Best way to print papercraft projects?
January 19, 2007 1:09 PM   Subscribe

I find papercraft appealing and want to get into it. What tools are good to have starting out, and what's the sweet spot in economy vs. quality for printing papercraft projects?

I'm looking for suggestions on what tools and supplies are good to have to start with, but my main concern is the color printing:

Should I buy a printer, go to a local Kinko's type place or are there internet shops will print to heavy (near card-stock weight) paper?

I'm leery of getting sucked into another "$100 printer with $60 color cartridges that last for two pages worth of printing" situation like I had several years ago.
posted by de void to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Just on the printer question, start off with a few done at kinkos perhaps, mainly just to check you do like making them. But as soon as you're spending a significant amount of your valuable time on a model, it makes no sense to retard something that has taken so much effort with sub-par printing just to save a few dollars.

If I was you, I'd soon get a $150 6-ink inkjet photo printer, that takes $50 cartridges, that lasts many pages... but not too many. (you'll probably also want a spraycan clearcoat sealant or varnish, as inkjet surfaces are vulnerable to wear)

And you'll love the incredible print quality and the complete control over size, detail, and materials that this money can buy you. Maybe I'm showing my age, but it blows my mind how little money this is for such a quality of printer :)

Alternatively - do you have a printer at work you can use?

My 2 cents :)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:35 PM on January 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Printers aside, as far as the actual construction goes, an X-acto knife is a no-brainer. But then there's the question of glue. Do yourself a favour and steer clear from glue-sticks and white craft glue. Nothing beats rubber cement -- it's strong, doesn't buckle or warp paper, and is easy to clean.

You can easily adjust and align the two pieces you want to hold together before the cement dries, but for a real strong hold apply in thin layers to both sides, let dry, and then stick 'em together. But you'll have to be precise, since the hold is pretty strong, and getting the pieces apart won't be pretty.
posted by Robot Johnny at 4:21 PM on January 19, 2007

I use a hobby knife, one of the metal ones with a long surgical scalpel.

Get a healing cutting mat, craft stores should have them. It means that the slices you introduce from cutting on the mat disappear fairly quickly.

I have one of those lights on an arm with the magnifying lens. This is really good for fiddly little bits and pieces.

My favourite glue is the white PVA glue. I put a drop or two on a piece of plastic, then use a knife blade or something else very thin to smear it on one of the surfaces. Press together for a few seconds and it's usually done. The trick is to use a very thin layer of it.

I use a colour laser printer to do the initial printing, and it looks pretty good.

I also use regular printer paper for most of my papercraft fun, mostly because I haven't been bothered to get heavier stock yet!
posted by tomble at 7:15 PM on January 19, 2007

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