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Large Format Printing

About the Plotter

IITS’ HP DesignJet 5500 plotter produces great-looking posters, with brilliant colors produced at a resolution of 1200 x 600 dpi at a low cost for CSUSM faculty, staff and students. The HP5500 uses inkjet technology and is a professional, photoquality large-format printer. It images plots on paper 42 inches wide by a length limited by the application or the length of the paper in a roll. The plotter has automatic color calibration, which ensures consistent results, and those who need exact colors can use PANTONE tables for color matching. We plot on both coated and glossy media. 
Large Format Printer

Plotter Usage and Refund Policy

The HP Design Jet 5500 plotter  is expensive to maintain and operate. To insure expenses are adequately covered, IITS has the following usage and refund policies.

Paying for Plots

1. Posters are charged for at $.67 per linear inch with a minimum 8 inches.
2. Clients must pay for plotter output before seeing their results.

Refund Policy

1. There is a three-week pick-up deadline.  Clients are required to pick up their results within three weeks of submission. Failure to do this may result in output being discarded.  No refund will be given.
2. In the event that plotting output is unacceptable, IITS will consider offering refunds on a case-by-case basis. However, refunds will not be provided in the following situations:
   a. Output is unacceptable due to client errors such as spelling mistakes or misplaced graphics. 
   b. Colors or images are not what the client expected, and the plotter is behaving normally. Clients should do small test plots from their own application to learn what sort of results the application will produce before submitting a large, expensive plot. Image quality is the client's responsibility, we just print what we are given.
   c. The plotter produces flawed results for any reason, but the client opts to use the results anyway.


  • How do I print my artwork?

    1.  Load on CD-ROM or Flash Drive
    2.  Fill out Large Format Request form and have an IITS employee calculate and verify total cost.
    3.  Pay at Cashier’s Office.
    4.  Bring file and paid receipt to Student Technology Help Desk.
    5.  Return to Help Desk and pick up output
  • What kind of images can the plotter print?

    The plotter can print from most applications, but some are better suited to this kind of work than others. The plotter has been tested successfully with Adobe Photoshop,  Illustrator and Acrobat, and Microsoft Visio and PowerPoint. Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard for desktop bitmapped graphics. Macromedia Freehand and Adobe Illustrator are very popular programs for creating and editing vector graphics. Photoshop supports a variety of file formats. Pagemaker is a popular program for desktop publishing.
  • Recommendations for preparring bitmapped images (e.g., Photos)

    Image resolution: Pictures should be scanned in at a resolution such that their plotted resolution will be about 150 dots per inch. Lower resolutions result in low quality results. Higher resolutions do not produce better results, but do cause large files, which are hard to manage.

    Please flatten Photoshop files before submitting them for printing (i.e. reduce them to one layer). In addition to reducing file size, this will also ensure that fonts are rendered properly. For instructions on how to do this, please consult Photoshop's online help feature.

    Image Size: The plotter takes a 42-inch wide roll of paper. It does not, however, print all the way to the edge of the roll, so one dimension of your image should not be more than 40 inches. Set the image size and resolution in the Image Size dialog, which can be found under the Image menu.

  • Recommendations for preparing vector images (freehand or Illustrator)

    Vector images are resolution independent and postscript-based, so that they will tend to be smaller and print faster than bitmapped files. Also, you can scale them without causing a degradation of quality. Be sure to convert all text to outlines before handing us your document to print. Otherwise, there's a possibility we won't have one of the fonts you have used and we won't be able to print your document, or be sure you use the standard fonts that come with the Windows OS.

    Use of Pantone colors will create output that more closely matches what you see on screen.

  • What about documents that combine bitmapped and graphic images?

    It is possible to do this with many graphics programs, including the ones mentioned above: Photoshop, Freehand, Illustrator, Pagemaker, etc. The vector items, fonts for example, should print smoothly regardless of size and the bitmapped images will be resolution dependent and should approximate 150 dpi. Be sure that you do not transfer vector graphics from one file format to another, for example saving a Photoshop file with text as a JPEG. This will cause the fonts to be rasterized, i.e. turned into bitmapped graphics. They will no longer be resolution independent and quality will suffer.
  • What is the turnaround time?

    Depending on the time of the semester, printing can take up to three days.