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Please note that use of SOA Technology Lab Services including equipment checkout, printing, plotting, and digital fabrication is restricted to members of the SOA community (faculty, staff, and students).

The Technology Lab has 6 plotters and 6 paper types (please see Materials Costs for more information), which can accommodate prints up to 36” wide (4mm margin) with varying lengths up to 300ft*. For best results, please submit all files as Flattened PDFs** and panel larger prints into several plot files.  

Please note:

  • *Plots over 72" are not advised and will not be refunded nor reprinted for free.
  • **Plots submitted in any format aside from Flattened PDF are not eligible for refunds. 
  • Plots on plain paper that are full-bleed or have significant ink-filled areas (see below) on the edges will become oversaturated, causing the paper to tear. Plots like this are not advised on plain paper and will not be refunded nor reprinted for free.
  • Make sure you have flattened your PDF and the file you're submitting is an optimized file.
  • Charges will appear on your What I Owe page.

How to get your files plotted?

Stop by the Service Desk with your optimized PDF files on a USB stick to ask us to send your plots to the plot system.  Any plots not retrieved by Friday at 6PM will be recycled.

  • To plot please prepare your .pdf file (under 50 MB)
  • Save it to a USB with your EID at the beginning of your file name

For example abc123_sample.pdf

  • Bring the USB down to the Technology Desk (Sutton 1.102- Basement)
  • Confirm the paper size and type with the Tech Desk Member

Plotting Tips

Need to print a large PDF file? Optimize it to shrink the file size, which will get your print through the queue faster and with fewer problems.

If you want to print from Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, DON'T DO IT! Instead, save the file as a PDF, open it in Acrobat Pro, optimize it, and print from Acrobat Pro. This controls the file size and provides a way to reduce printing errors such as rotated and cut-off prints.

Step 1. Open your PDF in Acrobat Pro. Click Advanced, PDF Optimizer.

Step 2. Change "Make compatible with" to "Acrobat 7.0 and later"

[Note: people with Acrobat 6.0 and earlier won't be able to open your file if you send it to them.]

Step 3. Click Images on the left. Change the two Quality settings to "High".

[Note: in some cases you may need to choose Maximum quality to better preserve image quality; however, the trade off is usually a much larger file size and a longer print time.]

Step 4. Click Discard Objects on the left. Make sure everything is checked

Step 5. Click Discard User Data on the left. Make sure everything is checked

Step 6. Click Clean Up on the left. Make sure everything is checked

Step 7. Click OK. Choose a location to save your optimized file. Don't save over your original filename, in case you need to go back and adjust settings. Add the word "opt" to your file name so you know it's been optimized (example: elevation-opt.pdf). Now print the new PDF.

Note: Printing your PDF file as a new PDF file, resolves most common issues.


Plotting Sheets of Vellum

You can plot a sheet of vellum to use for classes or studio. In order to have the sheet print, put a period, dash, or other unobtrusive mark in the top left and bottom left corners of your desired file size.