Panoramic from an Epson 3880

The Epson 3880 is a great printer, but it does not take roll paper, and even if you could rig up a contraption to feed the printer from a roll, when the print is finished, the printer driver would  eject all of the paper remaining on the roll.

This means that you’re limited to cut paper. Epson’s specifications state, that the maximum print size for the 3880 is 17×22″.

Lets say you wanted to print your standard DSLR image the biggest possible, then your print would be 15×22”.  When maximizing your print height to 17”, your image is 17×25”. That’s ” too long.

I discovered a way to print up to 17×37” on the 3880, and here is how.

STEP 1 Acquire Paper

There are high quality paper manufactures that sell cut 17×25” paper, but if you’re in love with Epson paper, or want to print panoramas, the you’re going to have to cut your own.

Simply rolling out your paper on a clean surface is not a good idea. The print side of the paper is on the outside, so no matter how clean your surface is, the weight of the paper while rolling causes scratches. Also the paper will pick up any dust which the printer would print over. When the dust falls off, you’re left with prints with small white dots or what looks like small white scratches.   

To minimize this, I made this simple paper feeder from a plank of wood 24×11″. The key is it has to be at least 4” bigger then the width of the paper. You will also need a 3/4” dowel, two 6” eye bolts, 4 bolts that fit the eye bolt, and 4 washers.

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Roll out your paper and cut it slightly larger then you need. You will need to cut the end that feeds into the printer first again to ensure it is square. This is probably the most critical step in the whole process. If the paper is not square, then as the paper is pulled through the printer it will bunch up on the left or right side (depending on the angle of the cut) and jam.

I used a Dahle 18” rolling paper cutter: http://www.amazon.com/Dahle-Personal-Rolling-Trimmers-length/dp/B000KNBL9Q/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1431912462&sr=8-3&keywords=paper+cutter

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I also recommend you cut at least 4” more paper then you need, as the curled ends tend to grab any residue ink as it enters and exits the printer. This is especially critical if you want a white margin around your print for your signature. Remember your printer will not print any larger than 17×37.5”, but you can cut your paper slightly bigger.

In my print, I wanted a 1” margin all around the image. So I rolled out 40” of paper.

I set a 1-1/2” on the top (the extra half inch was so I could cut off any ink that might be caught on the leading end). My print went to the very end of the printing area, with no margin. However since I had an extra 3” of paper cut, I got my 1” margin and an extra two inches to catch any ink on the bottom (exit end).

STEP 2: Configuring Custom Paper

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1 From Lightroom, in the “Print” module, select “Page Setup”

2 From “Paper Size” select “Manage Custom Sizes…”

3 Click the “+” bottom left (“Untitled” will appear in the list of paper sizes), Give it a name, I used “Cut 17 x 25 in”. Under Non-Printable Area: Select your printer, and I used “.12 in” for margins top, left, right, and bottom. Note, if you select a height larger then 37.4, then when you select your Epson 3880, the margin will be adjusted to 37.4”

4 Select OK

STEP 3: Lightroom Settings

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In Lightroom, I set the a 1” left & Right margins, with a top margin of 1.5, and I didn’t bother setting the bottom margin. I also set Lightroom—-as normal—-for the standard printing properties, profile, and paper handling.

STEP 4: Loading Paper

Now this is the hard part, loading the paper so that it feeds correctly. Since I am using normal loading, I have my printer against a wall, to help support the paper. then after I hit “Print” I put the paper into the top of the printer, and while holding, making sure that the paper was making positive contact with the printer feeder, and then waited for the printer to pull the paper into position. I then continued to hold the paper until the paper was 1/3 the way through the printing then the bottom of the print was at the top of the fully extended print guide.

 

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