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The mission of the AIA Small Firm Exchange (SFx) is to advance the mutual interests of architects practicing in small firms. The objectives of the AIA SFx are three-fold:

1. Advocate the value of small firms, the national SFx, and local SFx groups, both within the AIA and to the public.

2. Curate and disseminate the most pertinent resources and information, from the AIA & elsewhere, that benefit small firms.

3. Inform the AIA of current issues facing small firms and areas in which current resources/information are lacking.

Approximately 75% of all firms within the AIA are small firms (less than 10 employees), which equates to 14,459 small firms within the organization.

~26.8% = sole practitioners = 5,173

~33.5% = 1-5 employees = 6,459

~14.7% = 5-10 employees = 2,827

We need to find ways to leverage that size for collaboration and influence, just like the individual large firms do.



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12x18 Printer options

  • 1.  12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-23-2023 07:32 PM
    I am a solo practitioner, doing mostly residential work. I like to be able to print my own 12x18 sheets and have a HP 5200 printer to do so, but I fear it is about dead - it jams with great frequency. I'm looking for a replacement that doesn't cost crazy amounts and can be put on a desk, as I really don't print all that much. I'd even consider buying used again, like I did previously. I really am looking for a laser printer (black and white or color) - not an inkjet. So far I've only seen that type of thing with HP. And only used makes sense for me price-wise. Any input would be great. 

    Doreen Sanfelici, AIA
    Durham NC

    Doreen Sanfelici AIA
    Felici Labs PLLC
    Durham NC
    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 2.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-24-2023 05:27 PM
    Hi Doreen,

    I feel your pain! We have adopted a standard sheet size of 22x34, which allows our half-size to be 11x17 to give us more budget friendly printer options.  We are on our second (first one lasted 7 years) wide format HP T130 printer (inkjet) which runs about $600, and works for a full size plotter to print 22x34 sheets.  We have landed on an epson 1600 inkjet with ink tanks for 8x11 and 11x17, but have used other laser and inkjet printers in the past, with 11x17 format you have a lot more choices.

    Hope that is helpful,

    Bart Shaw FAIA
    Ibanez Shaw Architecture
    Fort Worth TX

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 3.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-25-2023 05:27 PM
    Bert, thanks for the heads up on the HP T130!  

    We're using the HP OfficeJetPro 7740 for printing and scanning 8 1/2 x 11 and 11 x 17.  The ink jet cartridges last much longer than expected and very pleased with the quality, reliability, and operational costs.  Purchased it in 2021 for less than $300.

    I also use the 22x34 format, and print check sets on 11x17.  I've found good quality, low profile  11x17 clip boards on Amazon to organize all my projects.  Trade Quest is the manufacturer.

    Curtis Wilson AIA
    Wilson Architecture
    Eugene OR

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 4.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-25-2023 06:05 PM
    I use an HP Design Jet T120 which prints a maximum 24x36 paper roll and has a sheet tray for 12x18, 11x17 and 8.5"x11" It is an ink jet and does a great job. 

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 5.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-24-2023 05:40 PM

    Hi, Doreen


    When I started my firm 11 years ago, I knew I was going to have to have a plotter, because...we just do, right? It's all I've ever known. And then I was for sure going to get a 12x18 printer as well. Then I found out that there weren't any price friendly options, and ratings were meh, or they couldn't scan/copy as well, so I'd need a copier and.  A real pain and ridiculous costs.


    So instead, I got none of the above. We got a really reliable Brother multi-function 11x17 printer, and never looked back. We send out when we need something at scale, like final redline sets or file copies. And that's less frequent than I expected. It's perfect for working on details for scale and concept plans at a limited scale. I was surprised how well we adapted to not having anything more than that in all this time.


    Not so much a solution as a "it can also work if you decide not to get one".


    Arrow B Architecture
    Shane Martin, AIA – Principal

    Arrow B Architecture

    6464 S. Quebec St., Suite 200, Centennial, CO 80111
    O: 303.954.8222   C: 303.905.5233



    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 6.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-24-2023 05:41 PM
    HI Doreen,

    We use a Copystar CS3253CI for 12x18. It can scan 11x17 and is full color also.

    We love it! It was expensive at the time (had it about 3 years). I think it may have been about $4k, but you may be able to find one returned from a lease.

    We use it so much that we rarely use our 24x36 plotter.

    The down side was our reimbursable income for large plots went way down!

    Mike McIntyre, 
    McIntyre + Robinowitz
    718 Heights Blvd.
    Houston, TX 77007
    TEL 713-520-9336

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 7.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-24-2023 05:49 PM
    Hi Doreen,

    I don't have a suggestion for a 12x18 printer. Rather, since learning that you don't use it all that often, perhaps you should look into using your local print services through FedEx or a local shop that works directly with A/E businesses. This has saved a lot of my time (and money) since someone else does this work. This allows me to get a nice in-office letter/tabloid printer to do the rest--which is a Brother printer.


    Tony Walker AIA
    Tony Walker, Architect & Associates, LLC
    Middleton WI

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 8.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-24-2023 05:52 PM
    I have an Epson Workforce WF-7310 and it can accommodate larger sizes. It is fairly affordable as well.

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 9.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-24-2023 06:08 PM
    There are Epson printers which can do 12x18 paper, black and color.  I had one for a while.  Eventually the ink jets plugged up and none of the cleaning routines worked.  [ I learned later that part of the care and feeding for them was to print frequently, at least a few times each week for each color. ]  Up to you to decide if the cost of the machine, and the cost of some extra ink over time to keep the machine working, works with your budget.

    The replacement was a Brother that does up to 11x17.  I use a 22x34 page size as much as I can, and for my own use usually print 1/2-size on 11x17.  Folks who want 24x36 sheet output can just print with wider margins.  [The ones who "print to fit" the page at the copy center call me to say "nothing scales to match your dimensions" :))

    Being able to print/plot in color is handy but a strictly black/white laser printer will likely cost less to run.  

    best regards,
    Joel Niemi
    - Architect

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 10.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-26-2023 09:16 AM
    I also use EPSON printer, and had to replace a Workforce model because of a clogged jet after three years.  Three tries at solvent applications only made things worse for all the cartridges.  Nonetheless I'm sticking with EPSON for lack of a competitive machine and am currently with a WF 7840.  It will print onto 12x18 paper using rear tray.  But the scanner glass and sheet feeder are  only 11x17

    Thomas Hirsch, FAIA
    Madison, Wisconsin

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 11.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-26-2023 11:16 AM
    If you're looking for a laser because inkjets tend to smear, especially if you use a highlighter on them, I think the issue may be whether the inks are dye-based (cheaper, smear) inks like most office printers vs. pigment-based inks like most plotters use. 

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 12.  RE: 12x18 Printer options

    Posted 01-24-2023 06:52 PM
    Edited by Patrick J. Marr AIA 01-24-2023 06:54 PM
    I have an Epson WF-7820 multi-function inkjet printer.  When I bought it, I told the OfficeMax guy that I'd like a laser printer, to cut down the cost of the toner/ink.  He said that with the efficiency of modern inkjet printers, the inkjet is actually cheaper to operate.  This printer prints up to 13 x 19. I have been completely happy with it, and find the large flatbed scanner convenient.  I use the high capacity cartridges to minimize changing them.  I think it cost about $250, which is insanely cheap.  I have it wirelessly connected to my network.

    (To make check sets fit into letter-sized files better, I print at 40% scale onto 11 x 17 paper, at which the scale is 1" = 10', so I can measure things with an engineering scale.)

    best of luck,

    patrick marr, aia pe
      architecture + structural design
    2105 gillespie street
    santa barbara, ca  93101
    p:  (805) 898-2096
    a small business donating 1% of income to environmental causes

    2023 RUDC Symposium

  • 13.  RE: 12x18 Printer options