FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: How do I print posters to Darth-Plotter?
A: The following message provides the bulk of the information you need to sucessfully print posters on Darth Plotter.

NOTE: Darth Plotter is located in room 1304 EPS, behind the assignment turn-in boxes (7/21/2014)   1314 EPS   (9/24/2009)

From: janice fong 
Date: November 5, 2007 8:58:45 AM PDT
Subject: printing posters to Darth-Plotter
hi all,

in celebration of the 30th anniversary of star wars, i am rereleasing the original darth-plotter instructions in redigitized format. these instructions have been painstakingly restored to their original glory, typing errors and all.

for you long faithful darth-plotter fans, an alternate ending has been added to this director's version of instructions:
you have the ability to preview your own poster on your own machine; ie you do not have to ask me to preview your posters.


Strong is Vader…


Stories have been told around many a Geology campfire about a dark force that resides in the department. A sinister presence whose name alone can strike fear into the hearts of the bravest geologists. His name? Darth Plotter - and he lives in room 1304 EPS. A large format printer with unlimited power, Darth is capable of turning beautiful poster files into blank sheets of paper with a simple blink of "error 79-04". But Darth really isn't evil, he's just misunderstood.

If you only knew the power…

So what can you do to make sure Darth uses his power for good and not evil when it comes to your poster?
Here are a few general tips:

  1. Use Adobe Illustrator to create your poster. While you can use other programs, Illustrator will definitely make your life easier. Remember, using the right tools for the job is half the battle.
    Why use a sledgehammer when you have a light saber? If you are using PowerPoint, please read this.)
    saber up
    If you cannot produce an Adobe Illustrator file or a PDF file, or really want to print from your own application, you’ll need to install the HP DesignJet 4000 printer drivers and then print from your application. Instructions to do that can be found here: http://faq.geology.ucdavis.edu/printing_darth/printing-to-darth.html
  2. Darth likes to make prints of his family photos - and you can do the same with your field photos!
    That being said, I wouldn't recommend sending a file containing a gajillion 2400 dpi photos to him; but you shouldn't have a problem printing a poster full of your photos.
  3. Darth will not print all the way to the edge of the paper. Leave yourself a 1-inch margin around the edges or else you will run onto the dark side of Darth.
    Ahh. Hard to see…
    (note: set up your file to the full width of your selected paper size, ie 36"/42" and the full length of your poster, 60"/72"/ etc. When you are laying out your poster, just remember to keep a 1" margin.)

  4. Darth has 2 paper width options. 36" or 42". The default paper in Darth is 36". If you want to use 42" paper, please ask to have the paper switched or you can do it yourself - and please remember to reload the 36" roll when you are done.

Once you are ready to print your final poster, you may submit your job at: http://darth-plotter.geology.ucdavis.edu

The obvious things you'll need to fill out on the "submit job" form:

  1. choose your file
  2. your name
  3. copies
    All too easy

The not-so-obvious:

  1. If you'd like to know what you are getting, select "yes" on "hold for preview". Doing so will generate a "preview" of how the poster will print. Once your preview is available, the little magnifying glass will appear under the preview column. Click on it to see a low resolution image of your poster. Since one of the major problems with Darth is page layout, this might be something you'd like to do the first time you try printing a poster.
  2. under "paper": leave the settings as they are. Do not change the paper orientation; it should be "PORTRAIT".
  3. under "transformations";
    - If your poster is in traditional "landscape" (AGU, GSA) format, you will rotate the poster 90° under "Transformations";
    - If your poster is in "portrait" format (typical European poster style), you do not need to rotate the poster.
  4. all the rest of the settings can be left as is.

Confused are you? Worry not. Just come and talk to me.


Janice C. Fong
Geology Department                
University of California          
One Shields Avenue               
Davis, CA  95616  USA