Epson 3880 vs. [high resolution, large format] linux printing

aka “How I Drive Myself and Those Around me Mad for at least a Week”

Expected: some bitching and moaning along with details of the development of a new high-resolution printing workstation configuration that will serve as a baseline reference for high, super-high, ultra-high, barely-even-atmospheric-high resolution inkjet prints.

Some notes on my old configuration, named “chula” configuration.

Details for chula configuration:

Hardware is Epson Stylus Photo R2400, circa 2006. Print heads now shot.
This printer is no longer capable of making good prints, and is not coming back. Minus some new voodoo rituals, and regardless of wasted pints of ink on flawed prints or hoping one more nozzle cleaning might make non-streaky prints a reality once more. Keeping this printer around for various sentimental reasons, and vaguely plan for future hacking fun with custom inks.

Software base is Fedora 13 and 14, using

freetype

freetype-freeworld

kmod-nvidia

gutenprint-5.2.6

gutenprint-foomatic

openprinting-gutenprint

ghostscript

cups-1.4.4

The default driver is the “gutenprint/cups” one. A higher-performance driver is available via the “openprinting-foomatic” driver. Use this driver for all prints.

PPD is hand-hacked and included custom paper sizes for 13 x 38″ prints, and frankly some other things that I cannot quite remember at this later date.

Notable projects include Gone Awry, Marfa Project, photogravure printing for Conceptual Forms, Pirate Passport Projects, High Line.

Details for ulloa configuration:

Hardware is Epson Stylus Pro 3880. Inks are 9-color Epson UltraChrome K3™ with Vivid Magenta. See Stylus Pro Series on the “Professional Imaging” part of Epson website.

Software base is Fedora 18TC9, using

freetype

freetype-freeworld

gutenprint-5.2.9

gutenprint-cups

ghostscript-9.05

ghostscript-cups

cups-1.5.4

cups-ipptool

epson-inkjet-printer-escpr

Software config:

0) Printer config via either “System Settings/Printers” or via the CUPS standby, http://localhost:631. In most all cases, the direct CUPS configuration is better as it allows full control of the print driver options and also shows correct status for in-progress print jobs. Your mileage may vary.

1) firewall-config needs to have: ipp, ipp-client, smb-client, mdns holes for network discovery to work. Note, ipp based discovery may be turned off at the server level and may need to be manually changed via CUPs server changes below.

2) nvidia kernel boot config needs: vga=normal, nouveau.modset=0 rd.driver.blacklist=nouveau video=vesa:off

Cups notes:

EPCL == Epson Printer Control Language.

epson-inkjet-printer-escpr

has a high-resolution rastertoepson binary, something similar is in the Apple PPD.

Web-ui for CUPS configuration is:

http://localhost:631

Set rip memory setting to 1Gb via:

RIPCache 1g
Set ipp discovery via:

?

Useful files and or directories:

/usr/lib/cups/filter/epson-escpr

/usr/lib/cups/filter/rastertoepson

/user/share/cups/model/*.ppd

/usr/share/cups/model/foomatic-db-ppds/Epson/eplp*.ppd.gz

/var/log/cups/error_log

Linkages between CUPS print queues and the printer description files (PPD).

/etc/cups/ppd/*.ppd

Useful linux cups debugging page for Debian: DebuggingPrintingProblems.

Useful linux cups debugging page for Fedora: Printing and HowToDebugPrintingProblems.

PPD/Driver notes

Apple PPD:

Supported via official Epson driver.

FormatVersion/FileVersion: 4.3/8.64.

*cupsFilter: “application/vnd.cups-raster 0 /Library/Printers/EPSON/InkjetPrinter2/Filter/rastertoescpII.app/Contents/MacOS/rastertoescpII”
*cupsPreFilter: “application/pdf 33 /Library/Printers/EPSON/InkjetPrinter2/Filter/pdftopdf2.app/Contents/MacOS/pdftopdf2″

*% Quality ===================
**EPIJ_Qual 42/Draft – 180 dpi: “”
*EPIJ_Qual 31/Draft – 360 dpi: “”
*EPIJ_Qual 33/Fine – 720 dpi: “”
*EPIJ_Qual 35/SuperFine – 1440 dpi: “”
*EPIJ_Qual 38/SuperPhoto – 2880 dpi: “”

*APDialogExtension: “/Library/Printers/EPSON/InkjetPrinter2/PDE/PDECPlugin01.plugin”

*cupsFilter: “application/vnd.cups-command 0 /Library/Printers/EPSON/InkjetPrinter2/Filter/commandtoescp.app/Contents/MacOS/commandtoescp”

Windows 7 PPD exists but seems like the Apple/Mac one is a more interesting basis for comparison for linux, as both linux and macos use CUPS.

Linux PPD:

a.) Gutenprint + CUPS.

*cupsFilter:    “application/vnd.cups-raster 100 rastertogutenprint.5.2″
*cupsFilter:    “application/vnd.cups-command 33 commandtoepson”

Be warned: this driver cannot render high resolution output correctly.
See test prints below:

Example one.

Example two.

For both of these testprint comparisons, the left side is a reference print and the right side is the linux-hosted gutenprint-driven print. Many issues, some highlighted in orange sharpie. At issue: line weights are off and indicate lower-res or rasterization issues, as a result all type line weights off, problems with rendering transparency, trouble with fades, etc. All this with no magnification/loop.
Result: fail.

b.) Epson driver for older model, the Epson Stylus Pro 3800. This has official “unsupported” drivers, via this page. Use “3800″ and “linux” in the search boxes, respectively.

This leads to the direct download page.

c.) Epson driver for a related slightly-less ancient model, the Epson Stylus Pro 4880.

See Avaysys drivers, even though transitioned to Seiko these are still the best best for high-resolution large format devices. By “large format devices,” mean Epson USA

Look for “Epson Inkjet Printer Driver for linux (ESC/P). Although no 3880 drivers, have a couple of options. These other Stylus Pro printers have similar ink technology: 4880, 7890, 9890. So,  take 4880 drivers as a base and hack to 3880. Get the srpm and install, before editing.

Manual for Linux Driver.

d.) Openprinting driver for Epson 3880. Upstream Gutenprint project. According to this web page, the correct driver for the epson stylus pro 3880 is:

Epson Stylus Pro 3880 escp2-3880

but package “gutenprint” has this via ‘rpm -ql gutenprint’

/usr/share/gutenprint/5.2/xml/escp2/media/pro3880_ultrachrome_k3v.xml

Anyway. the openprinting rpm that is downloaded from above.

Fedora/RHEL notes

Following via bugzilla:

832130 cups-filters

719390 f15 vs. large-format and high-resolution printing

About sunglint
----

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: