Cleaning the Freejet Encoder Wheel

Last updated: December 8, 2023
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Estimated reading time: 1 min

About the Encoder Wheel

The encoder wheel is a semi-transparent disc that rotates in sync with the movement of gears that drive the gantry of Freejet printers forward and backward.

Tiny lines are etched around the outer 1/4″ or so of the wheel and these lines are read by a sensor and communicated to the printer’s control electronics to monitor and control the gantry’s position, relative to its rear or home position.

The encoder wheel is positioned far enough away from the print head carriage’s range of travel that it is unlikely to be affected by ink overspray and is normally protected from settling environmental debris by the gantry cover. Since it is largely isolated from debris in most environments, it generally only needs to be cleaned if you note problems with the vertical registration of prints — in other words, only if you note distortions in the vertical (top to bottom) dimension of prints.

Cleaning the Encoder Wheel

The below video demonstrates how to clean the encoder wheel in the Freejet 330-series of DTG printers.

A recommended “no touch” technique to cleaning the encoder wheel is to spray it with a can of compressed air to remove any loose debris resting on its surface.
Be careful not to bend or crack the encoder wheel while cleaning it. Gently press your lint-free cloth against the wheel, just enough to clean off any loose dust or debris on the surface. Only the outer edge with the notched lines is cleaned.

Never use tools that could scratch the surface of the encoder wheel, since any scratches may be read by the sensor as false information about the gantry position, requiring that the encoder wheel be replaced.
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