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Epson P Series Paper Loading Tips

17th July 2017 Printing

The Epson P600 and P800 models have three official paper feeds (and one un-official variation):

  1. The Top Feed - for lighter weight papers & plain paper
  2. The Front Fine Art Feed (AKA the FFA) - this is the main one we recommend you use with papers in the 200 to 400 gsm weight range
  3. The Poster Board Feed (PBF) - this is the one you should with really thick media and need a straight through paper path.  You can also use it if you're experiencing difficulty with some papers and the FFA feed
  4. (Unofficial) The PBF feed, but with paper loaded through the back instead of the front.

Most of our customers are using the second, Front Fine Art feeder most of the time.  And most of the time, if you follow the instructions in the PDF manual that came with your printer, things will proceed very smoothly.

Here's the manual again, if you happened to have missed it - in particular it has useful visual guides to using each of the three paper feeds:

Life Isn't Always Pretty

Whilst the feeds work the intended way most of the time, life is not always neat and pretty.  And fine art papers, whilst all looking like similar things, are actually quite variable - in weight, rigidity, and flexibility.  And some are more tricky than others for printers to feed reliably, especially as you move up in sheet sizes towards A2, by which time the sheet is very large and heavy in paper terms (and expensive, in human terms!).

So - here are a few possible methods to load these papers should you run into issues (like paper skew errors, failure to load the media, the rear tray slamming shut etc).

  • If you're not printing borderless and you are able to have some room behind the printer, then simply switching to the Poster Board Feed is the easiest option.  Basically, you move your printer away from the wall by about 40cm, open the rear flap, and the paper loads through on a straight paper path (see you manual for a visual guide!).  This tends to be the easiest solution & pretty reliable
  • If you're still having issues (e.g. it feels like the printer is obstructing the loading of the paper) - then you can use this same approach, but (and this is not in the manual) you can load the paper in through the rear of the printer rather than the front.
  • OR - you can finesse how to load the paper into the Front Fine Art feeder.  And this is well worth spending a little time on as it can solve most loading issues AND lets you use borderless mode, AND does not require moving the printer away from the wall.

Finessing The Fine Art Feed - Method 1

Here's how you do it - and note at no point should you need to to use any substantial force, you should only meet minor resistance at most during this process:

  • First, align the paper to the extreme right side of the FFA feed tray, such that the right (long) edge of the paper actually site ABOVE the loading guide on the right side of the feed tray.
  • Now feed the paper into the printer at a slight upward angle so that it does not rest/drag on the feed tray (and it can take a little practise to get this angle right).
  • It should go in smoothly and easily until it reaches the back where it then needs to curl up to run along the (open) rear paper support.
  • If it feels stuck, don't force it or you'll ruin your paper - try starting again and varying your approach angle - you'll soon get the hang of it.
  • Once the paper is definitely at the point of touching the rear paper support, if you meet with resistance, just push the rear support backward a little and keep feeding the paper - it should slide further in easily enough at this point.
  • As you do this, align the right hand side of the paper with the right guide of the grey tray (i.e. Front Fine Art feeder tray - such that the sheet sits flush to that guide and to the front border line that marks where you should feed the paper to. 
  • Press 'LOAD' and with any luck, all should be well!

Finessing The Fine Art Feed - Method 2

This approach uses some basic bond/reflex paper to basically make a temporary shim/ramp for the paper to slide up.

  1. Open the front door
  2. Pull out the grey feed tray
  3. Open the rear feed door
  4. Feed some reflex type media down through the rear feed into the printer so it comes in under the rollers
    (ideally use media the same size as what you want to print on)
  5. Feed in the media you want to print on through the front feed
  6. Ensure the printable media goes under the traction rollers and on top of the media you fed through the back.
  7. Push the print media into the printer ready to line up on the tray. At the same time pull the rear media up and out, this should pull the leading edge over the rear door section where it tends to get caught.
  8. Remove the paper 'shim' you loaded through the rear door
  9. Close the rear dear (otherwise the printer will think it is in Poster Board mode)

With any luck one of these methods gets you happily and consistently printing, even with difficult medias!