We currently have a VERY old HP Draftmaster SX pen
plotter... yes a pen plotter.
I "think" Ive got management convinced into getting a
bubble jet plotter. A big format plotter.
I know NOTHING abt current wide format potter
technology or models.
Since we are on a tight budget.... what price range can
we get a big format plotter in? Can we get one in the
And what is the maximum size we should get? We
definetly need something bigger than 11x17 which is as
big as we can print now.
Any advice or opinions?
Here is some general advice I usually give.
1. Consider a used "high-end" plotter versus a new "low-end" plotter. You
can get a lot more bang for your buck.
2. Check out
to find some great deals on used plotters. There
are MANY HP DesignJet plotters (650, 750, 1050, etc.). Generally, the
higher the model number, the better the plotter.
3. Plotters are usually D size (24" wide rolls), or E size (36" wide rolls).
Determine how wide you will need to go. D size plotters are a little
I hope that helps.
Remind them that you'll be plotting a drawing in under 5 minutes vs.
plotting a drawing in (up to) three hours, and that management won't
have to listen to "click click click click click click screech crumple
click click" at work (& maybe in their dreams, etc) anymore either.
Your company has been wasting valuable time resources by waiting to
take the plunge on this one. You may have been doing some manual
drafting to make use of old plots vs replotting new copies of the
drawings as well. That will become largely a thing of the past.
Daniel..... I just don't know if the company would go
for buying a used plotter..... even if we can get more
for our money.
Im so dumb abt big format ink jet plotters that I don't
even know what the "price points" are for cheap ones.
Is it even possible to get a D size bubble jet plotter
in the $1000-$2000 range?
OK Jim.... thanks
Our budget is really tight for this. We print the BULK
of our prints and such on 11x17. The need for a
bigger format does happen.... but very seldom.
It kind of like one of those deals where you don't use
something much.... but when you need it you need it. We
don't use anything bigger than 11x17 much.... but when
we do need it bigger we do need it bigger
Do you know anything abt the HP 100 or HP 400? Both
are desktop models in the $1000 range
We currently ONLY have an 1120c desktop model that does
both 8.5x11 and 11x17..... in color
The BULK of or use and printouts by FAR is 8.5x11....
with 11x17 occasionally...and even bigger format les.
Question..... could we get a cheap big format
printer/plotter for those times we need such a big
format.... and continue to use our current 1120c for
8.5x11 and 11x17.
THEN.... when the 1120c poops out.... could we replace
it with a 8.5x11 unit only.... and then use the bigger
format unit for 11x17 and bigger?
We are really on a budget here. You see these
printouts are for internal use only.... the maint
dept..... NOT for any customers of ours. Hence the
need to keep the big format printer cost low.....cause
there just wont be much "volume" of printing there.
I suppose so. We had an 1120c and I wouldn't recommend one to my worst
enemy. Just me........I'm terribly particular about my output. :o
The big plotters will handle 11x17 just fine, except for the paper
handling aspect. If it's only 'occasionally', then absolutely. If it's
'common', I'd stick with a small one that does 11x17, CAD oriented, such
as the ColorPro CAD.
Thing is, if you're wasting time piddling with paper, then it's still a
potential money saver, buying another printer, even at $2,000. Not
working there, I can't speculate as to what will be best, financially,
for you guys. I will say that looking at only price of the new
equipment is foolish and a sign of poor decision making at the
management level (JMO, of course).
Like I said...... the BULK of printing is 8.5x11.....
with 11x17 being next (occasional).....
Well I am suggesting that we have two printers..... one
strictly for 8.5x11..... and then the bigger format for
11x17 and larger.
I guess what Im unsure of..... and doing a very poor
job of expressing ....is where should the 11x17 jobs be
done at? Should we buy an 8.5x11 only unit to replace
the 1120c....and then do 11x17 and larger at the BIG
plotter.... or should we get another unit like the
1120c..... and do BOTH 8.5x11 and 11x17 there?
We had an 1120 as well. It was a POS. It went into the dumpster.
After some abuse. ;-)
I worked at a company run by a real cheapo. I would plot out 8 1/2 x
11 sheets, cut off the non-printable trim areas & tape them together
using my light table (the window). It sucked real hard. We upgraded
to a DesignJet 200 & all was right in the world.
Next company I worked for had a pen plotter. It would take hours to
plot out a building grade plan. Not great for last minute revisions.
We then upgraded to a DesignJet 750 & all was right in the world.
I now work for a much better company & have the fortune to have a
DesignJet 2500. We use the color output quite a lot for marketing
drawings & other presentation work, and I use it for preparing
reproducible engineering drawings. No complaints (other than when
Autodesk decided to overhaul plotting with Acad 2000). Bottom line is
that I don't have to waste my time fiddling with a POS, so I can spend
my time on more important duties, making me much more efficient.
I whole heartedly agree with this. The company is wasting money by
not upgrading their equipment to something usable. ROI would be less
than a year, IMO.
Question for the group...
Is roll fed paper WAY better than pre-cut sheets?
Is the transport mechanism for roll feeding just easier
and more reliable than cut sheets setting in a tray
that must be grabbed by the printer and fed into it?
Tom, do what I did was bought a roll of 36" wide paper and had the supplier
cut it into (3) 11" wide rolls (the remain 3" scrap was thrown away). It
took a week to get it but they did the cutting for free!
I have the HP DesignJet 330E (and have since new, 7 years ago) and it's been
solid as a rock. Since it's an older plotter it lacks some of the speed of
the newer models, but output quality is top-notch (with line drawings, for
photos there are probably better choices).
I work about the same as you only mostly 11 x 17, and occasionally 8 1/2" x
11", and recently bought myself a HP Laser Jet 4V, used for $300. It is a
Tank. it was "mistreated" during shipping, (thank you UPS ;)) smashed the
face off and the machine is cracked in one corner, but it spits out either
11x17, or 8.5x11 like there's no tomorrow.
You might look into that machine, if you are on a budget, and Perhaps
sending out your oversized work, your cheep bosses will pee their pants at
I have the HP DeskJet1220c and it's been great. Output quality is almost
"plotter quality", the only noticable difference being that the 1220's
lineweights are slightly "thicker" when the lines are anything but
horizontal or vertical. This is so minor though that I asked 2 of my
clients to tell me which they like better, the output from the plotter
(330E) or the printer (1220c) and neither of them could tell a difference
until I pointed it out (and even then they said they could see the
difference, but they didn't care). The 1220 is faster than than the 330E so
I use it for all paper sizes smaller than 18x24.
The only problem I've had with the 1220 (and it's the same problem I've had
with EVERY HP printer, fax, multifunction I've ever used) is that it tends
to jamb occassionally. They say it'll handle thick paper but if I use
anything heavier than 36# it jambs about 25% of the time. Most people
probably don't use heavy paper often so it isn't as big of an issue. My
normal paper is 32# ultra white and it jambs about once every 1000 prints
using this (IMO a printer should NEVER jamb though).
Nope. I wish I could help but I'm network illiterate. Hell, I have 3
computers at home and after 3 days of trying I was only able to get two of
them networked (though all 3 successfully share the same internet line). If
I need to transfer a file from the third computer to one of the others I
email it to myself, silly huh? Well, it works for the few times a month
that I need to transfer from that computer.
If I had to guess, and remember that my knowledge of networks is < 0, I'd
say you set up the HP as the system printer on one machine, make sure it's
set up to "share" it with the network and then on the other computers set up
a "network printer" that goes to the HP. Also keep in mind I've never used
XP so it could be totally different.
I'm sure there's some regulars here who know how to network a system printer
so hopefully they can walk you through it.
BTW, I use R14, R2000i and ADT3i and all work flawlessly with the HP so your
troubles are probably Windows/Network related, not AutoCAD related.
GL2U n all U do,
I've never used sheets with my plotter but (to the best of my knowledge)
each sheet has to be loaded by hand on all HPs? That's got to be a royal
pain in the ass. Not to mention getting it lined up correctly. I know
there's some other brands of plotters that can use cut sheets in a "drawer"
sort of like a copier paper drawer, just bigger. But even if yours has an
automatic feed for sheets it's still IMHO not worth the bother versus roll
Roll paper tends to be significantly cheaper and once the roll is loaded it
happy plotting! My plotter is 7 years old and I can't remember ever having
a problem loading a roll, and once loaded there's never any need to do
anything until it's time to load a new roll. My HP (and I think most of the
HPs) uses 50 yard rolls. So if you're doing 24x36 sheets you'd get ~75
sheets from a 36" wide roll and ~50 sheets from a 24" wide roll. Depending
upon how much printing you do you might be loading a new roll
daily/weekly/monthly. Loading a roll is super easy and takes me less than 2
mintues start to finish.
My next plotter/copier will probably be a 2 or 3 roll system (like the OCE
TDS400 or 9400) because I want to be able to have 24" (for 18x24 & 24x36) as
well as 30" (for 30x42) paper loaded at the same time. I also like the
output speed of the OCE machines. My current oversize copier (Xerox 2510)
is annoying because the warm-up time is fairly long (the OCEs have "zero
warm-up" which would be nice.
But any Plotter with more than 1 roll tends to run quite a bit more money.
A nice new HP can be had for ~$5,000.00 where the OCEs run ~$30,000.00
That's a pretty huge expense for a guy like me, especially when all my
current equipment still works, just not as fast as I'd like.
BTW, the OCEs are black & white only whereas most (all current models?) HPs
do color. I never plot in color so for me it's a non issue but for some
people they need to keep that in mind.
Well believe it or not i actually think I have
management convinced to get something decent.
They are talking abt getting the HP Design Jet 650 or
Are either of these unit OK?
Any known problems with them running them under Win XP
Or should we just get the 500.....sicne the two units
above are discontinued?