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DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

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Old December 25th, 2010 Dec 25, 2010 1:03:58 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

DTG Maintaince 101


I'm going to write a series of articles to help the new folks that are entering the Wild World of DTG printing, I'm going to try over the next few months to cover all the major components of a DTG printer that need to be addressed in regular maintenance, we will be using the components from our DTG printer which is a Fast T-Jet2 (Epson 2200) but the components and procedures should carry over to other makes and models. The sole intent with the articles is to give the new buyers of an older DTG printer a leg-up on what the components are and what is needed to keep the printers running, where applicable I will try to include links, files, and pictures to aid in the explanation of each component.

As always.....everyone is encouraged to correct my mistakes, and add info to the thread as it pertains to other specific printer models.

Part 1 The Capping Station

One of the most important parts of a DTG printer is the capping station, it consists of a pump, capping assembly, and wiper, it's main role in life is to draw fresh ink into the cartridges
or dampers so the print head has a continuous supply of ink for printing, it's secondary purpose is to keep the bottom of the print head (nozzle area) clean, and to remove waste ink to the waste ink container.

Often overlooked and neglected the capping station must work correctly to achieve quality prints, one of the problem areas is the rubber seal of the capping station that must be kept clean in order to maintain an adequate seal on the bottom of the print head, excess ink, or dried ink on the seal will cause inadequate suction when the printer is trying to purge the print head, do a head cleaning and add new ink to the cartridges/dampers.

The wiper assembly is also often over looked, it consists two pieces of material one of them made from a fiber, the other rubber, it's purpose is to clean the bottom of the print head (nozzle area) during head cleaning cycles, it's very simplistic in that it does just what it sounds like it would do, it wipes the bottom of the print head off of any excessive ink.

The last part of the puzzle is the pump, it's what you hear running during head cleans and ink purges, it's purpose is to create a slight vacuum when the print head is over the capping station pulling fresh ink through the print head, that ink deposited into the capping station is drawn out by the same pump and sent to the waste ink container.

The capping station requires daily maintenance when you are printing, this would include cleaning the wiper, the capping station seal, it's always a good idea when your through cleaning to apply a few drops of your cleaning solution to the ink pad of the capping station to keep it moist, this cleaning solution will also help keep the pump and waste ink lines clean, and the nozzle area of the print head moist.

The capping station assembly is considered a consumable part and it is recommended by most distributors that it be replace at least once a year, the cost is reasonable, it's not a big job on most printers, and it's something that every DTG owner should learn how to service/replace.

Here's a few pictures to help you recognize the components


Basic Replacement Info

Replacement on most printers requires removing one of the side covers, splash guards, 4 screws, and one hose connect it to the printer chassis, other parts my need removal to gain access to the assembly. Installing a new capping station assembly is fairly easy, there is a tab on the wiper that must be in the correct position over a plastic part of the capping station for the wiper to have full movement, once this is in proper alignment the pump gear should be manually turned to put the wiper back in its home position before installing into the printer. This assures that the wiper and pump gear are in the correct position for the unit to function correctly, if you fail to do this you will hear a grinding noise when the pump runs which will require you to remove the assembly and try again.



A few more pics...


Note: using a magnetic screwdriver will help to hold the screws to the screwdriver while aligning everything and installing the mounting screws.


A very good video courtesy of Equipment Zone.


And one for the Kiosk courtesy of SWF and DTG Digital



One for the Viper, again thanks to SWF and DTG Digital

And .pdf related to replacement.


Capping_Station_Guid%20ver1.1.pdf
TG_Blazer_Cappingstation.pdf

Problems related to a dirty or defective capping station are.

Poor ink delivery (to the print head)
Poor ink coverage
Ink starvation
Excessive ink being printed
Banding

Some of these symptoms are also related to other problems, but if you experience any of them the capping station would be the logical first place to look.

Cleaning can be accomplished with foam swaps and cleaning solution, gently wiping excess ink from the bottom of the print head, the capping station rubber seal, and the wiper rubber and fiber parts.

Another nice video on cleaning the capping station courtesy of SWF and DTG Digital



Keeping the capping assembly clean is the first step in quality prints, next time we'll cover the print head.

Disclaimer:The info provided in this post is not intended to be a complete guide but more a reference to help you familiarize yourself with common components of DTG printers, use this information at your own risk, if you are not comfortable with servicing your printer by all means call a qualified technician to perform the needed repairs/service. As with any type of servicing to your printer always disconnect the electrical power cord and let the printer sit a few minuets before removing any covers.

Last Words.....I do encourage everyone to add to this thread to try to make it a one-stop post for this topic, it would make life much simpler for the new folks to have a single thread relating to capping station replacement and maintenance.

Hope this helps.
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Last edited by IYFGraphics; December 28th, 2010 at 09:38 AM..
 
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Old December 25th, 2010 Dec 25, 2010 4:51:17 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

Very very good tips...Thanks Jon
 
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Old December 25th, 2010 Dec 25, 2010 5:41:47 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

Some great tips, Jon.

One more tip to add. The capping station is a wear part, like the oil or a timing belt is in a car, and should be replaced at regular intervals. I recommend replacing the capping station every 12 months or so.

The capping station, as you mentioned, is an important part of a direct-to-garment printer and should be kept well maintained.

-Alex
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Old December 28th, 2010 Dec 28, 2010 3:37:23 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

I will echo Alex's words here. The capping station should be replaced every year at least, more frequently if you are a heavy user. The wiper blade itself at least once a year, and more probably every six months to avoid any issues.

One thing to note, especially with the 2100/2200 based units (Kiosk, Kiosk 2, Tjet and Tjet 2) - be careful when cleaning the capping station as it has two springs under it that can become dislodged - thus causing the capping station to not cap the head properly. (VOE here )
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Old December 28th, 2010 Dec 28, 2010 10:15:11 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don-SWF East
I will echo Alex's words here. The capping station should be replaced every year at least, more frequently if you are a heavy user. The wiper blade itself at least once a year, and more probably every six months to avoid any issues.

One thing to note, especially with the 2100/2200 based units (Kiosk, Kiosk 2, Tjet and Tjet 2) - be careful when cleaning the capping station as it has two springs under it that can become dislodged - thus causing the capping station to not cap the head properly. (VOE here )
Agreed, thanks Don & Alex, it was stated in the post but I went back and highlighted the text so it will stand out to readers.

And thanks for the tip Don on the capping station locking in the down position, I forgot to mention it even though I had it happen myself.

Hope this helps.
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Old December 28th, 2010 Dec 28, 2010 2:02:26 PM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

Hi All, I am new in the world DTG K3 and always learning via the forums. This is a great idea and I would like to thank you for taking the time to put this information in one place :-)

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Old February 28th, 2014 Feb 28, 2014 3:42:09 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

I remove my capping station once a week and remove the squeegees etc and clean ...I then rinse the pad ... should i be doing this as general maintenance, Im just questioning everything I do now ...
 
Old May 23rd, 2014 May 23, 2014 2:33:11 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

You hear the pumping sound does not mean the pump is working. It is how much ink comes out from the pump counts. Epson printer pump is not perfect.
 
Old May 23rd, 2014 May 23, 2014 3:04:47 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintsDesigns
I remove my capping station once a week and remove the squeegees etc and clean ...I then rinse the pad ... should i be doing this as general maintenance, Im just questioning everything I do now ...

You can take the pumps apart and clear out waste ink stuck inside .
I used to find that the adapter that connects two sizes of hoses would get plugged .
This can be cleared with a small safety pin

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Old May 23rd, 2014 May 23, 2014 3:07:28 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

so is it right that I remove the capping once a week or do people leave it longer or only remove when it needs replacing ?
 
Old May 23rd, 2014 May 23, 2014 3:54:47 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

This is a cheap part better to replace then clean in my opinion.
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Old May 23rd, 2014 May 23, 2014 3:59:59 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

cheap ? really im having to get most parts from china, but struggled to get hold of a complete capping station and pad, i ended up with a used one with no pad ... the pads were going for around $50 each when i last looked :/ im uk btw
 
Old August 4th, 2014 Aug 4, 2014 1:19:14 PM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

Hello,
maybe someone can help. i have a epson 2200 printer and I took out the capping units pad to clean, I noticed it has a small rubber tube attached. My question is where does the other end of this tube go attached to or does it just hang off of the capping pad unit?
 
Old August 4th, 2014 Aug 4, 2014 1:47:24 PM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

Quote:
Originally Posted by ggutierrez
Hello,
maybe someone can help. i have a epson 2200 printer and I took out the capping units pad to clean, I noticed it has a small rubber tube attached. My question is where does the other end of this tube go attached to or does it just hang off of the capping pad unit?
this is not the same capping station but it plugs in to the same place
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Old August 4th, 2014 Aug 4, 2014 1:49:53 PM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: DTG Maintaince 101 - Part 1 The Capping Station

If you meant the clear tube, on a Tjet it connects to a waste bottle, but on a std printer I Think it just drips onto the sponge pad
 






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