Random burblings of a late night printer

I’m slaving over a hot riso producing Christmas cards. This year, we opted for a rather lovely colour front preprinted by Park with the insides being printed in 22 versions by our good selves. We have promised the activists they will be ready for the 1st December, so it’s now become a bit of a rush job.

Working with 150gsm card instead of the cheap 80gsm paper we normally use has completely thrown my estimating skills off. I can normally grab a bundle of paper and say – that’s about 500 sheets. Now, I have no idea how much card I’m flinging around the room.

The cards are 2-up at A4 size, which means I have to guillotine them in half after I’ve printed them. Our new guillotine is doing pretty well, but it seems I turn the clamp handle the wrong way every single time without exception. And will I have teeth left at the end of the process? I find myself grinding my teeth in sympathy every time the I force the geared blade shearing down through 350 sheets. (…or is it 350?)

Already this job is panning out better than last year, when it overran, and was a nightmare for a number of reasons. Last year, we printed the fronts ourselves as well as the backs, and what with having an older printer last year, we had to pass the cards through three times for each edition: front, back black, back blue signatures. This year, with the preprinted front and the Risograph MZ770E which can print in two colours at once, it’s only a single pass for each sheet, neatly cutting the print time by a third, as well as removing any pesky alignment problems.

But there will inevitably be mistakes with the artwork I produce. No matter how many people I get to proofread it, there will be mis-copied phone numbers for councillors or FOCUS team members somewhere in the mix. We deliberately over-specced the external print component to allow for reprints where necessary. But will we have enough paper to get through the job?

And will we have enough ink? Someone is coming into my print room in the early hours of the morning and eating my risograph ink, I swear it! My vague mental plan is to get most of these cards printed over the weekend, but if I exhaust our ink stocks, I can’t order any more before 9am on Monday, and even if I do, it won’t get here for a further two days.

We’ve already made over 100,000 impressions on our Riso since it arrived barely a month ago. We will have to be careful, since our contract is for quarter of a million every quarter, and we are a little ahead of ourselves on that.

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One Comment

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  • By Niles’s Blog » Hole in my thumb on Mon 27th November 2006 at 2:33 am.

    […] I wrote on LDV two nights ago about some printing I’m doing at the moment: christmas cards, which have to be guillotined in half. Last night I had a salutory reminder that the guillotine is indeed very sharp. Don’t click “more” if you are squeamish! […]

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