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Printers and Printing

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One of my favorite lines from an IT director... "Steve Jobs got rid of floppy disks. Why doesn't he make a computer that can't print." If this doesn't resonate with you you've probably never had to support a school full of printers. There was a recent thread on the Wizard's ListServe titled simply "I hate printers!" If you feel that pain then this is the page for you.



Printer Recommendations and RantsEdit

  • We have standardized on HP printers and are pleased with their reliability. We are currently buying the P2015 for office and classroom use ($300). For work-horse printers, we get the 4240n or 4350n ($800). For all-in-one, we get the 3390. You can usually find deals on all of these models on http://www.Newegg.com and http://www.tigerdirect.com
  • With a few exceptions we've had better experiences with HP printers than other brands. For a number of years we purchased Epson C-80's, C-82's and C-84's but have stopped because we've had trouble with many of them after a year or two.
  • From UC Lab Schools: We started moving away from HP networked printers to Xerox Phasers (not the solid ink flavor). The drivers are more stable on our network and speed is better with comparable or better quality. We deployed 32 of the 6300 D or DN models at the start of the year, about a third of our total number of networked printers. We had bought some b/w 5500s but found an odd glitch with OS 10.3.4 in which client machines on one of our subnets with an address of 119 or higher would not work. Since most of our clients are on DHCP, the puzzling problem moved around the school. This problem was new to Xerox, but they worked well with us to chase it down. It goes away if you move to 10.4. We were not able to move ahead with our OS migration at the time, so Xerox replaced them with 6300 color units at no upcharge. As for Epson, we have also stopped buying their higher-end photo printers because of similar reliability issues.

Printers for Art, Photos, or PlottersEdit

  • We use Epson printers here and they have unmatched quality and versatility. Both use archival inks and can print on a variety of media including waterproof paper, canvas, foam board, and watercolor paper. We run an Epson 4800 and a 9800. Both print on either sheet or roll media. The 4800 prints up to 17" wide and the 9800 prints to 42". Both are used = school wide for numerous tasks from photo to poster printing. In terms of networking, both run a software RIP from Colorburst that allows for seamless printing of even very large files from our network. The only caveat is that the RIP must run on a dedicated desktop machine. The addition of the 9800 this year has also allowed us to do almost all of our own poster and other large format printing in house. I would not advise the use of a laser printer for photographs. The quality of a laserjet is more aimed at flat business-type graphics. I also do not find the HP printers to be as nice as the Epson's. I've seen side by side comparisons and the vibrancy and quality of the Epson prints far surpass the HP.


Special Printing TasksEdit

  • Printing on CDs
The Epson Photo R320, in combination with DiscLabel works well. The process is slow but the quality is excellent. One caveat, consider burning your cd before printing the cover. If your cd burner is really fast you may get cracks in the ink the printer lays down on the CD.


Also see: Printer Quota Software

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