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Old 12-25-2013, 12:33 AM   #1
baudot
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Default Printing to playing cards

I need a printer that will print directly to 3.5 x 2.5" playing cards, but haven't found one that will print to such a small paper size. Know one?
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Old 12-25-2013, 04:37 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by baudot View Post
I need a printer that will print directly to 3.5 x 2.5" playing cards, but haven't found one that will print to such a small paper size. Know one?
Why not use micro-perf business cards?

http://www.paperdirect.com/Business-Cards - perhaps something like this might work.
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Old 12-25-2013, 07:48 AM   #3
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Why not use micro-perf business cards?

http://www.paperdirect.com/Business-Cards - perhaps something like this might work.
Business cards don't have the same dimensions, don't have rounded corners, and don't "handle" well for card game play: the difference in weight and stock is bad for shuffling and dealing.

The goal is to prototype games. I can get blank playing cards that will have the identical dimensions and handling properties as the final prints. I need to be able to print to those directly.

Printing prototypes directly to their real format rather than business cards is a better test. My last game had one bug that was introduced when the cards were reformatted from testing versions to the real printing version, and it was introduced so late that we never caught it in testing. Testing from the start with the cards in their final dimensions would have saved the labor of reformatting all the cards from their testing dimensions to the real poker dimensions for mass production.

For my future games, I intend to be able to test with the real format from the start. Printing directly onto single, blank cards would produce a higher quality prototype faster. I've tried countless recommended ways of prototyping cards otherwise, and none of them are satisfactory. They're all slow, error prone, or both. Finding a printer that would print to a 3.5x2.5 card as easily as a 4x6 photo would save me countless hours and catch errors earlier in game testing.
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Old 12-25-2013, 10:09 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!

Someone asked a similar question some months ago about printing to tiny paper sizes. The most realistic solution is to print multiple cards on standard sized paper, then trim them to size. You can print trim marks on the margins of the regular size paper to make accurate cuts.

   
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:25 PM   #5
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Thanks for the welcome!

That's what I do presently, and it's what I'm trying to get away from. If I could print directly to individual cards, I could be very nimble during testing, swapping out cards during play with their "fixed" version the moment a bug was found. Also, the time spent trimming really adds up over the many versions of a card or deck that get tried during game testing.
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:36 PM   #6
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Have you thought of asking the paper people like Avery or the Paper Direct that Kayza mentions if they do/can do the specifics you need. Avery certainly do rounded corner labels but I couldn't search their website to the detail needed.

Searching under Name Badges might produce a result but I didn't think of that at the time.

Just asking them direct might find you something in the multi per sheet type.

   
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Old 12-25-2013, 05:40 PM   #7
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Business cards don't have the same dimensions, don't have rounded corners, and don't "handle" well for card game play: the difference in weight and stock is bad for shuffling and dealing.
You can get micro-perf cards in a number of sizes, which means you should be able to get something in the correct size.

Would laminating help with the handling issue? I've seen some card laminators that work quite nicely, if the weight and feel of a laminated card would work.

Do the rounded corners make that much of a difference in terms of prototyping?

Try Paper Direct (http://www.paperdirect.com/) to see if they have something that would work for you size-wise, if laminating gives you what you need. The other thing to look for there are "one ups". The ones we use are actually labels, but the idea is much the same - it's a single label on a carrier sheet that is the size of a standard envelop, which makes it easy to print a single one.

Otherwise, you can try getting a card printer. The thing is that the ones I have seen tend to be expensive. Check Barcodes Inc (http://www.barcodesinc.com) Some of the printers should handle the size you need.
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Old 12-25-2013, 06:37 PM   #8
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Printing to mailing labels and then sticking those to cards is indeed an old trick for prototyping, but it means you still have to apply the labels to each card, which is time consuming to do thousands of times, and if the card backs also need to be printed then alignment becomes a nightmare, since an imprecise job of stickering the "back" of the card will render it "marked".

Really, guys, I thank you for contributing ideas for getting around the need for a small area printer, but I just need a small area printer. No two ways about it. I've been trying different approaches for a while, and nothing short of actually printing directly to the cards is going to do everything I need.
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Old 12-25-2013, 06:41 PM   #9
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Otherwise, you can try getting a card printer. The thing is that the ones I have seen tend to be expensive. Check Barcodes Inc (http://www.barcodesinc.com) Some of the printers should handle the size you need.
If those printers will print to cardstock and not just plastic, then they'll do the job. This is the best suggestion yet.

Naturally, I'm ouching a bit at the 3,000$ starting price tag for even the most humble card printer. I may have to dig deeper on this site.
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Old 12-25-2013, 09:29 PM   #10
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baudot: Naturally, I'm ouching a bit at the 3,000$ starting price tag for even the most humble card printer. I may have to dig deeper on this site.
Once you've figured out which printer model might do, take a look at ebay and see if anyone is selling them and/or look and see if there are refurbs available.

Did a very quick bit of looking and found a moderately dated (2004) press release for printing on paper cards from Evolis which might give you some leads...

Terrie

Last edited by terrie; 12-25-2013 at 09:47 PM.
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