I have a question regarding printing images side by side on the same piece of paper at different times.

I will first print an image on the paper at an exact location using photoshop, i will then take the same piece of paper align it correctly in the printer and then print the second image right beside it but when the printing is done there is a very small "offset" between the two images. Sometimes the second image has been shifted to the right by 1 mm or up by 1mm ect. If I were to print images of just colour there would sometimes be visible white lines between them or the ink would overlap and create darker lines. This problem doesn't always arise, sometimes it DOES align perfectly to the eye.

I am wondering what this problem is called, is it fixable(with my current printer) and what type of printer is best for reducing this effect(I have seen HP DesignJets but I'm not sure that they don't have this problem)?

Many thanks!

enter image description here

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  • Lifting paper from the paper tray is not easy. In fact its insanely hard and that we can do it at all cheaply is a small miracle. Doing it accurately form lifting to lifting is, even harder. Simply not many printers can manage it, by friction alone depends on how the paper was loaded and so on. Too inaccurate, but may work from time to time. – joojaa Mar 23 '18 at 19:26
  • Hi Paddy, welcome to graphicdesign.stackexchange.com. The word you're looking for is, "luck." – Stan Mar 23 '18 at 20:26
  • Might be closer if it wasn't a dot-matrix printer on a postage stamp... or is that just a really badly out-of focus photo? :) – Tetsujin Mar 23 '18 at 20:45

Ultimately, you are dealing with alignment/mis-alignment issues within the tolerance of the printing equipment. The issue is an every-day problem within the printing industry where it is referred to as image "registration." The colour printing process depends on achieving exact registration of several images upon one another.

Where on the page is less of an issue as the whole page is considered as the imaging area. Side-by-side or one image on top of the other—both present the same challenge.

The pattern you show allows the eye to more easily distinguish differences than the average economy four-colour print job. It is less forgiving of error.

Here's what you must overcome to achieve success in no particular order. They are sources of variability.

  • The dimensional stability of the material you're printing upon.
  • The material transport system and its tolerances for error.
  • The variation of the imaging engine in the print head or plate (if ink)
  • The variation in the placement/replacement of the material for secondary imaging.
  • The size of the image and its absolute position on the page.

  • etc. (What else can go wrong.)

Solution: The biggest bang for the buck will come with the ability to ensure the paper (?) always stays in the same place. The best system for doing this is with a "pin-register" system such as is used in conventional film animation and in some kinds of screen printing (including printed circuit boards).

I do not know if your printer or if any production printer exists to fulfil your rather demanding requirement. You may have to build your own equipment to do this or continue doing what you're doing—trust luck.

Good luck.

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  • * Friction of paper, * environmental aspects (humidity, temperature...). Oh and building one is insanely hard we ended just dismantling a existing unit cos it was cheaper. – joojaa Mar 23 '18 at 21:21

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