Printerers: A Weird Question

I’m making some booklets (Reference-style booklets for D&D, strictly for personal use) and am running into a small problem: The printer I have available to me has terrible issues with registration between sides in duplex mode. As in, you can look through one side and see the other is several mm off. This makes me sad.

I may end up getting a new printer… Looking at some cheap-ish Brother printers that can do duplex, color, and are relatively cheap to run. Any idea on if these would be better, or if there’s a term I can search the manuals for before buying?

Also, any idea if I should expect this to be better if I, say, sent the PDFs to Staples?

My publishing skills are a wee bit rusty at this point…

Staples or Office Depot/Max could probably print them off easily, with little or no problem.

As far as printers, I have no idea. I have not played with the duplex options on my new printer.

On the small, SOHO-type printers, if the paper is even a little skewed going in the first time, it will be definitely move laterally when it hits the registration rollers to get lined up for the second pass.

As far as Staples, Office Depot, or FedEx Office (nee Kinkos), those are bigger production machines and should do a lot better job of keeping everything aligned, assuming the tech who did the initial setup and adjustments had a good eye for detail. When I was a copier tech, I often got calls for alignment issues that should have been caught at initial setup.

I’m guessing the Xerox tech that set ours up didn’t care… 99% of the prints on the one I’m using are just the usual office stuff. I don’t think they even spent any time on defaults, as I’d make duplex printing standard to save paper if nothing else.I feel like the vast majority of the coworkers wouldn’t care at all about the issue. We’re not doing production-grade work here, just printing out docs for reference and such.

I’m probably going to live with the bad alignment as it is,after all, free. Maybe if I end up working from home I might invest in a duplex-capable printer and give it a try. Staples/Fedex is a little pricey for this, unfortunately.

I miss having access to a full production-capable lab. If I had access to my old college labs I’d have this done and probably be trying to print maps on canvas on the wide-format inkjet or something.

Heinlein has at least a couple stories that have people in them that suggest that you retire near or in a college town and sign up for at least one class a year, or donate generously. The access to some things is unprecedented in the real world. It’s one item that makes me wonder if I have just bought the last house or not. Now, I am within an hour of two major universities, so if it comes to that I’m fine, but not quite the same as living right off campus.

What’s cheaper, a gym membership, orchestra membership, library card, kinko’s visit, sportsball season tickets, and various club memberships, or taking a class or two a semester, and just taking full advantage of the freebies? And also keeping in touch with the world.

I can’t believe how generous the labs I used to support were. Basically, follow Wheaton’s Law and you got a ton of free stuff including free prints from the $7/page dye-sub printer, access to high-end scanners, occasional prints to the imagesetter if you had a semi-valid reason and could justify it. Even free CD-Rs, back when that was a big deal. They were just getting in to wide-format inkjet in '98 when I left.

No idea if they tried to recoup costs on this at some point since then. Materials costs were a big deal.

When I left college, the computer lab was charging 25 cents a page for printering. Compare that to 10 cents at a copy shop. Then again, the instructor in charge of the computer lab was a real dick.

Not in this day and age. Everything is pay-as-you-go. Or at least they are down here in Oz. Nothing is free in the education sector anymore.

I worked in the graphics labs, so laser was the cheap option (B&W, the) and it skyrocketed from there. When I left we had a couple really nice Laserwriter 8500s (the last of that product line) for the ‘bulk stuff’ but then went to dye sub and such for the fancy stuff. Of course, they also had some weird ancient stuff like a SCSI-based printer (!?!) that hadn’t worked right since the 80s, and a print-to-slide gadget that was a weird box that exposed film (which rested in a camera back hooked inside the box). Very strange. I miss that place sometimes.

I think in my case it was a mix of a small school and the difficulty of charging per-print not being worth it. I vaguely remember setting up a print server (on a PPC Mac running OS 8?) that did some tracking, but it was very easy to circumvent. The faculty was cool and, I think, didn’t want to stress things as there were already a lot of equipment/supply/lab fees, so why charge for extra prints? Non-classwork stuff was officially frowned upon, but if a design student prints a piece and gets a paying gig, that’s the school doing its job, right?

By the way, I ended up getting a couple of the references printed at Fedex. Their alignment is much better: less than a mm, I’d say. The work printer probably could be adjusted, but I don’t have the password to get to the settings.

I’ll definitely save that for the longer-term ‘releases’ for these references, though.

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Rather predictably, I print things, then find some typos I missed.

(I’m essentially making references for D&D 5e spells for an upcoming game for myself and a couple other players. Since there’s no legal PDFs of this, I’m using a slightly-dodgy web site to get the spell text on, who I believe created their list from OCR from the book and reformatted them as cards. With typos, and a loss of formatting. So I go back in and fix the formatting…

Oh well, the typos are minor. I’ll hold off on reprinting until more content needs to be added.