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Mark D Shermeyer

Printing black & white to HP DesignJet 350C

Question

We are currently using VW 9.5.3 on OS X 10.2.6. I am owner of an architectural firm which generates large format plots (commonly 24x36 or 30x42), black line with multiple line weights on an HP DesignJet 350C plotter. We use multiple line weights on our VW drawings, but have a color assigned to each line weight in order to track it on our screens while zoomed out. Our only plotting solution to date seems to be opening the drawing files under VW 9.0.3 in Classic and plotting with MacPlot.(Cumbersome!) I have examined the X-RIP demo and discussed the issue with Microspot. The X-RIP driver offers no black & white option (MacPlot does!), only greyscale. The Gimp Print drivers (our plotter is not supported directly, but similar ones are) offer dpi monochrome and black and white options but there is a problem: when selecting black and white, only lines and text assigned the pen color black plot, nothing else plots! When selecting greyscale, everything plots, but the greyscale lines do not give the crisp, pen and ink line appearance we need and are accustomed to. Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas? (These plotting issues have kept us from upgrading to VW 10 and further. We can't get what we need out of the plotter under OS X!)

Thanks.

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Yes. The problem is that when changing the Display Document Preference to Black & White, some items, apparently those in groups and assigned a "class stlye" pen line style attribute, turn to all white and don't display at all! I don't klnow if this is a software bug, but it makes this solution unworkable. Having to change this preference every time we want to plot is an inconvenience, especially when it was handled in the plotter driver (and still could easily be). We could use it however, if it worked, but it doesn't with this version of the software. Most architects don't plot color on technical drawings; others must have encountered this plotting problem...

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Having colors represent line weights is an old Autocad standard. I would suggest you drop this convention and check the zoom line thickness box under prefs. I hope you are using a white background too versus the old Autocad black background with full screen cursor. I have found the print b & w or display b & w functions work fine abet some things go white. Just change those things to black.

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Checking the Zoom line thickness box does not work: when zoomed out, the lines weights we use display at the same size (negating this function), and when zoomed in, they display way too fat and "cartoonish" to edit precisely. We commonly use line weights relating to technical pens: 0.13mm, 0.18mm, 0.25mm, 0.30mm, and 0.35mm commonly, and 0.50mm, 0.60mm and 0.70mm less commonly. 1.00mm is used in title block borders. The line weights above 0.35mm display in such a manner as to distinguish themselves a little better without the color code. "Old AutoCad convention" or not, the fact of the matter is that when a 24x36 inch or 30x42 inch sheet is displayed on any monitor of any size, color coding is needed to distinguish line weights! There is just not another way around this!

We have a technical staff of up to five, producing a lot of output. Plotting must often be done right before meeting with clients on a tight schedule. Editing drawings and changing "some things that go white" to black is not feasible, and is extremely time consuming (something else which we cannot afford to have our technical staff waste!) This is an unworkable solution, especially for what appears to be a bug in the program. Also, when changing black & white displays back, all line weights revert to display in mils, not mm--another bug which requires yet another step.

I have drafted exclusively on different CAD systems in many different offices since the 1980's. No office has been any different, and no A/E office can afford time consuming edits to drawings just to plot.

We do use white screens and don't use full screen cursors. Some changes make sense, others do not. Early CAD convention or not, mapping line weights to colors is absolutely necessary in technical architectural/engineering drawings on CAD, with fine pens necessary for precise drawings, with even today's best display technology.

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Hi Mark

A possible solution to one of your issues might be GIMP PRINT, which is a free driver for OSX. Although (like every plotter driver I've ever seen) it takes a little tinkering to dial it in, once done it seems to work perfectly (at least for me) outputting to an HP DJ 230, from Mac OS 10.2.6 w/ VW's 10.5.

Peter :-)

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Thanks, Peter. I have been trying to use GIMP print, as Microspot X-RIP only allows color or greyscale printing (!), and for a product costing what they charge, it seems like a big oversight! (Especially when MacPlot prints black & white fine!) GIMP print does allow black & white printing, and drivers for similar HP DesignJets work fine (ex: 450C), but only objects (text, lines, etc) assigned a black pen or fill color print when black & white printing is selected. Nothing else prints! Greyscale, however prints everything. Back to my original question: does someone know of a combination of settings in GIMP print that might work? For example, can you print in black & white with GIMP print and what are your settings? Or, does this somehow relate to the VectorWorks bug where changing the document display preference to "Black & White Only" doesn't display some objects correctly (some turn to all white)? Your ideas? :-)

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In Vectorworks 9.5, setting the preferences to "Black & White" also causes all fills to disappear. Seeing as most of my drawings include fills, this setting, though potentially useful, is unusable - very irritating. Hasn't this been changed in version 10?

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Try inverting (most use patterns) the colors, in the foreground color use a no white color, in the background use white. Generally i use diferent density of patterns whit this combinations. Maybe it can work for you.

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Mark

Another firm that we do some work with uses a vectorscript to translate pen colors to black lines with weight (and back again) just before plotting. If you used standardized colors this should be pretty easy and unobtrusive to do. You might want to give this a go.

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Austin,

I just posted a private reply also to you, asking if you could share contact info for the firm. I would be willing to purchase their VectorScript and adapt it to our uses. (I have difficulty with the time required to write a script that gets everything inside of groups, etc. and back again.) Thanks.

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