Ultra Heavy Cardstock

Discussion in 'Printer Paper / Media' started by Sam Brown, May 5, 2017.

  1. Sam Brown

    Sam Brown

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    I frequently need to print to ultra-heavy cardstock. Coverstock, really. And my printers usually choke on it. If I keep putting the stock through, after multiple tries, about half the sheets will print.

    My question(s):
    1. Does anyone here have tips for getting crazy-heavyweight coverstock to make it through Epson printers?
    2. Is there a specific model of Epson printer than handles ultra-heavy cardstock reliably?

    ================
    Details
    ================

    For cardstock, I'm using either:
    International Paper 16pt. Cover Smooth (120lb, 325gsm)
    ...or...
    Neenah Classic Crest coverstock

    Both of these are thick like playing card material, which is exactly what I need. I design board games, and I need to be able to prototype playing cards.

    I have an Epson R2000, which can handle canvas and 1mm artboard, so I figured it would handle coverstock, no problem. But it chokes on this stuff, spitting it out more than half the time. Neenah calls this grade of paper "double-thick", my calipers say it clocks in around 0.35mm thick. Whatever it is, my printer hates it.

    I'm babying the printer as much as possible. I use the R2000, attach the rear-sheet manual feeder like is recommended for the heavyweight art papers. In the printer's own settings, I turn "thick paper" to "on". When at the printer settings dialog right before the print, I set the paper selection to "Fine Art Papers - Watercolor Paper Radiant White" which is the heaviest stock from Epson's official line of papers. And even then, only about half the sheets will ever go through. About half the sheets in the ream get rejected by the printer no many how many times I try them. 25% seem to go through on a first try. 25% go through if re-tried once or twice.

    I've spent all morning on this so far, and after 2+ hours, I've gotten less than 10 sheets through the printer.

    I need this super-heavy stock to prototype playing cards. I'm a (board) game designer, and I need paper that responds like playing card material. Epson's official "watercolor" paper gets close, but not close enough.
     
    Sam Brown, May 5, 2017
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  2. Sam Brown

    Peter Maddison

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    Have you contacted Epson over this?

    I'm having the same sort of problem with photo paper, my THREAD

    Having said that, I did a lot of 'Googling' and found others with the same problem of paper not feeding and one person was asked if they could try Epson's own brand of photo paper, which was also problematic, they were asked to send it to them so they could check the paper out. So, it seems they only offer support on Epson products, even something as simple as paper...

    Seems were on our own...

    p.s.
    I have also searched YouTube and found video's where they did something to the little 'roller' inside which feeds the paper. Maybe you could look at a few and decide from there what to do...
     
    Peter Maddison, May 18, 2017
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  3. Sam Brown

    Sam Brown

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    We are indeed on our own.

    I've written to Epson, and also the paper-makers: Neenah and International Paper. Epson wouldn't offer tips on getting other folks' paper through their printers, and the paper makers wouldn't commit to naming a model of printer that would work with their paper.

    I can only guess that this is a question that they can only lose by answering: If they claim something will work, and it doesn't, a customer is ticked off to the tune of hundreds of dollars. But if it works as promised, we just figure they provided basic service. The upside isn't worth the downside. So none of them will offer support.
     
    Sam Brown, May 18, 2017
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    bencowles likes this.
  4. Sam Brown

    Peter Maddison

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    Where are you from? Here in the UK we have regional council run 'Trading Standards' which we can complain to if there's a problem with something we buy or service we receive. Is there anything similar where you are?

    You could complain to where you got the paper from and inform them that the paper if not fit for purpose. Maybe throw in that you will not take things further IF they actually test the paper on different printers and provide you with the results. AND take steps to make it compatible with ALL models.

    It's worth a try...
     
    Peter Maddison, May 20, 2017
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  5. Sam Brown

    Sam Brown

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    The closest thing I know in the U.S. (where I am) is the Better Business Bureau. If a business hasn't held up their end of a bargain, you can file a complaint with the BBB, and at least (and probably at most) it will be on record.

    I don't think this is anything on the level of a deliberate scam; it's just changing business models. Thirty years ago, the idea of a desktop printer was remarkable enough that basic reliability was a luxury. Reliability with exotic paperstocks is a strange enough request at the consumer-grade level that it's not worth the cost for anyone to step up and do it. If you're happy to plunk down 10k$ and tie up a desk-sized region of your space, Xante has a printer they'd love to sell you that will handle any weight paperstock whatsoever, and they're happy to stand behind that claim.

    For those of us whose needs don't justify the cost, things aren't so clear.
     
    Sam Brown, May 20, 2017
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  6. Sam Brown

    bencowles

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    This sucks. Anyone with any printer recommendations please chime in. I just need to print to 8.5" x 11" card stock .5mm thick. A little less actually
     
    bencowles, Sep 3, 2017
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  7. Sam Brown

    Sam Brown

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    After much experimentation, I've gotten a routine that gets the cardstock through my Epson R2000 90%+ of the time. It takes excessive babying, and I can still only print a single sheet at a time, but it gets the job done.

    First off, you do the things you'd expect to need to do:

    You attach the rear-single-sheet feeder, and use it. Printing from Adobe Illustrator. I have to re-set the paper selection in Illustrator's print menu to "Manual - Rear" each and every sheet; it keeps resetting itself to "Sheet Feeder". So that's a habit now.

    Set the paper type to Fine Art Papers -> UltraSmooth Fine Art Paper. This is the setting for the heaviest cardstock Epson makes, ~325gsm. That makes it a good match for the International Paper 16pt Coverstock that I'm actually printing on. This has to be set for the first sheet. The option is greyed out until the printer is set to "Manual - Rear" as the paper source, so do that first. As long as you keep going back and resetting the paper source to "Manual - Rear" after printing off each sheet, this setting will be preserved.

    Finally, and this is the bit that took even longer to figure out - it matters how you manually load every single sheet. The instructions say to press the sheet into the rear manual single sheet feeder until the printer grabs it. True, and you want to press with a little force each time, until the printer really does have a good grip on it. The missing detail is that the side guide needs to be pressed firmly into the cardstock, exactly at that 8.5" mark. If there's slack, it's likely to reject the paper partway through the print job. I now believe this is where most of my problems were coming from. My new habit is to feed the paper in with one hand, and with the other hand continually press the side guide snug against the cardstock. Since I've started doing this, and really gotten in the habit of resetting the paper source to "Manual - Rear" for each and every sheet, almost every single sheet prints without problem.

    Following that full ritual, I can get several sheets through the printer per hour. It's sufficient for my needs, though it certainly could be better.*


    * Footnote: The Epson R2000 uses solid pigments, which are more prone to drying out and jamming than a typical inkjet. I've found that if the colors are not rendering true, the solution is to hit the "ink droplet" button on the front of the printer, pop the top of the printer as if I was going to change the inks, pull out the missing color, shake it, put it back in, and reboot the printer. This will send the printer into a cleaning sequence and so far this has brought the (presumably jammed/dried in the tubes) color back reliably so far.

    I also now reboot this printer after ANY problem, just as a matter of habit. It certainly doesn't hurt.
     
    Sam Brown, Sep 3, 2017
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  8. Sam Brown

    bencowles

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    Thanks for replying. Good to know you got it figured out but still. And that printer you have isn't cheap. My cheap HP supposedly can handle up to 300 gsm so I think I should be fine but I don't know what gsm translates to in inches or millimeters, which I don't think it does at all, but I also have to hand feed mine. But you gave me an idea to play with the settings. I wonder if those settings mechanically change the printer, do ya know? Maybe they adjust the roller distance to the wall/floor.
     
    bencowles, Sep 3, 2017
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  9. Sam Brown

    bencowles

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    Couldn't find any videos on this. Could you help a bit more?
     
    bencowles, Sep 17, 2017
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