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A simple trick for recurring paper jams

A piece is missing from a removed paper jam

Where is that last piece?

Today in the busy PaperCut offices Peter was running tests of his PCL6 print job watermarking feature over our corpus of test documents. This involves quite a bit of printing and unfortunately we suffered a rather nasty paper jam. The first few attempts by us to remove the paper jam did not have the best results.

Then my System Administrator brain kicked in and I remembered two simple tricks that I thought I would share with everyone.

1) Be thorough!

When you have a difficult to remove paper jam in your device, keep all of the pieces of paper as you pull them out. Reassemble it like a puzzle. If you don’t have a complete page you have missed something!

By doing this we could tell that there was a remaining tiny piece of paper, somewhere deep in the paper path of our copier.

2) Use what’s at hand

That tiny piece of paper was no where to be seen. We could see where the paper was jaming but couldn’t see inside to remove it. Most of the time, fixing this is going to require either calling in a repair tech (if under warranty / service agreement) or pulling the entire thing apart.

What I’ve learnt is that using 150-200GSM paper and manually feeding it through the paper path by hand can often dislodge the offending piece. If I don’t have a piece of heavy weight card around I can simply fold an A4/Letter piece of paper in half, length wise, and feed that through. This tip has saved me many hours and more than a few dollars worth of service calls, not to mention my sanity!

That reminds me, when I sat back down at my desk an my PaperCut installation had notified me that the print was in error. Have YOU setup your PaperCut system notifications? These notifications can inform you of low toner issues, paperjams and much more.


  • James

    Great tip. Another related tip I’ve learned over the years to save on these service calls is to “google” the strange and obscure error codes that popup on the printer or MFD screen. e.g. “Service error F-22. Call technician for assistance.”. You’ll often come across web sites or forums that have explanations on what these messages mean. They often give you hints on what the problem might be. From there you can make an assessment as it if you really need to “Call a technician” or will simply shaking the toner cartridge and power cycling the printer fix it 🙂

  • That is a brilliant tip James. There are always little tips and tricks that you stumble on that can certainly save money and more importantly, time!

  • Rohan

    and if you must pull out a jammed piece of paper.. always pull it out directly.. never at an angle.. it will be much more likely to tear.
    Sometimes, if there’s enough sticking out, folding the edge over a few times, then pulling firmly, but slowly from as much paper as your hands can hold onto, will ease the piece out from between the rollers

  • Nick Lord

    As well as thick paper you can also use a sheet binding cover – the type supplied with plastic comb binders for the outer covers of a document. This is much stiffer than paper, so it is better at dislodging those tiny bits of jammed paper, yet it is thin so it is easy to push through. I used some a few months ago on a large HP colour laser. I couldn’t see what it pushed out but the printer worked again afterwards. I keep a sheet to hand now!