With our template now in a PDF format waiting to be printed, it's time to put it onto paper. If you were making a small part that fits onto A4, this is as simple as clicking print. Your template should be to scale, but it's worth measuring manually just to check that no scaling factors were applied by your printer software (such as trying to take into account the printing margins).
If your design is larger than A4 and you don't have ready access to a larger format printer, like me, the next step is to poster print them. Poster printing will spread the image across a number of pages, which you can then join together later. I use this method for most of the parts I cut by hand; it's simple and reliable.
There are numerous free apps for poster printing available online, such as the aptly named Poster Printer. For this guide, I'll show the process in Adobe Acrobat, which doesn't have as many options but will do the job just fine. For my own work, I tend to use Adobe Illustrator mostly as I can edit parts of the drawing too whilst I'm at it, but it's by no means necessary.
Acrobat doesn't have the largest feature set for poster printing, and you can see that the image above is quite inefficiently laid out. To get there, simply click 'Print' and select 'Poster', and you want to make sure that 'Tile Scale' is set to 100 percent. The poster mode will take into account the available printing area, so you don't need to worry about losing parts of your drawing to the margins. You can optionally increase the 'Overlap' size to provide more area for attaching the sheets together.
The final step is to trim off the unprinted margin (leaving one side on so that you can overlap the pages) and then stick the pages together. I like to use some simple Sellotape for this; it works more than well enough, although you could use double-sided if you wanted no visible seams.
December 11 2020 | 17:30