So here's the Plotter Princess answering those questions:
Q. What you call the metal plate that align the paper sliding for plotter machine
A. The black metal bar that lifts up while paper is loading is the BAIL.
Q, What to do with old HP plotters
A. 3 things: Fix them, sell them, or junk them. You can also turn them into lovely boat anchors, interesting yard ornaments and a nice headboard for a full size bed...more on that later!
Q. I'm having trouble printing an adobe file - What about flattening?
A. Flattening will sometimes help to make the file smaller. If you routinely have a file that is too big for your plotter's max memory you either need to get a newer plotter or make the file smaller. You can sometimes "flatten" the file to make it smaller - it takes the layers out. I wrote another blog about this topic so use the search tool on this page to find that blog. You can also use file conversion software to make it into a TIFF or a JPEG which could make it smaller. But, I caution you that you will need to check the scale if you do this as I haven't fully tested it yet.
Q. Do I need a surge protector for plotter?
A. Absolutely. And after you plug your old designjet into a surge protector just leave it on. Seriously. Turning it on and off doesn't do anything but wear out the electronics. These machines hibernate when not in use and they really don't use any power in that state. I've had up to 10 plotters plugged in at my house and they didn't make a blip on the electric bill!
Q. Ink cartridges drying out - What to do?
A. If you haven't used your plotter in a few weeks, you probably need to resuscitate them.
Here's how to resuscitate your cartridges. After you soak then for 30 minutes in hot water that has a couple drops of ammonia - you only need to soak the head of the cartridge, but you can soak the whole darned thing, take them out of the water and shake them hard over the sink in a "whip cracking" kind of maneuver...stopping abruptly at the end of the shake...do it over a sink or outside on the driveway...after you do that you should turn it over and see if there are two little lines of ink on the bottom of the cartridge where the ink comes out...if you don't or if the lines are broken, that means that there are microscopic holes plugged with ink...and now you need to SUCK it out...the easiest way is to fold over a bunch 4-5 wet paper towels to make a folded up mass that is about 1 inch thick. put the folded up towels on a solid surface like a dinner plate...now place the cartridge on top and push down hard on the mass of paper towels....and release the cartridge very slowly and the wet paper towels act like a sucking "sponge" and extract the little clots of ink from the tiny holes...
Q. How to print blueprints from a pdf file?
A. First download the file to a place where you can find it. Now double click on the name of the file and it should open in Adobe or whatever PDF reader you have installed. (I use PDF Architect.) When the file is open, right click in the middle of the screen to see the PROPERTIES of this file...and you can then see the original size. This is the size you will need to print it in to have the correct scale. If the size is 36" by 42" you must have a 36" wide (or bigger) plotter to print it. If it is 24" by 36" you can print to scale with a 24" wide plotter. Always check the scale on printed blueprints BEFORE you use them to estimate and bid on a project...ok?
Q. How many feet of paper can a Designjet 430 hold?
A. I've loaded a 150 foot roll...but that's the biggest I've put on that machine.