Lots of things that I print out—UPS shipping labels, diagrams from PDF manuals, shopping lists with part numbers, archived crossword puzzles—don't require using an entire 8.5x11 sheet of paper. But that's the only size my printer takes, so I generate a fair bit of waste.
Industrial designer Jisan Chung, while pursuing his M.A. in Product Design at ECAL, conceived of this Roller Jet printer as his diploma project:
"In many places, printed paper has been replaced by screens, changing the role of home printers. Yet, at the same time, we enjoy tangible interactions - such as taking notes on printouts and simply carrying them around for reference."
"Roller Jet proposes new use-cases for home printers in this digitalised world. Using a roll of paper instead of sheets, it can print out any length you want - from small sizes for tickets, check-lists, daily schedules, grid lines or gift wraps to A4 size or larger for documents. After printing, the paper can be easily torn off with a single hand."
Great concept, and takes up way less space on a desk. I'd buy one in a heartbeat. (I'd just have to find some way to deal with papers constantly trying to curl themselves up.)
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In the early 90s, fax machines used to have rolls instead of sheets. Just about the time it was reasonable (if not "common") for ordinary families to have one, they started marketing "plain-paper" fax machines as a convenient alternative. The rolls were usually thinner than usual — more like a receipt paper — and they curled up hard. You couldn't press them flat even with weeks pressed in between the pages of a dictionary.
I would say the best use for this would be a high-volume printing office where the pages go into bound reports. The idea of printing off one or two pages for everyday handling is a non-starter. The shape will pull against you.
I think this would suck for high-volume use as you have to hand-cut each page after it printed. Meaning you'd have to stand there and manually tear each page one-by-one as it came out. Or you could print a super long sheet of paper and cut along a line or something to indicate pages. This seems more useful for one-off or odd size printing.
This would be an instant purchase for me, replacing 95% of my printing needs. Being able to print long sheets is especially useful when making templates using CAD printouts.