A $6 Large Format Printer

Large Format PrinterHave you ever wanted or needed to print something bigger than a single 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper, perhaps a scale drawing or a sign or poster? One way to do it is to take your image file to an outfit like Kinko’s or Printfast and have them print it on their large format printer. It will look professional and be priced accordingly (about $20 for a 1 ft x 1 ft to $60 for a 3 ft x 4 ft). But there is a much less expensive (and faster) solution.

Regular printer

If you don’t really need something that will look like you could hang it in a museum, you can print it on multiple sheets of standard paper with your regular printer and glue or tape them together. Printing a big image on multiple sheets is no problem. In the Print dialog box, uncheck Scale to Fit, check Scale, and set it to 100%. The image will be automatically divided up into however many sheets of paper are necessary. But there is a problem. Most printers leave a little non-printed margin at each edge of the paper. This results in gaps in the image where part of the image is lost. Note the example above, a section of two adjoining pages in a scale drawing of our lot. Neither butting the sheets together and taping nor overlapping will fix the problem.

We could solve the problem if there was some overlap in the information on each page at the edges. Back in the good old days of AppleWorks and ClarisWorks you could specify an image overlap on multi-page drawings, but that went away when the software was replaced with the iWorks suite. However, there is an elegant and inexpensive solution. SplitPrint, $5.99 in the App Store.

Splitprint

 

 

Joined pages

SplitPrint divides up a large image into multiple sheets with precisely the amount of overlap and margin required so the margin can be trimmed off one sheet and that sheet can be overlapped onto the adjacent sheet and glued, leaving a quite inconspicuous seam.

 

 

 

SplitPrint works on just about any image format or PDF. You can choose the number of pages, the page size, the scale and the resolution for printing. There are several export options as well. A great little app, especially for the price!