Tips on Buying Wide-Format Printers for CAD, Part 3: Setting It Up
The resources department filled your request for a new printer. It can handle your workload, media requirements, and color needs. You went the extra step and purchased multiple printing devices that will take the same core size of rolled paper and the same type of toner. Good job.
Did you contact the IT department (assuming you aren’t the IT department) to let them know? Will these new high-speed printing machines work on your network? Will they work with your software? Can the operating systems your users deal with handle them? Probably but it would be wise to make sure. This is a very crucial step in picking out new printers. Will they work with your system?
Some printers have special electrical needs. Many require dedicated power connections. Talk with the manufacturer about these topics. Where will they be set up? Is there ample room? Can the service technician get all of the way around them for maintenance?
A key issue to consider is how the printers will communicate with your network. Make sure to coordinate with your IT department on this as it can be tricky. Do not assume the printer will work because the salesperson says it should. If printers are being added to the network and are not replacing older machines there could be a capacity issue. Will there be a need to print from outside of the office? Will users need wifi printing abilities? How will their workstations communicate with the printers?
Once communication issues between workstations and printers is determined to be adequate, what software issues will there be? Printing from a word processor like Microsoft Word is completely different from printing from AutoCAD. Throw in other popular programs like Adobe Photoshop and there could be issues. Are specific drivers needed? Who is going to install them on the workstations? How will they be maintained?
Establish with your IT department who will maintain the printers. How will they be named? In AutoCAD, a printer name is important. If the printer’s name changes down the road, there will be issues. Page setups often rely on printer names for identification. AutoCAD isn’t smart enough to know it’s the same printer. Page Setups will have to be fixed. This is a good way to upset many users in one step.
Whatever system is put in place, keep it and keep it simple. Later on if it is found that the system just doesn’t work, then fix it. Try to impact everyone as little as possible. Maintain the printers through the network as much as possible. It could be a long day if you had to go from workstation to workstation to fix a renamed printer issue.