A Note about Printers

A project log for Cheap & Easy Digital Readout

A project to enable DIY high-resolution digital readouts inexpensively

mike-lowndsMike Lownds 08/22/2014 at 16:260 Comments

We'll be back with actual build updates tomorrow, but for now I have to vent about printers.

In designing this project, I decided that I would use a printer to print a pattern onto a piece of paper and miniaturize that down onto film stock. I usually give time estimates for these things, and I try to anticipate unknown factors. For printing and calibrating, I gave 2 hours + printer time.

It's the printer time that got me. Turns out that for someone who doesn't print things a lot I have a ton of printers. The problem with that? None of them worked! Here's a taste of the frustration I had in printing the test pattern:

Printer #1: HP DeskJet 3050A. Would not print - dry ink cartridge.

Printer #2: HP DeskJet 3050 (retrieved from storage). Would not print - dry ink cartridge.

Printer #3: HP Color LaserJet 5p (at work). I forgot this one was broken - it won't feed paper through itself properly.

Printer #4: Apple ImageWriter. I didn't actually try to print the codestrip with this printer, but I'd like to point out that a dot matrix printer from 1984 weighing as much as a Prius that makes a sound like a warzone when you print still works perfectly.

Printer #5: HP DeskJet F4200. The only printer that did not have a dry ink cartridge. Of course I had to travel to someone else's house to use it, but it did in fact work.

Note to self: Maybe print something on the inkjets once in a while so the ink doesn't dry out. Alternately, figure out how to get 1200 DPI on a dot matrix.