Recommendation for dual tray, same document mixed PDF capable printer
May 26, 2013 7:46 AM   Subscribe

Looking to help my sister purchase a new printer for her small business. The unit must be able to switch format sizes (legal/letter) on the fly in a single PDF document. I know someone out there is doing this, please help!

Here are the main criteria:

1) must be a laser jet for the proper business document quality
2) only simple monochrome needed, no fax, scanner, copying or color capabilities needed.
3) as fast as possible -- close to 40+ ppm
4) cost under $1000, ideally closer $500
5) dual tray that can handle printing large (100+ pages) of mixed letter and legal pages in the same document.

Point #5 has been the most difficult to verify. The issue is the same as this previous question posted almost 6 years ago.
The printer must be able to handle multiple switches from letter to legal and back again. Here's a simple 3 page test document.

I've read many horror stories about people buying brand new printers to solve this problem, but finding the device fails to perform the function. Looking for a recommendation with 100% verification of same document mixed format printing -- either because you do it yourself or you've successfully printed the test doc.

One candidate we've been looking at is the HP P3015x, which nails the first 4 criteria, but whether it can do #5 is unknown.

Many thanks for your help in our search!
posted by queue_strategy to Technology (3 answers total)
Our printer at work can do this, but you need to explicitly set up the different media sizes and trays to draw from in the settings when sending the print job. 'On the fly' makes it sound like you're wanting the printer to figure this stuff out itself; which do you mean?

(My work printer is crazy out of your budget - the thing costs more than a nice car - but if its just the extensive settings you are looking for, then you might be able to get an inexpensive printer with a server attached to take care of this part. You could try calling reps for Xerox or Canon and describing what you need.)
posted by ella wren at 8:36 AM on May 26, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the reply. Looking for the printer to be smart enough to handle changing formats. Calling the reps is a good idea.
posted by queue_strategy at 11:23 AM on May 26, 2013

Best answer: After more research and experimentation, I've found that this is possible on printers if they can load legal and letter. The following instructions were successful on an HP 2015 and HP M401n. Both have a normal 250 sheet tray (tray #2) and a fold out 50 sheet multipurpose tray (tray #1). The steps are simple, but must be exactly as follows:

1) Configure the printer settings:
Go to the Printer properties > Device settings
and set the values as follows:

Manual Feed in Tray 1: "Letter"
Tray 1: "Letter"
Tray 2: "Legal""
Make sure to apply the settings

2) Load legal paper into tray #2, and letter paper into tray #1. It did not work with the reverse settings in step 1 and legal loaded in tray #1 and letter into tray #2.

3) Use Adobe Reader to display the PDF document. Go to File > Print and check the box next to "Choose paper source by PDF paper size"

Print the document. The printer will select paper source based on the PDF page size definition.
posted by queue_strategy at 12:05 PM on May 30, 2013

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