Engineering and architectural drawings come in colossal sizes and most design offices have large plotters or roll printers to let them push out paper copies with ease. We have a printer that will take A3 rolls but since use is fairly sparse, I needed a way to expand a strangely sized pdf across multiple A3 sheets instead. Rather than staring at the monitor and zooming, I wanted to see the deep detail on paper.
The answer is the wonderfully simple pdfposter, written in python. Originally designed to let you print wall sized images from A4 sheets, it’s just the job for our engineering needs. It’s command line driven and is very easy to use. It even has autoscaling and automagically overlaps each sheet by a few millimetres so you can subsequently trim them and get a perfect fit.
pdfposter -mA3 -p999x2a3 in.pdf out.pdf
This was all I needed to get the drawing out at a legible large scale. The final product spread over 16 A3 pages, arranged 8×2. The office floor was duly cleared.
We often do A0 scientific posters and pdfposter is a great way of printing these out at real final size before getting them over to the printers.