Every Risograph owner will eventually want to hook up a computer to printer, allowing them to easily send masters to their machine without the hassle of scanning images or constantly moving a USB thumb-drive back and forth.
Researching this process ourselves, there was never clear instructions online or with the instructions about how to do this with modern PC laptops. All of the instructions were either incomplete or from from 10-15 year ago via Ethernet.
In our studio, we use an EZ590U printer, which is around 9+ years old and was built for Windows XP/Vista connections. These are not supported Windows operating systems as of 2020, which added to the confusion. Through lots of discovery and fiddling we were able to connect a brand new laptop to our printer. Hopefully the following steps will help another Risograph operator connect a modern Windows 10 laptop/PC to their Risograph machine.
- Make sure your Risograph machine has a USB network card installed. Most RISO machines within the last ten years should have one. It should like the below photo on the bottom left of the machine. If you don't have this card, you can either try to find one online yourself, or have a RISO technician install one. This is NOT the same port as the USB Flash drive port on the top right.
- Get a cheap Windows 10 laptop that you can place on top of the RISO machine. We got one at Best Buy for under $150. As new laptops are getting thinner and thinner with new ports, make sure you get one with at least 1 USB 2.0/3.0 port.
- Next you'll need a USB 2.0 cable with an A to B connector. Don't connect the laptop to the printer yet.
- Turn on your RISO machine and computer.
- Make sure your computer is not in Windows S mode. If you bought a cheap laptop with Windows 10, its almost guaranteed the computer is in this mode, which means you can't install non-Microsoft software (this is important for the old print drivers we'll need). See turning off S-mode.
- After disabling S mode, make sure to restart your computer.
- Download the RISO print drivers for your machine on RISO's website.
- After downloading and extracting the drivers, you'll need to run the driver install Setup.exe in 'compatibility' mode for an older version of Windows. This is because the drivers were created for older Windows versions. See details on running a program in compatibility mode. I chose Windows XP.
- Run the install - follow the steps to install the print drivers for your machine, make sure to plug in the laptop at the specific time the instructions ask.
- If all worked, the computer should find the RISO machine and add it as a printer (like any normal printer) after the drivers are installed.
- Now you should be able to open up your print files. I suggest installing Adobe Acrobat Reader and opening up your files there (hopefully you created them as PDFs)
- After opening your files, you can click print, where you can select your RISO machine like any other printer. On the settings, you should see all the RISO specific settings, like density, size, color etc... that you can tweak.
- After hitting print, give the machine about 20-30 seconds to receive the files. You should see the files appear in the IDLE/PAUSE tab, where the print jobs are spooled. Most likely your machine is set to spool the jobs here. Make sure you are in Master making mode, and not in print mode.
- From this tab on the RISO machine, you should be able to select the file, and hit START to create a master.
- Voila! Happy MASTER making!
That should be it! If its not working, or you had a different experience, leave some comments and solutions below!