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Printing to Conspirator (located near the G Tower entry to the 2nd floor)

So lets start by saying that we have found there is no one correct way to print to conspirator.

We have had a method on this page which for most people has produced many a lovely poster. But there are those few posters which, for one reason or another, will not come out properly using those instructions. Therefore, we are gathering other methods from our own research and you, our users, to make plotter printing less painful.

Loading paper/rolls

Conspirator will take (large) paper sheets as well as rolls of paper (as provided by CSAIL). To change the material:

  1. Release the existing material by raising the big lever on the front right, and pulling it out of the plotter on the back.
  2. Follow the on-screen menus to select Sheet or Roll, and the type of paper.
  3. Open the top windowed hood.
  4. Feed the paper sheet or roll from the back of the plotter.
  5. Align the right edge of the material with two lines: the blue line near the head, and the grey line farther below.
  6. Lower the big level you lowered in Step 1.
  7. Wait for paper detection.
  8. Close the hood. If you are feeding a sheet, quickly go to the back of the plotter to catch the paper as it spits out backwards. If you don't catch it, the sheet may get damaged.

If you are working with sheets, edemaine has found that it is highly preferred to feed the material in landscape orientation, with the width being larger than the height. Obviously this only works for sheets less than 42"x42". I've found that feeding sheets in portrait, the printer (not the operating system) will rotate your image and rescale it to fit... very confusing.


Most methods begin with a Powerpoint slide set to the page size you want (this is done by going to Page Setup under File, choosing your size and setting the slide orientation to landscape. When doing custom, your height cannot be more than 42inches; and the width usually tops off at 56inches.

When you open the printing window, you should start by checking the Scale to fit paper box.

Then under Properties, choose the Page Layout tab and then check Enable Scaling.

Choose the now ungrayed Scaling options button and place the dimensions that you used in Powerpoint page setup except that you place the height value in the width box and the width value in the height box. Also, the width box will not accept any value greater than 41.99�.

Choose Ok all the way back to the printing window and, in a few minutes, you will have a lovely poster

Mac OS X

This set of directions were provided by Amir Globerson and Daniel Roy:

#1 Gradient backgrounds explode the size of the print file and cause the printing to take several hours

#2 The following setup in PPT -

In Page Setup,
1) make sure your height is "42" inches.
2) choose landscape icon for slides
3) In options, choose Format for "conspirator" (you should have already installed the drivers from HP's website)
4) As paper size choose 42x84, the 2nd orientation (rotation by 90), scale 100%

In Print,
1) Select conspirator
2) Uncheck "Scale to Fit Paper
3) In "paper handling", choose "use document size" which should read 42"x84"
4) Everything in "Finishing" should be left unmarked or "no change"
5) Apparently "maximum detail" can slow things down a lot
6) The "print preview" window should show your entire slide with no vertical margin.
7) Print!

Here is our original instruction set, provided by quig in 9/05. It will work most of the time:

Printing to Conspirator is a dangerous and heartbreaking adventure. Make sure to pack enough food for the hours (or days) it takes to get the file to print correctly. Take along at least 2 sherpas since a sacrifice to the Printer Daemons may be in order.

Sadly, starting with a PowerPoint slide seems to be the best option. Set your page size to 60" by 42", or as close as possible. (56" by 42" is sometimes as big as it gets - sorry ladies) Create your poster according to the limits set by Redmond. Go forth and do battle!

Now that you have created a masterpiece, you can print it! Unfortunately, not to paper yet. For some reason, printing directly from PowerPoint causes some strange mutations: page clipping, strangely wrapped text, etc. Instead, print to a PDF.

In PowerPoint:
  1. File -> Print
  2. "Name" drop-down box -> Adobe PDF
  3. click Properties
    • "Settings" tab
      • "Page Size" drop-down -> "ARCH E"
    • "Layout" tab
      • Select Portrait or Landscape as suits your original poster masterpiece
      • click Advanced

Here's where the fun starts. You'll likely have to come back here often, so post a sherpa here. Make sure that the paper size is set to "ARCH E". It should have taken that info from changing the "Settings" tab, but it doesn't hurt (much) to make sure. The important setting here is scaling. Leave it at 100% for now and see what kind of margins are created from the PPT file. Adjust this as necessary and reprint the PDF until it looks right.

If everything goes well, you should still have both sherpas and all body parts intact... oh, and a pretty good looking PDF that shows your poster in Acrobat. Now you should be able to print directly from here to Conspirator. Adjust the print quality appropriately (under Conspirator's properties in the print menu) and enjoy the fruits of your labors!!

Oh, yeah... don't forget that you'll probably want plain paper for drafts and glossy paper for your posters.

Don't waste the glossy paper and always replace the plain paper roll at the end of your printing.
Topic revision: 07 Jan 2011, edemaine

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