Setting Up Your Laser Printer or Photo-Copier:

1. Calibrating a Photo-Copier

2. Finding The Laser Printer's Density Control

3. Setting "Density" on HP's 1,200dpi printers


1. Calibrating A Photo-Copier:

If you are planning on using a commercial copier, keep in mind that not all copiers are maintained the same and that their output can range from acceptable to total garbage. Perform the following tests with regular paper!

Test #1: With nothing on the glass, close the lid and print several times, increasing the contrast control until the paper begins to show a light grey.

Test #2: Open the lid and leave it open. Print again to a new piece of regular paper. The page should come out solid black. Hold it up to a strong light. It will look a bit porous, however, it should have a very even black tone running down the entire page. If it didn’t, go test another copier. Place your artwork on the glass and print again. Ensure you aren’t getting too dark of an image.

To make life easier, you might want to check out the micro briefcase-size “personal” copiers by Canon. They perform extremely well at reproducing inkjet original artwork into dense images onto our transfer paper. Something to consider if you’re making a lot of trips to the copy shop!


2. Laser Printer (setup & test):

All printers have a “density” control but may be hard to find. The term “density” is not shared by all manufacturers and the control may be nested deep within preference files or not present at all, in which case you may have to contact the manufacturer to locate. If you can’t find your density control, jump down to the next block then come back here to perform this density test.

Density Test: Open any graphics program, draw a box the size of your paper, fill it with black and print on regular paper. Turn off all “economy” printing modes. You want to print as dark of an image as possible. Set the print “density” to max and print the page. The page should appear solid black. Hold it up to a bright light disregarding the fact that it really isn’t “solid black”. It should, however, have a very even black tone running down the entire page. If you see wide horizontal bands across the page in a repeating pattern down the page, this indicates the imaging “drum” is worn out and needs to be replaced.


3. Setting"Density" on HP's 1,200dpi printers:

The print driver for Windows offers only a “Paper Selection”. The DRIVER offers no direct way to set the density from the Print dialog. You must run a separate program called “HP LaserJet Utility” (for Macintosh users); PC users look for “LaserJet Configuration”. Go to START > Programs > (Printer Name) > Tools > LaserJet Configuration.

This configuration utility offers several property pages including one that can be used to set the default toner density. HP’s density scale is “1” to “5”. Changing this setting from its default value of 3 to the max value of 5 makes for very good, dense transfers. Remember that anything sent to the printer from any program after you do this will come out at high density until you reset the “density”.