This afternoon has been a frustrating one. I must have wasted over two hours (and four sheets of expensive A3 paper, not to mention ink) trying to print some photographs for a competition. After a bit more time, digging around on the internet looking for causes and solutions, I finally found the solution.
It all started on the third print. The first two prints were from an old box of Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl, my paper of choice for most printing. Then I had to start a new box and that was where the problem started. The printing process would get to the last half an inch or so, then there was a loud clacking noise, followed by a bang and then the paper would suddenly jump towards the left hand side of the printer (the top of the print). This caused a misalignment of about quarter of an inch, which was of course very obvious in the final product and completely unusable. When I examined the paper, the bottom right hand corner of the print was bent, as if it had been hit by something.
The cause was simple, as was the solution. It seems, that it is a problem that tends to occur mostly with Hahnemuhle paper. Something I have noticed, but not been too concerned about before, is that Hahnemuhle paper is curved towards the printing side. It just so happened, that the offending box was more curved than usual and it must have been this that had worsened a problem that was already there, but not causing noticeable effects. The solution was to flatten the paper. Before printing, I placed the sheet inside the polythene wrapper and rolled it in the opposite direction to the curve, as suggested on one forum. I then used the rear paper feed, which I had never managed to get to work properly (possibly it seems due to the curve) and the printing went without a single hitch, gone also was the alarming clacking noise I’d always had. So something to bear in mind if you get similar printing problems.