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Printing Takes Time, Money PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 18:38
Various printing problems...

So right now I'm printing stuff.

I've got two fairly nice Epson Stylus Photo 1280 printers.  When they work, they create wonderful, wonderful output.  On really beautiful paper (like my preferred Ilford Premium Pearl Photo) the prints turn out drop-dead gorgeous.

Unfortunately, they don't work 100% of the time.  In fact, they don't work even 40% of the time.

On this particular job I'm stressing over, I'm being commissioned to make 20 full bleed art prints.  Unfortunately for me, I can't just put 20 sheets of paper into the feed and hit a button.  Doesn't work that way.

First off, the feed mechanism on both of these printers sucks.  You look at the printer wrong and suddenly it's sucking in two or three sheets of paper at a time.  When the media costs $0.50 to $1.00 a sheet, you don't want that to happen, so that means I print one sheet at a time.  Every 20+ minute I have to load another sheet of paper.  Fun.

Then there's the print heads.  These things get clogged every 5 sheets or so.  One clogged nozzle means nasty streaking.  That means I'm doing nozzle checks before every single print I make.

Then there's the fact that full bleed printing is non-trivial on these printers.  You can't simply say you want borderless prints.  (Well, you can, but only if you like a couple millimeters being cut off on every border.  That means I have to guesstimate the dimensions in my print settings.  Right now, I'm telling Photoshop to print the picture as 12.8" x 18.707" in order for the printer driver to properly fill the 13" x 19" page.)

And then there's the stuff that you just can't account for.  Just an hour ago, one of the two printers developed a clog that just will not go away, even after an hour worth of cleaning cycles.  Earlier today, the Windows print manager decided that every job was done after about 8 inches of the 19 inch long document was printed.  Before that, the printer decided it would be a good thing to mar otherwise perfect prints with a smear of black ink on the bottom edge.  Yesterday, a fly got into the printer and... well, you can see the results here.

So!  All in all: printing sucks.

Lately I've been considering my options.  I only use these printers to print jobs for other people, so considering all the time and money I funnel into them, I should probably just get rid of them.  Considering my nature, it's far more likely that I'll replace them and continue offering services...


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