For the longest time my Epson 7600 had dead on perfect films and all of a sudden it just started being all wonky about 50% of the time. My Epson 9900 that i currently run about 60% of the time will output films that are slightly off. I'm going to give your tricks a try soon.
I want to clarify my earlier post in case it's not obvious (because this trick totally saved my ass):
"Print blank films" = "cut them off the roll" then feed them in as sheets. I presume when you're printing off a roll that you can just print a blank document the right size and let your printer cut it automatically (I actually print little squares in opposite corners but I don't think that's necessary).
TRY IT! It's a tiny inconvenience. I tried printing the long line down every film so it would advance consistently, I tried different kinds of film, I tried adjusting rollback tension and the platen gap; doing the sheetfed thing is the only solution that works for me.
Originally Posted by kylewbaker
I was struggling with this BIG TIME. Got some great advice from Jason at Delicious Design League:
Print blank films at the size you want, then use them sheet-fed.
Besides negating any issues related to rollback tension you'll discharge static buildup when you handle the film.
I was as much as 1/8" off printing off my roll and nothing (including all tips from this thread and PMing a few kind folks) worked until this. I would have been in a heap of trouble to printing 16 screens 36" x 24" with really right reg.
They still don't come out absolutely "perfect" but we're talking within a millimeter. I think at that point the material itself (it being sort of kind pliable) is the culprit.
FYI I don't use a RIP and usually print from Illustrator, even when doing bitmap stuff, just to stay consistent. I'm printing with an Epson 7900, 24" Chromaline Accujet film, Photo or Matte black depending on what's loaded up (both work really great).
I can understand why cutting the sheet off the roll worked, and it goes back to the rollers. The feed wheels probably didn't haven enough friction to take off the roll and advance the film consistently. You will run into the issue again as what little pliable rubber that is left becomes dirty, or simply worn down.
If you can get to the wheels, try my tips and I'm sure one of them (replacing the rollers definitely will solve it) will allow you to feed off the roll as before.
As for your 7900 specific issue here's a field service guide:
Most below is from the other related thread I had started, figured I'd drop it here as well since it also applies to this post.
& thanks kylewbaker, cutting to sheets helped quite a bit. Its still crazy to me that our old machine roll fed perfectly registered films 100% of the time, re-engineered & updated technology is not always a good thing I guess....
FIRST: Epson tech support is useless unless it is a mechanical malfunction which triggers an error message. And I'd suggest not mentioning that you are 'using a third party media' or they may refuse to even talk to you & possibly blame any and all problems you are having with the machine on the third party media you are printing. Once they knew I was printing on film(which a few of the techs didn't even know existed even after I said, 'you know that stuff your grade school teacher used in the overhead projector...') they did not want to assist me in any way. I actually called to have a tech come out because the print head was clogged(cleaning would not fix) & an ink cartridge sensor had stopped working(in a 3 month old purchased BRAND NEW machine) and the machine would not print due to an error message saying no ink cartridge was installed. Epson sent out a tech to replace the sensor. He did the standard nozzle check, head was clogged. When he noticed the film media in the printer he started arguing with me saying the issues were caused by the media, its not under warranty, he wouldn't service it any further.... That was a fun argument, he did end fixing it eventually under warranty. But he was unwilling to even discuss the feed issues, the same went for the techs I got on the phone. If they know you are printing media that is not epson brand with a preset printer profile they refuse to help you.
SOLUTIONS: Since the newer Epson models no longer have a printer profile for transparency film for some reason here are the settings I found to work best after a lot of trial and error. I was able to get it to print accurate film to film 95% of the time, and within 1/32" accuracy to size the image was rendered in photoshop. MUCH better than the 1/8-1/4" variance we were getting previously film to film. The 3 things that I feel helped the most were: Pre-cutting sheets from the rolls, the new auto roll feeder is just trash, don't use it. It adds time to the pre-press process, but its the only way to get accurate results from the printer. The other two factors that made a big difference were: Lowering the platten gap to 'Narrow' & adjusting the paper thickness to the lowest possible setting of '1'. Those 3 things got the machine working pretty dang accurate for us. Incase anyone needs the settings, this is what we ended up with in our driver:
Media Type: Premium Glossy Photo Paper
Color Density: 10
Drying Time Per pass: 25
Paper Feed Adjustment: 0
Paper Suction: 0
Paper Thickness: 1
Platen Gap: Narrow
Roll Paper Back: Auto
Color: Advanced B&W
Print Quality Level: Level 5
Print Quality: SuperPhoto
High Speed: Off
Finest Detail: Off
Edge Smoothing: Off
Color Adjustment: Color Controls
Color Toning: Neutral
Highlight Point: Off
Auto Cut: Off
Like a lot of others on this thread - We had a 9600. Great results for years. Got a brand new 7900, and it fucking sucks.
I have tried everything on this thread to fix it. I have gotten it to where most films line up- most of the time. That really isn't acceptable for what we do.
Thanks to everyone for sharing their suggestions and creative methods to "manage" this issue with epsons.
I would love to hear some suggestions on what printer to buy instead. I am going to need a new one. I can't imagine the 7900 making it through the week without getting thrown at a wall, stomped on, pissed on, and lit on fire.
Also, contact me if anyone is interested in buying it.
Here's the listing:
Less than 6 months used
All black system
Smells of smoke and urine
Did you run the feed adjustment at the end of the roll and create a custom profile? That's the #1 fix. Did it with our Epson Surecolor T series and that was the solution (after updating firmware which also helped)
Epson now provides the newer printers with a piece of software that polls for updates in drivers and firmware then offers the user the option to update either. As you can probably guess the firmware part is the kicker because Epson update their firmware to invalidate any of the strategies used by third party compatibles to function in the printers. So, a user can have a set of working compatibles in their printer, go for the firmware upgrade and find themselves with a set of "not-recognised" cartridges/chips.
I dunno about that as besides the RIP i don't use 3rd party carts or inks.
But I always save each firmware update in a separate folder on my computer so I can go back if needed.
Regardless it is worth your time to set up a custom profile for your film and run a feed adjustment at the end of the roll. I believe this function is only obtainable in the in-printer custom profile manager.
Thanks for the suggestions. I have done feed adjustments, and tested/calibrated every other setting available on this thing.
The "cut sheet" method works 99%, but it is a pain in arse, and though the cut sheet films line up better, they are all 1/8 to 1/4 larger then actual image size. 18x24 1/8 or 1/4.