Gear Up for Gift Season with These Equipment-Cleaning Tips

Investing a little time now to clean your equipment will help you avoid slowdowns and breakdowns during the upcoming gift season

Investing a little time now to clean your equipment will help you avoid slowdowns and breakdowns during the upcoming gift season — a time when your shop needs to be operating at peak efficiency.

Laser engravers

  • The lens: Cleaning the lens can make all the difference! If it’s been a while, it’s time.
  • The mirrors: Check all of them. Most lasers have some hidden mirrors you may not even know to exist! They should be wiped down with a Q-Tip and lens cleaner.
  • Metal areas: Wipe them down, and then go over your laser with a vacuum for general cleaning. This will help you avoid residue build-up that could lead to fires.
  • Encoder strip: Often overlooked, you may not realize it’s dirty (or old) until it’s too late. To avoid these problems, gently wipe it with some water every six months.
  • Rotary accessories: Wipe rubber wheels, stoppers, and cones with a neutral cleaner like Simple Green or even soap and water.

UV direct printers

  • Wiper, cap, and print heads: Daily cleaning is a must to avoid clogs, streaks, and splattering.
  • The outside of the printer: Routinely wipe down your machine to ensure there isn’t any ink build-up. Overall, the outside should receive a thorough dusting at least once a month. Depending on the environment, more frequent dustings may be necessary.
  • Waste bottles: Check them regularly for excess ink. Dispose of it properly.

Sublimation printers

If your printer includes an auto-maintenance feature similar to what you’ll find on Sawgrass printers, much of the routine cleaning is done for you. One thing you still need to do yourself is:

  • Perform a nozzle check at the beginning of each week to prevent any clogs.
  • If a nozzle does clog, a print head cleaning should clear it.

Plotter cutters

These machines are workhorses that can be easily taken for granted. To avoid a drop in performance, or worse yet, an untimely breakdown, perform these steps this fall.

  • Grease the carriage rod
  • Clean out, oil and/or replace the plunger (blade holder)
  • Replace the blade
  • Clean the grit rollers — if they are showing signs of wear, replace them

Large-format printers

The maintenance recommended for your printer will vary by manufacturer. Here are suggestions for two brands:

  • Epson: replace the filters, auto fabric wiper, and flushing pad
  • HP Latex: grease the carriage rod

Tools and work areas

  • Now is the time to pick up your shop. Clear out the clutter. Remove the scraps of leftover material. Wipe down work surfaces.
  • Find a home for all your tools and materials. Label drawers and shelves. File the papers on your desk.
  • Restock. Plan ahead and place orders now for the cleaning solutions, knife blades, tapes, etc., that may run out during the busy gift season that will soon be here.

Dave Haan

JDS Industries and JDS Sign Supply

Dave Haan is the business development manager for JDS Industries and JDS Sign Supply. He has 25 years of experience in marketing. Dave joined JDS in 2018. His primary focus has been improving how JDS communicates with current and future customers through marketing campaigns and in-person tradeshows. Before joining JDS, Dave worked in TV news at an advertising agency. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University.

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