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Old 11-08-2015, 10:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 112
Want to buy a laser printer to print index cards

Hi All,

I want to print recipes directly onto 3 x 5 index cards. I want to use a laser printer so I don't need to worry about the cards getting wet and smudging the ink. Does anyone out there have laser printer that allows you to use one of the paper trays for index cards all the time. I'd prefer to just leave some in there and print a card here and there like I do for regular paper rather than having to do some fancy stuff every time I want to print a recipe. Also, any recent experience with cheap-ish laser printers? I'm noticing the difference between color and b&w is minimal, I guess the big difference there would be the cost of the toner.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Old 11-09-2015, 12:03 AM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3,257
I have a better idea. Don't bother. Get an inexpensive tablet - this one is perfect for this - and store all your recipes on the cloud.

If you're savvy enough to want to use a printer, don't bother with ancient, obsolete technology.
Old 11-09-2015, 12:25 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 112
Thanks Habeed, I do have many of my recipes on my phone. The app I use for that is Paprika. It's great as an idea generator when I've dropped into the grocery store on the way home from work and need to remember the ingredients for guacamole or whatever.

However, I still want hard copies that I can use in the kitchen. I'd rather splash homemade chicken soup on an index card than on a tablet. I don't want to drop a tablet or drop something heavy on it. My kitchen is not a safe place for a tablet. When my hands are gooey with homemade pizza dough, I don't want to be scrolling around on a tablet to re-read the directions or whatever. I want printed recipes that I can stick on my cabinet door for reference while I'm cooking.

I also want to be able to duplicate them easily so I can share a printed copy with others who may or may not be as tech savvy as you or even me.

Thanks, jeepus
Old 11-09-2015, 01:38 AM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3,257
That's why I linked a tablet that costs only $50. Once you ruin it, you buy another.

Anyways, the easiest way to do what you describe is to just buy full sized paper with the cards embedded in it, like this. They do make printers capable of handling 3x5 cards, but the printers are significantly more expensive.

You can then just buy a quality laser printer - these are supposed to be the most bang/buck ones, per the website Wirecutter.

Note you can purchase about 3 $50 tablets for what this will cost you (printer + toner cartridge + cardstock), and then you'll have to set up the print margins to print onto each card separately - another time consuming endeavor. Or you can just put the tablet in a fairly robust case and do that instead. They make these cookbook holders that screw under cabinets - put the tablet on top of one of those. If the tablet is ever destroyed, as long as you saved your data to the cloud (using google drive, dropbox, Mozy, etc) you lose nothing and can get your recipes back with zero losses.

Tablets are the future, though, and you might as well get with the program now. They will keep becoming better and cheaper and I think will eventually replace most uses for paper.

Last edited by Habeed; 11-09-2015 at 01:41 AM.
Old 11-09-2015, 02:00 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,560
Yeah, get sheets with microperforated cards that pop out of them. You will be able to download a template from the manufacturer of the cards/sheets which will help in getting the output in the right registration to hit the cards.

It's worth checking that the printer you choose has a manual feed option with a fairly straight paper path, as (especially with small desktop printers) the paper path from the default tray may turn some fairly tight corners on its way past the fuser etc.

Most laser printers do have this feature though -specifically because it's better for printing cards and labels, or any other unusual stock.
Old 11-09-2015, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 112
I'd really rather use regular 3 x 5 cards than deal with specialty paper. A good percentage of my recipes do not fit on one side of a 3 x 5 card, so I want the ability to print a "page 2" on the back of the same card. And I don't want to "have to" save up recipes three at a time to make best use of the paper. Also, dont like those fuzzy little edges, then tend to suck up liquid more than the plain old 3 x 5s.

So, anybody use their laser printer this way? I'd like the printer to be capable of pulling the card through reasonably straight so the print isn't off kilter, (great idea about looking at the path the paper needs to take through the computer, Mangetout) but my question to all here is if you have or know of a specific printer that allows you to leave 3 x 5 cards in one of the paper drawers without having to leave a drawer hanging open or adjust it down to 3 x 5 each time you print an index card.

Habeed, I do appreciate the links and ideas, thank you. I do not have room in my kitchen to add a pull down cookbook holder. I used to have something like this that stored knives, but it went away when we replaced and reconfigured the cabinets. Honestly, I like the knife block that replaced it better anyway. Being left handed meant grabbing those knifes from the "wrong" side or else with my "wrong" hand.

I can see using a tablet if I could get some kind of holder that would attach to the front of an eye level cabinet, so will consider that for future. I would be very limited on locations for something like that. Either something that would stick on to the front of my fridge or there is one cabinet door that would work.

For now, I'd rather slide an index card into the frame of my cabinet, so I'm still looking for a laser printer.

Once I've set up the print margins on a file once, I can use that card as a template for future. I'm not looking for anything fancy in terms of formatting, just so I can read it. I've done that in past with my now broken laser printer and my previous windows machine. I'm now using an apple computer and the files don't translate over well.

The other reason that I am working on doing this at this moment is that one of my young friends, who is getting married this month, has expressed an interest in copying all my index cards. (!) If I were able to just print her copies, that would be super.
Old 11-11-2015, 01:15 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,560
I only really have experience of laser printers intended for business use, but it does look as though there are laser printers that will accept 3 x 5 native stock - for example the (enterprise) HP laserjet 600 M602 will accept it via the multipurpose tray (aka 'manual feed' - the bit that flips down at the front - but it is an actual multi-sheet feeder)
The bulk paper trays won't accept anything that small.

So... searching instead for 'home and small office' grade printers, I found the HP Laserjet P2035, which also appears to be able to handle 3 x 5 via the multipurpose tray. I have no experience of this particular printer, but the spec sheet says it does what you want.

You may find that printing direct to native 3 x 5 stock yields less printable area per card than if you were to print on cards that pop out of a larger sheet - because of unprintable margins, but on a modern printer, this is seldom a big problem.
Old 11-11-2015, 10:12 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast Florida USA
Posts: 19,692
I think a far smarter way to do this is to print on conventional full-sized paper with margins set to reduce the printable area to 3x5. Then cut the resulting sheets to size and laminate them with a cheap home laminator. You can also do half-assed lamination using clear adhesive shelf paper aka "contact paper". (Why it's called "... paper" when it's 100% plastic is beyond me.)

I used to do something similar back in the dot-matrix days: Print on conventional paper; cut to size; rubber cement onto 3x5 cardstock; optionally "laminate" using contact paper.

Yes there are more manual steps. But you'll find feeding 3x5 cardstock into a home laser (or dot matix) printer to be a fussy and unreliable affair. Most prints will be off center, crooked, or fail to feed. After 10 tries you'll discover my method is actually easier and definitely less frustrating. Which is how / why I settled on it.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-11-2015 at 10:12 AM.
Old 11-18-2015, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 21,766
Listen to Mangetout, he's got both the easiest and cheapest idea. For only a bit over $13 you can buy a pack of 150 printable index cards, and it ought to come with the needed template so you can simply type everything on the computer and print three cards at a time. No margins to fiddle with, no need for a special printer.

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