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Author Topic: Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800  (Read 11489 times)

Mr. Capp

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« on: March 12, 2009, 01:32:48 PM »

I've got a brand new Epson 3800 and after ran have started experimenting with the Ilford Gold Fibre Silk 13x19 and have noticed these micro-scratches running length-wise in the direction of the paper movement. It looks like it's happened on all of them. I've got the platen set to wider, the paper thickness at 4. They seem to show up in darker areas of the print but it's not the only case. The 8.5x11 didn't seem to have any scratches, I've tried both the sheet feeder and the rear feed, of which the rear feed seemed actually worse.

I've called epson and they said the rollers were dirty(?) I'd accecpt this if the printer wasn't brand new. The scratches did not appear on the thinner RC inkpress luster I used. I also wrote to Ilford and they said the paper was made for this printer and have never seen a problem. The scratches albeit faint are still noticable. Has anyone ever has this problem? My next step is to increase the thickness to a 5 and increase drying time(?) The paper is beautiful but if it cannot produce an unmarred print what's the point?

Any suggestions? experiences similar?
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Dale_Cotton2

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2009, 01:53:13 PM »

Yes, I had that happen to me. Just a bit of grit somewhere in the paper path. I don't remember if I cleaned the paper path or it went away on its own. In your case apparently to the left of where 8.5" ends and 13" ends. Perhaps try using some sort of blower?
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Mr. Capp

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2009, 06:57:08 PM »

Quote from: pearlstreet
I have had the same problem with Ilford. I read all the forum posts on the is subject. The scratches did go away with a coat of print shield but it is aggravating.

If it is dirt on a roller, I wonder if running some matte paper like epson velvet would help?

Sharon

I did order some roller cleaning sheets. Whether it will help or not I have no idea. So, you had no real resolution other than Print shield? What is this stuff? A spray? Seems odd to have to use this on a paper designed for the 3800. Have you had any other experiences like this with any of the other papers, other than ilford? Like Harmon? I wanted to try something like museo portfolio rag or a hanemuhle photo rag. I wonder if it's a thickness issue, or a paper inconsistency.
Thanks for your reply,
Michael

www.michaelcappabianca.com
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Mr. Capp

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 06:59:15 PM »

Quote from: Dale_Cotton2
Yes, I had that happen to me. Just a bit of grit somewhere in the paper path. I don't remember if I cleaned the paper path or it went away on its own. In your case apparently to the left of where 8.5" ends and 13" ends. Perhaps try using some sort of blower?

Dale, the scratches are on both sides of the paper, and in multiple places. I think the canned air is worth a try!
-Michael


www.michaelcappabianca.com
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Dale_Cotton2

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2009, 09:29:20 PM »

> The scratches did go away with a coat of print shield but it is aggravating.

The one time I tried Print Shield on photo black prints was not pretty; big loss in Dmax; probably doing something wrong but I'm not trying that again without further input. Sharon: curious if you had the same problem?

Also should point out, as I learned from other posters on this forum: IGFS and similar papers are incredibly delicate out of the printer. You only have to look at them cross-eyed to lay down a scratch. Really makes you appreciate RC. But they do toughen up after a few days of drying. I've learned to put each print up on a shelf for several days right out of the printer. But I guess it depends on what sort of handling your prints get. If they're just going straight into a frame, your usual routine should suffice.

Finally, and a bit off-topic: Epson Proofing Paper White Semimatte (a new product) is an incredible match for IGFS and similar warmtone white photo papers.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 09:37:04 PM by Dale_Cotton2 »
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AaronPhotog

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2009, 12:29:36 AM »

I've had the same problem with the large 17" x 25" sheets of Harman Gloss FB Al in my 3800, but I figured out the cause and a solution.
When the ink hits the paper, the surface trys to stretch, and the back won't let it, so the paper buckles before it exists the print area.  It looks like an "M" shape.  Two scratches are laid down at the peaks of the "M" parallel with the direction of travel.  The scratches are perfectly straight and are typically symmetrical about the centerline.  They don't always run the full length of the printed area, but are typically found where a fair amount of ink has been laid down.  They are not head strikes, as there is no lateral scratching, and no deposits of extra ink along them.  Epson has little built-in sharp edges in the paper path I guess.  Brilliant!

This happens regardless of the relative humidity, because the paper back and front reach a sort of equilibrium after sitting for awhile before being used, but as soon as ink hits the front side, the opposing forces kick in and it buckles.

The cure is simple once you think about it.

1. Lay your print paper on a flat smooth surface (I use a piece of foamcore that I made into drying racks), face down.
2. Gently bend the sides up and over to take some of the backward center curl out if it's there, then lay it back down flat.  Be careful not to kink the paper - it kinks without much provocation.
3. With a fine mist sprayer, gently spray clean water (distilled if you prefer) evenly on the back of the paper.  Spread it out with a clean, folded piece of soft paper towel.
4. Walk away.  The print will curve upwards about an inch or so in two places near the long edges, sometimes one side more than the other.  It's OK.  Just wait.
5. Set up your computer to print.  Get the image(s) placed, all the settings right, and then go take a look at the paper.  It will have relaxed quite a bit, but it shouldn't be quite flat yet.  It should feel cool from the evaporation of the water.
6. Once it has relaxed to the point where the edge curl is a little less than a quarter of an inch, you can carefully pick it up from a short end and place it in the fully extended sheet feeder of the 3800.  Carefully position the leading edge so that it's straight and near the back of the sheet feeder at the bottom.  This is important.
7. Press the printers paper advance button.  You may have to wait a bit while the printer does some routine, or it might take it right away.  Just keep the paper straight and near the back.  All of a sudden, "whap-zap," the printer will advance it into the machine to the "starting" position.  It will then go up and down a touch, and then stop.  You should still see the green light on the printer and the word "ready" indicating that it has loaded properly.  If you see the red light, hit the advance button again, and start over from step 6.
8. Go back to the printer and complete the printing setup process.  Hit "print."  (sorry I'm being so specific - I know - I could have just said "spray the back with water and let it partly dry." This is just to make sure I don't leave something out.)
9. As the paper comes out of the printer, use your fingers under the middle area of the leading edge to just give it a little support so it won't suddenly buckle downwards.  You just need to barely feel the bottom of the paper so it won't go up, but will just slide forward.  Continue supporting it very gently until the leading edge is past the first joint in the paper tray.  Then you can safely lower the leading edge.  It should be close to the paper tray by this point anyway.  I tried to make a ramp to do this, but my hand works better.
10.  Stand back and watch your gorgeous print come out.  I use a small flashlight to check the surface for scratches now and then, looking at the reflection of the light on the surface.  When it's done, gently pick up the print by the leading corners and transfer it face up to your drying rack, again being careful not to let it kink (when it's wet it's even more susceptible to kinks).

So far, with this method, I've had no scratches whatsoever.  Before, it was an absolute nightmare.  Now, another gremlin has been vanquished from my GPH (Great Printer from Hell).

I expect this problem to appear with most large sheets of fiber based papers in the Epson 3800, and other printers that do not have a strong vacuum feed.

Give it a try and you'll be amazed.

Aloha,
Aaron
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 12:32:59 AM by AaronPhotog »
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jasonrandolph

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2009, 12:10:49 PM »

I noticed a similar problem with my 3800 using Epson Exhibition Fiber.  After examining the print after it came out of the printer, I noticed the fine scratches on the surface of the paper.  It didn't affect the ink laid down, but when examining the sheen of the surface, it was obvious.  I didn't discard the print though.  A few days later, i went back and reexamined the print, and I couldn't find the scratches!  I had figured that the original problem was the platen being too close to the paper, but now I'm leaning toward the "equilibrium" theory.  Regardless of the reason, at least it isn't ruining any prints I've made.

Conner999

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2009, 06:20:09 PM »

Odd. I have that issue with large sheets of FB AL a VERY scratch-prone paper due to a similar swelling issue as described above. Get around it by feeding via front slot/ w a backer (see Eric Chan's site for details).  But with GFS (my face non-matte) - no worries. Spotless prints. Other than dirt, a solution would be to try the platen setting at 5 (will make do difference in IQ).

While darker areas will show marks more, it sounds like swelling of paper where there  is heavy ink placement.  Heavily inked area swells/tries to buckle (gets that 'wave' shape in heavy ink areas coming out of exit path) and JUST contacts pizza wheels, etc. With the tight tolerances we are talking about it won't take much in a manufacturing tolerance in the printer, paper or humidity to cause contact. I love my 3800 but my next unit will NOT have pizza wheels ;>

If wider platen setting etc doesn't work - front feed works fine.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 06:25:39 PM by Conner999 »
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rwheat

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2009, 09:07:51 AM »

Hi all,

I had this problem with Ilford Galerie Gold Fiber Silk (IGGFS) on my Epson 3800 when I first got it a month ago.
It occurs due to the paper arching with a relatively large ink load causing the surface to touch one (or more) of the front star wheels.  It seems that just a touch is enough to mark the surface using this paper.  The scratches were down the length of the image and could only be seen when the light is shone onto the print in a particular direction (ie. a very fine scratch in the surface).

Several people have had this problem and if you do a search I'm sure you'll find more ideas regarding fixing it.
I fixed it by locating the star wheel causing the issue (by position) and removing it.  This is quite simple to do and I can put it back if I need to (but I haven't tried yet).  The other necessity is to use a paper thickness of 5 and a platen gap of Wide.

With this "fix", 99% of the scratches were eliminated.  I now get the occasional small scratch near a darker area of a print - but not enough to make me remove any more wheels.  I have printed over 230 sheets (a4 and a3+) of IGGFS in the last month without a problem using the standard sheet feeder, without any other time consuming practices (such as bending the paper or using the front feed).  I bought this printer to print multiple sheets of IGGFS from the normal sheet feeder and it is working great with this "fix".

Hope this helps,
Richard.
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Mr. Capp

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2009, 09:10:57 PM »

It seems like I'd have to remove just about all the wheels here. Tried some more printing today and not any good. Wider paper thickness, widest platen gap, and it's ranging from bad to worse. I have never had a clean print of GFS come through. My only hope is that other thicker papers will print okay, perhaps some rag ones.

Most of these images are dark, so using a lot of ink is causing the paper to warp and is swelling against the pizza wheels/rollers and scratching the surface, from slightly to a decent scratch. I also noticed some straight ahead pizza wheel tracks to day too.

I cannot believe this paper was designed for the 3800. It's like, is it the paper or the printer, or the humidity. I live in Massachusetts so I wouldn't think it that big a deal. Epson was full of it when they say it was dirty rollers. I printed 10 luster rc papers today as well and not a mark, perfect. I'd love to say it's just defective printer, but will epson replace it? Would that solve the problem? Is the paper a bad batch? I wish I knew.

My next step is to try the spraying water on the back and let it pre-curl, then relax before printing.

The whole Platen gap thing hasn't been too successful either.
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Dale_Cotton2

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2009, 11:23:32 AM »

What I don't understand is why a few people are having this problem but not others. Can the star wheels be set slightly closer to the paper path on some 3800s compared to others? I didn't have this problem even during a very humid summer. Incidentally, I feed GFS through the multi-sheet feed, not the front or rear feeds.
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AaronPhotog

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2009, 02:10:44 AM »

First, if you go back to my earlier post, you'll see the statement that the relative humidity has nothing to do with it.  Location - no.  Elevation - nope.  Temperature, huh-uh.  Machine design and construction - yup.

What's happening here is that the back of the paper takes longer to absorb airborne moisture than the front, which is a thin layer.  Both sides expand and contract at about the same rate as the air slowly changes humidity - most of the time.  But, when moisture (ink) hits the front, it stretches a little, while the back (which is still dry) doesn't stretch very much at all and the paper buckles inside the paper path.  After the paper has dried, the opposite can occur with a sudden change in humidity.  This happened to a tiny, 2"x4" Harman FB Al print I made.  It was lying flat when a big rainstorm hit, and the air became very humid very quickly.  The paper curled into a cylinder the long way all by itself, just sitting there.  This time, the back absorbed more moisture because of its thickness and greater absorbency while the thin front coating could only absorb very little, and the print bent toward the front into a complete circle.  In this case, it wasn't the relative humidity, but the sudden change in humidity that caused the buckling.  Eventually, the little print flattened back down, again, all by itself.

Second, I don't believe that the scratches are coming from star wheels.  At first, with this GPH (for definition see previous post), I had star wheel marks in several of these new fiber-based and other glossy papers.  By running some large, fairly thick printing paper upside-down through the machine several times, the sharp edges of the star wheels (they kind of make what looks like tiny centipede tracks) polished out and the problem went away.  The star wheels still do their transporting job, and leave no marks at all.  None of the marks I had gotten that I described in my earlier post looked at all like star wheel tracks.  They were typically pairs of perfectly straight lines about 1/8 inch apart, with each pair at the high points in the paper's "M" shape after the ink had been deposited, and always in the direction of travel.  They could be gouged out by the edges of some kind of plastic wheels, but they look more like they are made by stationary ridges in the paper path.  Once or twice, the buckling was severe enough to cause a head strike in the perpendicular direction, but this was rare.  Finally, by spraying the back of the paper with water and letting it settle back down, almost, but not quite flat, the problem was solved.  Now, the extra moisture remaining in the back of the paper from the light spraying counters the tendency of the front coating layer to stretch dramatically more than the back, and you get a flatter paper coming out of the inking area inside the machine than otherwise.  

I also use "Wide and 5" for my gap settings, but I always did after reading the wonderful web site by Eric (Mad Man) Chan when I got the machine.  As mentioned in my earlier post, I also use the sheet feeder, not the back and not the front feeder, but I make sure it goes in smoothly by keeping the leading edge straight and to the back before hitting the advance button.  I don't just let the GPH grab it from wherever and however the paper wants to sit in the feeder.

Since adopting this practice of spraying the backs of large sized paper (regardless of the humidity) there have been no scratches.  None.  I recently completed printing black and whites for a gallery show with all 17"x25" Harman FB paper and I had no wasted paper at all from scratches.

I told Harman's tech rep about my procedure.  He said he was sorry I had to go through all that, but I told him it wasn't his paper's fault, and so far, I love their paper.  I had previously advised him of the flimsiness of the Harman boxes, and that I dispaired of getting boxes of the large sheet size that didn't have a bent corner or two, or three, or four.  He responded that Harman has beefed up their boxes and that the new packaging should be out in the market place now.  Another issue was also improved by Harman; that of cost.  They have had excellent sales (or so they say on their web site), and resulting economies of production, so they've lowered the prices for the Harman FB papers.  The lower pricing is starting to show up in the market place.  All good news.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2009, 03:58:24 AM by AaronPhotog »
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2009, 10:58:50 AM »

Aaron,

Thanks for the detailed description. I have just acquired my 3800 and I've been busy reading Eric Chan's info. So far I haven't made any big prints, but as I love that Harmon paper, I expect that your discussion will save me a good deal of wasted paper.

-Eric M.

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Conner999

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2009, 03:31:57 PM »

Anyone care to share how you remove the pizza wheels? I've seen older thread for the 2400, etc, but nothing for the 3800.

Thanks.
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rwheat

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2009, 09:01:08 PM »

Regarding removing a star wheel ...

First make sure that your issue is caused by a star wheel and identify the wheel or wheels in question.  It seems there may be several reasons for this issue.

If you shine a torch in the front of the printer you will see that there are two rows of star wheels, one behind the other.  On the front row all the wheels are doubles and all run with a rubber belt the other side of the paper path.  On the rear row, the double wheels run with the same belt, but there are also single wheels inbetween them.  It's these single wheels that caused my issue - it seems that when the paper swells and bends upwards with an ink load, the surface contacts one of these wheels - just enough to mark the surface but not enough to turn the wheel - hence you get a scratch down the surface of the print.  I can see that this issue may vary from printer to printer as the wheel position may differ (higher/lower) as may the resistance each wheel has to being turned by the paper surface going past.

What I did to remove the offending wheel was as follows:
I just opened the lid, put my finger in and under the back of the wheel in question - thus lifting it up on its spring runner.  Then I grabbed the wheel with my other hand and lifted it straight up.  The wheels run on a small spring so when I lifted up the wheel the spring pulled out from the holes on either side retaining it.  I ended up with a wheel and a spring.  I have not attempted to remove more than one, nor have I attempted to remove any of the pairs of wheels.
This is not a recommendation to physically alter your printer- merely a description of how I "fixed" mine.

It may be possible to temporarily lift a wheel, suspected of causing a problem, slightly out of the paper path to check if it is really the problem.  Maybe lift it with your finger and then fix it there using a bit of tape or something, without removing the spring from its retaining holes.

I hope this helps,
Richard.
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Conner999

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2009, 07:12:18 AM »

Thanks Richard - my problem with FB AL is identical to what you describe. Also only happen with paper larger than letter-sized.  Figure the extra flex from the larger paper contributes.  If I print a sheet of say 13x19 FB AL and watch the exit path I can see the paper take on the 'M' shape - with the crests being the areas heavy in ink. With paper like FB, it doesn't take much contact with anything to scratch the surface - especially when still wet.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 07:14:09 AM by Conner999 »
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Conner999

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2009, 08:59:11 AM »

Interesting tidbit. Took some older scratched FB AL prints (13x19) I'd kept for reference.  I marked the location of the scratches on the top white border, opened the printer cover, lined up the print (face up) with how it would feed thru printer via rear feed and bingo - all marks lined up perfectly with the single pizza wheels.

My guess is that the singles, for whatever reason can hang a hair lower in the tray (lack of tension/lift from rubber drive belt?) than the doubles (all my scratches are single hairlines) and the swelling sections of paper just 'crest' enough to skim an exposed tooth/teeth. Some prints (same photo) have 1 scratch, one as many as three - but ALL line up exactly with the single wheels.

The scratches, to the normal eye look like hairlines as opposed normal pizza tracks - suggesting a tooth/teeth on the wheel is only hitting paper with enough force to scratch the fresh ink layer vs. hitting the paper itself and getting rotated by it.  It's possible that how a particular wheel settles after the last print to go thru (e.g. tooth at lowest apex closest to paper path) might also effect if it contacts the inked surface.

I dislike it and it's a PITA but if you get the manufacturing tolerances between the printers and the papers plus humidity, etc all going against you.... larger sheets of FB AL tend to get very flexible when freshly inked and it wouldn't  take much to flex an inked area that extra 'thou needed to hit a low-handing wheel tooth. 8.5x11 FB sheets and larger sheets of GFS, EEF, etc - no marks.

I don't do much FB AL printing any longer (prefer the stiffness of GFS), but if I start again, the single wheels are coming out.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 09:03:47 AM by Conner999 »
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AaronPhotog

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2009, 06:02:46 PM »

Conner999,
Why would you let the paper warp in the first place if there's a simple way to reduce it?  I've found a good and easy method to do just that, tested it, and it works.  
Also, if you read my last post, humidity doesn't work for or against you, unless there is a sudden drastic change.  It will only cause the sprayed back to settle down faster or slower (very slightly).

You'll also recall that this post started about GFS (Ilford Gold Fiber Silk).  Same thing.  Fiber back, glossy layer of whatever on top.
Leave the screwdriver in the tool box (and the warranty intact) and give the technique I recommend a try with your large prints.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.  If not, then fine.  Go for broke.

Good luck,
And Aloha,
Aaron
« Last Edit: March 22, 2009, 06:04:47 PM by AaronPhotog »
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Conner999

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2009, 07:03:38 AM »

The problem is specific (for me) to Fb AL, larger sheets.
While your method does appear to work, it's quite frankly not something I think I should need to go thru to print (in my case) FB AL because of $0.10 worth of pizza wheels that quite frankly shouldn't be there in the first place - or be redesigned to be better suited to glossy papers. Neither should I need to remove the pizza wheels.

As for humidity - it is ink swelling/induced warping on the glossy side causing the issue. My comment (IIRC) was that given manufacturing tolerances within the printer, the paper and the possible impact of humidity (or ANYTHING else that could cause swelling within the paper or to cause it to warp in the slightest), it wouldn't take much to cause an issue - given the design of the 3800 (and many other printers with these idiotic wheels).

No law says I won't try your method. I also may not remove the PWs as I prefer GFS vs. FB AL and (in my case) GFS has no issues. There is also the option of removing the wheels, dulling their tips and re-installing.

I was more curious that while I knew the cause of the warping I now know the %^&*'s that are causing the fine steady scratches in the ink surface.

Cheers

R
 
Quote from: AaronPhotog
Conner999,
Why would you let the paper warp in the first place if there's a simple way to reduce it?  I've found a good and easy method to do just that, tested it, and it works.  
Also, if you read my last post, humidity doesn't work for or against you, unless there is a sudden drastic change.  It will only cause the sprayed back to settle down faster or slower (very slightly).

You'll also recall that this post started about GFS (Ilford Gold Fiber Silk).  Same thing.  Fiber back, glossy layer of whatever on top.
Leave the screwdriver in the tool box (and the warranty intact) and give the technique I recommend a try with your large prints.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.  If not, then fine.  Go for broke.

Good luck,
And Aloha,
Aaron
« Last Edit: March 23, 2009, 07:08:27 AM by Conner999 »
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Mr. Capp

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Gold Fibre Silk Scratches on Epson 3800
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2009, 07:22:19 PM »

Aaron,

Your advice has been the only thing that has helped. I made 2 perfect prints last night, no scratches. My question now is that the paper seems to take on a bit of a curl having wet the back of the paper, even after a day it's still a bit uneven. It usually dries perfectly flat. Have you noticed this? Do you matt this paper? flatten it
at all?

On another note I did the mistake of taking a flashlight to all of my prints I've used so far, GFS and RC lustre, and there's Pizza wheel marks all over the place. Perfect lines where ever a pizza wheel touched the paper. It's totally unnoticable uner normal viewing conditions. The only paper to not have it was a matt surface.

Conversely do you have a preffered matt surface, or better yet all rag paper? I'm interested in Museo Portfolio rag, or one of the hahnemule rags. Just thought I'd get your expert advice.

-Michael

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