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Posted on 1998-11-24
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 I need a high-resolution (>=1200 dpi) and low-price (<=$1000) b/w printer for color separation. What kind of printer should I buy?
  The problems that I'm aware of:
  1. The laser printers stretches the film (even more than 1 mm)
  2. The laser printers' dots are not very clear.
  3. The ink jet printers' real resolution is usually very low.
  4. The solid-ink printers' precision is not very good, and their resolution is lower than the laser printers' resolution.
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Question by:biroadam
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by:tstaddon
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Here's a guide table for you:

Printer type     Initial cost    Running costs     Colour quality

Laser/LED        High ($1000s)   medium            Good
Inkjet           Low  ($100s)    High              Very good
Microdry (ALPS)  Low  ($100s)    Very High         Excellent

Inkjet printers have low res? Epsons run at 1440DPI and their variable technology is about the best I've seen outside of a high end laser.

What you need to do is go into a computer shop, get a print of a page of text AND a sample dot page simulating your colour seperation at maximum resolution off a laser printer, an Epson ink jet (preferably the top end models like the 600 series) and the other technologies. How else can you check the quality?
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by:biroadam
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tstaddon,
thank you for the answer, but it isn't what I really need.

I don't need a COLOR printer, I need a high resolution BLACK/WHITE printer. This printer must have:
1. resolution >= 1200 dpi. I don't think that a 1440 dpi inkjet Epson has a real 1440 dpi resolution (I think that it is much worse that a 1200 dpi laser)
2. no film/paper stretch (I didn't see any laser printer which haven't streched the paper [<-- high temperature])
3. clear dots.

Please, if you saw a printer like this, tell me the manufacturer, model and technology.

Regards,
Adam

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Author Comment

by:biroadam
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tstaddon,
thank you for the answer, but it isn't what I really need.

I don't need a COLOR printer, I need a high resolution BLACK/WHITE printer. This printer must have:
1. resolution >= 1200 dpi. I don't think that a 1440 dpi inkjet Epson has a real 1440 dpi resolution (I think that it is much worse that a 1200 dpi laser)
2. no film/paper stretch (I didn't see any laser printer which haven't streched the paper [<-- high temperature])
3. clear dots.

Please, if you saw a printer like this, tell me the manufacturer, model and technology.

Regards,
Adam

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by:public
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If you really need accuracy consider a photoplotter. Typical accuracy if 0.1 mil for a large sheet. These are used to print PCB patterns.
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mark2150 earned 100 total points
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Film/paper stretch is not the fault of the printer, it's the fault of the media! Paper is hydroscopic (absorbs water) the fuser roller will dry out *any* paper. A 1% dimensional change is not uncommon. Use your better grades of clay papers will help. Hammermill makes a special laser ultra white that is much whiter, smoother, and dimensionally stable. Printing on a good quality laser will be good, but still not perfect, for color separation.

You should print a full color image on a thermal sublimable dye transfer printer and then separate it normally. You can try for color separations on this type of printer but you wind up tripling your media costs. Conventional separation techniques will give you better registration and lower operating costs. The savings in the separation are outweighed by the media costs.

Calcomp and others make thermal sublimable dye transfer printers but they aren't cheap to buy or run. Thermal sublimable printing technology doesn't heat the paper and is less apt to stretch. Additionally they usually take special media that is more dimensionally stable than pulp/rag paper.

The reason that you can't find a good B&W printer that meets your specs is that the technology just doesn't exist to meet all of your requirements at once.

M

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