6 Replies Latest reply: Jun 13, 2007 7:50 PM by Boece
Boece Level 5 Level 5 (6,245 points)
I'm researching inexpensive photo prints for my local historical society.

How cheaply can approx. 2'x 3' prints be made on "plain" paper for display purposes? The goal is display, not historic preservation, and since these will be blow-ups of much smaller originals, quality is not critical.

The source would be PDFs.

Are there any affordable oversize printers that can take generic ink?

Or printing services that are cheap? Any ideas? Thanks!

MacIntel Mini 1.83, 2 Gig, OSX 10.4.9; iBook G4 800, 640 Meg, OSX 10.3.9, Dell 1704-FPV monitor, NeoOffice, Camino, Thunderbird, Parallels, Compositor
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (64,805 points)
    A good papercutter, gluestick, and a simple 8.5 x 11 printer can do a really neat job without spending on a wide carriage printer. If the historical society has a budget they can offer you a printer with wider carriage, ask them for the money.

    I just looked up on Google, and the cheapest 24" wide printer is the Epson Stylus Pro 7800. It goes for about $3000.
  • Boece Level 5 Level 5 (6,245 points)
    Thanks for those ideas.

    I'm going to check out the local copy shop and see what might work. Tabloid-size xeroxing is really cheap, so we might be able to blow up a high-quality inkjet print of an 11x8.5 image.

    They have cheap 36" b/w CAD printing. Perhaps if I provide a screened image, that would work. I'll experiment.

    The price change on large-format inkjets is at 13x19 inches: an Epson Stylus Photo 1400 for $400. Above that, you are talking thousands. Of course the ink alone will break a budget -- and I've yet to find third-party after-market ink for that printer. With cheap ink, though, it would be a contender.
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (64,805 points)
    Don't use after market ink for inkjets. They can bust the printer. Same with the refills. Thankfully both Staples and Office Depot offer recycling programs where you can bring your old cartridge in for a cheaper replacement.
    Each store has its own marketing arrangements with specific vendors, so you should check which one has what arrangements.
  • Boece Level 5 Level 5 (6,245 points)
    Don't use after market ink for inkjets. They can bust the printer.

    Thankfully my experience has been different, with my Epson printers. Though I will confess to never paying $400 for an Epson printer.

    By using after-markets, my yearly Epson ink costs are less than $40. And because the ink is so cheap, I print often -- which is what keeps Epsons alive.
  • Douglas McLaughlin Level 9 Level 9 (63,750 points)
    You can put PDFs into iPhoto and then use iPhoto's built-in print options. The prints come back on real photographic paper. You can get prints printed on 20" x 30" which is not quite 2' x 3' but it may be close enough. The turn around is pretty quick but they do cost $22.99 in the US. "Inexpensive" is a very subjective term... Kinko's can probably blow things up for you too, if you don't want to buy your own printer, but you'll have to find out from them all the steps involved to get to the final price.

    -Doug
  • Boece Level 5 Level 5 (6,245 points)
    Eureka!

    Found a local copy shop that has a device designed primarily for duplicating architectural drawings. Can print PDFs, too!

    A 2'x3' is only $2 to $4, and the test prints looked very good for the price -- and my intended usage.

    The technology is "xerographic", not inkjet.