Plotter printer: according to you need specialist printing technology can be overwhelming.
To get you started on understanding your printing needs, we are looking at plotter printers to help you to understand what businesses they can best serve, why a specialist printer can help and what your options are on the market today.
A plotter printer is a type of printer which is specifically designed to print graphics and photos in relation to architectural or engineering drawings.
Instead of printing individual dots on the paper, plotters draw continuous lines. The technology used in plotter printers is that of inkjet printing.
You may as well imagine an inkjet printer which is structurally wide and designed to pass a continuous sheet through it having widths of up to around 42 inches.
The field design focus of plotter printers is print accuracy and detail. So, they tend to be slower than the usual printers.
Generally, the plotters configure to handle cut sheets as well as rolls. Automatic horizontal cutters cut the sheets off the rolls once printed.
Like with all inkjet printers, the inks used in plotter printers are mostly dye inks or pigment inks or both types in combination.
Similarly, a number of inks may be utilized to obtain better printing results.
The plotter printers are usually set up on a stand because it helps in handling continuous roll of paper sheet.
They always come mounted on a stand due to this reason. and have an additional convenience advantage that they can have a compact design and therefore be placed on a desk instead of being set up on a stand.
This usually depends upon the model and size that you choose.
As different between plotter printer and standard printer we can say a standard printer uses a toner to print multiple dots of ink onto the paper or material being used.
This can make straight lines not as clear or straight as they might need to be.
A plotter printer, in using a precise tool such as a pencil, and then printing in lines is much more accurate.
And plotter printers are larger than standard printers, so you do need to consider the size of space you will need in order to be able to house your printer
Advantages of plotters
- Plotters can work on very large sheets of paper while maintaining high resolution.
- They can print on a wide variety of flat materials including plywood, aluminum, sheet steel, cardboard, and plastic.
- Plotters allow the same pattern to be drawn thousands of times without any image degradation.
Disadvantages of plotters
- Plotters are quite large when compared to a traditional printer.
- Plotters are also much more expensive than a traditional printer.
Types of plotter printer
There are many types of this product but Three types of plotters are most popular.
They are the drum plotter, the flatbed plotter, and the inkjet plotter. That these types of plotters have a different specific use.
The drum plotter is a specialized output device whose name indicates its function. This device works by moving a pen on a single axis track while the paper moves on a cylindrical drum.
That drum adds another axis during printing, allowing you to create graphs up to the size of the drum itself.
Being able to print graphics of any width and length adds great versatility in printing a wide variety of large documents.
There are two types of drum plotter
1.External drum plotter:
In the external drum, the plotter paper is wrapped on the external surface.
2.Internal drum plotter:
An internal drum plotter, we use a sheet of paper wrapped internally
Flat Bed Plotters
They are output devices whose name also hints at their function. They work by fixing paper on a flat surface while pens move to draw the image.
Part of what makes flatbed plotters attractive is that they can use many different colors of pens to create visually dazzling graphics.
The bigger the bed, the bigger the plots you can create, giving you additional versatility.
Flatbed plotters are available in larger sizes than drum plotters. That makes them an ideal choice to create even larger documents.
Ink Jet Plotters
The third most popular kind of plotter is an inkjet plotter. This device pushes beads of ink directly onto the surface of whatever you are printing on.
These inkjet plotters typically print in three- or four-color palettes. The three-color inkjets focus on cyan, magenta, and yellow and they mix colors to create darker shades, such as black.
Four-color inkjet plotters are available that have dedicated black ink. These are recommended when you want the clearest shades of black.
Inkjet plotters have a couple of unique advantages in that they are affordable and versatile.
More so than any other plotter, there is certainly an inkjet to suit every individual or company and their different needs.
5 Best Plotter Printers
HP DesignJet T100 – 24 Inch (A1) – Affordable
The HP DesignJet T100 is a wide-format color printer for printing diagrams and photos up to D size (24 inches wide). This plotter printer also has support for rolls and cut sheets.
It is included with this printer are ADF and automatic horizontal paper cutter.
It’s dimensions and weight make it a rather compact printer among its category of printers.
HP names it as the world’s smallest plotter and it can be conveniently placed on a desk. So, you can place it on a desk or assemble it on a stand.
Since it is affordable, it is also suited for students of AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction).
As such, if you are a student or a beginner designer, then this is one of the best plotter printers for you.
The T100 uses a basic combination of CMYK colors with CMY colors as dye inks and black as pigment ink.
Although higher count of inks is used in color printers quite often, the T100 manages pretty well with ink combination it has.
As a result, you get with this plotter printer are above par overall. The photo quality is above par and graphics quality is average.
The text quality is average, but that is sufficient for plotter printers of basic level. You would be more concerned about the quality of graphics and photos.
In case of monochrome printing, traces of spurious color might be seen in the printouts and the pictures may also show graininess.
Hence, your need should be mostly for color printing if you wish to opt for this brand and model.
Lastly, the communication options are Ethernet, Wi–Fi and USB 2.0. No wireless direct print option is available like Wi-Fi Direct or NFC is provided.
Dimensions: 23.3 x 13.1 x 6.3 in (W x D x H)
Weight: 18.6 lb.
Epson Sure Color T3170 – 24 Inch (A1) – Robust and Famous
If you are looking for a famous, highly sought after and feature-rich option, the Epson Sure color T3170 might be one of the best plotter printers for you.
It is basically a compact 24-inch plotter printer that you can squeeze onto a desk. Most plotter printers are humongous and even require a dedicated room for themselves.
This printer uses four inks; cyan, magenta, black and yellow and these inks are quick to dry while also being colorfast.
It uses Epson’s pigment-based XD2 ink which is an aqueous formulation and hence it makes the ink quick to dry.
The T3170 uses sheets or roll paper up to 24 inches wide. The 24-inch width gives one a lot of room to utilize.
Because of that reason alone this printer is great for printing banners. An ADF for A3 printing is also available.
Another great feature of this printer is that it has high capacity ink cartridges along with the standard ones.
Although the T3170 is a great wide format printer, it cannot produce borderless 24-inch prints, another drawback is that the ink that it uses is in aqueous form so the printed materials are not water resistant so this is more likely to be used indoor.
Connectivity options on this printer are also good; you get Ethernet and also the option to connect with Wi-Fi if you want to do things wirelessly.
It also has the support to connect to another computer through USB but unfortunately it lacks the support for flash drives.
Dimensions: 38 x 20 x 9 inches (W x D x H)
Weight: 59 pounds
Canon Image PROGRAF IPF770 – 36 Inch – The Plotter Printer for Optimum ROI
If you are looking for a large format printer that is solid to be used in small offices then the Canon iPF770 is a printer that should be considered.
It is a 36-inch large format inkjet printer that uses high-density print head to create highly detailed prints.
The Canon IPF770 uses pigment Reactive ink set. and uses two channels of pigment black for more precise lines.
The five colors pigment reactive set works to ensure the color accuracy of the print and also it ensures the print longevity.
Along with this printer the users also get a variety of software that is helpful in monitoring the printer’s status and also in improving its productivity.
It also gets a plug-in for Microsoft Office with the bundled software, optimized module for AutoCAD and Poster Artist Lite.
One of the best features of this printer is the high-volume continuous printing.
The printing is also very fast and this particular feature is great to get things going on fast and to meet with deadlines more quickly.
This printer also has a bunch of accounting tools for calculating ROI and staying lean.
Unfortunately, though, this printer lacks in connectivity. The printer only offers USB 2.0 and Ethernet connectivity. It misses out on Wi-Fi.
Dimensions: 4ft x 28inch x 3.5ft (W x D x H)
Weight: 138.89 lbs.
Epson Sure Color T5170 – 36 Inch (A0) – For Large Designs and Schematics
It is the ideal printer to be used for printing large blueprints, line drawings, graphics and also posters that too with the posters being up to 36 inches.
This feature is greatly appreciated by many users and is undoubtedly a great one.
The printer also prints at blazing fast speeds; printing A1/D size prints in almost 31 seconds. These printing speeds can really help one in doing things quickly especially when in a hurry.
The high printing speed doesn’t stop the printing from printing high quality prints.
As a matter of fact, the printer prints really high-quality printouts according to user reviews.
This is what makes the printer useful for printing blueprints and stuff.
It also has Precision Droplet Control; what it does is that it gives outstanding clarity of images and also offers commercial grade reliability with the Nozzle Verification Technology.
The precision to detail in this printer is great ranging up to 2400dpi.
Like its sibling the T3170, this printer also uses 4 color pigment inks instead of dye-based ink for superior results.
The paper handling supports up to 36 inches sheets or rolls with horizontal trimming, as well as having an ADF for up to A3 size.
The T5170 has superb connectivity options: Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and USB 3.0.
The connectivity options alone can make this among the best plotter printers in the market.
Dimensions: 50 x 28 x 36 in (W x D x H)
Weight: 101 lbs.
HP DesignJet Z9+ – 44 Inch – The King of Best Plotter Printers
The market for large photo merchandising is growing more and more as the days pass by and with that the demand for great photo quality is also increasing.
HP’s DesignJet Z9+ takes care of that by providing high-resolution prints. This printer uses two rows of print nozzles, with each nozzle printing at 1200 dpi.
With the speedy printouts another great feature is the V-Trimmer. Meaning that the printer has an integrated vertical trimming facility in it, it saves space and also eliminates trimming errors.
While most plotter printers only have horizontal cutters, with the vertical cutter you can size up your sheets any way you like.
The HP Z9 also has its own spectrophotometer for color accuracy to achieve expanded color gamut.
HP pixel control also gives consistent color control which allows the user to save time and money also the output will also look great regardless of the medium being used.
It is also a dual roll printer which is a great plus point since dual roll printers are essential for high volume printing.
Surprisingly enough, it has no Wi-Fi. It supports Gigabit Ethernet though and USB.
The printer does have Wi-Fi Direct though for connectivity wirelessly with compatible Android, Chromebook, or Apple devices.
Lastly the HP Z9 also has a 500 GB HDD inside it with more virtual memory so that it will be able to process complex and graphic intensive prints easily.
Very few engineering or architectural firms would want to print 44-inch-wide schematics and blueprints.
If you are one such firm, then this is perhaps the best plotter printer for you.
With the advancement in printer technology, engineers were able to replace the extremely complex and expensive, yet painfully laborious plotter drawing using pens, with inkjet printers which can print photos and graphics in addition to drawings that were the plotters only scope.
The best plotter printers can enable any firm to quickly dish out high-quality schematics and single line diagrams for their clients.
The only issue with plotter printers is that they are expensive to procure and to operate. Therefore, the ROI has to be justifiable