TBF the Epson SC-P700/900 printers are pretty good printers. Printing colour or black and white images is a breeze and the quality is fabulous. The obvious caveats are that they are expensive to buy and even more expensive to run 😬
With that aside, the reason I bought a SC-P700 is that you can also use them to print transparencies for #altprocess print processes like Cyanotype and Kallitype. With these processes you need a negative the size of the final image as there is no enlarger involved. You can do this with most printers but the thing with the P700/900 is that by using the Front loader you can disengage the roller wheels that lead to "pizza cutter" marks on the negative.
I came across this this super helpful article than explains how to use a cardboard sled to do this. It's not all plain sailing. There's a fair amount of work to do and experimentation and the printer tends to reject the sled many more times than it accepts it but the final results are great.
It would appear though that Epson have "secretly" released Firmware and Driver updates with Zero fanfare that do away with the need for the cardboard sled in it's entirety. With the latest (as of July 2022) firmware KH04M4 on the P700 and the latest V6.80 driver on Windows you have access to the new feature.
(Note: I had to manually update the Windows printer driver as the Epson updater didn't do it automatically for some reason).
Dropping the Front Paper Feeder down you now have the option to select "No Eject Roller (Glossy Paper). You can load your transparency straight into the Front Feeder (print side up), follow the screen prompts, lining the transparency up with the marks and Bob is literally your uncle, transparency loaded ready for printing.
When printing through Photoshop go to the Printer Settings for the job and set up as you usually would for transparency printing. In the Paper Settings / Source option you should now see the "Front - No Eject Roller (Glossy Paper) option. Select that and all should be good.
The transparency seems to load correctly all the time and the prints are obviously free from any "pizza cutter" marks as the Eject Rollers are disengaged. This is a game changer! I know that the #altprocess digital negative printer market is a niche in a niche but the fact that I cannot find any reference to this anywhere is astonishing.
Hopefully this helps anyone wanting to get into #altprocess printing and digital negative. Part of the process has been made super simple. Let me know in the comments if this has helped or you already knew about it.
If you've not used the Front Paper Feeder previously be warned that when loading the paper is feed into the printer and comes out of the back. You need to make sure you have enough space behind the printer for this. Otherwise you risk the paper/transparency hitting whatever is behind the printer (wall) and being damaged and maybe damaging the transport mechanism.