Printing difficulties with older HP plotter

Discussion of MicroSurvey CAD related issues and questions.

Moderators: Brian Sloman, Jason Poitras, James Johnston

Post Reply
Andy B.
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:06 pm

Printing difficulties with older HP plotter

Post by Andy B. » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:02 pm

I've read the most recent 5 pages of posts and I have not found this exact topic, so my apologies if this has already been discussed. I am using MSCad 2009 SP1, using Vista 32bit O.S., and attempting to send a print job to an old HP Designjet 430 plotter using the latest printer driver available for this plotter from the HP website. No matter how I select the drawing to print, via window, extents, etc., the preview will not view the drawing properly and it will not print correctly. A portion of the drawing is chopped off both in preview and actual print. I can save the drawing as Autocad 2000 (dwg) and open it in MSCAD 2002, and the drawing will print correctly in model space. It might be important to note the machine with 2002 running has an older plotter driver for the HP, the one that came with the plotter.

I temporarily arrived at the conclusion that MSCAD 2009 doesn't communicate well with the old HP plotter, using the latest driver, and lived with this workaround technique for a while. However, now I have discovered that a layout tab created in a drawing from MSCAD 2009 and converted back to AutoCAD 2000 (DWG) in order to plot in MSCAD 2002 will not select properly for print preview in MSCAD 2002. The model space, however, will select and print perfectly.

First of all, Am I correct in assuming the old HP Designjet 430 will never plot correctly by receiving a drawing directly from MSCAD 2009? Finally, I know I need to purchase a new plotter, but while I am waiting on those funds to come, is there anything I can do to print layouts through 2002 that were created in 2009?

Richard Sands
Posts: 425
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:10 pm
Location: Tasmania

Post by Richard Sands » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:54 pm

Andy can you just print straight to PDF?
I do all my final prints that way. I don't use plotters though.
PDF printing still oviously needs a printer/ plotter and driver but then other programs aren't involved as in MSCAD eg.
I know this doesn't specifically answer your question.

Andy B.
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:06 pm

Post by Andy B. » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:23 pm

Thanks Richard. I wasn't aware you could convert a large dwg file, such as a layout for a 24" x 36" drawing, to pdf and send it to the plotter. So back to my original goal, printing a 2009 file directly to my old HP plotter, I am having a little trouble with the conversion from dwg to pdf in MSCAD 2009. I have opened the drawing in 2009. I am in layout view where the drawing has a MSCAD supplied 24" X 36" border sheet inserted with it with the drawing as a viewport inside this border sheet. The viewport is locked. I open file menu and select export drawing, I select pdf format, and I am prompted to select the entities. I can only select the border sheet to finish the conversion and not the rest of the drawing that is in the veiwport. What am I doing wrong? This looks like it will work to solve my problem without buying a new plotter right now if someone can share with me these conversion steps for how to convert a 2009 dwg drawing with it's layout or separately, to pdf and send it to the plotter using Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0.

Glen Cameron
Posts: 1395
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2002 12:18 pm
Location: Corbeil, Ontario, Canada

Post by Glen Cameron » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:52 pm

This document goes through how to create a PDF file that will work just like printing to a plotter (in fact you are printing, it just goes to a file instead of the plotter). It is better than the Export option. ... itemid=328
Glen W. Cameron, C.E.T.
City of North Bay, Ontario

Andy B.
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:06 pm

Post by Andy B. » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:45 am

Thanks Glen. I wish I had seen that tip in the help desk sooner. That PDFCreator program worked like a charm to convert 2009 dwg files to pdf format and print them out in Acrobat Reader to an HP Designjet 430 plotter. In case I'm not the only one on the last-to-know list about this little program, it also works well converting other format files to tiff and jpeg format for easy raster image importing in MSCAD. Thanks also to Richard for pointing me in the right direction. Problem solved.

RJ Breedlove
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:25 am

Old HP Plotter here too!!

Post by RJ Breedlove » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:31 am

designJet 500 to be exact. I'm using Windows XP Pro and have been using this plotter with 2005, 2008 and now 2009.
My issues are the wieout symbols not plotting on the hP correctly. They seem to work fine with the Oce Printer but not with the HP.
Also, trying to print a drawing with a background photo in it. Seems this is a problem possibly not with the HP but with MsCad. Any suggestions??

I use Adobe Pdf for my conversions but still prefer to print the final drawing using MsCad.

Andy B.
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:06 pm

Post by Andy B. » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:09 pm

I am now using mscad 2010 and still using an HP DesignJet 430 plotter. I have had good luck, for the most part, printing pdf files except for printing one of MS's pre-set 18" x 24" sheet and title blocks using the layout mode viewport insertion method. It doesn't matter how I select the drawing in mscad it will not print without chopping off part of the border, nor will it appear correctly in the print preview. Converting it to a pdf creates the same result. The pre-set 24" x 36" sheet and title blocks inserted via layout mode viewport works flawlessly in mscad and as a pdf file.

Is anyone else having this problem with an 18" x 24" pre-set sheet and title block inserted in mscad via layout mode viewport insertion method?

Is it possible the problem is MSCad still not wanting to communicate properly with Hewlett Packard products?

User avatar
Brian Sloman
Product Manager
Posts: 407
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Westbank, BC, Canada

Post by Brian Sloman » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:44 am

Hi Andy,

I just did a test with the 18x24" Layout-mode title blocks, and it worked correctly for me in both landscape and portrait mode (18x24 or 24x18). The outside edge of the title block itself measures 17"x23", so I would check the margins set in your print driver for your 18x24 form - if they are more than 1/2" on each side then the full sheet will not fit when printed at 1:1 scale and something will get cutoff. With a PDF driver you can usually specify 0" margins however with a physical plotter it will usually have some minimum value that is hardware specific. My tests were done using the PrimoPDF plotter, it is a free download from
Brian Sloman
Development Manager
MicroSurvey Software Inc.

Post Reply