Printing over a color laser print

For me, laser printing is basically magic and I’m a little out of my league: I have a customer who, in the interest of keeping an original signature, needs to take an arbitrary document and print over it. If the original was printed on a color laser, the toner tends to transfer to one of the rollers on her Laserjet, which then gets re-transferred onto the document and makes a big smeared mess.

I assume that the issue is heat-related, and that an inkjet would be able to print over the original with no problems. But, she goes through around 30-40 a week and I’d like something more cost-effective. Does anyone have any ideas how to do this with a laser? Some special driver setting that I just have no clue about, maybe? Would having her use a color laser herself make the problem go away?


Why not just have her print first, sign second rather than the retarded way she’s doing it now?

I asked that, too, though more politely: The item gets printed at a department, then goes to an administrator-type to sign it. Once signed, it goes before the board, they vote on it, and the board action gets printed over the original, and then… I don’t know what actually happens to it then. I guess somebody actually acts on it and the original goes to mandated-archive-land.

I swear that government doesn’t happen if it’s not signed and/or initialed by at least three people, submitted for public review, voted on, then signed again. But it pays the bills.

Ah, you didn’t mention it was a government agency. Of course they’re retarded.

^-- what he said


The laser printer uses a form of rubber (From what I understand) rather than ink, so that’s why it tends to stick to your rollers.

How about using two pages? Why do folks always try to cram everything on one page?


Would color photocopying be an option?

Old school really is the way to go here. Typewriter + actual rubber stamp.

How about digitizing her signature, and just reprinting it with the signature on it?

Or perhaps, a different kind of pen, like a marker.

There’s really no clean way to print over already printed color laser copy, especially if it has high coverage. Laser toner is essentially a form of plastic. Laser printers work (roughly) like so:

An imagine drum int he printer is “painted” with a laser, creating a static charge. The paper is rolled over this imaging drum tightly, and the static charge is transferred to the paper. Toner (essentially very finely powdered plastic) is exposed to the paper, and sticks where there’s a high static charge making a “raw” image. The paper then goes through a fusing process where the entire assembly is heated, fusing the toner to the paper. (All of this happens at increadibly small scales so when it comes out it still looks decent, mind, but a laser printed page is essentially a plastic covered page.)

So, if there’s a lot of coverage (large areas of graphics) the page is essentially coated with a thin layer of plastic. As might be imagined, when you send this thing back through a printer, the process of re-charging the paper and re-fusing the toner can cause some of the original material to lift, making a mess.

Similarly, if you try to print ink over the top of a thin sheet of plastic, well… it may work okay in some cases, bt it also may make a huge mess and smear. Basically the process of printing graphics on the thing should be considered final.

If you really, really need to do this, you might have better luck with a dual-ink process, (assuming you’re not saturating the paper with tons and tons of ink, which may cause lots of bleeding). You could also go dye sub I suppose, but that’s going to be far more expensive than an inkjet. There may (should) be other, more professional printing processes that would work too.

What I find mind boggling about this is that taking a document with an original signature and then printing something else over top of it to modify the document is a classic type of forgery!

It’s a really really bizarre way to operate but as others have said if it’s the government there’s no wonder that it’s wacky. If you really need to do this I would suggest scanning the original, archiving the original, and using the scan to create a new document with the other document embedded and outlined or something.

Are you sure this place she works is not “Mafia-funded Casino” instead of “Goverment Agency”?

Thanks for your help, guys, especially mouselock. As far as I can tell, the “board action” goes on an unused portion of the sheet, so ink sticking to the toner shouldn’t be a problem. The problem is the original toner being lifted and re-transferred to the page.

I think I’m going to have to offer them the option of either getting an inkjet, or redoing their process.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s not a mafia-owned casino. We just don’t have that many whackings.

We are the government; the law does not apply.