Printers, Scale and Useable Resolution

Discussion in 'Gallery & Designs' started by Gil, Apr 11, 2004.

  1. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Good Day All,

    Finally acquired a new printer, a Canon i560s at around $79.00 U.S. Installation was problematic as the 1:2 switch on my system disallows two way communication over the LPT1 Port. Everything worked fine after the two way communication option was switched off. Won't tell how long this took to discover.

    The printer was purchased to obtain detail that was missing in my old printer. Suffice to say that the Canon does the job marvelously well making the bolts on the engine crankcase recognizable at 1:33 scale.

    The question posed is at what resolution does the scale detail begin to fail as a fault or inability of the printer to resolve it? This goes above claims made by printer manufacturers to the very heart of PC based card modeling, kind of a bolt is a bolt is pixel at some small scale. A 0.25 inch (~6 mm) bolt will be about .008 inches (0.2 mm) in diameter at 1:32 scale and a little less than half that at 1:72 (.004 "/.1 mm). Printer manufactureres have gone off on their own "picolitre tangent" informing us all that "you can really see it". Being sceptical I use a magniying glass to resolve wether or not the claim is true. At 4800 x 1200 resolution the truth is that our proverbial bolt is represented by 20 x 5 pixels at 1:32 and ~ 9 x 2 pixels at 1:72. The not so subtle message is that with the present printer I can expect to print out copy which has reasonable detail down to 1:72 scale or so. Any further decrease in scale ends up as pixel gibberish as far as the printer is concerned. It appears that 4800 x 1200 is fairly standard as regards retail PC printers (and has been for some time now) and seems to be a plateau of sorts in the technology leading to the conclusion that some detail might be better left out as it tends to "clutter" rather than discern the subject. I'd be interested to hear your ideas on this subject....,

    Best regards, Gil
  2. rickstef

    rickstef Guest

    the resolution you mention Gil, is only on photo grade paper, doesn't really say that on anything, but it usually true, I have gotten good results at 2400x1200 using my HP 1315, now about 2 years old.

    I tend to print at that res most of time on the printer using 65# Bright White card stock from Wawsau

  3. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Hi Rick,

    You bring up a good point..., the paper texture begins to become a concern at 1:32. Wausau 65# bright white is a standard by it's high availablity through office store distribution channels. The surface is fairly smooth but requires filling for fine detail printing.

    Using a color fill and "rubbing" out the result with a 000 nylon pad does a nice job of preping the surface for fine detail printing. "Painting" and rubbing out the surface creates a "smoothed" surface with a continous tint. Printing color results in halftone patterns which is good for most large non-detailed areas but tends to interfere with finely detailed areas. After tinting and rubbing out the surface the finely detailed area is printed over it in grayscale only, highest resolution giving great detail for parts imitating metal on the subject. Use acrylic matte spray to seal the surface to finish up.

    Notice that grayscale only uses only the black ink cartridge and is generally rated at a lower resolution than that for color although some printers have just as high a rating for both. The human eye is most sensitive to luminance (i.e. grayscale) than it is to color which is the basis for going to all this trouble. The best paint I've tried so far to achive the "stteel look" is Testors Metalizer Lacquer, Steel, Non-Buffing Metalizer, for airbrush only on Wausau 65#. 3M white 000 buffing pads are then used to "buff" the paper (so much for non-buffing) smoothing it out for printing. The lacquer hardens the paper enough for the buffing action to be effective. A second coat can be added and buffed if desired before printing.

    Just to think that this all started out in an attempt to print realistic looking cylinder heads....,

    Best regards, Gil
  4. Jimi

    Jimi Member

    i dunno if this is where i should post this question but anyway, what are the standard model sizes or scales (i.e, 1:24, 1:33)? after i made a test print of what im doin (the fokker 50), i realized that my scale (1:30) is a bit too big (length is 84.16 cm, wingspan, 96.67 cm). hehehe. so large that the problem that i fear is where to put the thing after it's finished (since it's paper, i'd put it inside an acrylic glass display case). and i want to make the scale standard.. :D
  5. jyduchene

    jyduchene Member

    Gil, Can you describe "fill and rubbing out"? Rubbing is probably most obvious. However detail would be appreciated. And what is fill? Thanks and Merry Christmas.

  6. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Merry Christmas John!

    The fill is the metallizing lacquer. Rubbing is the use of synthetic steel wool pads to further smooth the surface. Metallizer paints are used on plastic models but seem to work well on cardstock.

    Again, Merry Christmas, Gil
  7. rowiac

    rowiac Member


    As Rick alluded to, the type of paper is important for inkjet printing resolution.

    I've recently been using Canon's Matte Photo Paper followed by a light spray of matte Krylon clear acrylic. The coating on the paper is one side only, but it is smooth, very bright (108 ISO brightness) and the weight is about right (170g/m^2, .009" [0.23mm] thick). Your Canon printer driver should have a setting for it. I use the "High" print quality setting on my Canon i960 although I haven't noticed much difference other than it takes a lot longer to print.

    The main differences between this paper and the usual Wasau paper is much better color fidelity (red in particular) and better resolution because the ink doesn't tend to bleed as much.

    It's not horribly expensive either (less than US$10 for 50 sheets.) I think it's a good choice for non-glossy models.

    You may not have to use your rubbing and filling technique with this paper. Might be worth a try...

  8. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    It's the metallic finish that I was after but I'll have to try the Canon matte photo paper especially if it supports saturated reds.

    Thanks, Gil

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