Preparation of printer and print head before using invisible inks

Before You can create the first prints using invisible inks in Your Brother or Epson inkjet printer and shine a ultraviolet light on these prints to let the ink glow there are a couple of things to consider and some preparations on the printer are necessary to be made. The following initial situations are possible before filling the invisible inks made by Octopus Fluids® for the first time in the printer´s cartridges:

 

  1. You would like to use an Epson or Brother desktop inkjet printer which has been printing with regular inks already and switch this device to the invisible inks.

  2. A brandnew inkjet printer with single ink tank cartridges is intended for making invisible prints, which shine when exposed to ultraviolet light.

  3. You are in possession of a printer model that comes originally equipped with external ink tanks. Such models as there are in the Epson ecoTank series for example.

The main part of our instruction refers to the first situation, making a used printer ready to work with invisible inks. But we also would like to give You an idea how we assess the other two situations.

  1. Idenpendent from if You have a Brother or an Epson printer - its ink system, meaning the print head, the ink chamber, the ink ports plus exisiting ink tubes, has to be cleared from the regular inks to be able to create invisible prints. For this case we provide the full intruction later on.

  2. The first step in setting up new printer is to initiliaze this device when switching it on for the first time. Usually the initlializing process has to be done with the so called setup cartridges that are included in the printer´s scope of delivery. Using alternative refillable cartridge equipped with an alternative chip to initialize a new printer dis not possible.
    The setup cartidges are filled with regular ink by the original manufacturer.In theory the task now would be to replce the regular ink inside the setup cartridge by the invisble ink. This does not sound scary to You? Ok, but for Epson single tank cartridges we cleary remain to say No to trying to replace the ink inside the setup cartridges with invisible ink. These Epson cartridge have an one-way valve in them, You would (maybe) get out the original ink, but You will not be successful in getting in the invisible ink in the reverse way, neglecting that in between You still would have to clean the cartridge´s inside. Based on that we ask You not to try switching the inks in the Epson setup cartridges. In the case of readying a new Epson printer for the invisible inks You have to take the bitter pill and use regular inks from the setup cartridges for initialization and clean out these inks later on.
    For Brother printers switching the inks in the setup cartridges is conceivable as the original ink can be extracted easily and the invisible ink can be filled into the setup cartridges using the same way in reverse order after cleaning the cartridges´ insides. It would save you quite some time to fill a Brother printer´s ink system by invisible printing ink from the beginning. The connection between the print head and the cartridges is established by flexible tubes, this requires a higher quantity of everything - more ink to fill the system for the first time - more time and ceaning fluid to get out the regular ink after initializing - more invisble ink to fill whole system after cleaning.

  3. To have a brandnew inkjet printer model with external ink tanks at hand is actually the best case if you intend to print high numbers of invisible prints. These external ink tanks can be filled with invisible inks from the beginning and the printer can be initialized having these inks in the tanks already. 

Preparing an used inkjet printer for invisible printer inks

Preparing a used inkjet printer for invisible inks is the first of our described initial situations. The task is to get rid off the regular inks that are present in the printer´s ink systen at this point. It is important that the invisible inks do not get polluted by remaining, regular ink. If both types of inks mix the rpint result would not be an invisible one.

In our instruction we demonstrate how we switch our used Epson inkjet printer from regular inks to our invisible inks. The printer is working with 4 individual single ink tank cartridges. These cartridges are removed from the printer´s print head compartment to have access to the ink system for cleaning. The ink head is integrated in the cartridge compartment, on its bottom side there is the nozzle plate with the inkjet nozzles.
In each cartridge position there is an ink port for each ink color. This port has the shape of a little spike. This is the access point to flush the regular ink out of the printer.

Cleaning out the inks aims on avoiding to add pollutions to the printer. For that purpose we install some protection in the print head´s working area. The first layer is some plastic material which is resistant against beeing penetrated by ink and cleaner fluid. This layer prevents the liquids flushed out from the ink system to leak further into the printer. On that plastic foil we place some absorbent paper material, this could be kitchen roll for example. This layer is meant to take in the main part of the flushed out mix of cleaner and inks.
To conduct the cleaning the print head compartment is positioned on this protection in the middle of its working area manually.

To flush the inks out of the piezo print head we work with Octopus Fluids® nozzle cleaner, print head cleaner in combination with a flexible plastic tube with a Luer Lock connector on one end. This tube´s inner diameter matched the ink ports diameter. The tube is connected to a Luer Lock refill syringe. We take approximately 10 ml nozzle cleaner into the refill syringe.
The free end of the flexible tube is pressed on the ink port´s spike until it is flush with the bottom of the cartridge compartment. Now it is time to press the plunger on the syringe carefully in and start to fill in cleaner fluid into the ink system on one side and pressing out the regular ink at the system´s other side.

Flushing the ink system with the print head cleaner forces out the regular ink inside the Epson printer. The nozzle cleaner gets into the ink system through the ink ports, moves on to the ink chamber of the print head and exits through the nozzles in the nozzle plate. The mix of cleaner comes out at the bottum side of the print head compartment and is absorbed by the previously installed protection. As the amount of liquid leaving the print head is not small we recommend to change the kitchen roll material a couple of times during the cleaning procedure. This makes sure that no cleaner-ink-mix flows on the plastic layer into the printer and it provides the opportiunity to track the progress of the cleaning. The cleaner the inks system becomes the cleaner also the absorbed liquid under the nozzle plate is.
Continue the flushing until the cleaning fluid in the absorbent protection layer is close to colorless.

At this point Your printer then is ready to work with invisble inks. Place the refillable inkjet cartridges filled with invisible ink into Your printer and start one or two print head cleaning runs. This helps to remove the remaining nozzle cleaner. By printing a nozzle test pattern You can check if the invisible inks have reached the nozzles at all colors - to check You have to shine an UV-light source on the test pattern.
For printer´s whose print head is connected to the inkjet cartridges by ink tubes it might take more time and cleaning to remove the remaining cleaner.

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