Mixing quadtone inks
Well, my effort to get a second Epson 1400 printer for dedicated greyscale printing feel through after the seller learned that I could easily unclog the heads/nozzles.
In a way, though, I'm not too disappointed, as I think I'm going to go with an Epson Workforce WF-7510. This is a heavy-duty office printer with built-in fax, scan and copy. I have used a 500 model for a couple years and these are excellent machines, very reliable and able to take a lot of use. The WF-7510 in particular is a wide-format model, which is what I am looking for to accompany my 1400 photo printer (with a continuous flow system). I won't add continuous flow to the WF-7510, however, as it comes with high capacity carts. Plus, refilling these days is LOTS different from the old sponge-cart days, for those who remember. (I once had 2 1140 wide format printers, one color and one BW. Great printers. Terrible carts.) The WF-7510 can also scan documents up to 11x17 in size, something I have long wanted to do. And it's wi-fi ready, though I doubt I'll use that feature.
The WF-7510 is a 4-ink printer. Normally, that would be a limitation for high quality printing. But for dedicated greyscale inks, I have always thought that six tones was overkill. Even top end printers don't generally use more than 3 or 4 inks. I've got a standard printer (Epson R320) with greyscale inks that I've used for years that, in tests, doesn't provide necessarily better output than the old 1140 4-chamber prints.
With this setup -- an 1400 for wide print capable color, and the WF-7510 for wide capable quadtone -- I'll be able to get rid of the other machines while still having my office fax/scan/document printing. (The WF-7510 will double for both standard documents and greyscale photos.)
I've decided on dye-based tones rather than pigment. I've used pigment for BW printing for more than 10 years, but I've never really been satisfied with the richness of the prints. Though subtle shading is DEFINTELY there, when I print BW images with the 1400 (using the popular method of getting black ink only) the dye-based inks are clearly absorbed into the surface of the paper, providing a deep black glossy finish compared to the duller look of the pigments. I'm not terribly worried about archival quality, although the dye inks I bought are supposedly more light and UV-resistant than some others. (MIS dye inks are superb in this regard.)
My intent is to use the default driver and calibrate output to screen with the color/tone controls.
My only question remains now about mixing the inks. I am diluting with MIS Clear Base Stock. Conventional wisdom says to mix the magenta, cyan and yellow at dilutions of 75%, 50% and 25% respectively. Before I commit to this, I have recently seen some different dilutions around the internet and thought it might be prudent to pick the brains of this forum first. For example, one that I saw recommended 75/40/15.
Ultimately, it would seem that virtually any subtle variation can be rendered moot with the in-driver mixing. Still, any thoughts on any of my intentions and methods are welcome.