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10.2.7 Notes for Plotting

Notes for Plotting

Please note the following to achieve optimal results on the plotter.

Settings in the operating system

Basically, RFEM uses the print system of Windows. Unlike some other CAD software programs, RFEM uses no special drivers to control the plotter. The plotter must therefore be installed as a normal printer under Windows first.

Internal tests have shown that the drivers included in the Windows installation are unstable and defective. Therefore, we recommend using the original drivers or the latest drivers available on the website of the plotter producer.

When plotting, huge amounts of data are processed. It is necessary to ensure that sufficient space is available on the system partition of your computer.

Do not set the plotter as the default printer in the system. In fact, only select the plotter when printing. The reason: The printout report uses the standard printer driver for the print preview. With the tested plotter drivers, crashes occurred in the printout report.

Many plotter drivers provide an option to prepare the graphic either in the plotter or the computer. Generally, preparing graphics in the plotter is faster because it has a specialized processor. Your work on the computer is also unaffected in this case. The problem, however, is that the plotter often provides only a small random access memory. If the memory is insufficient for receiving the picture, parts are lost. When plotting RFEM graphics, you can see the loss in the form of missing descriptions or fillings, missing lines, etc. In such a case, the plotter will normally display a corresponding message.

In case of doubt, prepare the data in your computer. However, the default setting is usually the preparation in the plotter. In this case, adjust the printer properties accordingly.

Figure 10.58 Printout Settings for HP DesignJet under German Windows XP
Settings in RFEM
Figure 10.59 Graphic Printout dialog box, General tab

It is recommended to set the graphic size To scale in the General tab of the Graphic Printout dialog box, since the output on an A0 plan is almost always true to scale. Then, select the scale from the list or enter it directly into the text box.

Generally, it is recommended to use the complete sheet area for the plotter output. For this, select the Use whole page width check box in the Graphic Picture Size and Rotation dialog section.

Figure 10.60 Graphic Printout dialog box, Options tab

In the Options tab, you can influence the output quality. You will most likely need several test plot printings to find the optimal settings. Unfortunately, it is not possible to give generalized recommendations because the settings' effect depends on the printer driver. The guide values shown in the figure above refer to the HP DesignJet 650C plotter with the driver version 4.62 under Windows XP.

If crashes occur during the plotting process, we recommend installing the latest printer driver as described above and selecting it for the preparation of the graphic In computer. Afterwards, if crashes still occur when plotting, you should gradually reduce the resolution in the Print Quality dialog section.

The Script dialog section controls the scaling of the font size for numberings, dimensions, and result values. For the A0 plot on a HP DesignJet 650C, good results have been achieved with the factor 2 and the Constant setting.

The Symbols dialog section affects not only the size of support symbols, nodes, etc., but also the line widths. If lines are too rough, you should reduce the factor. For the A0 plot on the HP DesignJet 650C, good results have been achieved with the factor 0.2 and the Proportional setting.

The factors for symbols and font globally affect all fonts and symbols. To specifically influence the appearance of particular objects, use the settings in the Display Properties dialog box (see Figure 11.3). It is recommended to save adjustments for the plotter as a new display configuration for the printout report. For more information, see Chapter 11.1.2.

After clicking [OK], the Print dialog box of the operating system appears. Select the plotter from the list of printers. Click [Printer Properties] to open another dialog box where you can set the page size and alignment.

Figure 10.61 Plotter Properties dialog box for setting the page format