Paul Roark's carbon inks on an Epson ET-8550?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Mark McCormick Senior Member • Posts: 1,601
Re: Drivers, fade-resistance

NAwlins Contrarian wrote:

has anyone tested Paul Roark's carbon inks on an Epson EcoTank ET-8550?
Where to buy in Europe (not from the UK)?

A European alternative similar to Paul's method:

Does anyone use these inks, on the Epson EcoTank ET-8550 or another printer?

AFAIK, the only practical way to use a B&W inkset in a color printer is to use a RIP instead of the regular printer driver. AFAIK the only not-very-expense option for that is QuadToneRIP. But QTR does not support the ET-8550; see:

But that makes me wonder about what you linked to. Look into how it works, and how much special software / procedures are required. They seem to say none, but I'm skeptical of how satisfactory that would be. But maybe somebody can educate me.

No software needed. It seems to be a simple procedure. Fill the tanks with ink and that's all.

The page you linked to seems to indicate that. I wonder how / how well it works. Does it also seem to require you to start with a totally unused / never-filled ET-8550 / ET-8500?

It would be nice to see how long the inks last in the tanks compared to Epson inks for this ET-8550....

The longevity of carbon prints appears to be very good, according to Paul Roark. And neutral prints without color cast are expected, both in the neutral and warm versions of these inks.

I'd love to hear the opinion of Mark McCormick of Aardenburg. In terms of fade resistance in light exposure, I suspect long compared to Epson Claria dye inks, but maybe not so long compared to higher-tech HP, Epson, and Canon pigment photo inks. Aardenburg tested the I think generally similar Cone Piezography Neutral K6 inkset on Hahnemühle Photo Rag (test # 124), and the results were good (37 megalux-hours), but arguably (paper matters, and direct comparisons can be difficult) not as good at the best HP, Epson, and Canon pigment photo inks

When you grind pure carbon particles fine enough for inkjet and suspend them in solution for aqueous inkjet printing, the printed result is noticeably warm toned not neutral- in a range that depending on paper choice can look almost sepia brown or a more reddish "Vandyke brown" in appearance. You don't get a truly neutral black & White print, but the print can still be quite pleasing with the right image and paper choice. Cone offers a truly pure carbon pigment formulation in what used to be called Piezography Carbon K6 Sepia but nowadays just seems to be called carbon K6/K7. However, to neutralize the pure carbon warmth and provide other shades of toning, e.g. a truly neutral tone, Cone adds additional color pigments (e.g, cyan and magenta pigments such that a bluish tint is neutralizing the brownish pure carbon warmth). In these formulations, the magenta pigment is the weak link and it fades much more quickly whereas the pure carbon pigment is more or less impervious to light fading. As the magenta pigment fade, the image color moves more greenish in appearance which is not particularly pleasing, but that small shift then stalls as the remaining image becomes more and more comprised of the unfaded carbon over time. To put this in perspective, see ID#100 in the Aardenburg database which was made with the pure Carbon Sepia K6 on Hahnemuhle William turner paper, albeit with a Roland printer and an acrylic "varnish" coating on top. Nevertheless, the extremely impressive light fastness result (>200 Mluxhrs) was primarily due to this pure carbon pigment formulation being more or less "bullet proof" with respect to light fading. The ever so slight yellowing of the paper accounts for the very small amount of change which was measurable but for all practical purposes not noticeable.

Pure carbon pigment appears to be what farbenwork has come up with for its Carbonprint-Museum inksets, and if they are simply printed from the Epson standard driver, that suggests this company has cleverly created dilutions that roughly match the L* lightness ramps one would obtain from the OEM color ink channels. I doubt it could be a perfectly matched outcome without further customization of the ink ramps, but this is probably the basis for the claim that one just retrofits the printer model with this monochrome inkjet without further necessity to use a custom RIP. Anyway, the devil is always in the details, Without a proper light fade test to back up any print longevity claims, one has to take it on faith that the Carbonprint Museum product is indeed made up solely of carbon pigment and that no other colorants or chemicals that could reduce the lightfastness have been added to the mix.

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