Print size using RISO SF5130
September 9, 2019 2:40 PM   Subscribe

I am planning to purchase a used RISO duplicator to produce zines. Many models that would fit my budget claim to have a "Print Paper Size" up to 12 7/32 inches by 17 inches, but a "Maximum Printing Area" of only 8 1/4 inches by 14 1/16 inches. Can I position a set of 8 1/2 by 11 images to print on one side at a time of an 11 x 17 sheet to make a complete print?

A potential model that I have found used in my budget (got a grant, yay!) is the SF5130. The sales brochure, with the specs, for the model is here. There are also some used EZ series that would fit my budget, which have the same specs - print on paper up to tabloid size, but printable area is supposedly up to legal size. I don't know if MeFi has any RISOphiles, printers, or print techs who could answer my question... I would like to have a zine that is a slightly cut down, folded, staple bound set of 11 x 17 prints. So, I could print the correct left page on one pass, turn the paper around (and possibly the image in my file) and print the right page on another pass. Then turn everything over to print the correct pages on the back sides, one side at a time. Will the drivers available for RISOs let me do that?
posted by Slothrop to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm no riso expert but the way they print involves a sorta silkscreen almost 'screen' paper(?). Like - they're a bit involved so making a larger # run is more time and cost effective than just one copy. In that sense lining up a centrefold may be a pain. I'd think it'd be worth a look at what a cost difference to size up, or pay a larger riso owning shop for the bigger zines/posters. This is just my thoughts from hearing a friend with riso.
posted by PistachioRoux at 3:41 PM on September 9, 2019

Basically - yay grant! Way to go! Maybe call a shop or zinester that uses riso to ask Qs ?!
The word I was looking for above is Master btw
posted by PistachioRoux at 5:08 PM on September 9, 2019

I ended up setting up a 'dummy' printer on my computer using a RISO driver for a printer that also does the whole tabloid paper / legal print thing... It looks like I can probably do what I was thinking based on some test files I ran through the 'Print' dialogue.

PistachioRoux - that's what I think I will do some time this week. There's a press in my region that specializes in RISO printing, so maybe they will feel like being friendly and informative.
posted by Slothrop at 5:57 PM on September 9, 2019

So a Riso is essentially a digitally controlled mimeograph. I’ve only used the latter, but I used it a lot for a year or two, last century (I could run off a few hundred quizzes in a minute or two, by myself, no need to pre-order days ahead of time!)

Anyway, that old machine had a knob that functioned similar to a ‘vertical hold’ knob on CRTs. The master cylinder is supposed to line up perfectly with the start of each sheet, but having a bunch of little gears in the system leads to certain unavoidable slop and backlash. So if your image of max printable size was cut off on top or bottom, you could turn the knob to arrange the vertical placement of the image on the page, even as it run, if I recall correctly. You would need the actual owner/user manual to confirm that this modern digital version has that kind of control, but it would seem very likely to me that would not lose function, compared to a mimeograph, and so my answer to your question is very probably yes, you should be able to do what you want.

I still miss that machine, its purple ink, and being seen as some kind of Luddite dinosaur for using it in 1999, thanks for the memories and good luck!
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:12 PM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

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