Need printer selection advice, please
October 9, 2007 5:08 AM   Subscribe

I need advice on an affordable inject printer that can print on paper sizes longer than 11 or 14".

I am a teacher, and each week, all of us 8th grade teachers spend hours printing selected vocabulary words on sentence strips (pieces of paper that are 4" tall and 24" wide). We do not have a printer in the building that will print on paper longer than 11". If I could find one, then I could type these up just once in Word (or even Photodraw) and print out a set for each teacher.

Right now, the only way that I have been able to do this is to cut the strips in half and create a .jpg image in Photodraw. This just isn't practical because of the time that it takes to create each image, the loss of printable area due to margins, and the sheer number of little paper strips that are being created.

Any suggestions about how to accomplish this would be greatly appreciated.
posted by mdrk to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What is the price range for affordable?
posted by bigmusic at 5:27 AM on October 9, 2007

Check the printer manuals for "banner mode".
HP, at least for some models, has banner paper printing. It looks like you could use 4x24 in banner mode.
posted by MtDewd at 5:47 AM on October 9, 2007

How about going old school with a printer that outputs in a continuous strip? Have you considered a dot matrix printer? If you print in landscape mode, you can print a "sheet" in any width you desire. Surprisingly dot matrix printers are still widely available for not much money (~$300).

I believe you can also get a tractor feed attachment for an inkjet printer, but it's more expensive.

You can get continuous feed printer paper from most paper supply houses, including staples.
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:52 AM on October 9, 2007

Have you considered just doing this at Kinko's or KwikKopy? Depending on how many you're doing, it'd probably be cheaper, and definitely easier. This is a rather specialized task. Since you're a school, you might even get a discount. You might even get a printer to donate his/her services. Maybe there is someone your school already does business with (for banners, etc.)?
posted by desjardins at 6:07 AM on October 9, 2007

I don't know what "affordable" is, but you can buy a refurbished Epson R1800 (which is a damn good printer) for $350 refurbished directly from Epson. It will print off a roll, so you can make sheets as long as you need.

Not much more than a dot-matrix printer, and the print quality is AMAZING. I am a pro photographer and I use mine to print my portfolio- it's better than any lab I've ever used.
posted by bradbane at 6:09 AM on October 9, 2007 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Affordable is in the <>
Printing onto a roll (such as most - if not all) dot matrix printers require) is not practical as the time that is saved handprinting will be taken up with cutting these pages down to sentence-strip size for wall display. That makes roll and dot-matrix printers impractical or useless.
posted by mdrk at 7:09 AM on October 9, 2007

Response by poster: Edit: Affordable is in the sub $150 range ideally with a top price of $200. Sorry about that. :)
posted by mdrk at 7:10 AM on October 9, 2007

Wouldn't you be cutting down the paper anyway, to make them 4" tall?
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:51 AM on October 9, 2007

Response by poster: No, the strips themselves are packaged 24" long and 4" tall. I need a printer that will print directly onto this paper without a need to cut, etc.
posted by mdrk at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2007

Ah. Have you tried a standard, run-of-the-mill inkjet? Set the paper size to the size of the strips and have a go.

I think, though, it's unlikely you'll find something that works.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:14 AM on October 9, 2007


Unlikely you'll find something that works because of the limitations of inkjets: they need to be able to grip the paper successfully, and a 4" strip seems smaller than most inkjets will be able to handle.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:16 AM on October 9, 2007

Although it sounds like that's not an issue with the printer you're using now. Is that a laser or an inkjet?

If I'm not mistaken, most inkjets can print on longer-than-standard sheets, if fed through the manual feed. I've certainly done it with the HP printers I've had. Just set up the paper size to the proper length in your software and it should work fine.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:39 AM on October 9, 2007

Best answer: Via the page setup tab in the printer's properties, my run-of-the-mill Canon S600 can be set for custom-sized paper up to 23.39" long and as little as 3.54" wide. I'd think that would be close enough.
posted by jon1270 at 1:33 PM on October 9, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you, Jon!!! This was exactly the answer that I was looking for!
posted by mdrk at 2:13 AM on October 10, 2007

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