Monday, March 19, 2012

How to mess up your laser printer

I made a stupid and rather costly mistake with my color laser printer. I was using special cardstock paper, that is 4 postcard-sized cards on one page with a plastic back. Works wonderfully for printing my monster index cards, and I was also using it to print monster tokens and initiative riders. But once I didn't need all 4 cards, and printed on only 2 of them. So I thought I could just put the half-used page back into my printer after having removed the 2 cards I already printed on. Bad idea! Very bad idea!

The cardstock half printed all right, but once the slightly sticky plastic backing of the removed cards touched the toner drum, it got stuck there. I managed to pull it out, but apparently there was some sort of glue on the backing which had transferred to the toner drums. From then on every time I printed a page, I got magenta, cyan, and blue spots on it. Printing several pages didn't diminish the intensity of the spots, and the printer self-cleaning procedure didn't help either.

The only thing that saved me from having to buy a new printer was that the toner drums in a color laser printer are actually part of the toner cartridge, not the printer itself. So I "only" had to switch out the three color toner cartridges to fix the problem. Fortunately two of them were near empty. But the yellow one was still 75% full, so I ended up losing a hundred bucks worth of toner from this error. :( And all that for trying to save 50 cents worth of cardstock paper. :(

By the way, I wasn't able to find the same 200 g/m2 thick paper in A4 format without the division into 4 cards and without the plastic backing. I see it on Amazon, but the suppliers don't sell to Belgium, probably because sending a pack of paper would cost more postage than the paper is worth. I find a lot of glossy or matte photo paper, but not the normal kind like the HP Color Laser A4 Paper 200 gsm.

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