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I wonder whether it's possible to print completely to the edge of physical paper (not print with bleed that will be trimmed/cropped), because with laser printers it can't be done. Toner would burn onto drum which is something that should be avoided at all times.

Is printing to the physical edge possible with digital press and why (not)?

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Linked: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/129/… –  e100 Mar 14 '11 at 18:39

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Printing to the edge of a page is done because of bleeds: a portion of the layout that extends beyond the trim size of a document after trimming. Note, "beyond" and not "to" the trim size because that will invariably result in a little white area at the edge of your document.

All printers and presses require a certain amount of space on either side of the paper to help feed it through, especially when toner still hasn't been fused and ink is still wet. Your layout is printed on a sheet larger than your layout to accommodate printer marks and bleeds, then cut down to your final trim size.

In answer to your specific question, yes, you can print something to the edge of the paper with a digital press (any press, actually), but, regardless to the printer (unless the technology has advanced) you need to extend bleeds to make it look clean. You need to contact your printer for the proper specs on margin and bleeds (they will need the bleeds long enough but not too long; every printer is different). All good printers will check your document to ensure everything is where it needs to be. If they don't, go find another printer.

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I know that. Maybe I wasn't clear enough. Is it possible to print to the actual paper edge. Not bleeding and then crop results. –  Robert Koritnik Mar 14 '11 at 17:27
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You can ask your printer, but I highly doubt it. Even if it were possible, paper invariably mis-aligns so you will have a white space between the ink and the edge of the paper at one point or another. I can't think of any design scenario where that would look correct. –  Philip Regan Mar 14 '11 at 17:37
    
I think that some desktop inkjet photo printers do print edge-to-edge, but would assume that they achieve this by a small amount of bleed (or overspray). Same perhaps applies to direct printing on CD/DVDs. –  e100 Mar 15 '11 at 13:32
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@e100: Yes inkjets can print to the edge of physical paper sheet. I have one that does. And yes some ink gets wasted/printed over the edge of paper to achieve it. –  Robert Koritnik Mar 19 '11 at 12:01

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