Setting up the P900 roll paper unit
Epson P900 roll paper unit
Installation and setup for roll media
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A short article covering installation and setup for the Epson P900 printer roll paper unit option.
More about using the P900 appears in Keith’s detailed P900 review.
The powered rear paper holder is an attachment which allows the use of roll paper at up to 17″ width on the SC-P900 A2/17″ printer.
Keith has also made a short video showing the roll unit setup process.
Note – the unit is not yet widely available at time of writing (Oct 2020)
Fitting the roll paper adapter
The P900 has an optional roll paper adapter. Unlike the built in 13″ adapter for the P700 [P700 review] the roll unit is powered and handles much larger rolls of paper.
The adapter clips onto the back of the printer.
I removed the flap covering the rear paper outlet (where front fed paper/board emerges).
The unit does fit with it in place but it’s simple to unclip (the printer is supplied not fitted).
There are two arms that jut out from the unit and slot into the printer.
Make sure the printer is turned off when fitting the roll unit – the printer will detect its presence when you start up
Inside the roll unit, there are powered paper drive rollers at the base. These move the paper in/out of the printer.
There is no spindle for the roll. It rests on the rollers and the end guides (lighter grey).
This detail shows the adjustable guides – smaller rolls of paper work just fine.
Note the rollers in the lid, above where the paper goes. These also keep the paper steady as it’s moved forwards/backwards.
The electrical connections for the unit are via one of the arms.
There’s a spring loaded clip at either side, which lock the printer/holder together.
The unit simply clips in place – it needs no additional support.
You might notice a slot low down at the back. This is where front fed paper/board comes out when first loaded.
As you can see , the printer is quite a lot bigger with all the parts extended.
The roll unit is detected when starting up and is showing as empty here.
Lifting the cover, a warning shows – along with an option to load paper.
There is also an optional animated guide showing how to load paper after setting the unit paper guides to the right width.
paper from the roll needs to be pushed into the printer until it beeps, indicating it is ready to load the paper into the printer mechanism.
Choice of paper
For my initial testing I’m using Epson Premium Luster paper.
Here’s a 30 metre (~100 feet) roll.
I’ve carefully taken the roll out of the box. Take care since 30m of paper may be heavier than you expected.
The paper is wrapped in a protective brown paper. This will need removing, but do keep it for when you take the paper out later.
Paper like this needs handling with care. It’s easy to damage the surface or edges. Whilst this paper is quite robust, others may be much more prone to damage. Canvas should be fairly tough, but a fine art cotton rag paper could easily be marked.
With the brown paper removed, I can push the paper into the feed slot. If it’s got too much curl, then gently straighten the leading edge.
At this point the printer made a sound and proceeded to load the paper.
As you can see, the paper width has been detected, but I did need to tell the printer the paper type.
The printer is now ready to use with the loaded paper. I’ll leave discussion of actual printing for the main review and a look at making very long prints.
However, here’s the printer after it’s finished a long print.
The end of the print is still in the printer.
I’ve three options:
- CUT – Moves the paper out, with a line on it to indicate where to cut. Then moves the paper back ready for my next print
- CUT and EJECT – As above, but also rewinds paper fully back into the roll unit for unloading.
- REMOVE – Simply rewinds the paper ready for removal
Since I’ve a print on the paper and don’t want to do another at the moment, I use CUT and EJECT.
The paper is wound forward.
A cut line has been printed, marking where I should cut.
Take care when cutting – you don’t want the print to fall on the floor.
I use wallpaper scissors for this.
The printer then rewinds the paper.
Before removing the roll, I put the protective brown paper back on it.
Here’s the roll removed, with the protective end caps in place, ready to put back in the box.
Some roll paper tips
First of all, treat it with care. Use clean hands or even cotton gloves to avoid damaging the paper.
Take care of the paper edges when loading and unloading, the roll can be heavier than you think and will not benefit from knocks and dents.
When cutting longer prints watch that the print doesn’t fall on the floor, or tear as you get to the end of cutting.
Prints will have curl – have somewhere to lie them out flat to dry properly before using them.
The last 40-50cm of the roll can show marks from where it is attached to the core as well as very strong curl. Avoid relying on it being there for part of an important print.
Some big printers can record paper used – this one doesn’t. So, write the lengths of paper you’ve used, on the box. You really don’t want to find out the hard way that there was only 2.5m of paper left on a roll, when making a 3m print.
Long prints will almost certainly want trimming to size at either end, both to get a clean edge and to get the right size. I print very long prints at custom paper sizes a bit too long to allow for this. You will generate waste from cutting – get over it and enjoy making prints on roll paper!
One other thing – those rollers
In a spindle-less system the paper surface is resting on rollers – keep them clean and dust free. Also with the weight of the paper and those spring rollers at the top, I’d be very wary about leaving most papers in the roll holder when I’m not using them. During testing, I load roll paper when needed and return it to the box when done.
See also the full SC-P900 printer review
I have details about how to print with roll paper in the review, but just one observation… Making 10 foot long prints is impressive and fun, but give some thought as to how you intend to mount/display them?
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