All laser printers have a "density" control, however finding the control for you particular manufacturer might be a bit illusive.
This control used to be a hardware adjustment on the older printers (1st and 2nd Generation) but today's printers are either software or printer display driven. Gone is the adjustment wheel that you merely crank up. Also importatnt to note that you won't find the density control as part of the "Print Dialog Box" that you see when you're getting ready to print.
The lower cost printers (HP-1006) model shown here on the right must be set by a stand-alone application that talks to the printer directly. There are no hardware buttons or LCD display to speak of.
The HP_2300 model below DOES have a display window so the toner "density" can be easily and quickly set.
The thing to remember is most manufacturers consider the "density" control to be a global change in that once you set it, it stays that way even after a power recycle.
If you are using one printer for doing PCB's and all else, we'd recommend looking for an HP (our #1 choice for printers) that has an LCD display for quick menu changes.
Our recommendations for printers will always fall on HP for one major reason... they use Canon-based engines which are, in our humble opinion, the best imaging engines around. The other reason is that HP commands a sizable lead in their share of the laser printer market so we tend to cater to the HP market.
The procedure outlined below is for for HP printers because they have captured so much of the technical and engineering market. If you don't have an HP printer, you might want to contact your manufacturer if you can't find a specific routine to be able to set your printer to it's highest density setting.
What HP doesn't tell you in their documentation for many of their printers (or even in a "Help" file) is that there is a separate program that gets installed with the rest of the printer software. You can use that downloaded program to change the toner density.
... however, keep in mind that if you go with a new HP printer, the toner cartridge they now include with the printer will not perform well with our process because it's nearly empty! Their main intent is to provide their customers with "instant gratification" that we've all becomed so tuned to. You will need to purchase a real HP branded cartridge to be able to get good, reliable and DENSE toner output. DON'T BUY AN AFTER MARKET CARTRIDGE! There is a big difference between "any brand" and HP's brand name.
For PC's the search basically goes like this...
- START >
- Programs >
- HP Laserjet "your printer's name" >
- Tools >
- HP LaserJet Configuration Utility
If in the above you don't see "Tools" you might see "hp LaserJet Toolbox". If so...
- Select “Advanced Printer Settings”
- Select “Print Quality”
- Set “Density” to 5
- Make sure “Economode” is off
The HP "printer utility" has several variations over the years on this controller and how to get at it. Their methods also vary on model too!
Regardless of how you get to this contoller application, the scale or "range" HP uses is always from 1-5 ('5' high). The factory setting is "3" which is normally not high enough for a good dense printout.
There is also a helpful website at: http://www.victechsoftware.com/ljconfig.html that has some other information on other HP printers if the the above didn't get you set up. If all else fails, call HP and ask them how to find it.
There is another free download for HP users at DRIVER CENTRAL.