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[DIY DTG] Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

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Old July 15th, 2013 Jul 15, 2013 11:41:11 PM -   #61 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

I hear you Ronnie! It's so funny how in forums a thread can get hijacked and the purpose of the topic gets lost.

I would like to talk some more about that water base ink Goto. Start another thread so we can discuss it or point us to one if there is one.
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Old July 16th, 2013 Jul 16, 2013 1:50:28 AM -   #62 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Quote:
Originally Posted by goto74
.....i made a post about using white screen printing water base ink.....
My understanding of water based screen printing inks is they really do have to be double-printed to get good opaqueness and they dry up quickly in screens which is one of the reasons plastisol ink is so much more popular. Never dries until its cured...

What I can't understand is why the plastisol ink manufacturers haven't made something thin enough to go through ink-jet heads. They have stuff fine enough to go through mega-fine screens so they seem to be only a hop-skip-shuffle away surely? the stuff never dries until it's heat cured. Epson heads don't heat up inks hence their use with sublimation inks and various other exotic inks.

I did read something last week about a DTG manufacturer who had inks that did not need pre-treat, but can't recall their name. Lost interest when it described it as a machine specific situation.

Dupont white ink these days is said to be very reliable and I think it would have to be a Dupont/Dupont branded derivative that would go into my machine,,, if I change my mind....

Last few days I have been pondering about the practicalities and costs and effort of going into white ink. Really the pre-treat regimen is long, tedious, messy, susceptible to failure and expensive.. As I mentioned before, I have a Versacamm and there are lots of very good digital films around these days and there are even protective coatings about that help solvent inks stay on the vinyls that little bit longer. In reality its only a few jobs a year that I can't bid for that I can't somehow print that would be saved by a white-ink printing DTG system. So I think I got it in my head to bail out of white ink and be satisfied with colour on lights. Gives me the speed I want, reduces my vinyl weeding and increases my capability and presumably profit. So.. why hack on for white ink? I don't do pretty one-off printing for ebay or retail.

My final decision on inks will be made within the next couple of days. I thought I would wait while I try and make this little Mosfet circuit. If that works I intend to beef up my drive system and see if that solves my multi-print registration problem as I noticed a little bit of slippage in the friction drive system when launching the long-board... More on that next time. Right now, I can get twice as much colour inks for my money and have a happy time printing fast with no clogs or pre-treat.... Yea... giving myself a couple more days max before ordering whatever inks I decide upon using with this machine but at the moment, I'll not be buying white ink.
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Old July 16th, 2013 Jul 16, 2013 5:59:04 AM -   #63 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

"as I noticed a little bit of slippage in the friction drive system when launching the long-board..." I was going to ask you about that when you said you had a problem with registration. This why I'm more in favor of a moving printer than platen.
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Old July 18th, 2013 Jul 18, 2013 10:07:15 AM -   #64 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Bahhhhh!!!! Popped the Motor controller IC on my mainboard... Right that's it! NO MORE TINKERING with additional motors! Got another mainboard coming from my breaker buddy at the heartbreaking price of £65. How very annoying!!! If I lived in the USA I could just buy the IC for a few dollars. But here in the UK, I've searched and spoken to a few suppliers, can't find it and dont want to spend days looking neither.

So that's it. This project is completed... I'll replace the mainboard and fit it with colour inks only. Will order 4 litres from China with a litre of head-flush and be satisfied with producing single pass stuff. grrrrrrrr.... maybe I'll build another machine next year if I fix and sell my spare versacamm.
aggghhhhhhaaaaaaaaa..... gotta have a brandy......
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Old July 19th, 2013 Jul 19, 2013 1:54:36 AM -   #65 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Have calmed down today...

A bit of detail for fellow pro 4000 hackers

Board level electronics is not my bag. However on and off for a week or so I have been trying to create a circuit using Mosfets and diodes that would detect the signal to the paper-feed motor and then amplify that using an external power source. The problem was the reversing. I bought a few sets of mosfets and tried various configurations, but I kept ending up with short's in the circuit. Anyway. being a stubborn kind of guy, yesterday I decided to do things differently and ran a simple test with a single N type switching mosfet (instead of the four I was trying to juggle). I hooked it up to the paper feed motor to make sure the Epson would not detect it... That's what popped the Epson controller and I am left scratching my head as to why. Anyway,, that ends my experiment with connecting directly to the motor wires.

Last night I conjured up another plan! External triggering. I have spares motors, encoders, external power supplies so it should be possible to make a completely divorced motor system that is triggered by a second rotary encoder (yes yes Priest getting closer to your ethos now) or switching mechanism that runs off the existing spindle setup. That's something I can work on without interfering with Epson or stopping the DTG from working in its basic operational mode (once I give it a new Motherboard on Monday of course).

Another thought that struck me... This machine aint so basic!! I was worrying about multi-pass colour printing. Don't need to do that. The AcuRIP software allows a configuration of CMYK+CMYK which presumably means it the runs all 8 colour channels in a single pass anyway. Shouldn't need to lay down more ink than that.
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Old July 19th, 2013 Jul 19, 2013 5:22:15 AM -   #66 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

LOL I know how you feel loosing that board. You have added more cost to your build. But this is what teaches you the art of diagnosing electronic components. I did mention piggy backing could increasing the load to more than what the board would handle. Another option is to use a motor controller circuit that are incorporated in CNC builds. Some have opto isolators that separate your original circuit from your motor circuit. Also have a look at this circuit and see if it will work for you.

Rips has setting that will increase the amount ink flow so that you would only need one pass. Have a closer look at yours.

Checkout this guy project if you want to learn more about this circuit. "hxxp://home.earthlink.net/~doncox/cnc/cnc.html"
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Last edited by priest; July 19th, 2013 at 05:31 AM..
 
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Old July 25th, 2013 Jul 25, 2013 12:53:05 PM -   #67 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Modification.

The last week has been a bit of a drama.... of my own making.

Having spat my dummy out over the second motor, I decided while I was waiting for a new mainboard, I'd upgrade the drive system so it will run the long board better. I can't work with any possibility of friction-slippage and I did notice that the system would slip a little bit when loading the board. Probably why I could not get an exact second pass registration.

So I took the machine to bits... got out my drill and grinder... decimated the spare carcass and robbed it of it's big wheel and paper feed spindle.

Originally, I had the paper spindle directly friction driving the big wheel. Would be fine if the conveyor was in use but I observed it had a tendency to slip a little at start up. I also observed the friction between the big wheel and the board itself was not as reliable as I need it to be. Simple things first, I stripped off my beloved stone chip vinyl from the bottom of the board and applied proper industrial non-slip strips. The same sort of stuff you find applied to concrete stairs and industrial floors, gritty, hard wearing and self adhesive.

The direct friction feed between spindle and big wheel are now replaced by using the gear and belt system that originally operated between those parts. Consequently I had to relocate the motor and rotary encoder to the other side of the machine as using the belt and gear drive, reverses the drive direction I had setup. I also had to cut a chunk out of the side of the printer's metal work to accommodate the gear wheel.

You can see the result here.



And the drive system now looks like this



You can also see the location of the PE and manual feed sensors on the lower left.

The little white wheels are actually some old skateboard wheel I happen to have knocking around. They have bearings in them and fit perfectly on the old ASF shaft. I used some old grey plastic 10mm water-tubing as separators. Don't look great, but works perfectly and is quick and simple to do.

Anyway, during the process of this modification, my cable set from the head decided to give up connectivity to the mainboard. They are not designed to be connected and disconnected repeatedly over and over. So I had to replace those which was a pig of a little job actually.

My rotary encoder sensor also decided it didn't like the changes and cracked a connector. I tried to re-solder the darn thing, but ended up changing it.

For those in the UK wanting to get hold of the Epson breaker guy I keep talking about, His name is Raf and one number for him is 079 34 88 50 80. Really useful 'commercial' contact there and I'm pleased to have found him. His prices are very fair and he does what he says he's going to do. This build would have been impossible without a good stock of spare parts from him.

Anyway... that's it from me today.
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Old July 25th, 2013 Jul 25, 2013 6:38:43 PM -   #68 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

It’s good to see that you’re working hard and working up a sweat. But sorry to say that you are still in for some head butting and cursing if you don’t shy away from this friction method of carriage movement. Any friction surface is prone to slippage if enough pressure is applied. Consider yourself being warned. I would suggest that you start looking into a cog belt or linked chain option for carriage movement. Link chains are stronger and will not stretch or burst but the cog belt is easier to work with. A nice size link chain is #25 with 18 to 20 teeth sprockets. You seem quite handy with metal tools so this shouldn’t be too hard for you to work with.
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Old July 26th, 2013 Jul 26, 2013 1:08:18 AM -   #69 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Quote:
Originally Posted by priest
It’s good to see that you’re working hard and working up a sweat. But sorry to say that you are still in for some head butting and cursing if you don’t shy away from this friction method of carriage movement. Any friction surface is prone to slippage if enough pressure is applied. Consider yourself being warned. I would suggest that you start looking into a cog belt or linked chain option for carriage movement. Link chains are stronger and will not stretch or burst but the cog belt is easier to work with. A nice size link chain is #25 with 18 to 20 teeth sprockets. You seem quite handy with metal tools so this shouldn’t be too hard for you to work with.
It's a possibility thanks... but right now I'm going to let the machine settle, get the inks (I have still delayed buying) and do some work with it. I want it to return some of its funding before spending much more money on it or doing another re-configuration.

I'll see how it goes over the next few weeks. I have a serious amount of printing work to do and hopefully this machine will do some of it.
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Old July 26th, 2013 Jul 26, 2013 3:10:14 AM -   #70 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Forgot to mention... With the previous motherboard, in my search to get perfect second pass registration I replaced the multi-sensor in the head....

I just did a quick test print as obviously I've had to reset the printer height. Amazingly with the new motherboard the print head is reacting differently. Whereas before it did seem to ignore the leading paper edge I had setup on my platen, it is now taking a proper look and shifting the platen back and forth a touch...

I just got the most perfect second pass print I could ever imagine... wowww
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Old July 26th, 2013 Jul 26, 2013 6:23:44 AM -   #71 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Quote:
Originally Posted by customtshirt
Forgot to mention... With the previous motherboard, in my search to get perfect second pass registration I replaced the multi-sensor in the head....

I just did a quick test print as obviously I've had to reset the printer height. Amazingly with the new motherboard the print head is reacting differently. Whereas before it did seem to ignore the leading paper edge I had setup on my platen, it is now taking a proper look and shifting the platen back and forth a touch...

I just got the most perfect second pass print I could ever imagine... wowww
Share the pics we're all as excited as you are. I'm headed off on vacation today so I will not be online as much.
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Old August 8th, 2013 Aug 8, 2013 6:34:00 AM -   #72 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Sorry, not been on for a while. busy with normal work.

I am not very good at drawing circuits, but the below diagram shows the paper feed forward/reversing setup I have rigged that also cuts off the rear paper sensor so its not triggered during the reversing.

Having blown up a board previously, I decided not to do any fancy footwork with relays or anything other than simple switches.

Works fine.

basically I have used One 4 Pole double throw On-On switch and One vehicle-electric window switch. When the 4 pole switch is thrown, it shorts the paper feed sensor keeping it in its normal state, connects the DC power supply to the window switch and disconnects the motor from the mainboard while also connecting it to the window switch.

See below.
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Old August 13th, 2013 Aug 13, 2013 4:34:35 AM -   #73 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

I’m back from a well-deserved vacation and ready to rumble.


How is the four pole double throw switch activated? I can see the polarity on the motor being switched with the manual toggle to get reverse and forward but the four pole has to be in the right position for it to be effective.
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Old August 13th, 2013 Aug 13, 2013 4:57:57 AM -   #74 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Quote:
Originally Posted by priest
I’m back from a well-deserved vacation and ready to rumble.


How is the four pole double throw switch activated? I can see the polarity on the motor being switched with the manual toggle to get reverse and forward but the four pole has to be in the right position for it to be effective.
Hi Priest,
I may be able to help with this one, I have been looking up the best solution for the 4 pole switch.
I have attached two photos of the switch and connections, hope this of use to you. The switch is available on ebay uk for £3.05.
Regards Marty
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File Type: jpg !Bv,ptdwEWk~$(KGrHqQOKjgEwQsft6D1BMEejOVcDg~~_35.JPG (4.3 KB, 82 views)
File Type: jpg SW321b.jpg (65.6 KB, 128 views)
 
Old August 13th, 2013 Aug 13, 2013 5:01:25 AM -   #75 (permalink)
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Default Re: Epson Pro 4000 DTG - DIY tips anybody

Quote:
Originally Posted by priest
...How is the four pole double throw switch activated? I can see the polarity on the motor being switched with the manual toggle to get reverse and forward but the four pole has to be in the right position for it to be effective.
Correct.. It's a manual 4 pole switch. Simple process. When the printer finishes printing, t shirt is unloaded, another loaded, then when ready, just flick the switch and then use the window switch to send the new t shirt back through the printer to the start/ready position. Flick the switch back and the printer regains control over its motor.
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