Printer Problem with Inkjet Negatives

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by billy_mabrey, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. Hello all. I have a frustrating problem.

    I consider myself something of an expert when it comes to printing in Gum Bichromate, and have made hundreds of prints over the past several years, many of which consist of 5-10 layers. Google Gum Bichromate or gum print and my website comes up in the Top 5. For all of these prints, I have used a cheap economy Epson C66 Inkjet printer for my enlarged transparencies, and cheap Office Depot transparencies. These two items have allowed me to refine my skills and nearly perfect tremendous detail in my prints over the past 6-7 years. They did not treat me as cheaply as they were valued, and thus I have sort of taken them for granted.

    My Epson C66 died one day, and despite my attempts at cleaning it or fixing, there was no hope. Luckily i had a Cannon pixima printer waiting to be hooked up and used. For the past few months i have used this Cannon printer to make my transparencies, and thus my newer gum prints. They are ok in quality, but compared to what I had been printing before using the Epson, they fall far short.

    The trouble is, the cannon ink seems to be much thinner when it comes to blocking UV light than the Epson Durabrite inks. In order to compensate, I needed my cannon printed inkjet negs to be much denser and darker. This however casues the ink to bead up in unsightly banding patterns on the transparency sheets in the densest areas, areas that will later print as highlights and high tones in my gum prints.

    What has resulted is my newer prints have this terrible banding pattern in the highlights.

    The simple solution afterall was to just go buy another Epson printer, since Epson ink works right? So i did, and much to my dismay, I found out today that ALL the new model Epson Inkjet printers do not support printing on transperency sheets. They actually just roll the sheets thru without recognizing it as a printable surface and give paper jam errors. ALL of the new printers! So I returned it, and am at something of a loss.
    My Cannon printer is marvelous at printing normal photo prints, A++ quality, it just fails in UV light blockage. And the Epson's work great at making negatives, unless they die or clog up. A friend of mine used to work as an engineer for HP and said HP inks are the same as Cannon inks. I haven't tried an HP because of that.
    I wondered what printers others use for inkjet negatives, or any suggestions someone might have as a solution to this.
  2. Well, there's always the brute-force solution -- Epson C66 printers are going for $15 to $20 used on eBay. Buy a few?
    I suppose an ink that doesn't want to fade in UV light might be formulated to be transparent to it...
  3. Also, how about the transparency sheets with the peel-off white strip along one edge? That is there to trip photocell paper sensors.
  4. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Ebay may be a solution. I'm just worried about buying dud printers... they all are described as "it turns on" which isnt too assuring, even for 15 bucks.

    The transparency sheets I use do have a strip of white paper to trip the sensors... this didn't matter to the new epson. I think it continualy senses if there is paper there, rather then just at the beginning as the sheets are fed in. I even taped a whole sheet of copy paper to the back of the transparency sheet, really not worth the effort, and the two sheets running thru was recognized as a paper jam by the printer.

    Any more ideas would be appreciated.

    One idea I have to test may be to use the cannon printer still, but alter the hue of the negative, different color inks do block different amounts of UV light. Im assuming a reddish orangish tone would do the best as those yellow and magenta pigments absorb blue wavelengths, and UV is not too far off.
    I will keep posted.
  5. Have you visited inkjet film producer Click on their resources tab and they have some instructional material and many ICC profiles for (higher priced models) Epson printers and a few for other brand printers.
    I remember reading that their OHP transparency film was uv transparent and suitable for alternative printing processes. I would like to construct a light box and experiment with injet transparency film negatives myself sometime. I hope you find methods to print superior negatives again and post results here.
  6. Problem solved! Thanks to some help here and some research I found that indeed the Pictorico sheets mentioned above work marvelously. The cannon ink is still slightly thinner then the epson, but not nearly as much as it had appeared, due to the beading up of the ink on the other transparency papers.

    I was able to make some tests over the past few days and construct a new inkjet transparency curve for my work flow.

    Finally, after over a years time, I will be able to get my work going again with the high quality and detail that I want in my work. In the next few days I will show what the prints are looking like.

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