Omni DTF Mini Periodic Maintenance

Last updated: March 28, 2024
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Estimated reading time: 2 min

OmniPrint recommends cleaning the encoder strip and cleaning & lubricating the carriage rail on a bi-weekly schedule (every two weeks). As both procedures involve moving the carriage to the left, it makes sense to do them both at the same time.

Aside from the bi-weekly schedule, it’s advisable to also perform both tasks if you ever note inconsistent horizontal registration in your prints.

Watch the below video or read the following detailed instructions and stay on top of these two easy maintenance tasks to keep your Omni DTF Mini reliably printing at maximum quality.

Video Demonstration

The Encoder Strip

The printer’s encoder strip is a long, narrow, semitransparent plastic tape which spans the full width of the printhead carriage’s travel path. It’s covered with tiny vertical lines which are seen and counted as the carriage moves back and forth. The printer knows the exact location of the carriage at any moment based on its count of the encoder strip’s vertical lines as an offset from the carriage’s “home” position.

DTF Mini encoder strip with red tint.
Omni DTF Mini encoder strip, shown with red outline & tint

The Omni DTF Mini encoder strip is positioned behind a two-piece (left & right) protective shield which helps to prevent most vaporized ink and other particles in the environment from getting onto the encoder strip, but this won’t prevent it from needing to be cleaned on a regular basis.

DTF Mini with encoder shield highlighted
Omni DTF Mini with encoder shield highlighted

Supplies for maintaining the encoder strip

  • 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • microfiber cloth or foam swabs
Using any cleaning solution other than 70% isopropyl alcohol may remove or lighten the indexing marks on the encoder strip, requiring that it be replaced in order to operate the printer.

Cleaning the encoder strip

Wet a microfiber cloth or foam swab with 70% isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe both sides of the exposed section of encoder strip to the left of the carriage.

DTF Mini encoder stip cleaning with foam swab, back side of strip
Cleaning the back side of the encoder strip.
DTF Mini encoder strip cleaning, front side.
Cleaning the front side of the encoder strip.

Move the carriage to its full-left position to expose the part of the encoder strip that the carriage was previously covering. Clean that additional section of the strip, then home the carriage using the printer’s Enter button or the Omni DTF Mini UI software’s Home button.

The Carriage Rail

The printhead carriage rides along a rectangular rail, gripping the grooves at the top & bottom of the rail. It’s important to keep the rail clean and lubricated to prevent excessive drag on the carriage motor and to maintain smooth operation and optimal horizontal registration.

DTF Mini carriage with rail tinted red.
Omni DTF Mini with carriage rail highlighted

Supplies for maintaining the carriage rail

Cleaning & lubricating the carriage rail

No chemicals should be used to clean the carriage rail, and no lubricant except the blue “FreeJet” grease referenced above.

To clean the carriage bar, simply wipe down the exposed top, front, and bottom surfaces with a clean, dry cloth.

DTF Mini - cleaning the top, bottom, and front fact of the carriage rail (track)
Cleaning the top, bottom, and front fact of the carriage rail (track)

To lubricate the carriage bar, put a few dabs of blue grease across the same surfaces that were wiped down when cleaning the rail.

DTF Mini carriage rail (track) with blue grease applied.
Omni DTF Mini carriage rail (track) with blue grease applied for lubrication.

Move the carriage to its full-left position to expose the part of the carriage rail that it was previously covering. Clean and lubricate that additional section of rail, then use the carriage movement controls to run the carriage back & forth across its full range of travel to distribute the grease across the rail.

Finally, wipe off any excess grease that may build up at either end of the rail.

Removing excess grease from the carriage rail.
Removing excess grease from the carriage rail.

Home the carriage using the printer’s Enter button or the Omni DTF Mini UI software’s Home button.

As always, be sure to wet cap the printer if you won’t be using it.

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