Before you purchase large format paper for your inkjet printer or LED toner plotter, it’s important to have some knowledge and understanding of a few specifications related to plotter paper printer sizes and specs.
The exact type of plotter paper and roll size needed will depend on the specific make, model, and technology of your system. Generally, LED toner plotters use mostly plain paper. This is also classified as engineering bond.
Conversely, most inkjet plotters utilize a treated paper on a smaller roll. This is usually called Check Plot Bond. But, because of improvements in ink technology, it is becoming more common to find standard engineering bond paper in CAD inkjet environments.
The best practice, however, is still to use the printer best media type as rated to the machine.
But, that only vaguely scratches the surface. There is a very wide range of different printer media options available for both toner and inkjet plotters. If you are not sure of all the options for your specific application, it can help to consult a paper professional.
Quick links to popular plotting paper rolls
Inkjet check plot bond
Film and Vellum
Vinyl and banner material
Take note of these important specifications related to wide format paper and related print media.
Image source credit: blockandcompany
The width measurement of the roll is one of the the first numbers in the listed specification. Plotter paper roll widths are usually expressed in inches and generally include 11, 17, 18, 22, 24, 30, 34, 36, and 42 inches.
When picking the proper roll width, be sure to consider the orientation of the final print. For instance, most architectural drawings are 24x36 inches. So, it may seem that a 24-inch roll is the way to go. Obviously, that size will work, but it may not be the most efficient.
If you have many prints to make, printing the drawings, in a landscape orientation, on a 36-inch roll might be more efficient.
The length of the plotter paper roll is expressed in feet. Engineering bond paper is often sold in lengths of 150, 300 and 500 feet. But, there are some variants that are also offered in 650 foot rolls.
These are beneficial in professional printing environments so users don’t have to continuously disrupt their workflow to stop and reload paper mid-job.
Otherwise, heavier or thick inkjet media, such as photo paper, film, vinyl, or other special material is sold in shorter lengths, typically 100 to 150 feet.
Considering different types of engineering paper, the core size refers to the diameter of the cardboard tube inside the rolled paper. Plotter paper rolls for inkjet printers are sold on 2-inch cores.
Plotter paper rolls of toner xerographic machines are typically sold on 3-inch cores. But, that is not always the case.
More and more, you will find higher-end ink jet graphics paper mounted on 3-inch core roll paper roll size. This is because the larger core helps minimize the curling of the finished drawing.
It’s simple physics, really. As smaller diameter requires a tighter roll with more curl.
As a result, most new wide-format printers ship with a set of 3-inch core adapters. These are snap-on converters that attach to the printer’s spindle to accommodate the large roll size.
This is really the best of both worlds - having the ability to print both 2-inch and 3-inch core sizes.
The thickness of a paper is typically expressed in “mils,” which is one-thousandth of an inch. Basic paper and other CAD-related materials is usually pretty thin - under 4 mils.
Likewise, older inkjet printers were generally designed to print on these types of papers. However, newer wide-format inkjet printers are specifically designed to handle the full range of bond papers, photo papers, art papers, canvas and sign materials.
So, if you need a thick media printer, be sure you plan ahead.
Standard Paper Printer Sizes for U.S. Architectural Drawings:
ARCH A: 9 x 12 inches
ARCH B: 12 x 18 inches
ARCH C: 18 x 24 inches
ARCH D: 24 x 36 inches
ARCH E: 36 x 48 inches
Standard Paper Printer Sizes for U.S. Engineering Drawings:
ANSI A: 8.5 x 11 inches
ANSI B: 11 x 17 inches
ANSI C: 17 x 22 inches
ANSI D: 22 x 34 inches
ANSI E: 34 x 44 inches
ISO (International Standards Organization) Drawing Sheet Sizes:
A0: 33.11 x 46.81 inches (841 x 1189 millimeters)
A1: 23.39 x 33.11 inches (594 x 841 millimeters)
A2: 16.54 x 22.23 inches (420 x 495 millimeters)
A3: 11.69 x 16.54 inches (297 x 420 millimeters)
A4: 8.27 x 11.69 inches (210 x 297 millimeters)
US Letter Sizes:
A: 8.5 x 11 inches
B: 11 x 17 inches
C: 17 x 22 inches
D: 22 x 34 inches
E: 34 x 44 inches
F: 28 x 40 inches
Printer Media Types
Uncoated engineering bond paper designed to work with both traditional pressure fusing and Oce radiant fusing wide-format plotters. Ideal for all general purpose copying and printing. The bright white plotting paper provides strong visual contrast and is manufactured to control curl and static.
Inkjet check plot bond
Check plot uncoated bond plotting paper is designed to work with most monochrome and color inkjet printing equipment. This paper is manufactured to work with both dye and pigment based printers. It provides excellent print quality and it is environmentally friendly.
Today’s photo papers meet the demands for high quality photorealistic reproduction. The ultra-white base with microporous coating means your prints will be instantly dry and water resistant; while the thinner base allows you to save money and still provide photographic output. Universal compatibility is optimized for today’s wide gamut printers.
Film and Vellum
Mylar film and vellum are used in a number of different applications. Engineering films has been used for decades for archival purposes, while other film has been used for overlays or backlit situations. Other film can be used for trade show and point-of-purchase graphics that will be mounted on pop-up retractable display systems. Vellum is not as widely used as it once was, but it still finds uses in situations where a transparent media is needed.
Film and banner material
Displays need a wow factor. Smooth opaque aqueous vinyl banner is a tear-resistant polyester fabric embedded between two white vinyl layers and a non-glare finish.
It has excellent light blocking capabilities, and is inkjet coated to give excellent overall print quality. It can be sewn or grommeted for finishing as well. Additionally, Tyvek Banner and Polypropylene are also great choices for printing durable banners and posters.
Have a question about large format paper sizes, types, or specs?
Thanks so much for the breakdown on paper roll sizes and characteristics. My brother just got an inkjet printer for his business. Now he’s looking for plotting paper and other materials to help him get it fully set up. https://getpaper.com/chicago