Jon wrote extensive notes on the printing capabilities in the department, as well as useful options in the lpr command. As with all computer networks, sometimes the printers can act glitchy (never printing, printing one word per page, printing the postscript code, etc.). Jon and Joni suggest the following things before you go postal on the printers (or them): 

  • if your document didn't print, don't send the job again; ssh into the astronomy server and check the queue (using the lpq command) to see if it is stuck behind a massive file 
  • delete duplicate jobs (using the lprm command) from the queue so you don't waste paper or slow down anyone else 
  • if the printer isn't responding, you may have to cycle the printer power, and then you may have to ask Jon or Joni to restart the printer queue 
  • don't print to the color printer if you don't explicitly need a color printout 
  • don't print the entire lab manual, especially during the day 
  • if you are using special paper (ie, thesis paper) in the printer, send an email in advance or let people know ; otherwise no one will know and you'll get a Sky Map on your expensive paper 

Basic printer etiquette: 

  • Before you print something, ask yourself "Do I really need a hard copy of this?". If you really need it, print double-sided. 
  • When you print something, pick it up right away. 
  • Check to make sure all the papers you pick up are yours. This is especially important when using the copier as it will interleave different tasks as it receives them. 
  • Replace paper if it is out. 
  • Tell Ofelia when the ink levels are low. 
  • Printing from evince can sometimes lead to trouble. Use a different program like kpdf. Printing from the command line with lpr only works about half the time. 
  • If you print something and nothing happens, check the queue with 'lpq'. To remove a job from the queue, use 'lprm'. The status of the printer can be determined using 'lpstat'.
  • If you need to print out some code, the enscript command is very good at formatting it well. 
  • If you have a large print job (100+ pages), save it for early morning or evening when fewer people are using the printer. 

Color printing (FYI): 

  • You should have $20 pre-loaded on your student ID for printing on campus each semester. The color printer at Zuhl makes some fantastic color images, so keep this in mind if you need something printed in color and the ink is out here or you just want a document to look extra nice. 

Poster Printer 

One of the cooler things about this department is that we have our own poster printer with matte and glossy paper rolls, however this single piece of equipment has caused more frustration than a stack of annoy-a-trons. There might be problems with colors not matching, symbols getting messed up, or getting an 8.5x11 when you wanted 42x42. 

You can try your luck using the department Mac. Open the pdf version of your poster in Preview and open the print menu. Change the following settings: 


DesignJet 500 PS+HPGL2 (C7770C) (0001E65225A5) 

Paper Size: 

Manage Custom Size. Set the width and height to the poster size you're using and set Non-Printable Area to the same printer as above 

Scale to Fit: 

Fit Entire Paper 

You can connect via Ethernet or wirelessly to AstroWireless (note: while some people have had success with the wireless option, others have not). Once you're connected, hit print, and you should be good to go! 

Jon suggests using the lpr command from your UNIX box as follows for a 40"x40" poster: 
lpr -Php_poster-usb -pagesize=Custom.2880x2880 -oColorMode=FloydSteinbergColor -oresolution=600x600dpi myposter.pdf 

  • If your poster is not 40"x40" you'll need to change the page size. The custom value represents the size in inches multiplied by 72. 
  • The Floyd-Steinberg color profile seems to give a reasonable mapping from screen to printer colors 
  • If you are having trouble with this command, try changing -Php_poster-usb to -Php_poster. This will send the command over Ethernet rather than USB. 

Before you print on glossy paper, please do a final check to make sure it looks okay (either on screen or by printing out a small version on the poster printer). If it looks good, go ahead and print your final copy on glossy paper. Instructions for changing the paper are on the printer itself. The printer will display a countdown to "dry", and will automatically slice off the finished product when that timer gets to zero. It won't be dry. 

You can post the "mini-me" version on the grad student research board, which is outside of the conference room. 

The printer displays shows roughly how much ink of each color is left. Don't wait until the night before you leave for a conference to print your poster. Doing so tempts the printer gods to cause trouble. While there is usually a spare of each cartridge in the storage closet (across from the main office and not something our building keys unlock), do not rely on that. Even if there is one, if no one's around you won't be able to get into the locked closet. 


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