Hello! I'm looking for guidance.

May 5, 2017
Greetings from eastern New Mexico, USA.

I am brand new here, so patience is appreciated. Here the deal: I'm a Linux user with a beloved but obsolete HP Laserjet IIIP and a Brother HL-2140. I love the old HP but you really can't get reliable toner carts anymore. The Brother is reliable and economical, and churns out text okay, but the graphics quality is abysmal.

I am starting to get a bit outdoorsy and to that end, I'm learning to navigate with map and compass. I am buying 7.5 minute topographic maps to the tune of about $21 a piece. This can get expensive and it takes several days to get the printed map to my mailbox out here in the sticks of east central NM. I can download PDF versions of these maps for free almost instantaneously, but I can't print a legible hardcopy of these maps with my printers.

I am trying to get this printing done via Gutenprint through the GIMP. It's all printed to 8.5" x 11" paper, so I will need to print out a number of pages and piece them together. This is something I'm willing to deal with. The software end works okay, but quality is not something I can live with. As I see it, my options are 1) purchase a new laser printer that can generate the quality output that I want, or 2) find an economical and local option to print these maps full size.

I am not interested in inkjet printers because my experience is that there is a lot of waste in cartridges that are used once then sit and go bad. Aside from these maps, I print confirmation pages from paying bills once a month. Ink jets just aren't an option for me here. I've had a color laser printer and liked it, but I'm gunshy. I can't afford the $200 - $300 or so it costs to replace a set of cartridges. I tried generic color toner carts with my old color laserjet and wound up with a yellow cart that was out of spec and basically destroyed my printer carousel. This is not something I want to relive. And it's a shame, because I could go for this Brother HL3140CW with the reasonably priced replacement carts. Beyond that, color printing stretches out of my price range.

Can anybody vouch for the quality of affordable color laserjets or some service that will allow me to get these PDF files printed?

I appreciate the attention.


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