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Re: Laser printing

>... I've been considering buying an HP 4050 with duplex, so
>it's good to hear that it delivers good quality. What I'd like to
>know is:

>1. How accurate is the registration when duplex printing? I'd like
>to be able to proof my miniature books, which requires a maximum
>error of 0.5mm between the two sides, preferably less.

Registration is on the order of 0.5mm, but varies.  Partly, this
is my fault.  I purchase paper in lots of 11" X 17" and then cut
it in half to get 8.5" X 11" paper for printing with the grain
running correctly for 2-up printing.  Sometimes my cutting is
more accurate than other times and I'll even things up by taking
an extra cut out of the long edge.

But the short edge (which had been the long edge) is what the printer
works with, and all reams are not cut the same, so there will always be
some difference between the software's understanding of the size of the
page and the printer's personal experience with that page....

When I was printing with the 5MP (without duplex attachment) there
were problems with curling; with the duplex attachment this problem
has mostly disappeared, but I have found it useful to set the software
to print the pages in reverse order so that the residual curl is
toward the center of the text, not toward the cover.

>3. What's it like for printing thickish card and is it possible to
>duplex that?

Card stock prints fine, but I do not duplex it. I run it through
the printer twice, but curling is minimal.

>5. Any advice on which options are worthwhile or not? Do you know
>how much memory is comfortable for 1200dpi duplex postscript
>printing with some graphics?

I have not expanded the memory and don't recall how much memory came
with the printer; I tell it to print and then wander off doing other
chores around the lab until it's done.

>6. Can it handle A5 paper?


>On the subject of permanence I haven't seen anyone mention that
>laser toner doesn't soak into the paper, but sits on top. It seems
>light fast, but it is very fragile as soon as you start to crease
>the paper or rub it where printed. The inside of a book doesn't
>usually get subject to those stresses, however. What I've not
>heard about is how permanent the stickiness of the toner is -
>presumably there is some kind of glue in the toner that allows it
>to get heat-bonded to the paper, but does that break down

Toner is basically carbon black in plastic; the plastic melts in
the printer and is bonded to the paper/cloth/whatever.

I have an old (1970's) plastic document jacket with a Xeroxed
document inside.  When I removed the document there was a perfect
copy bonded to the clear jacket.

Not everything lasts forever.  Papyrus with watercolor inks (that's
basically what they are; carbon black in gum arabic or pigments in gum
arabic) seem to hold up over time.  Iron gall inks
(in use for approx. 2000 years) sometimes hold up and sometimes do
not last so well; a lot depended on how the ink maker interpreted
the kind of ferrous sulfate (wet or dry) intended.  Printer's ink
(the old ones of linseed oil and carbon black) was sometimes cut
with fish oil to extend it.  Some of that printing has not survived
at all well, if at all.

If one of my books survives a fire, I would expect the pages to be
bonded together.  In a hundred years, the plastic may have gone
away; or it may not have gone away - I'll get back to you....


Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, Oregon  97217

(503)735-3942 (voice/fax)


"The lyf so short; the craft so long to lerne"
Chaucer, <The Parlement of Foules> 1386 A.D.

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