[solved] Calibrate Printer to Produce Accurately Scaled 1:1 Output

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[solved] Calibrate Printer to Produce Accurately Scaled 1:1 Output

Post by gwood » Wed May 20, 2020 9:54 am

I am attempting to print a drawing in 1:1 scale which will be used as a template for a sign. The drawing has a square border, exactly 24"x24", which is intended to line up precisely with the edges of the 2'x2' ply-boards upon which the signs will be painted.

I'm using the tile feature with 8-1/2"x11" (letter size) paper, which requires twelve sheets to fit the whole drawing.

When printed and assembled correctly, the actual dimensions of the square border are 23-1/8"H x 23-1/4"W.

I'm using Kubuntu 18.04.4 LTS
Version: (3.17.0)
Internet: QCAD.org
Build Date: May 18 2017
Revision: 2a31885
Qt Version: 5.8.0
Architecture: x86_64
Compiler: gcc 4.8.1

My Qt Version is 5.9.5.

I have produced identical results using the newest trial version of QCAD,, and I intend to upgrade soon regardless. I've used QCAD for many years, and find it very useful.

My printer is a Brother (Color Laser) MFC-L8900.

I'm looking for some way to adjust the calibration between QCAD and printer to create output that is scaled correctly. I realize I can upscale my drawing to get the correctly sized output, but that's obviously not the right way to approach the issue.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Last edited by gwood on Wed May 20, 2020 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Calibrate Printer to Produce Accurately Scaled 1:1 Output

Post by andrew » Wed May 20, 2020 10:10 am

Printer calibration can be set up per printer under:
Edit > Application Preferences > Printer Settings > Calibration

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Re: Calibrate Printer to Produce Accurately Scaled 1:1 Output

Post by gwood » Wed May 20, 2020 9:26 pm

If I had ever known where the printer calibration setting was, I had forgotten. Thank you for your quick response; I'm marking this SOLVED.

As a courtesy to others who may have trouble knowing how to use this setting, I'll relate what I did to get my results.

As I said above, I'm printing a template for a sign which I want to be exactly 24"x24". My scaling for this drawing is set to inches, and I'm printing at a 1:1 ratio, so the border around my drawing is 24"x24", exactly the size I want it to physically print.

This has to be done using tiles, since I'm using letter size paper (8-1/2"x11").

When I printed the drawing and assembled the tiles, the actual size of the output was 23-1/4" wide (that's the X axis), by 23-1/8" high (the Y axis).

To someone who isn't familiar with QCAD the Printer Calibration settings may look intimidating. There's a drop-down menu to select the printer you wish to calibrate. Then there are just two dialog boxes, labeled "Factor X" and "Factor Y"; each box contains a numeral "1".

The "1" means "no scaling, leave things as they are". The point is to change the 1 to a slightly larger number if your drawing prints too small, or a number slightly less than 1 if your drawing prints too large. The trick is to know how to determine that number, and I learned this trick years ago with QCAD's scaling tool.

The awesome thing about QCAD's dialog boxes, is they aren't just flat, dead places to type data-- these dialog boxes will calculate equations. So all I did was look at my problem like a fraction, and enter it into the dialog boxes that way. Here are my settings, given the scenario posted above:

Factor X: 24/23.25
Factor Y: 24/23.125

When QCAD calculates the math, X becomes 1.03784, and Y becomes 1.03226. I did not have to do the math myself, I entered in exactly what is shown above.

This calibration is saved for that particular printer, and is hereafter applied to all other drawings, which will make all my drawings print more accurately.

Thanks again, Andrew, for helping me find the correct setting.

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