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  1. #1
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    Default Calculating cost of prints

    Does anyone know of a good way to calculate the cost of printing a particular document? I used to have a Lexmark laser printer that would tell me the percentage of each of 4 colours (CMYK) printed but I now have a newer one that doesn't do that. I also have a Canon inkjet (8 colour) that I'd like to be able to cost. I used to get a rough approximation by using my laser print to print and calculate the 4 colour usage and use that to make a reasonable guess for my inkjet usage. I believe the full version of Adobe Acrobat can measure the CMYK percentages but that is very expensive. The only other option I've found is called APFill but that still costs about 136 which is a lot for a single function. Does anyone else do this measurement and/or have any suggestions? Alternatively can anyone suggest a better way of calculating the cost of printing?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Calculating cost of prints

    Are you thinking of offering printing services? If so, then check out some of the on-line print on demand resources and see what they are charging per unit.

    Also, most desktop printers have specs that indicate the number of copies you can get from a cartridge of ink. I frequently use a company Uprinting.com They print just about everything at very reasonable rates.
    Gary W. Priester
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Calculating cost of prints

    No, I'm not planning on offering a general printing service - I'm sure that would not be cost effective. I know there are lost of good printing companies out there (I often use Instantprint). It is just that I often end up printing one-off posters, etc. for several organisations I'm involved in or for friends. I'm then often asked how much it cost me to print as they want to reimburse me and it would be good to be able to calculate a reasonable approximate cost. I've set up a spreadsheet to do that but it needs to know the percentage coverage of each colour at least for CMYK. Even better would be if I could input all 8 colours used by my printer but I think that is unlikely to be possible!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Calculating cost of prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob-H View Post
    Does anyone know of a good way to calculate the cost of printing a particular document? I used to have a Lexmark laser printer that would tell me the percentage of each of 4 colours (CMYK) printed but I now have a newer one that doesn't do that. I also have a Canon inkjet (8 colour) that I'd like to be able to cost. I used to get a rough approximation by using my laser print to print and calculate the 4 colour usage and use that to make a reasonable guess for my inkjet usage. I believe the full version of Adobe Acrobat can measure the CMYK percentages but that is very expensive. The only other option I've found is called APFill but that still costs about 136 which is a lot for a single function. Does anyone else do this measurement and/or have any suggestions? Alternatively can anyone suggest a better way of calculating the cost of printing?
    As far as I know, the only reliable way is the application you mention, APFill.

    Acrobat isn't a reliable means, so save your money. One can use a combination of ImageMagick & GhostScript (maybe just IM itself, I forget) to calculate ink coverage in a pdf. That data can be saved as a text file that automatically can load into a spreadsheet which then uses formulas to break out the cost. I once did it...and it took a fair bit of time to create it all. It worked. Unfortunately, I lost it all in a severe system crash.

    APFill would have been far more cost effective.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Calculating cost of prints

    ink and paper are a consumable overhead - charge what the paper costs.. lick your finger put it up in the wind and guestimate the ink cost... life is just too short for a one- off - my default is a pint [of beer] per item
    -------------------------------
    carpe diem
    carpo vitae

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Calculating cost of prints

    Quote Originally Posted by handrawn View Post
    my default is a pint [of beer] per item
    With what I do for friends, I would be drunk all the time!!!!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Calculating cost of prints

    well yes... I allow them to pay over time
    -------------------------------
    carpe diem
    carpo vitae

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Calculating cost of prints

    Quote Originally Posted by handrawn View Post
    well yes... I allow them to pay over time
    Printer ink can come in at 4,000/l so your exchange rate is probably 1ml ink to one pint of beer.

    Acorn
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Calculating cost of prints

    a ml of ink can go a long way - but so can goodwill
    -------------------------------
    carpe diem
    carpo vitae

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Calculating cost of prints

    Quote Originally Posted by mwenz View Post
    As far as I know, the only reliable way is the application you mention, APFill.

    Acrobat isn't a reliable means, so save your money. One can use a combination of ImageMagick & GhostScript (maybe just IM itself, I forget) to calculate ink coverage in a pdf. That data can be saved as a text file that automatically can load into a spreadsheet which then uses formulas to break out the cost. I once did it...and it took a fair bit of time to create it all. It worked. Unfortunately, I lost it all in a severe system crash.

    APFill would have been far more cost effective.
    Thanks for the thoughts. I've had a bit of a play with GhostScript and found that it partly works! It can report on the ink coverage using an output device of inkcov which sounded like just what I wanted. Unfortunately, when I tried experimenting with it I found that although it will tell you what percentage of the page is covered by a colour it takes no notice of how dark the colour is and therefore how much ink is actually used. For example, a page covered in a magenta rectangle is reported as 100% coverage no matter how dark the magenta is. It's beginning to look as though APFill is the only option. The trouble is at roughly 136 I'd have to print an awful lot of posters for people to make it worth it!

 

 

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