Head Strike Avoidance & Recovery

Last updated: August 18, 2023
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One of the most potentially damaging problems that can occur with your printer is a head strike or head rub. Avoiding this will extend your printhead’s life and save you the expensive of lost time & materials, and possibly expensive repairs.

What is a head strike?

A head strike is when a printhead contacts a garment, film, or platen.

Results of a head strike

If a head strike occurs, the printhead may be damaged. If the head strike is on a pretreated garment it will likely clog nozzles and may permanently damage the printhead. At the very least, a head strike will smear ink on your print so result in scrapped materials.

How to avoid head strikes

Properly positioning the platen, mounting the garment, setting the platen height appropriately (so that the print head has sufficient clearance), and keep the film properly aligned (in DTF printing) will ensure that you avoid experiencing a head strike.

What to do if you get a head strike

  1. Immediately lower the platen (on DTG printers).
  2. Abort the print job.
  3. Prime all ink lines for a full pump cycle (on Freejets) or Load Ink for 15 seconds.
    • Monitor the waste ink bottle and interrupt priming to empty it, as needed.
  4. Run two head cleans
  5. Print a nozzle check

If the nozzle check is good, continue printing to keep ink flowing through the nozzles, then wet cap in Super Nozzle Cleaner overnight when finished printing.

If a good nozzle check cannot be achieved by following the above steps, contact tech support to see if permanent damage can be avoided.

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