Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Printing problems with Stamps.com and an HP Deskjet

This has nothing to do with pens, but since I had no luck Googling for an answer, I thought I'd share the solution that finally worked for me. Printing from the Stamps.com software to my HP D1300-series Deskjet worked fine under Windows XP. Under Windows 7 Pro it was another story. With standard settings, using print spooling, nothing would print (the print queue would read "1" for an instant, and then back to "0", without the printer making a sound). With print spooling off, sending documents directly to the printer, none of my other applications could print, while Stamps.com printing took incredibly long -- maybe a half-hour to print an envelope, for example.

Using a reference driver wasn't an option, as HP doesn't appear to offer one for this series of printers. In the end, however, the Stamps.com tech I talked to suggested that I try printing to the built-in Microsoft XPS Document Writer -- essentially, printing to a file -- and then printing from that file. A bit of a workaround, but it does the trick.

NOTE: Default print quality for printing from the XPS Viewer is "best", so for reasonable printing speed I end up having to open up preferences each time in the printing dialog to select "fast draft" instead. I have not been able to figure out how to change the default print settings of the XPS Viewer, unfortunately.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Ups and downs

Some ups and downs this week, the big "down" being the loss of a pen to credit card fraud (if you are offered the BHR Duofold Deluxe with the distinctive engravings shown above, it's stolen).

A nice "up" to end the week, however, was the successful restoration of the early Moore safety shown above. The pen was bought at the Chicago pen show auction; there was a gaping crack at the front of the barrel, and another in the end knob. The latter was the result of screwing the knob onto the shaft too far, splitting it from the inside end. The knob was removed from the shaft, relaxed and reformed with heat, and the crack sealed closed. The threads were then chased and deepened so that the knob could be screwed onto the shaft without excessive outwards pressure. The crack now looks like a superficial scratch.

I'm afraid I didn't take a "before" picture of the crack at the front of the barrel. Once again, the damaged area was heat-relaxed and reformed, but here the material was very thin and not entirely round or concentric, so sleeving it was very tricky work. The thinness of the barrel mouth was probably how it ended up cracked in the first place, as a heavy-handed writer putting a lot of pressure on the nib could easily overstress the thin walls holding the nib assembly in place. Repair entailed careful internal grinding of a recess for the hard rubber sleeve, then careful shaping of the sleeve's interior profile. Once again, the crack now looks like a superficial scratch, and there is enough strength to the repaired area that the pen is once again usable, with due care.

Early Moore safeties with the short cap are rare in any form. Examples with overlays are highly desirable, but to find an overlay over mottled hard rubber is extraordinary. This is certainly the first such I've ever handled, and very well may even be the first one I've ever seen. Definitely a worthwhile restoration effort!