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carch

maybe the bigger question is...

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i'm looking to create plot files with vectorworks 9.5.0 (ox 10.1.3). Or the bigger option is to purchase a plotter. Can anyone recommend a plotter. We are small firm will all apple computers running os 10.1.3 and vectorworks 9.5.0...

thanks for you time..

Chris

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What kind of plot files? For what purpose? If you just need to get something output so that a service bureau can plot the files there are at least two free options:

1> output the files in adobe acrobat format (.pdf) using the OSX printer drivers. There are extensive discussions elsewhere in the forums regarding the many options for creating and editing pdf files.

2> get your service bureau to download the free vectorworks viewer, which will let them open and print your files.

As far as buying a plotter is concerned... if you browse the forum topics you will find that there aren't really any good low cost options yet. HP's higher end postscript plotters work great (the 1055cm for instance) but the plotters which rely on software ripping don't work natively yet. There are 3rd party products on their way, but they aren't quite ready yet (microspot).

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quote:

Originally posted by aersloat:

What kind of plot files? For what purpose? If you just need to get something output so that a service bureau can plot the files there are at least two free options:

1> output the files in adobe acrobat format (.pdf) using the OSX printer drivers. There are extensive discussions elsewhere in the forums regarding the many options for creating and editing pdf files.

2> get your service bureau to download the free vectorworks viewer, which will let them open and print your files.

As far as buying a plotter is concerned... if you browse the forum topics you will find that there aren't really any good low cost options yet. HP's higher end postscript plotters work great (the 1055cm for instance) but the plotters which rely on software ripping don't work natively yet. There are 3rd party products on their way, but they aren't quite ready yet (microspot).

I agree with this poster. At even at this time there are few good options at the lower end of the cost spectrum. The HP postscript plotters are expensive but they are well worth their price, especially if you value your time. In our mixed (Win/Mac/Linux) environment, the HP800ps works exceptionally well under OS 9, works satisfactory under Win2000, and has ok performance under OS X. The problem with OS X is the lack of advanced support for printers at this time. And Apple is to blame there.

But on the Mac, a good hardware-based Postscript solution (whatever size printer) is going to give you the most problem free printing. Just my 2 cents!

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HP is the industry standard in plotters. The machines themselves are real workhorses. Unfortunately the software for them really is not that great. OSX and plotters are still a little early in the software development stage. Unfortunately HP doesn't support any of their non-current product line in OSX and never will. Their are third party software drivers like Xrip by mircospot or gimp print which is a free open source driver for older injet printers. If you have very little money and some time setting up the software, i would recommend an used 200, 300,- or 400 series HP plotter with a jetdirect print server and using gimpprint as a driver. there seems some quirks to this setup but it is cheap. If you got money then perhaps the HP 800 ps or 1000 series. The 800 is newer and so it will be supported by HP the longest. There is also the 500 ps which depending on who you talk to has a OSX driver or will soon. Macs need the PS versions of HP Plotters unless you use gimp print or Xrip. A lot of plotters are set up with a separate RIP software that controls the plotter. The 800 and above has the rip on the machine. If you do go with a software RIP ( like the HP 500 has) then get a separate computer to run the RIP. An older computer works just fine. I use my old powerbook G3. Otherwise if you try to run the rip and work on the same machine expect slow processing, crashing and printing one sheet at a time. All plotters are not easy to setup unless you really know what your doing or like to spend hours of time being frustrated and chating in this forum but eventually it will work out. Otherwise buy the plotter from a dealer that will set it up for you. Most dealers do not know macs well since archs & engrs tend to be pc guys. For straight cad printing hp seems to be the best. Encad is more for pc graphic guys. Roland is for fineart printing. Epson seems to be prefered by photographers. I use a HP455ca w/ gimpprint on OSX or the HP RIP for OS9 at the office for general cad work. I just bought a Epson 9600 with their ethernet connector for fine art printing and some CAD drawings. The software for the Epson is so much easier to work with than HP. More like your average inkjet desktop printer, no RIP necessary unless you want it. I needed the Epson for it's pigmented inks for longevity versus dye inks which fade quickly. It still works great for Vectorworks CAD files but they haven't released there OSX driver yet. The HP 5000 is the first machine in their line to use pigmented inks the 200,300,400,500,600, 700, 800 and 1000 series use dye inks which fade and are not waterproof. Ok for CAD but not for photos or fine art. Good luck,

Kurt

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