Many blog posts are busy explaining the characteristics of inkjet photo papers and the potential print results, but regrettably skipping the issue of occasional problems of paper feeding into printers.
Despite the fact that inkjet printers claim compatibility with many types of Inkjet media such as photo papers, inkjet transfer paper, transparency films (OHP) etc, they are originally designed to print on regular non coated paper of 70gsm to 120gsm.
The problem of feeding other types of media is not only due to their thickness, but as well due to the inkjet coating on the paper that has different gripping factors and may leave small deposits on the feeding wheels. The feeding wheels are made of rubber, designed to grip the paper and lead it all the way through the printing process.
Printers vary in their ability to feed papers and some will do a better job than others. There are some printers that will struggle to feed any paper other than regular paper and some that will do a great job at it. Many times it is the budget printers, which will have the feeding problem.
Beside the basic structure of the inkjet printer that affects the feeding, there is also the factor of the printer’s age and the number of prints it has already done. The reason is that papers leave residue on the feeding wheels that may reduce their grip over time and will cause them to struggle to load paper which is thicker than usual or has a smooth or glossy surface.
Another problem may be the way the printer is feeding the paper. Some, such as the Epson range, have a direct paper path where the paper comes straight from above and feeds easily. HP on the other hand loads the paper from a front tray and forces it to curl 180 degrees through the printer.
It is important to follow these suggestions:
1. Check the printer’s manufacturer notes in the small print if it indicates a maximum paperweight, which the printer is designed for. For example, if it is indicates that the printer is designed for a maximum 180g paper then you probably will have some trouble to feed 240g or heavier paper.
2. It is important to see the thickness of the paper and not only the weight as some papers may be stiffer than others due to the thickness and not only due to the weight. (most of the microporous photo papers will feed easier than a normal instant dry photo paper)
3. If the printer is being used often, it is important to clean the feeding wheels with a cloth containing a bit of alcohol/spirit to remove dirt and deposit on the feeding wheels
4. If the printer tends to grip 2 or more sheets together it is better to manually feed one sheet at the time.
5. If the printer takes the paper on one side but then twists it through the printer it means one of its wheels has lost its grip. In this case go through the cleaning mentioned in paragraph 3. You could help the paper through by pushing it evenly from above in a case of a top feeding such as the Epson and some of the Canon printers.
I hope this helps a little to avoid some frustrations so you can enjoy the many thing your little print factory can do.
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