Why is my printer doing this to me?

Okay, I know it’s not really personal, and it’s probably not even the printer’s fault, but I can’t sort out the reason for the results I’m getting. I’ll try to put this mare’s nest as succinctly as I can.

Mac G4 OS 10.4.10

Epson RX580

Illustrator CS

I’ve designed a full color business brochure with photographs and full bleeds on the left and right. Basically, when I print from the software print dialog box, I get a fine bleed and lousy color. When I print from the printer dialog box, I get accurate color and a slightly reduced version that leaves a white border on the sides.

  1. Print > Get Illustrator’s Print Preview window > click “Print”
    It prints an 8.5 X 11 page with full bleeds on the left and right.
    But the color is horrible, desaturated and muddy.
    I have poked around, changing the Color Management settings, but the result is the same (my document color setting is CMYK U.S. Web Uncoated v2). Is there something in particular I should be setting it to?

2) Print > Get the Print Preview window > click “Printer”.
The Printer dialog box comes up.
Layout > Border > None
Paper Handling > document (US Letter (Sheetfeeder - Borderless)
Print Settings > Plain/Bright White Paper, Color, Advanced, and Fine > hit Print.
Returned to the Preview window, which shows the bleeds as before.
Hit Print on the preview window
It prints good color, but there’s no bleed. There’s an eighth inch white border on both sides. Comparison with version #1 proves that for some reason, it’s reducing the image slightly.

I have also set the print settings on the printer itself (this is a new printer for me, and I’m a little at sea with it): Color, Photo, Borderless, Matte (paper), Letter (paper size), 100% (no reduction). Doesn’t appear to alter either result above. Neither does saving a pdf and printing that, or making the document in InDesign.

So I gather I can get good color and a right/left bleed. Why can’t I get them on the same document? Any help at all would be appreciated, even if it’s just a recommendation for where I should probably look to correct this. Is it easier to try to get good color on #1, or easier to get #2 to quit reducing the image? I have looked at Illustrator help on line (both color and printer advice) but all I can find is stuff I already know and stuff that’s incomprehensible. I am wasting buckets of ink trying to figure this out.

Damn. I had this problem sometime last year, except that I have a G5 and a different printer. Through lots of trial and error (and wasted time, ink & paper), I eventually got it to print correctly. Unfortunately, I have no idea what finally worked.

At least we know there is a solution. I won’t give up yet. Any recollection where the solution lies, if not exactly what it is?

My gf has worked in book publishing for 30 years and uses Illustrator every day. She says the only way to get true colour is to save the file from Illustrator as a PDF and print from there.

I was thinking you had an issue with margins and something shrinking it to fit, but that could be the app, print driver, or the printer itself.

Thank you for asking her, but I’m getting true color fine when I print the .ai file using the printer dialog box (see version 2 of OP). I want it to quit reducing it and giving me that white border. I already tried making a pdf. I tried opening and printing it from both Illustrator and Acrobat 6 and I get the same results from Illustrator as described in the OP. Acrobat only gives me the Printer dialog box, so I get version 2 (good color, no bleed).

I have specified no border and no scaling every place I can find to do so. There must be some place I’m missing but I have no idea where to look.

Another piece of info, it scales it so that the image on the artboard fits on the page with the eighth inch border. It doesn’t scale the bleed outside the artboard, it just eliminates it (I pulled the bleed way out, to like a half inch, just to see if that affected it). It’s like it’s not seeing the bleed at all.

She also says they routinely print A4 content onto A3 pages and trim to size, fixes all bleed issues she’s ever seen. Aside from that I think you need a professional - standing in front of your screen if possible, but have you called Adobe or posted on their forums?

It did occur to me that printing on 11 X 17 would “solve” the problem, but having to trim just creates a new one for me, since I’m doing this by hand and would have to trim each one. (I don’t know how many I want yet, but I kind of want to be able to print them as needed for certain kinds of presentations we do.)

The only checking with Adobe I have done is the aforementioned help pages online. Guess I’ll poke around the forums and see what I can find there.

It sounds like it’s not ripping correctly due to a driver issue. Have you tried changing the driver to a close-but similar model? Or maybe a pre rip software like xproof?