What is a Plotter?
A plotter is a piece of computer gear that, like a printer, is used to print vector images. Plotters, unlike standard printers, utilize a pen, pencil, marker, or similar writing implement to create several continuous lines on paper rather than individual dots. They create physical copies of schematics and comparable applications. Wide-format printers have mostly replaced these machines, which were previously commonly employed for computer-aided design.
Plotters are utilized in various construction and MCAD applications, such as technical drawings, maps, orthophotos, and renderings. A large-format HP plotter printer can be useful for any application that requires sharp text and accurate lines on a bigger, single-sheet output.
Plotters were previously utilized in applications such as computer-aided design because they could create line drawings faster and of greater quality than modern standard printers. For corporate graphics, smaller desktop plotters were frequently employed. By the early 1980s, printers with graphics capabilities had taken a portion of the market, and the arrival of laser printers in the mid-1980s had essentially replaced the usage of plotters in most positions.
For many years, plotters occupied a niche in producing very large drawings, but wide-format conventional printers have mostly displaced them. Cutting plotters are still used in a variety of sectors.
Earlier, completely analog XY-writers were used as output devices for measuring instruments, and analog computers developed into digitally controlled plotters.
Pen plotters print by dragging a pen or other tool across the surface of a piece of paper. This implies that plotters, unlike other printers, use vector graphics rather than raster images. Because of the mechanical action of the pens, pen plotters can draw sophisticated line art, including text, although they do it slowly. They are frequently incapable of producing a solid patch of color but can hatch an area by drawing a series of narrow, regular lines.
When computer memory was expensive and CPU power was restricted, plotters were the fastest means to make very big drawings or color high-resolution vector-based artwork effectively, and other types of printers had limited visual output capabilities.
Pen plotters are mostly rendered obsolete, supplanted by large-format inkjet printers and LED toner-based printers. Such devices may still comprehend vector languages created for plotter use, as they provide a more efficient alternative to raster data in many cases.
Advantages of plotter
- Plotters may work on very large sheets of paper with excellent resolution.
- They can print on various flat materials, including plywood, sheet steel, aluminium, plastic, and cardboard.
- In the plotter, we can draw patterns a thousand times without deterioration of the picture.
Disadvantages of plotter
- Plotters are much larger than typical printers.
- In addition, plotters are more costly than regular printers.
- They are usually bigger than standard printers.
- They are generally more expensive than regular printers
How is a plotter used?
Plotters are also known as large-format and wide-format printers. They were the first output devices to print high-resolution continuous lines, text, and pictures in color and generate graphics and full-sized technical drawings.
Plotters cost more than standard printers. They’re commonly utilized in computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) applications like computer-aided design (CAD) drawings. Plotters can also be used to create blueprints, graphs, technical drawings, and architectural drawings.
Cutting plotters may be programmed to produce images and cut them out using specific cutting tools or lasers. This is handy when working with materials other than paper, such as vinyl, which is used to make signs and billboards.
What if you could have good-printed graphics in small time?
It may appear like getting greater quality while saving time is too good to be true. However, it all boils down to selecting the best plotter for your project’s visual requirements. Before selecting a plotter, carefully identify the sorts of graphics, you need to make and whether they will be able to be created on the plotter, you select. Once you’ve decided what you want to design, it’s critical to understand what each plotter can accomplish and how large the images may be.
There are several varieties of plotters. We’ve prepared a comprehensive reference to the three most common plotters to assist you in choosing the best one for you and also for your business.
Types of plotters
Plotters are specialized machines that produce vector images in various colors.
The flexibility to produce varied designs is the most common feature of the three types of plotters.
This category contains drum plotters, flatbed plotters, and inkjet plotters. Because each of these plotter kinds has a particular unique function, you must choose wisely. You must also use caution while selecting a plotter supply supplier.
The drum plotter is a specialist output device, as its name suggests. This gadget moves a pen down a single-axis track while moving paper along a circular drum. The drum usually pushes the paper to the right and left while the pen or pens write up and down. You can have multiple colors if you use more than one pen.
During printing, that drum adds another axis, allowing you to make graphs up to the size of the drum. The ability to print graphics of any width and length gives a great deal of freedom when printing a wide range of huge documents. Architectural drawings are among the documents produced.
Flatbed plotters are output devices whose names also suggest what they do. They function by placing paper on a flat surface and moving pens to draw the image. The pen itself might be linked to an arm, allowing it to travel freely across the page. They do not use conventional printing heads, nozzles, or ink cartridges. The bed is a flat vacuum bed or table designed to steady the paper.
Flatbed plotters are appealing because they may employ a variety of pen colors to generate aesthetically stunning drawings. The larger the bed, the larger the plots you can make, giving you more flexibility in the visuals you can print.
Flatbed plotters are bigger than drum plotters. This makes them an excellent alternative for creating even larger documents, especially if you frequently print larger architectural or CAD designs.
An inkjet plotter is the third most common type of plotter. This mechanism directs ink beads onto the surface of whatever you're printing.
These inkjet plotters usually print in three or four colors. Three-color inkjet printers use cyan, magenta, and yellow inks to achieve deeper tones like black.
There are four-color inkjet plotters with dedicated black ink available. These are advised when you want the purest black. These links are also frequently water-based, containing almost no VOCs or hydrocarbon-based solvents, making them an ecologically benign printing alternative. Water-based inks are also lighter on paper, making them a more cost-effective alternative once the sheets are ready for transit and mailing.
This printing method may help eliminate a lot of waste during the printing process. These inkjet printers can also cut setup time, allowing you to increase production.
Inkjet plotters have two distinct advantages: they are inexpensive and adaptable. More than any other plotter, there is undoubtedly an inkjet to fit every person or company's unique requirements.
The bottom line
You now understand the three most common types of plotters (there are others, such as cutting plotters and steel cutters) and how they may benefit you and your business. However, who might assist you in making the most of your plotter investment?
Simple Solutions International sells a wide range of plotter supplies. Here information is given to guide you in taking your dreams and printing them so they can live on forever.
There are two kinds of plotter software on the market:
A variety of drawing requirements are supported by general-purpose software.
Special-purpose software is intended to assist non-programmers in correctly using graphical programs. CAD, painting, business, and medical systems are all examples of special-purpose plotter software.
Props and cons of using a plotter
The following are some of the sustenance of utilizing a plotter:
Plotters can create high-resolution line drawings, pictures, graphics, and text for specific applications, such as printing on enormous sheets of paper using a flatbed printer.
Plotters may print on various materials, including cardboard, textiles, plastic, plywood, metal, and paper.
Repetition: They can repeat the same pattern several times without losing visual quality.
Quality: Traditional printers may produce pictures similar to plotter printers but sometimes need more clarity, especially with complicated line drawings.