When a sublimation printer is having issues with colors dropping out or really faint prints, we often recommend that the owner of the printer do a nozzle check. For those who are familiar with sublimation, that may not be a problem, but for those who have just purchased their system, doing a nozzle check may be an unfamiliar task. Today I wanted to point out some resources that may help make doing a nozzle check easier.
First, we need to define what a nozzle check is and what it helps you determine. A nozzle check is a test that helps you determine if all the nozzles in your print head are printing properly. The nozzles on a inkjet printhead are not that big and can become clogged in the course of a normal print day, or if the printer is left to sit for a period of time. Most printers do a nozzle check before they start their day’s work and several times over the course of the day. Nozzle checks are also good to run daily while the printer is experiencing minimal use. Nozzle checks help keep the nozzles from clogging and can point out any problems with a nozzle, so those problems can be cured.
Once you’ve done your nozzle check, the next step is to know how to evaluate what the check shows you. A nozzle check will print lines of each color ink out on a piece of paper. A good nozzle check will have no breaks in the lines. A nozzle check that indicates problems will have breaks or gaps in the line of color. A break in the line of color is evidence of a blocked nozzle, which will need to be corrected in order for your printer to print properly. Sawgrass offers examples of good and bad nozzle checks for comparison on their site.
After you’ve done your nozzle check, if you determine that it does have issues, the next step is to repair those issues. The first step in correcting a problem with a nozzle check is doing a head cleaning. Please keep in mind that repeated head cleanings are generally excessive and may lead to a waste of ink. One or two head cleanings will usually suffice for cartridges, and five should be the maximum done by users with bulk systems. You can perform a headcleaning through your PowerDriver or ChromaBlast driver software.
Once your printhead has been thoroughly cleaned, perform another nozzle check to see if the problem has been alleviated. If it has, you are all set to continue printing as normal. If it hasn’t, you best bet would be to call Technical Support for further assistance.