I need to do anything after it prints? The menu didn't say anything else so I assume it internally figures it out?
2) The calibration print is very splotchy on all of the print (see attached pic cal1). I am using the downloadable 3165-10 color profile at 100% saturation, 10 pass. The temp is set higher at 248* F. Any time I print blacks or grays using just the black channel (ex: 0 0 0 20) it's a very grainy finish. It never makes smooth grays. But I can't use any colors like 20 20 20 20 because the grays turn blue or purple.
You can see an example I attached of a number that was 3 colors (YEL 15 0 100 0, BLK 0 0 0 100, GRAY 0 0 0 35). Everything has the grainy look and is splotchy. (cal2)
Not sure what to do about getting higher quality prints but it's not too impressive at this point. I'm saying it's likely something I'm not doing right so any feedback would be fantastic. Thanks in advance.
First, make sure that your inks are not expired - you can obtain this information from the printer's front panel, under the ink cartridge menu. Significantly expired inks can lose optical density and cause washed out appearance in the affected primary and secondary colors. The yellow ink channel appears weak in the image - also make sure that all printhead nozzle performance is reporting as normal.
Second, it it hard to say with certainty from the supplied images, but it appears possible that there could be ink coalescence occurring on the media.
To test this, clean a specific area of the print surface with Isopropyl Alcohol and a lint-free towel. Next, mark the clean area with a Sharpie marker or similar. Next, print a job that extends through the clean area and well into the non-cleaned area. After printing, visually examine the print - if the ink looks good in the clean area, and grainy in the unclean area, that would point to plasticizer contamination as the root cause of the coalescence. Using a fresher/ new media roll should resolve the issue in that case.
I just checked the inks, none are expired and don't until October. But even after a decent amount of printing LC and LM are still 80% full. Having to replace inks that get used less by design seems like a bad combo for how much the ink costs. Hopefully it holds out!
The media itself is only a month old to me so if it's old it's because it say on the shelf a while. I can't control if that was indeed the issue. I will do some more tests and see what she spits out. Thanks
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