Printing on Cardstock With Your Copier

One of the aggravating things for most people comes to printing cardstock and printing envelopes with their copier. These two types of printing tend to cause the great number of issues in the actual printing (not the networking of the copier.)

Before you can even decide on what printer or copier is right for you, it is important to know what kind of paper you want to print. Of course, like everything in the technical world, even this isn’t as simple as one would think. Someone may call, with what feels like a simple question – “Can this copier print on 80 lb cardstock?” – If the rep just answers yes, they probably have never been burned on this question before.

First of all, there would be the question, is that 80lb cover, or 80lb index? 110lb index is actually not as thick as 80lb cover, for example. One would think 110lb is thicker than 80 – and indeed it is if it is using the same lb rating which all paper does not use.

Apparently there are a lot of paper types –

Bond, Book, Text, Index, Bristol, and Cover

So, what we normally try and discover, what is the gsm (or grams per square meter). This rating is more simple because it says how many grams a 1 meter by one meter sheet of the paper weighs. Most printers and copiers will list the maximum gsm a laser printer or copier can handle. Really good is 300gsm, average is about 220 and lower than than would be considered poor performing for cardstock applications.

What makes the gsm different?

There are many factors, but the main issue is the fusing of the toner to the paper and the speed and pressure the paper goes through the copier. If the toner can fuse at a lower temperature, then it is possible to get a little thicker paper through. LED technology tends to be a bit better for this than typical laser technology.

Ultimately, if you need to do card stock, and want thick paper to work… look at the gsm ratings and make sure your paper is not as much as the gsm for the machine. Ideally, be 10% less than maximum to ensure optimal performance.


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