When I started in the printing business, figuring out “paper” was easy. We were a small-format sheetfed shop and our largest press was a half-sized, two-color Shinohara. Being the youngest guy in the shop back then, I was always relegated to running the good ol’ AB Dick. Job tickets would go into my box: letters, 11×17˝s, and business cards … my daily bread. I’d check the quantity and the plate to see how many up I was running. It was simple — even a high school student could do that math.
Fast forward three decades and for the last six years I have been working with high-speed, roll-fed inkjet printers. And one thing I’ve learned is that roll paper is very different than sheets. It’s not sold at a specific size or number of sheets. It’s sold by the pound or ton; you get different yields based on the width of the roll and weight of the paper. 1,000 pounds of a text-weight letter stock gets you more feet of paper than 1,000 pounds of postcard stock. It’s a simple notion to wrap your head around but the harder, more important question is … by how much?
Calculating for roll paper is not easy.