Scanning System3 — Color Copier, Network Printer, Internet Collaboration

September 12, 2007

IDEAL’s versatile Scanning System3 lets you can turn your large format inkjet into a color copier; send scans to remote printers on the network and collaborate in a secure hosted environment.     To build your Scanning System3,  start with any 36” or 42” IDEAL / Contex scanner model and add IDEAL’s SFP353 adjustable scanner stand, which will “piggy-back” over top of your HP, Canon, Epson or other large format printer. 

Then, choose JETimageNET scan to print software as your scanner operating system.   JETimageNET scan to print software can be used as copy software to send directly to the local printer, and it can also send scans to remote printers on the network, as well as scanning to file for archiving purposes.  JETimageNET supports both color and black and white copying and scanning, with fast high-quality color-matched copies.

Add a subscription to, IDEAL’s hosted archiving and collaboration solution and you’re ready to go. offers a low-cost way to archive and back-up files as well as a fast and easy way to share and collaborate on drawings in a Level 3 secure environment.  Server-side thin client ensures fast view of large scanned files on any internet browser. 

 A point of interest…All drawings uploaded to are maintained in a secure Level 3 datacenter and managed by Global Archives, an IDEAL Strategic Business Partner. The center is designed as a disaster recovery center and sits on the Internet backbone. Data resides on secure socket layer servers providing 256 bit encryption and employs user authentication policies. Concurrent operations provide primary and secondary access with automated backup services. If you have any questions about IDEAL’s Scanning System3, or anything else IDEAL, you can reach me at 

New Adjustable Scanner Stand Enables “Single Foot Print” Scan to Print

September 4, 2007

IDEAL now has our own adjustable scanner stand.  The new SFP353 adjustable scanner stand enables an IDEAL / Contex large format scanner to “piggy-back” over a large format printer to turn the scanner and printer into a “single foot print” solution for scan-to-print and quick copy applications.  The SFP353 stand is compatible with HP, Canon, Epson and other large format printers, so you can use it with the printer of your choice, and it adjusts from 32” to 53” high so you can also use it as a traditional stand-alone scanner stand.

 The SFP353 is manufactured exclusively for IDEAL and is available through any of our dealers.  Or you may contact me for more information at   

Customer Support at IDEAL

August 29, 2007

Our company blog has been active for a couple of months now and I haven’t weighed in yet with my comments.  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Kevin Lilly and I’m the face behind the voice offering scanner support.  I take pride in supporting IDEAL / Contex scanners and always do my best to get you back up and running as quickly as possible when you have a problem. 

Many of your support questions can be answered in our knowledge base, so try there first.  If you can’t find what you need there, the fastest and easiest way to get personal response to your support question is via an email request..     It’s also helpful to know if your scanner is under warranty.  Warranty information can be found here.There is lots of other information available in the support section of our website.

On the personal side, when I’m not supporting Contex scanners, you can find me fishing or at the local hobby train store.  To talk about fishing or trains, email me at  To get your support questions answered, fill out our support form

Online Plan Rooms / Online Map Rooms

August 29, 2007

Why would anyone want to put ANY documents online, let alone the large format drawings commonly used by architects, engineers and the construction industry as well as large format maps used by various government agencies? First of all, aren’t there security problems?  Secondly, in the case of large format drawings, aren’t there viewing problems with large files? 

In the eight years that I’ve been designing, programming, customizing and proselytizing for online document storage, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked those questions.  Let’s put it this way…if I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked, with compounded interest, I’d be sitting at a mountain lake fishing today, instead of posting a blog entry about online planrooms, maprooms and archive centers.    Unfortunately, the questions have never come written on the back of currency…

So, let me reel my mind away from the mountain lake and back to the questions at hand.

First of all, why store online?  First and foremost – convenience of access. 

In the early days of online planrooms, it was the reprographers and their architect, engineer, construction (AEC) customer base who were the driving forces.  The AEC folks wanted a faster, easier way to manage construction bids.  The Reprographers wanted a new and better way to feed their printing business.  Since those early days, the concept of online plan  rooms has expanded, morphed and yet, basically remained the same…when your drawings are accessible online you can get to them when you need them, as long as you have access to the internet.

IDEAL’s plan rooms and map rooms feature Level 3 security and nearly instantaneous viewing with our patented InterNETIX, thin client technology.   

For examples of online plan rooms, check out: ,, .

For example of online map rooms, see these links: 

Ada County Case Study: to ADA County Map Store:past this url into your browser: on enter type in user name    public    password    public FEMA Case Study: to FEMA Map Store: 

Summer’s Over – Fall Tradeshows Begin

August 29, 2007

As we say goodbye to summer, IDEAL’s marketing department is gearing up for a busy fall tradeshow season.  Between now and November, we have six tradeshows scheduled.  Shows on tap include: GIS in the Rockies Conference, Central Reprographics Association Trade Show, Western Reprographics Association, ARMA, ERRA/SRA and Autodesk University.   If you’re in the neighborhood for any of the tradeshows above, drop by and see us.  We’ll have the latest in large format scanning and document management solutions.  You can see our booth numbers for each show here.    We regularly update our tradeshow list, so check out tradeshows on our website for updates.  If you can’t get to a tradeshow and want to learn more about IDEAL products or the industries we serve, join us for a webinar. Do you know of a tradeshow or conference we should consider attending?  Email me at

Using for Secure Online Storage of Scanned Aperture Cards

August 17, 2007

IDEAL recently took on the Wicks & Wilson C-250 ACS Aperture Card Scanner in our product line. This is a great little ACS for fast, high volume scanning of aperture card based engineering drawings and scientific documents.   Why scan aperture cards?  Some people scan them for use in conversion to CAD; some, for an easier way to archive and retrieve in a Product Data Management (PDM) application.  Without getting hung-up on technical details, the Wicks & Wilson C-250 can scan ISO aperture cards at 350 cards per hour at 200 dpi and 250 cards per hour at 400 dpi, so you can get some pretty good production out of this little beauty, especially if you take advantage of the batch processing feature.  As far as I know, the ACS C-250 offers the highest, truest resolution in its price class. 

I like to recommend storing scanned aperture card files (and scanned large format drawings) on What’s the advantage to storing your data on a site like First and foremost is the immediate availability of your drawings via a web browser, and it’s protected with Level 3 security, so your drawings are accessible only to those whom you have authorized.  This is one archiving solution that also has nearly instantaneous viewing, a feature that’s absolutely necessary when you’re dealing with large format files.

If you think online archiving is something you’d like to try, I recommend starting with a pilot project.  For information about or to set up a pilot project, contact me at

Product Synergy

July 20, 2007

As the President of IDEAL, I want to jump in here and tie in both Phil’s post about WiseImage X8 and Diane’s post about 3D printing services with all of our other great products. .   One of the great things about being the President of a company like IDEAL is that I get to oversee all of our product offerings and watch how they all work together to give our customers what they need to do the jobs they need to do.  So, for instance, our IDEAL / Contex scanner line enables our customers to scan their paper drawings.  WiseImage allows people to bring their scanned drawings into their CAD systems. helps them turn those 2D drawings into 3D CAD drawings, and/or into 3D physical models. gives our customers a secure, permanent place to archive their drawings.  IDEAL Online PlanRoom helps them manage their construction projects.  What great synergy!

Growing Trend Toward 3D Printing Services

July 20, 2007

On July 17, 2007 The Business Edition ( ran an article titled“Rapid Manufacturing Spearheading Growth of the World Rapid Prototyping Equipment Markets.” While this article specifically addressed using rapid prototyping in manufacturing, a quote from Frost & Sullivan’s Senior Research Analyst S.Vidyasankar, resonated with me because it applies equally to 3D printing in the architectural market and proves IDEAL’s concept of as a 3D printing and 2D to 3D conversion service provider to support the growth of 3D printing within the reprographics market in general. The quote I refer to follows (Italics mine):   “There is also an increasing interest and growing trend toward services within the rapid prototyping market,” notes Vidyasankar. “Even though many participants work closely with service bureaus, customers have forced rapid prototyping equipment manufacturers to provide services, thereby creating key opportunities for rapid prototyping vendors to develop their own service departments that meet customer requests for short-run rapid manufacturing and rapid prototyping needs and thereby grow in business.” If I were to paraphrase Vidyasankar’s statement for the reprographics industry, I would say, “There is an increasing interest and growing trend toward the use of 3D CAD and BIM within the architectural and construction markets.  Architects and contractors have traditionally worked closely with reprographers for printing of 2D construction documents, thereby creating key opportunities for reprographers to meet architects and contractors new requests for 2D to 3D conversion and 3D printing, and thereby grow in business.“  I believe that offering 3D services via is a great way for IDEAL to help reprographic shops grow their business.  If you need help with 2D to 3D conversion, 3D file healing or 3D printing, I encourage you to check out  If you have any questions about IDEAL’s 3D services, contact me at or contact Phil Magenheim at

New Software Download – WiseImage X8 for AutoCAD 2008

July 10, 2007

Exciting new trial software download available here at IDEAL – WiseImage X8 with full support for all versions of AutoCAD 2008.

WiseImage lets you incorporate scanned raster data into your CAD environment by adding native CAD-style raster editing and raster to vector (R2V) conversion inside AutoCAD. It’s the fastest and easiest way I know to revise old raster drawings and create new ones in CAD.  I particularly like the fact that I can work with black/white, grayscale and color images.  

Another feature I really like is the completely redesigned scanning module with full direct support of IDEAL / Contex large format scanners.  This is a big plus for us, as resellers of Contex scanners, but, more importantly, it’s a big plus for our customers who use the scanners we sell.  The scanning module makes it really easy for them to scan their drawing and bring it right into WiseImage for CAD-style editing without opening another program.  AutoCAD users find the intuitive CAD-style raster selection, snapping and editing a big plus. 

 Just what do I mean when I talk about CAD-style editing?  The Intelligent Object Selection technology in WiseImage allows the selection of raster data by using AutoCAD-style tools – by picking; inside rectangle or polygon; by crossing rectangle, polygon, polyline, etc. Raster objects (raster lines, arcs and circles) have properties (line type, line width, etc.) and precise geometry, which can be changed in the AutoCAD properties dialog. You can also modify the geometryof raster objects by their “grips”. Object snapping for raster objects is consistent with the AutoCAD snap (that only works with vectors). WiseImage’s tracing capabilities allow you to convert a raster symbol, line, arc, circle or outline to a vector object.  All you need to do is pick a point on the source raster object.  The tracing mode can be set to retain, delete or smooth the original raster object. WiseImage can also recognize raster hatches and trace arbitrary raster curves by AutoCAD polylines. When tracing polylines, the program can automatically define the most probable trace direction.  

There are lots more features in WiseImage X8 for AutoCAD, but the best way for you to see what it can do is to download a free trial version.

If you’re not working with AutoCAD, check out the WiseImage for Windows download or, if you’re working with GIS data, try WiseImage Geo.

You can also sign up for a WiseImage webinar presented by Michael McMillen, one of our IDEAL experts.

Let me know what you think about our WiseImage products.  You can contact me here.

Hello World!

July 3, 2007

Well, here we are!  The blog is finally off the ground!   

We’ll be talking about anything and everything related to large format imaging.  Our discussions will run the gamut from scanning paper drawings and maps to printing 3D images of the same.  And we’ll talk about the options in between – editing, 2D to 3D conversion, sharing scanned drawings over the internet, as well as various products and services that we use, recommend and/or develop.   We’ll offer tips and tricks for large format imaging and,  from time to time, we’ll discuss the state of the industry and the directions in which we see large format heading.     

 IDEAL’s bloggers have over 60 years of combined experience in the large format imaging industry.  Jay Magenheim, IDEAL’s president is our visionary.  Phil Magenheim, Vice President, brings a “nuts & bolts” approach to the problems of large format, while Sean Eikenbery our Director of Software Development translates customers’ needs into working applications.  Kevin Lilly, Tech Support, supplies hardware expertise and Diane Mitol, Director of Marketing, helps package and promote IDEAl’s products and services, and is acting as the hostess of our blog.  Please feel free to read our bios on the “About” Page to find out more about us. 

We invite interested readers who also have blogs to link to our blog and we encourage our readers to email our web hostess with ideas for blog topics or suggestions about how to make our blog better. 

On behalf of IDEAL and our bloggers, and in my capacity as blog hostess, I invite you to stay tuned…