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Questions tagged [printer]

For questions concerning use, maintenance, restoration or emulation of printers used along with retrocomputers.

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21 votes
3 answers
2k views

Compatibility of printers with HP54645D oscilloscope?

I am not entirely sure if this is the right place to ask, but I figured if someone knows y'all here would. I have an HP54645D oscilloscope, and it can print the screen on a printer that's connected ...
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1 vote
1 answer
210 views

DPI of modern dot matrix impact printer vs DPI of old inkjet printer from 1991 [closed]

I have an old inkjet printer from 1991 that still 100% works (Kodak Diconix 180si), HP still even makes the ink cartridge for it. The Kodak Diconix 180si is basically a portable version of the HP ...
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5 votes
1 answer
435 views

What is the model of fast CAD printer used in Pentagon Wars?

Panning shots of a seemingly fast (CAD?) printer are shown in Pentagon Wars, for example in this clip at timecode 8:34: https://youtu.be/aXQ2lO3ieBA?t=514 What is it, and how does it work?
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  • 493
9 votes
5 answers
1k views

DOS serial printer formats

Assume a DOS machine with a serial cable, and a selection of one of Epson FX-80, HP LaserJet, IBM Proprinter. At the other end of the serial cable is a modern machine, e.g. running Linux. On the DOS ...
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  • 1,801
41 votes
11 answers
8k views

How did early laser printers get by with so little memory?

The first HP Laserjet only had 128K of memory. To print an area of 7.5 by 10 inches at 300 DPI requires 844K if it's kept as a single bitmapped image. Obviously they were doing something clever to ...
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2 votes
2 answers
282 views

SAPCOL Japanese digital typesetting machines

In a comment to this question, Japanese SAPCOL digital typesetting machines are mentioned, which apparently used a PDP-8, and contained fonts for lots of Kanji. What were those SAPCOL machines? What ...
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  • 21.1k
1 vote
4 answers
408 views

Color dot matrix printers in 1980s & 1990s

What color dot matrix printers exist during 1980s & 1990s (I already know Apple ImageWriter 2)? How their quality and speed compare with ImageWriter 2.
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  • 485
2 votes
0 answers
171 views

Early multifunction laser printer with a fixed scanning head?

I was working for a Hungarian magazine in the early 90s which had the most curious device: a laser printer which had a pass-through scanner on top, i.e. you laid down a page and it dragged it under a ...
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  • 409
5 votes
1 answer
435 views

How can I send RS-232 serial data to a Tandy plotter reliably?

I recently rescued my Tandy CGP-115 plotter from the attic and had the idea to try and drive it from a modern machine. I have a FTDI CHIPI-X10 RS-232 adapter and installed drivers on a MacBook. I have ...
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  • 53
9 votes
1 answer
610 views

When did tabs start defaulting to 8 columns?

The ASCII horizontal tab character defaults to 8 columns, which is unfortunate because it's too wide for indenting block structured languages (at least to most people's taste, acknowledging Linus ...
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  • 48.9k
17 votes
4 answers
3k views

How did dot matrix printers do Landscape?

In the 1980's, few people could afford laser printers and other page printers (e.g. inkjets) were not yet affordable. Most had inexpensive dot matrix printers with tractor feeds, such as my own Star ...
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  • 56.5k
30 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why did many 9-pin printers use only 8 pins for graphics?

In the answer to another question about printers, the following claim is made about 9-pin printers: The Epson MX-80, upon which many other printers were based, had nine round pins which were ...
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  • 5,454
21 votes
3 answers
4k views

Typical dpi of dot matrix printers available in the 1980s

I have several printouts from what is presumably a dot-matrix printer, dated 1987. When zoomed in on these, you see the usual stair-step patterns on diagonal lines. However, it's difficult to ...
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  • 471
7 votes
2 answers
599 views

How to print from a IIgs to a modern printer?

How can I get a IIgs to print to a modern printer? The IIgs is running Appleworks GS under System 6.0.3 with 2 MB of RAM and a hard disk. Ethernet is an option as I have a LocalTalk to Ethernet ...
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1 vote
1 answer
166 views

Casio CW16 Typewriter [closed]

I am in need to refill my typewriter with more ink (this model uses ink ribbons), but in the place where I live they don't sell those ink ribbons anymore. I am considering to buy some cheap nylon ...
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1 vote
3 answers
237 views

Were there ever any thermal printers that simply "muscled" plain paper? [closed]

Theoretically, one could probably build a thermal printer (maybe with a laser) that simply burns the paper black where you want it black. Conceivably without embrittling the paper too deeply or ...
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6 votes
0 answers
123 views

Restoring a self-inking printer cartridge

I've seen people ask about restoring printer or typewriter ribbons, but my situation's a little different. I have a self-inking ribbon for a DECwriter Correspondent. It's easy to open up the casing, ...
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  • 61
2 votes
1 answer
333 views

Refactoring Old Printer Driver for Current Linux Kernel [closed]

I have an old Lexmark 1100 printer (parallel port LPT1) that is currently working fine on Windows 98. I've tried to make it work on several current distros of Linux but, so far, none worked. Basically,...
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20 votes
7 answers
5k views

Why didn't PostScript eliminate the need for printer drivers?

In the days of dot matrix printers connected by RS-232 or the IBM/Centronics parallel port, each with its own quirky set of commands, it's obvious why printer drivers were a necessary and important ...
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  • 48.9k
3 votes
3 answers
754 views

Daisy wheel graphics using the period?

Although it would have absolutely beaten the hardware to death, did anyone ever try to write a graphics driver for daisy wheel printers that would use the period symbol to painstakingly construct a ...
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  • 3,341
15 votes
3 answers
826 views

Is there a line printer sound simulator?

To improve "authenticity" of a mainframe simulator and for an additional nostalgic effect, I'd like to add sounds of a line printer to it. They should be similar enough to the original sounds for ...
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  • 15.4k
14 votes
9 answers
3k views

What was the typical thickness of fanfold printer paper?

Fanfold paper was commonly used for computer printouts from the 1950s to the 1980s. What was the typical thickness of such paper? The answer must be a measure of thickness, not weight. I am well ...
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  • 13.8k
50 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why did line printers have 132 columns?

From what I read, most line printers have 132 columns. Also, the VT-220 and presumably other terminals may be switched between 80 columns (that's a usual width) and 132 columns. As I recall, 80 ...
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  • 33.9k
13 votes
1 answer
3k views

Connecting Panasonic "Penwriter" RK-P400C to modern PC using USB to serial cable

I have a Panasonic "Penwriter" model RK-P400C electronic typewriter/plotter from circa 1985 I'd like to be able to connect to a modern PC. And hopefully even use to draw graphics! Bought in almost new ...
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  • 341
5 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why were teletype printers not used for DOS computers?

Prior to the introduction of DOS in 1981 teletype printers were probably the most common hardcopy printer being used - usually in govt, educational or research facilities. When DOS arrived, teletype ...
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  • 4,281
26 votes
3 answers
5k views

Where did DOS store graphics fonts?

I remember using a wysiwyg print program called Fontasy for CGI graphics in DOS because of a lack of standardized graphics fonts. Companies were selling "font packs" for other type fonts. Prior to Win ...
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  • 1,329
7 votes
3 answers
937 views

Serial Receipt Printer Garbage

I connected a vintage serial matrix receipt printer (Datamega DPN-233) via FTDI to my MacBook's USB. It performs its own self-test without problems, prints an example and the RS 232 configuration (...
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10 votes
4 answers
10k views

How to renew and re-ink old printer ribbons?

What is the proper way to restore and re-ink old typewriter, calculator, dot matrix printer, and mainframe lineprinter ribbons? Usually fabric ribbons or open-cell foam sponge rollers were used to ...
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  • 3,341
11 votes
2 answers
520 views

Where to find thermal paper for Aquarius or Commodore printer?

The thermal printer that was sold for use with the Mattel Aquarius or VIC-20 / Commodore 64 is an Alphacom VP42. This uses thermal paper, 4⅜″ wide. Original paper for these printers is very hard to ...
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