Alignment

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This article will run you through the process of aligning your printer.

Please note that a new alignment wizard is being developed and will soon be incorporated into the Arc software - this will make this process easier and faster in printing time. The following document outlines a temporary manual method.

Alignment consists of Vertical offset and Horizontal components. The horizontal component is the distance between the same point on the two ink cartridges in the printers y axis. The vertical component is the distance between the two ink cartridges in the printers x axis. Due to manufacturing tolerances each Argentum will have a slightly different alignment values. In the ARC software these components are called Vertical_offset and Horizontal_offset.

These variables can be accessed in the alignment menu under Utilities > Processing Options. This is what the menu looks like:

Printer Options Dialog.png

When misalignment occurs a trace will appear thinner than it should be, or if the misalignment is bad enough the trace/line will not appear at all.

The easiest way we've found to figure out what Horizontal_offset and Vertical_offset should be for your printer is to print concentric squares of varying width aligned in the axis of the printer. By looking at which lines appear you can see how good your alignment is.

This is the test image we use to do this (NOTE: click on the image to get to the proper resolution version, then save that image for use):

Alignment2.png

Go ahead and download this test image.

The ARC software comes pre-loaded with default alignment values of 0 for vertical_offset and 726 for horizontal_offset. We've found these values to work well on a variety of printers. We've found that at most the alignment will be within +- 10 in each axis. For the alignment I used a print_overlap value of 63. If you're not familiar with this variable you can read about it [here].

In order to change your alignment values just change vertical_offset and horizontal_offset in the printer options menu and click save. Because the alignment is written into the print file stored on the SD card you'll need to re-process the test image each time you change your alignment.

The basic procedure for calculating alignment is to vary the vertical and horizontal alignment while observing which lines are visible in the test print. As an example I'll show the alignment procedure while varying vertical_offset only. Only changing one variable will make the misalignment more obvious.

I started by setting vertical_offset set to 10. After printing the test image this was the result:

10.jpg

As you can see the first 3 lines are visible but the 4th was patchy. Because we know that the vertical_offset should be around 0 its most likely that we need to decrease the offset. After changing vertical_offset to 7 this was the result:

7.jpg

Now we can see a few more lines so we're getting closer. After changing vertical_offset to 4 this was the result:

4.jpg

Looks pretty perfect right? Yes! but we're not quite finished yet. There will be a few alignment values for which you can see all the lines. In order to really dial in our vertical_offset we're going to get the range for which our print is perfect and take the midpoint. Decreasing by 3 again to make vertical_offset 1 we get this:

11.jpg

This looks pretty much the same as when vertical_offset was 4. Lets decrease it again to -2 and see what happens:

-2.png

Now we're getting worse again. This looks similar to 7 but perhaps slightly better. So we know that the best value for vertical_offset is between 4 and 1. The median would be 2.5 but we can only have integers so since 7 was better we'll pick the higher number 3. This is our optimal value for alignment of vertical_offset.

I'd recommend starting with vertical_offset set to 10 and horizontal_offset set to 736. Then decrease them by 3 each print until you find the bounds of your alignment. To speed things up you can vary vertical_offset and horizontal_offset at the same time.