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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Printing at Staples - Good quality?

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JohnnyRockets
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31 Jul 2018
04:32:40pm
Hi all,

I am practicing printing some album pages on the following printers:

Home Color InkJet - Decent, passable quality (I could live with it, nice-ish)

Color Laser - Maybe a tiny bit better, but not radically improved (nice enough)

Staples - I'm wondering if a "professional" service would net better quality?

I know a lot of this will depend on the quality of the source file, but the quality is VERY good!

Thoughts?


Johnny

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angore
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Collector, Moderator
31 Jul 2018
05:39:34pm
re: Printing at Staples - Good quality?

A color laser is a great machine to have. It may not do photos as well as an inkjet but the text print quality looks great.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
31 Jul 2018
07:57:22pm
re: Printing at Staples - Good quality?

Quote:

"Staples - I'm wondering if a "professional" service would net better quality?"



Let the buyer beware - "professional" is an $8 an hour kid they grabbed off the sales floor. As a buyer of a lot of printing for my clients, I cannot tell you the last time I got an order complete and as ordered by Staples.

In fact I'm a card carrying major account. My Staples bucks pay for most of my stamp albums and such! That gives me a "Global Rep" aka- someone who calls me regularly to beg for business. They cannot understand that my printing needs are sporadic.

So I gave this rep an earful.. she asks which store screws up. I name a dozen stores, as when I run conferences I will email a print order to the store in the city where I'm headed instead of carrying a 100 pounds of paper on the plane. She asked me to attend a managers meeting on Skype so I gave them all the earful that you cannot claim professional printing services unless you are capable of meeting business demands. When presentation materials are needed for a 9am meeting, you cannot have some wide eye kid tell the customer, "Oh well, we didn't get to it."

So there's my Staples rant. For your copying needs, make them run sample copies and keep them with the order. Let them know if the order differs one iota from the sample you approve, you won't accept it. I still am stuck using them, but I read them the riot act.

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jbaxter5256
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31 Jul 2018
09:04:16pm
re: Printing at Staples - Good quality?

In terms of print quality from inkjet and laser printers, paper suitability makes the biggest difference. I recently printed a Machins color image guide on good quality acid free paper on an ink jet printer and found reasonable quality. I printed the Smithsonian Stamp for Every Country album on 25% cotton archival quality paper from Archival Methods on the same printer and saw much better quality results. In the past I have used inkjet specific paper or laserjet specific paper with other printers and found that output results are much superior for printed items that you intend to keep for a long time than on standard copier paper. So paper definitely makes the biggest difference.

Most Staples/Office Depot stores are just using relatively high end copiers which are mostly designed to reduce the cost per page not to increase the print quality as their primary goal. This is especially true in today's world where low cost inkjet and/or laser printers are available with 1200dpi resolution capability which often exceed the specifications of the commercial high volume printers used at copy centers. Print shops that do magazine and book printing often have very different types of printers which are optimized for doing multiple copies and can generate much higher quality output but their costs tend to be prohibitive for small volume printing as the biggest expense is preparing the individual page images.

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51Studebaker
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01 Aug 2018
02:06:10am
re: Printing at Staples - Good quality?

Quote:

"...25% cotton archival quality paper from Archival Methods on the same printer and saw much better quality results..."


Quoted for truth. I have beat the 'quality paper' drum for quite a while but the temptation to run out to a large office supply store and buy the cheapest 'acid free' paper is great. Good paper is not cheap and is sometimes harder to find. Paper is an commodity, you get exactly what you pay for.
Don
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angore
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Collector, Moderator
01 Aug 2018
07:41:49am
re: Printing at Staples - Good quality?

One key aspect of print quality is the paper surface finish. Less expensive paper can be somewhat coarse and thin (so not opaque) so print quality suffers. I agree that paper selection is the bigger factor in print quality when you use a decent printer.

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Snick1946
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01 Aug 2018
09:41:13am
re: Printing at Staples - Good quality?

I may have posted on here previously about my experiences, mostly with Kinko's. I gave them a job consisting of 20 or so pages I created using a page creation CD and asked them to copy onto Lighthouse pages. I nearly cried when I saw what they did, the top frame line was about 2 mm from the top of the page with a large gap between the frame and the bottom, all grossly mis-centered. They wound up not charging me but sort of implied I as at fault because they couldn't understand what I'd wanted.

I know these people probably never saw a stamp album in their lives but.. for gosh sake didn't it look obvious to them that they had it wrong? I think a lot of their jobs are done by part time kids not caring less.

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TuskenRaider
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01 Aug 2018
12:56:40pm
re: Printing at Staples - Good quality?

Hi Everyone;

@ JohnnyRockets;

Here is the place you should look for quality paper, not at Staples.

https://www.dickblick.com

This source, is a supplier of art materials. If you ask them what papers they have with least amount of 'tooth', they will know immediately what you mean. If you ask the same question at Staples, Office Max, or others of their ilk, you will get a puzzled expression only.

@ Everyone;

The 'tooth' of the paper is an artists expression, that basically means 'texture'. A lot of tooth is course paper suitable for charcoal artists, because it holds the charcoal well, between the paper fibers. It also lacks having very much 'sizing', which is added to paper to control absorption and smoothness.

The type of paper that is excellent for high resolution and very sharp images has much more sizing and almost to tooth at all. When compared to plain copier paper it is very smooth to the touch. There is a reason why the cheap stuff is called 'copier' paper.

Call customer service at: (800) 723-2787, and tell them that you are printing album pages for stamp collections, and you want paper samples of the smoothest, least tooth papers that they carry. Also I would recommend that you use cream stock of at least 24# - to 36#. Some collectors like 50# - 60#, however if your album pages can't lay flat then your album will not stay open.

Scott once printed on too heavy of a paper, (when it was owned by General Mills, the cereal company), and you have to use heavy weights to keep the album open for stamp mounting. The only reasonable solution I was able to find, was waiting until I had several hundred stamps to mount, and pull the wires out of the posts and removing the pages from the binder, and work with them loose. The only time I mount stamps without removing the pages, is if I only have a dozen or two to mount.

The reason I suggest cream stock, is the these 'copier' papers with very high brightness ratings when used for albums have way too much contrast and lack the warmth of cream colored papers. Look at all the album pages you have seen displayed on the forum and you will notice almost all cream stock only.

If you offer to share your paper source with other collectors, they will probably give you samples for free. If not, then offer to pay for the samples, so you can judge for yourself. Years ago I printed on a dozen or so paper samples, using serif fonts like Palatino or Book, in different sizes of text, going down to 6 point thru 16 point. I then examined them all using a 10x loupe. I discovered that the inferior papers, start to drop the fine details on the serifs, especially on the smaller point sizes of 6pt thru 9pt.

Most collectors use small point sizes to mark Scott numbers on their pages. By the way, it's okay to use Scott #s on your own albums, as long as you do not give them away or sell them. If you offer them digitally as a PDF or other computer file, you must remove the catalog numbers.

So, as many of those who responded to this thread stated, it IS the paper quality that matters more than anything else. Also, if you use inkjet printing, the ink WILL smear or run if wet. So licking hinges or mounts, just be careful not to touch printed areas or use a laser printer instead.

Happy printing everyone.

Still just sortin'....
TuskenRaider

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JohnnyRockets
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01 Aug 2018
03:08:23pm
re: Printing at Staples - Good quality?

Wow!

Thanks everyone for your replies! Very great!

Okay, here is what my research has turned up to meet my needs:

- I have access to a color laser that is of better quality than what Staples appears to have, thus Staples is out.

- Paper does matter, I'm liking the 65 pound card stock in very light cream for the album I'm printing. (This is a Machins Album)

- Tonight I will print it at the highest DPI that I can get the printer to do and see how it goes.


Thanks again!


JR

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