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agoodsignabq
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Scuffs / scratches on prints from Designjet z6100

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Designjet Z6100
Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite

I have used Designjet printers for almost 20 years. This issue has happened on multiple Designjet printers that I have used and I have never found a solution in the manuals or online... but it is such a common issue so it makes me pull my hair out. The printer will print perfectly on a particular paper for months and months and then suddenly begin doing a scuffing / scratching thing on prints while printing. The issue is not the file because it happens on files that were previously printed fine on the same paper and once it starts haooening, it happens with any file I send on the same paper. The issue is not the paper profile or the paper itself because again, it just suddenly happens when the printing was perfect before on the same roll and I have switched to a new roll of the same paper and it's still happening. This is a paper I have printed successfully on for years. I have tried different paper profiles just to see if that will fix it and it doesn't. It's almost as if the print carriage itself is scratching on the paper. I have cleaned the vaccuums and even upped the suction. I am able to print on thicker and thinner papers no problem - with the same exact file. (Once it starts to have this issue, it just continues to scuff on whatever paper the printer has deemed is the enemy this time around.) I've seen it suddenly happen to satin gloss paper or matte paper. The current issue is happening on a smooth matte fine art paper. If anyone has a suggestion on something I can try besides cleaning the vaccuums, calibrating the printer, cleaning the printheads, and other such obvious go-tos, I would super apreciate it. We just wasted 40 ft on a roll, trying to troubleshoot and it's driving me bonkers. Thanks so much in advance for any advice you can offer.

 

I should mention, I have rebooted the printer a few times, the firmware is up to date and I don't have any connectivity issues.

 

Thanks!

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D Hook
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If I remember correctly, the bottom of the carriage on the Z6100 has a plastic shield that is attached to the underside of the carriage.  You may have to remove the carriage and inspect this shield to be sure it's not loose and dragging across the paper.  The last one I worked on had a great deal of ink build up between the plastic shield and the bottom of the carriage so I took the shield off to clean it up.  The problem comes when reattaching the shield to the bottom of the carriage.  It may require an adhesive of some sort to keep it tight to the bottom of the carriage.

 

If you're confident in changing the belt on one of these printers, you should be able to inspect the shield when you change the belt.  If you've never done it before you'll want to call a tech to look at it for you.  When I did the belt change on a Z6100 I found I didn't have to remove the ink tubing or anything else to get the carriage out.

 

This is the only thing I can think of that would cause an intermittent problem like you're experiencing.

 

You can download a service manual if you google "HP Designjet Z6100".

 

I'm not an HP trained tech, I just work on these printers as a hobby so I'm only relaying my experience.

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agoodsignabq
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Thank you for your reply, there's no shield under the carriage on this model. I have an hp certified tech here now checking it out, but he said he doesn't have experience with this issue so I still welcome any ideas anyone has.

 

Thanks in advance!

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D Hook
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That's kind of strange.

 

There's some little protrusions that hold the shield on.  At least, on the Z6100 I just worked on had them.  I wonder if those are somehow touching the paper.

 

So the carriage is perfectly smooth on the bottom?

 

Could be the bushing that rides on the rod is worn to the point that it's allowing the carriage to sag down enough to touch the paper.  You can see them inside the open cylinders on the back of the carriage.  There's a brass bushing inside the cylinders.  HP recommends changing them at maintenance intervals.  They sell them on Ebay.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carriage-Bushing-for-HP-DesignJet-Z6100-Z6200-Z6600-Z6800-T7100-T7200-L2550...

 

I'll be interested to find out what the problem is.  Please keep us posted.

 

Thanks!

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agoodsignabq
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Thanks so much for your reply. Our tech had said there was no shield under the carriage but I will show him your reply when he returns today, thank you. Yesterday, he went in and did a thorough clean of everything reachable with the end caps taken off and he was confident that would do the trick. Sadly, it didn't. At least we have a squeaky clean machine now. He wanted to go do some research and come back with another attempt today. We're awaiting his arrival with our fingers crossed.

 

Looking at the machine while the issue is happening, the paper is actually coming up (raised from the platen) a little bit in the middle so it looks like the paper is touching the print carriage and not the other way around. This isn't due, though, to a curl on the paper because when we advance quite a bit of paper, it still happens.  This makes me think it's a vacuum issue but our tech said the vacuum power is fine. Any thoughts on this?


Thanks!

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agoodsignabq
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Welp, we're $1100 in and our tech has given up. He says it must be the big main roller in the back and that that would cost too much to fix so he's not offering the option. Since the issue is only happening on one particular paper this time around, (our customers' favorite paper, dang it) we're just going to discontinue carrying that one and see if a comparable paper will play nicely. We have three different rolls arriving in two days, so fingers crossed one will work.


I'm sorry I don't have a verdict about the shield you mentioned under the carriage. You can probably gather by my tone that I'm not too pleased with our tech, but unfortunately it's slim pickin's here as far as HP certified techs go. I will update this thread if we do find a fix.

 

Thanks again for your help!

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D Hook
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That's too bad.  Strange that a roller could cause that but who knows.  I think I would've gone for the vaccum next.  Those 6100's throw a LOT of ink and things can get clogged, effecting the pull of the vaccum.  The one I worked on was so dirty from ink overspray you couldn't read the color of the printheads on the carriage and ink was actually leaking down the side of the filter area on the right hand side below the service station.

 

I'd be interested to know what the paper is you were having trouble with.  Just to avoid in the future!  🙂

 

Let us know if the new paper makes a difference.

 

*EDIT:  Rereading you initial post, it looks like you've done quite a bit of troubleshooting on the paper already.  Did the tech happen to talk about replacing the bushings on the back of the carriage, the ones that ride on the rails?  If they're worn enough they COULD let the carriage droop down enough to hit the paper but I would think it would do it on all paper, not just one type.  Unless the type you're having trouble with is particularly thick.

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