Poster Printer in MGCF

The MGCF is a computational chemistry facility with a small staff (2 scientists). Poster printing is our side business. Usually we have staff in 175 Tan Hall during normal University business hours (M-F, 9-5:30). However, we are often busy with other facility demands, working with a class, at seminar, etc. Please read below to see how to submit a file for poster printing.

Poster pickup: the door is usually open (Mon-Thur 9am-8pm, Fri 9am-5pm, Sun 1pm-8pm, when classes are in session). Poster printing: usually M-F, 9-5:30. Door hours will change during RRR and Finals.

RRR and Finals week: Door hours Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Winter break: Limited staffing will be available for poster printing 12/19-12/23. No staff 12/24-12/27, 12/30-1/2. Regular staffing is expected to resume 1/3. We might have very limited staffing 12/28, 12/29 but this is not certain and any prints should be requested in advance. Limited staffing means that there is only 1 person doing multiple jobs and might only be able to handle posters during limited time slots. For example, working half day from home. Allow 1 full business day turnaround, at a minimum. For non College of Chemistry people, access will also be an issue so pickup times will likely require coordination with staff.

Scheduling: We don't make appointments. Email your file (instructions below) 1 or 2 full business days before you need your poster. Files sent to us during regular University workdays are usually printed within a few hours but this is not always possible. Thus, we recommend 1 or 2 full business days. These are not hard deadlines nor guarantees, just recommendations.

More time is required before major conferences, new student recruiting and orientation. Please check this page in the days/weeks before you plan to print. Major delays or shutdowns (holidays, part failure on printer, etc) are at the top of the page.

Possible delays? We often suddenly get a large number of poster requests from MCB, Physics, etc. Also, we are a small staff (2 people) and may be busy with other facility business (classes, seminars, meetings with researchers). Staff unavailabilty for 3 to 4 hours is common and not listed here. Staffing outages of 1 business day or longer are rare and will be in red at the top of the page.
Paper Size: We normally have 42 inch wide paper (on 100 foot roll) loaded. Posters that fit on this (36x48, 42x32, 60x40) are usually printed right away. If both dimensions of your poster exceed 42 inches (48x48 for example), then we usually need an extra day to group your poster with like sized submissions for a run on our 60 inch wide (on 100 foot roll) paper.

Each print takes about 15 minutes to process on the printer and then 15 minutes to dry. There may be a queue of many posters ahead of yours and we may not be immediately available. Files sent early in the day usually result in posters ready for pickup later in the afternoon. You will usually hear from us within a few hours. You get in the queue when we receive your file.

Paper Types and Margins: We use semi gloss, 42 or 60 inch wide paper (on 100 foot long roll). Please see our pdf preparation instructions for margins and related issues. The printer cannot put ink all the way to the edge of the paper. It requires about 0.5 inches of space along the edges or it will cutoff (for example, ink can print 41 inches on the 42 inch paper axis). We are experimenting with satin cloth media. If you are interested in this, we need at least one extra business day and you should ask us in advance. The material costs are roughly triple that of the paper.

Working Days: We are normally closed on University Academic and Administrative holidays and between Christmas and New Year's Day. Otherwise we usually have at least one staff member present including summer and other breaks. The door may be locked when classes are not in session but we are still usually here on most days that are not specifically weekends or holidays.

How to submit a file for printing (or ask poster related questions): Email Kathy Durkin at

Include the word "poster" in the Subject line of your email (this is important!). Our email filters automatically notify other staff members (no need to cc) and the first one to see it will act on it. If you don't include "poster" in the subject, there may be delays in our response. [Bmail filters are literal in terms of word recognition. "poster for my lab" is okay as a subject but "poster_for_my_lab" will not be recognized".] To submit a file, just attach your poster PDF to the email or include a google drive or dropbox link.

Our facility postdoc is Yinka Olatunji-Ojo. If you email Kathy with "poster" in the subject then Yinka will automatically get a copy of your email.

Questions: We prefer to discuss and receive poster files via email. This is more efficient than people coming to 175 Tan. It helps us manage our workload, keep track of who has submitted a poster, which are queued, how to contact you if something goes wrong, etc. Include the word "poster" in the Subject line of your email (this is important!). If you have last minute questions, you can call the lab at 3-0616. We generally answer that phone 9-5, M-F, except around lunch time, although we may be briefly out at other times. Please don't leave voicemail. If there is no answer, send an email to Kathy (include "poster" in the Subject line) or call back later.

Costs: We are not a commercial facility and cannot take credit cards or cash. All posters must be charged to a UC Berkeley speedtype or chartstring. We only print University related documents. We don't print obviously personal or commercial posters.

If you need a cash/credit card solution, try Moffitt Copy Center (in Moffitt Library, they do posters even if that is hard to find on their web site) or Inkstone at Bowditch and Bancroft, or (they ship posters, we don't). The Geospatial Innovation Facility in Mulford Hall can print posters but they also cannot take credit cards or cash.

Our base handling charge is $45 per poster plus a paper cost of $4.00 per square foot. Excess labor (very rare) is charged at $23 per quarter hour. If you prepare your document in advance most prints should not incur excess labor charges. For last minute rush jobs where we have to interrupt other projects to deal with a poster, we reserve the right to charge an extra labor increment.

A reasonable cost estimate is $80-$100 depending on poster size and how much time we spend on your poster and managing the administrative details. You are charged for ALL paper used in the printing process, regardless of how big your poster is. We will try to use the sized roll that is most efficient for your poster but in high demand, short lead time situations, we might use the 60 inch roll for all prints, even if that is a little less efficient for an individual poster in the queue. Near the bottom of our poster file prep instructions there are instructions of how to minimize costs by taking into account our paper size.

For billing - please send:
1. Your name
2. Your PI's name
3. Speedtype - This is a ten digit code that your group administrator can provide. If you are from the College of Chemistry and have a speedtype, that is all we need. If you are from outside of Chemistry, we additionally need your group administrator (or PI or Fund Manager, etc) to email Kathy okaying poster printing charges. If your group is a repeat customer using a speedtype known to us, you can skip this approval step. Speedtypes are shortened versions of UC Chartstrings. If you don't have a speedtype, then a UC Chartstring is also okay. But please do try to provide a speedtype because our software requires this and we will spend time trying to track down your speedtype.
4. Dimensions (length x width or width x length) of your poster. We use this as a rough guide. We will however print whatever sized PDF you send, so check your PDF and state clearly if you want us to scale up/down. The exception is 8.5x11. If your PDF is 8.5x11, we assume you have made an error and we will notify you.
5. Day and Time when you need your poster. This helps us set priority and decide if we can group prints based on paper size. "By Wednesday" is ambiguous since we can't tell if you mean by Wednesday at 9am or by Wednesday at 5pm. These are very different time requirements so please be specific. Also, we appreciate if you distinguish hard deadlines from desired deadlines. You might like your poster in 2 hours but do we really need to drop everything and put your request first? Please add a sentence or two to tell us what your real time constraints are.

We usually have 42" wide (up to 100 feet long) glossy paper loaded on the printer. We also have 60" paper. Changing the roll wastes paper and takes time so we group prints to minimize paper changes. We will trim excess blank paper after the print is made to about 1 inch margins. Please state clearly and explicitly if you want the trimming done differently.

FAQ - What is the latest I can send a file and get it printed? I wish I knew the answer! Files sent to us during regular University workdays are usually printed within 1 business day. This is not something we guarantee but is typical. If you have a file ready and are hoping for a last minute print, go ahead and email us the file ["poster" in the Subject line of email; indicate it is a rush; include your deadline and cell phone number]. If we're free, we'll print it right away and respond as fast as we can. Honestly, if we are in the lab and available, it is rare for more than a few minutes to go by without our noticing an incoming poster file. If you are just finishing a poster today and hoping to print in a few hours - let us know. If we know a poster file is expected, we might be able to adjust our schedule to accomodate.