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Experiences, thoughts about A0 Printer/Plotter please.

Pancho
Grafter
Posts: 83
Registered: 16-10-2007

Experiences, thoughts about A0 Printer/Plotter please.

I have been asked to advise/install an A0 printer. I have been looking at the HP Designjet 500 as it looks a resonable device and costs just over £1000. There seems to be a long list of optional extras, which I will have to go through. I would like advice/information from anybody who uses this type of printer - any make - as I am, at present, green as the grass. I don't want to get it wrong as the person thinks I know what I am talking about.
6 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Experiences, thoughts about A0 Printer/Plotter please.

Hi Pancho
The printer I had was large format but not A0 that really is a beast. They are highly specialist in terms of ink and media to print on. It depends greatly on what kind of work the person you are advising is producing. Are they printing to paper, vinyl, canvas? What resolution do they need? UV and or weatherproof inks required?
It is a bit of a minefield if you know nothing about it, my advice is to get an expert involved because the chances are you are going to go back to your client and ask a bunch of questions. When I was hunting for a printer I ended up buying from a company not only on price but also because of the outstanding advice and service they offered me. I am sure they will happily advise you without a heavy sales pitch.
Check them out I am sure you will find all you need to know from them.
www.bodoni.co.uk
Good luck.
Pancho
Grafter
Posts: 83
Registered: 16-10-2007

Re: Experiences, thoughts about A0 Printer/Plotter please.

Just to clarify. The person is a Scaffolding Contractor and is now receiving PDF files of drawings instead of the actual drawings on paper. In the old days these were known as 'blue-prints' from the process that produced 'blue' drawings. Basically he wants the ability to print the PDF onto A0 paper (max) to get what he had before they introduced the PDF files on disk; his A4 printer is no use at all for this job. I am interested if anyone, who uses these has any advice to offer from personal use of this type of printer/plotter. The HP Designjet 500 still looks the best bet so far. I am asking this as, after some 30 years, or so, messing about with computers I have not used one of these printers except when I did a CAD course at the local tech many years ago now, and that was by no means A0; I think it an A3 plotter with pens that were finicky to get working right.
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 26,416
Thanks: 1,449
Fixes: 80
Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: Experiences, thoughts about A0 Printer/Plotter please.

Hi
The roll feed is essential as messing about with cut sheets that size is not recommended.
We use one in our Technical office and it does an excellent job.

Customer and Forum Moderator.

To argue with someone who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead - Thomas Paine
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Experiences, thoughts about A0 Printer/Plotter please.

I have the opposite issue, I am given paper documents that I need scanned to TIFF so that I can import to Visio.
For that I use a local company (http://www.image-it.co.uk/) they also offer printing service for large scale documents.
I may be worth exploring if there is a simular local service. Ok not quite as convenient. But if you consider consumables and accessories, you may find that the costs are in line with running your own large scale printer, without the capital investment.
Chilly
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Experiences, thoughts about A0 Printer/Plotter please.

If you do go with the designJet 500 be aware that it has a problem dealing with large PDF docs if you only have the standard 32MB installed. I recently visited a client who was having problems printing PDFs where some sections of the drawing would be missed (and it was not always noticeable). The problem was when the printer rendered the PDF it ran out of memory resulting in some parts being missed.
The only solution I found was sending the documents as a bitmap image - you can set this option in the printer driver - but that meant the PC did the rendering so took much longer.
So make sure you install the max 128MB of ram it supports. However, PDF printing problems were still being reported by some on the internet even after a memory upgrade.
The bitmap setting does appear to have fixed it for my client though so that is something to consider. The printer itself (it was a 24inch paper roll version) did work very well, although high quality printing was slow, and that was for A1 sizes they used.
Pancho
Grafter
Posts: 83
Registered: 16-10-2007

Re: Experiences, thoughts about A0 Printer/Plotter please.

Thank you all for your input. When I saw the person next he said that A3 size would be OK. As I mentioned the person runs a business, which must be successful judging by the place he lives in, but he has no idea about computing, which is why I am involved. He asks me to tell him what to do and generally sort him out - more on that later! OK, he will be happy with A3; more investigation and I send email with link to the web page recommending a Canon Pixma IX5000 Bubble Jet A3+ printer at Amazon for £250. I have a Canon iP5300 and know the black print is most excellent using the proper ink and the black cartridge is a large one. He will be very pleased with that (I think). As I mentioned he is not a computer person so he does not read my email - he gets in his truck and goes to PC-World where some female sells him an A3 Epson multicartridge thing (two black ink cartridges for one slot), which is completely unsuitable for what he wants it for. He then goes to Cartridge City, whatever it is nearby PC-World, and buys 100 sheets of A3 paper for £41. I have now given him the Viking Direct catalogue. I have also told him 7dayshop for cartridges for this Epson.
I have read in the past about other people doing this kind of 'work' and getting the same result. He says he told the lady at PC-World - she was very helpful - what he wanted it for so why did she sell him what is clearly a photo printer for printing mainly black & white drawings. I suspect she had no idea what he wanted it for and sold him something that was in stock. After all you don't sell a person a Canon Pixma IX5000 Bubble Jet A3+ printer if you don't have one in stock! Have PC-World ever had one of these in stock? The Epson, of course, was some £100 more than the Canon. What can you do? People ask your advice, you spend time working on it in order to advise and then the carefully considered advice is ignored. Oh, but I am still expected to set it up and get it working for him as, wait for it, he is not a computer person and admits he knows nothing about it and only switches it on when he has to.
However, he is a really nice person so you feel obliged to sort him out when he calls for help. He is also reasonably generous, which helps.