Art Prints

Do you have Lines in your printing?

One of the most common issues with printing high quality images on your home printer are those darn lines that muck up your nice image, but why? Your printer is not printing correctly due to a blockage or shortage of ink, therefor the lines show up lighter on the page. This can happen to any of the colors your printer uses if it's been some time since you last used the printer due to the ink drying inside the ink jets, which are much smaller than a human hair. Relax you don't have to buy a new printer, it just needs a few minutes to go through the cleaning cycle, or if it only has one head a new cartridge.

Cleaning your printer is usually done with the software that came with it. From here I'll detail how to clean an Epson printer and it's likely that most printers will use a similar process. Let's start with that image you wanted to print. Start by choosing print with preview. Once the preview is ready click on "page setup", then "printer" and then properties (from the windows control panel choose the printer, click on "printer" at the top left and choose "printing preferences"). You should now have the screen up where you can choose resolution, paper size and type etc. Click on the Maintenance tab, then "nozzle check" and the software will ask you to print or finish. Click on print and you will see what color is not printing correctly (one trick I use here is to cut a sheet of paper in half so that I can print on the top half and the bottom half to save paper, but be sure to number which print is which to monitor progress).

If your nozzle check resulted in a bad test print click clean and your printer will push a bit of ink out of the ink jets as a rubber squeegee then scrapes across the printer head surface. Following the cleaning you need to do another "nozzle check" until the test is printing correctly. I usually will only clean 2-3 times due to the amount of ink the process uses, before letting the printer sit for an hour or more to let things loosen up. During that time the ink that was just pushed through can soften up the dried ink so that the next cycle has a better chance to correct all of the nozzles.

Now that you have everything all cleaned up there is one last step to getting the best out of your printer and that is to make sure all of the ink jet are aligned correctly. With Epson's maintenance software, there is a print head alignment utility that will step by step check that everything is pointed where it thinks it is, resulting in sharper images. This process uses a lot less ink than the cleaning, but will use a few sheets of paper, just follow the prompts and you should be ready to get back to that image you wanted to print ;-) To avoid this issue in the future just print and image of any sort with a full color range every few weeks so nothing dries up on you.


Think Green only use recycled cartridges! If you will be printing a bunch there are Ink refill systems that allow you to flow ink into the cartridge, without removing it. To use a system like this you usually need to defeat the chip installed at the front of the cartridge. This chip is designed to help monitor the amount of ink in the cartridge and will expire itself if you remove the cartridge.


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