Before buying plotter paper rolls for use on your wide-format inkjet printer, it’s a good idea to understand some of the terms you will see in the product description. While most inkjet media brands can be used on multiple brands of printers, some older models of inkjet printers for CAD plotting weren’t designed to handle the full range of inkjet print media that has since been developed for newer models of printers.
If you have the user manual or spec sheet for the printer model used in your office, it’s good to know three things:
- the maximum roll width your printer can handle
- the maximum thickness or material your inkjet printer can handle
- the type of ink your printer uses.
Most older HP Designjets and other wide-format inkjet printers for CAD printing and technical drawings use aqueous (water-based) dye inks. Some older wide-format inkjets for technical printing use a combination of dye inks (for colors) and black pigment inks (for sharp text and lines). Newer models of technical printers from Epson use aqueous pigment inks.
Roll Width: The width of the plotter paper roll is the first number in the specification. In the U.S. ,roll widths are expressed in inches. Popular roll widths for wide-format plotters include 11, 17, 18, 22, 24 30, 34, 36, and 42 inches.
These roll widths make it cost-effective and efficient to continuously print multiple copies of standard-size engineering and architectural drawings on wide-format inkjet printers with built-in cutters.
For example: The standard size of an Arch C drawing is 18 x 24 inches; an Arch D drawing is 24 x 36 inches; and Arch E drawing is 36 x 48 inches. Standard sizes for engineering drawings in the U.S. include ANSI C, 17 x 22 inches; ANSI D, 22 x 34 inches, and ANSI E, 34 x 44 inches.
Roll Length: The length of the plotter paper roll is expressed in feet. Plotter paper is offered in 150, 300, and 500-ft rolls. These longer rolls are available so you don’t have to stop printing to reload the paper in the middle of a big job. Engineering copiers can handle 500 ft. rolls, but most inkjet printers max out at 300 ft. rolls. Most inkjet materials are sold in 150-foot rolls, including bond papers as well as thicker papers or clear films for special applications.
Core Diameter: The core size refers to the diameter of the cardboard tube on which the plotter paper is rolled. Rolls of uncoated bond paper for inkjet printers are sold on 2-inch cores. Uncoated bond paper for for xerographic copiers are typically sold on 3-inch cores. Some Xerox engineering copiers require that the inside edge of the paper be taped to the cardboard core. (Freedom Paper sells some engineering copier paper rolls on taped rolls.)
Caliper: The thickness of many types of papers is expressed in “mils.” (which is one-thousandth of an inch). Older-model HP Designjets and other wide format inkjet printers that were originally designed to print on bond papers and clear films can only feed materials with calipers of 9 mil or less.
The caliper of bond papers doesn’t vary as much as inkjet photo papers, art papers, and canvas. A 20 lb. bond paper is slightly less than 4 mils; a 24 lb. bond paper is slightly less than 5 mils; and a 28 lb. bond is slightly less than 6 mils. A 54 lb. bond is 9 mils.
Newer models of wide-format inkjet printers were designed to handle a much wider range of paper thicknesses. They can feed bond papers, photo papers, art papers, canvas and sign materials thicker than 9 mil. Some models can handle materials up to 12 mil thick; other models can print on substrates up to 31 mil thick.
Other Specs: If you are buying an optically clear inkjet film for an HP Designjet printer or aqueous-ink inkjet printers that use optical sensors, order a clear film that has visible stripes on the edges of the rolls. The stripes enable the onboard sensor to “see” the film.
Please call the customer-service experts at Freedom Paper at 866-310-3335 if you have any questions about plotter paper roll sizes. If the spec sheet or user manual for your printer isn’t readily available, we can tell you if the paper you plan to order isn’t compatible with your specific printer model and suggest compatible alternatives.
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