Certify Printer Guide
Learn by watching the video, or review the written transcript. If you still have questions submit a tech ticket, or reply back to your technician in an open ticket.
Hi, I’m Nick from Freehand.
Today I’m going to teach you how to certify a printer using AccuRIP to produce high quality screen print positives. Using our benchmark testing processes, you’ll develop and install your own custom printer binary file for your non-certified printer model.
Always start with a clean slate. If you have a printer driver already installed, you can delete it. If you do not already have a printer driver for your printer, go to the printer manufacture’s website to download. Once the genuine printer driver is installed, print a nozzle pattern test from the printer driver utility to ensure there are no clogs.
Next, the most important items to determine are whether the printer’s media sensor is able to manage film (this can be tested by simply loading the printer with film then printing an OEM test page) and whether the printer can accept black dye film printing ink, like Dmax. Some printers use bulk systems which make it easy to fill with black dye while other printers use chip based tanks. For those printers you’ll need to find a refillable system such as auto-chipped tanks or a continuous ink system also known as CIS. We recommend you research this before getting involved in deeper testing. Contact us at Freehand if you need assistance.
As long as your printer meets these criteria, it’s worth testing.
While you may use AccuRIP to lock-in certified printer settings on either Mac or Windows computers, it should be noted that printer drivers running on Windows PCs often have more options.
Now that your printer has passed the initial testing, let’s dive deeper into the printer driver settings in order to get your printer model certified.
AccuRIP Emerald is capable of printing to any printer regardless of make or model. Pre-Certified printers included have been tested and approved by Freehand. Printers NOT Pre-Certified can be tested then added by you following the advice in this video.
Printer drivers from a variety of manufacturers will have different settings, terminology, and layouts. This is not a step by step guide for every printer manufacturer. This is a guide on the main testing points to bring you success with your printer. As examples we use Epson printers for this video.
Open AccuRIP Emerald, select the printer, (there’s no need to certify a printer that’s already officially supported, for this video we may use printers that are already supported as examples of the workflow) set the media size to the film media size you are using for your testing, then click Apply.
Next, go to the Support tab and click Print Test, then click Print.
You will now use the OEM printer driver settings to achieve your best prints. You’ll use these settings windows throughout this process. Some settings may be tucked away in sections and windows labeled for advanced settings. The availability of settings may also change depending on the media selected and the make and model of your printer.
First, let’s figure out if the printer prints best with all color tanks (ABI), only black (Mono), or can do both.
We’ll start by determining if ABI is possible.
Something to keep in mind is that stock OEM inks are best suited for printing to paper. While stock color inks are helpful to distinguish between ABI and Mono during testing and setup, printing with stock inks will not achieve the density needed for printing films.
With the printer filled with stock color inks, set the media size to match the film loaded into the printer, and set the media type to a photo glossy paper setting to achieve the highest quality prints results. Photo paper settings generally deliver better quality compared to matte paper options.
Take a close look at the halftones of the test print under a loupe or a magnifying glass. If you see color the printer supports ABI. If you only see black ink the printer only supports mono.
If the printer supports ABI it might also support Mono. Print another Print Test from AccuRIP Emerald but this time in the OEM printer driver, if available, change settings to black and white. Sometimes this may be called “grayscale”, “black and white”, or something similar. Finally set the media type to a Matte paper type.
Again, take a close look at the halftones of the test print under a loupe or a magnifying glass. If you still see color the printer only supports ABI. If you only see black ink the printer supports mono.
Once you’ve determined whether the printer prints with all color tanks (ABI), only black (Mono), or can do either, you can decide how you want to use the printer in the long term.
Now it’s time to dial in the best settings for the cleanest and sharpest print. Don’t worry about light blocking density yet, that will be handled when you switch to a proper black dye ink, like Dmax. For now, discovering best print quality is your goal.
Print a test print from the Support tab of AccuRIP Emerald.
If you decided on Mono printing start by adjusting the settings that yielded only black ink in your previous testing. For Mono, look for the best matte paper setting that gives you the best quality. For ABI look for the best photo paper setting that gives you the best quality. We recommend starting with these settings: print quality and detail set to the highest setting wherever possible, high-speed printing (sometimes called bidirectional printing) turned on, and if you have the option Emphasize Thin Lines turned on.
If available under the color options, select No Color Management. This option will be the easiest to setup your printer as you will not have to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, etc. For some printers this may be called No Color Adjustment or something similar. If you do not have the option for No Color Management then you will need to adjust your color settings. Start with the brightness set to the lowest setting, contrast set to the highest setting, and if you decided on ABI saturation and/or color density set to maximum.
Click print from the OEM Print window and examine the results. Test different settings using AccuRIP Emerald’s Print Test until you get a clean and sharp print that you’re happy with. Although this process may be extensive before the best settings are found, be patient and observant, you’ll get there.
Keep detailed notes on this process for future reference. You’ll want to remember your favorite settings.
Now let’s get the printer certified.
Once you’ve found the perfect settings, within AccuRIP Emerald, go to File then Certify Printer.
Choose the printer from the list and select the ink mode you chose, Mono or ABI, then click OK.
This will open the OEM print window just like before. Input the settings that printed best and click Print. Instead of printing a test print, AccuRIP Emerald will save and remember these settings for all prints passing through AccuRIP.
Time to verify your new certified printer in AccuRIP Emerald.
Select the printer within AccuRIP Emerald’s main window, print a test to double check everything looks good. For most printers, once certified, you will no longer see the OEM print window when you click Print in AccuRIP Emerald. Some printer models will still show this window. This gives an opportunity to proof your print settings before sending it through to print.
Now let’s address Density.
Manufacturer inks are formulated for paper printing. They will not achieve the standards for density and durability the screen print industry requires to expose screens. You should replace them with a proper film printing black dye ink.
At Freehand we manufacture Dmax black dye specifically for film printing from inkjet and bubblejet printers.
Fill the black tank (or tanks) for Mono printing or all tanks for ABI printing with black dye ink, like Dmax, to get reliable, dense, and durable UV-light-blocking prints.
Congratulations! You have now certified a printer in AccuRIP Emerald.
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