Cycling an Epson printer at least once a day

I use an Epson 1280 to make glossy photo prints. If I don’t print for a day, the nozzles become clogged and there’s a frenzy of head cleaning etc.
I found a solution when I started using continuous feed cartriges from, because they had an autoprint software for system 9 that would print 1 copy of their “purge” page every day. They don’t offer it under OSX, and I’ve been trying to mess with applescript to do this task.
It seems simple: basically open a file that can sit on the desktop, and print 1 copy using the default settings at the specified time. The only thing is that I can’t get the thing to print when it opens.

Any ideas would be appreciated!


I have had this same problem and wasted a lot of money buying ink, cleaning the nozzles. Thanks for the idea and I will look into it.


If you can trust the print defaults, why not something like this:

property the_file : "Path:to:test_image"

tell application "Preview"
	open (the_file as alias)
end tell

tell application "System Events"
	tell process "Preview"
		keystroke "p" using command down
		delay 1
		keystroke return
		delay 10 --may have to adjust this
	end tell
end tell

	tell application "Preview" to quit
end try

You can schedule this script to run every morning (or whenever) using any the solutions mentioned in this thread.

Hi Jon,

In my opinion, printing a picture would waste a lot of ink. Yeah, I’m kind of poor right now. What if the printout was with colored text. wouldn’t that save some money? Would that do the job?

BTW, I just printed a bunch of emails. One of our correspondants loves to send pictures (argh). Anyway, after one month without printing, my Epson 820 printed very clearly. I couldn’t believe it. Of course, I first tested with Epson Printer Utility and the test pattern was perfect for all colors. After one month this is amazing and I am still pondering about why this could happen. Usually I have to clean the nozzle about 7 times.

Why oh why did this happen? :slight_smile:

Thanks for your input for all Epson user including me,
Have a good one,

Hi Kel,

Well, yes, I guess it would but there’s no reason that your image couldn’t be colored text on a white background, or even just a simulation of the test pattern that the print utility outputs. I wasn’t making any comment on the image to print, simply that an image–any image–could be printed this way provided you are using Mac OS X 10.3.x or had the GUI Scripting beta installed. Also, there are plenty of apps that allow you script printing a file directly without resorting to GUI scripting but I figured Preview was as close to a universal app as you’ll get (unless someone goes out of their way to delete it).


Hi Jon,

The first thing I thought about was to print just a few characters with Appleworks. But, to make this generic we might want to choose an app that everybody has and then I also thought about Preview. What I’m thinking about is how can you print letters such that all the colors will be included. In other words, how can you include all the colors of the Epson cartridge in text? Still thinking and searching.

have another good one,

I have a 4-ink Epson and what I do is print a small color bar made up of four solid colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black and I used Photoshop to create the CMYK TIFF. For 6-color printers I’m sure there is a way to add two more color bars that match those colors. I’d be more than happy to make this file available for anyone that may want it.


Well I appreciate all the help on the topic. To answer the $ per page problem, try If they have a continuous feed setup for your printer, you can kiss expensive cartidges goodbye forever. On the 1280 the setup costs slightly less than 2 cartidge replacements, and comes with enough ink to last a long long time.
The downside is that you are essentially permanently mounting the cartidge with the feed tubes into the printer. These are the problem because they do become clogged more often than even the standard carts. The site that sells the system has a set of purge pages for free download…essentially just side by side stripes of the ink colors in your 4 or 6 color set. But they intend for you to print one per day. If I’m doing something else, I forget (not to mention the weekends when I’m away) so the script would be the solution.

I’ll try the script setup jon…I really appreciate it. I’ll let you know how it works!