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Mac Compatible Plotters

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i'm looking to purchase a new plotter. looking for something that is reliable, color, capable of handling 36" rolls and networkable. and it MUST be mac compatible. any suggestions?

thanks in advance.

craig

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Craig,

You'll see by my signature that we're very comfortable using Epson's printers. Color is second to none and waterfast. Reliability has been at least 90% uptime and the 9800 handles 36" rolls. I've been very pleased over the years with the service we've received from our local EpsonPro dealer. Epson seems to take very good care of its Mac users.

One conderation not to be overlooked, however, is that everything Epson makes is a true "printer" rather than a plotter. They're simply not as fast. Clearly, we've decided this feature is secondary to others.

Good luck,

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Craig,

Like Travis, I'm fond of Epson printers as well but have not really used the large format models. For over ten years I've had great luck with HP DesignJet plotters (650, 755, 1055 and now a DesignJet 4000). I think the key to having success plotting on the Mac is to find one that is PostScript compatible. It makes all the difference in the world in terms of setup and troubleshooting. Lastly, network capabilities and color are excellent on the HPs.

-David

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Armstrong is mostly right. . .which is first cousin to being "mostly dead". (A reference to a very funny scene from the greatest movie ever made: Princess Bride)

Epson's drivers are considerably more accurate with color than the OSX GIMP drivers. Maybe not a big deal for most plotting, but a very big deal for my second favorite pasttime: photography. Also, we've not had any problem using non-Postscript printers or drivers with Vectorworks.

[ 01-13-2006, 12:44 AM: Message edited by: Travis ]

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GimpPrint is a blessing for using unsupported printers. But as Travis points out, it is better to have a printer specific driver that is supported by the manufacturer.

Thanks to GimpPrint, I am still using my seven year old HP 455CA. Without Gimp, I would still be on OS9 or buying a new printer.

My only complaint is that printing with Gimp is rather slow. I can only turn out 3 to 4 "D" size, line drawings per hour.

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quote:

Originally posted by Travis:

Armstrong is
mostly
right. . .which is first cousin to being "mostly dead". (A reference to a very funny scene from the greatest movie ever made: Princess Bride)

Sometimes with printing, you need a miracle from MiracleMax, or at least assistance from the Man in Black

"As You Wish"

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LOL ... in a pinch I bet we'd all rather be like Bernie... 'mostly dead' ... and get the job plotted ... than be fully alive and wishing for a friggin driver ; O

Also, I completely agree with Epson's overall superiority and the need for device specific drivers at the very high end of things.

As Travis points out so brilliantly 'compatibility' doesn't always equate with performance ( most couples come to understand this ). Now then... I need to get my hands on 'Princess Bride'.

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We are entirely mac based and have used HP's Designjet 800PS for 4-5 years. It has been a workhorse printer, great quality color and B&W. One word of caution though with any Postcript based printer, be very prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and printing supplies on gettting the color "right."

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We just bit the bullet and ordered a HP 130 for our office. We strongy considered the Epson 7800, but decided to go with the less expensive option. One other consideration we weighed was that HP's 69ml ink is cheaper than Epson's 110 ml cartriages (per average ml cost). Epson's 220ml cartriages are cheaper than HP's 69ml per ml, but we don't plan to do a huge amount of plotting. We use a service bureau for all our B&W, and just need the plotter for color and emergency in house plots.

Anyway, the plotter should be here within a week or so. I will post a reply with our experiences with the 130.

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Eric,

I'll be anxious to read of your experience with the HP. Especially how easy it might be to get set up and running.

I'll point out that while we run the 220ml cart's, some of the colors only get changed every 6 months or so (ie, magenta) while the two blacks seem to last only a week. Never had any problems with a cartridge being in the slot for an extended time.

Good luck,

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I now have a Designjet 110plus nr for A1/A3 prints. This model is wireless - brilliant idea - it can stand in a corner of the office with no cable from the computer draped across the floor or round the walls. I had to upgrade the computer though - you seem to need lots of RAM if you are printing sets of A1 drawings.

I'm very happy with it in general, but have had some peculiar colour results, so I am very interested in Ion's comments - what do I have to do to get some correlation between what is on the screen and what comes out of the printer?

Regards

David W

Auckland NZ

G5 iMac, 1.5Gb RAM, OS 10.4.4

VWA+R 11.5

Epson Stylus Color 1160, HP Designjet 110plus nr

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quote:

Originally posted by D Wood:

I'm very happy with it in general, but have had some peculiar colour results, so I am very interested in Ion's comments - what do I have to do to get some correlation between what is on the screen and what comes out of the printer?


Colour calibration and profiling if you really want same screen to print colour matching, as done in the print industry.

With the cost of equipment is best to get a specialist in, other than that its trial and error creating your own. I can't give advice on doing it yourself, at the last company I worked at that also produced graphics etc. we took the "call somebody in" route.

It wasn't cheap but vital to our line of work.

It's difficult, but the first place to start is to try to ensure your monitor is set up correctly, calibration equipment for that such as Blue Eye (I think it's called) from Lacie etc. will set you back about ?200 UK money, if you did want to go down the diy route.

I'm even considering it (Blue Eye etc.) just so all our monitors, work and home are seeing more or less the same colour image.

Been caught out recently when a job created on one machine looked considerably different when viewed on another, resulting in some rapid Photoshoping.

Once you have a colour profile set up for your printer ensure that's the one used at print time, and if you change printers you'll need to do it all over again.

It depends how far the colours are out, how important it is in the scheme of things, etc. It's all relative.

I know that the studio A3 Epson 1520 gave a very different output to the same files on my home HP 1120/1220's.

The HP giving much richer warmer colurs but that may be the default profiles of each created by others, at each manufacturers, perception of what looks good is different.

To be fair the Epson gave a very good representation of what was on the studio monitors.

Again paper stock also has an effect. Glossy looks the best but different if you use different brands.

It's tricky if you're dealing in an area of colour specifics such as print and graphics. Under these circumstances you have to invest to stay in the game.

Alan

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Alan

Thank you for that.

What sort if "expert" do you call in? Is it an Apple techie, or someone from Epson/HP, or some other type of firm altogether?

Regards

David W

Auckland NZ

G5 iMac, 1.5Gb RAM, OS 10.4.4

VWA+R 11.5

Epson Stylus Color 1160, HP Designjet 110plus nr

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We had a Encad wide format printer which had already been with the company some time when I joined them.

The UK company who supplied it, called Colourgen, worked on that along with its RIP software to get the profiles sorted. Here is a link which I know we are talking the other side of the world but gives you an idea of the set ups that do this work. http://www.colourgen.com/support/colour_management.php

As regards the Apples and the monitors, although we never got this part done we were pointed in the direction of our Apple Authorised dealer.

Ideally I think it would be best to get one company to do the lot, but I don't know if they exist.

If you can't spare the time but can spare the money that's the route to go.

Depending on how far out the prints are compared to what you see on screen and what you were expecting, coupled with some time to devote to this, I'd start by just doing some colour adjustments of your own.

I don't know the drivers and settings available for the HP110 but you could try experimenting with these and any colour management facilities it has.

We were producing large format prints and needed to get the printer spot on but it was expensive. Around ?60 an hour with the guy being there most of the day. Having said that the equipment he used ran into several thousands of pounds to buy.

If you go DIY try to keep track of the changes. Mark each print out with the settings, it's so easy to get confused with half a dozen or more run outs lying around.

Are you comparing your Epson 1160 colours prints to the HP 110 in making your comment or is it just the HP colours in isolation? I found a marked difference from the same file.

When we got so finally fed up of the Epson 1520's tempremental paper feed, blocked heads and poor quality compared to more modern units we got a HP.

I can't remember the model number, it was postscript because we used Quark, ugly slabby thing but solid built, individual inks, we needed to buy a little HP print server as well.

It's prints were darker in comparison, stronger blues, darker reds, vibrant compared to the Epson but not as subtle, reminded me of the results I got from my home HP1120, and my now HP1220.

Although still involved in graphics I'm not involved directly with colour critical print production anymore.

Good luck

Alan

[ 01-21-2006, 07:34 PM: Message edited by: alanmac ]

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Alan

Thank you for such a comprehensive reply.

The prices on your website link are a bit eye-watering - I think I'll try a little self help first!

Regards

David W

Auckland NZ

G5 iMac, 1.5Gb RAM, OS 10.4.4

VWA+R 11.5

Epson Stylus Color 1160, HP Designjet 110plus nr

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So far so (pretty) good with the new hp 130 on a mac network. We having it hooked up via usb to an older iMac. It seems to be sharing the printer fine with our other computers on the network. Test print came out fine on 11x17. I still have to hook up the roll feeder for 24x36.

The only problem that came up is that the installation crashes every time I try to install the hp sys utility from the accompanying cd. I also can't run the utility feature for the 130 via printer setup utility. I'm not sure how big an issue that will be.

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Eric,

Without the utility feature, you won't be able to check ink levels or clean the print heads (and various forms of alignment) from the computer. . .hopefully there's some method of doing this directly from the printer controls.

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Now that's sounds like a hp product in a mac environment. THE INSTALL DISK CRASHES, GREAT! Hate to say it and you were forwarned, you should have gotten the Epson 7600. I got a 9600 with the big inks and have never had one dry out. I can't say the same for my HP455. About 20% of the cartridges I buy go funky before their time. You have to really look at the expiration dates too. They have slipped me some one ones now and then but at least they are available at the local officemax or staples. You gotta special order the epson big boys.

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a late entry into the discussion. We recently bought a Canon W8400 - great quality, easy to use and also has separate ink bottles. Our office runs old iMacs, some old G3's, G4 iBooks and G5 iMacs, OS9 and OSX and it is so easy to get the Canon up and running over the network via Garo print drivers that ship with the Canon. In fact, we are gettng a second one for our branch office.

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We had a guy working at our office that swore by HP printers. We've an Epson 7600, a 1520 and a Canon IR2200. Printing and colour synchronisation seems to be the final frontier for our office, now that our computers are all stable (with the advent of Mac OS X 10.4). We seem to constantly have issues with printing (If only Apple were still in the business.)

The main bone to pick we have with Epson is that they've been completely unresponsive to our request that they update their Mac driver for the 7600 to allow for A2 rotation. As it stands there's no way to rotate a A2 page so as it comes out across the roll instead of along it, meaning that we have to manually trim all A2 prints. (this is a caveat to this, now that Apple have their own rotation feature for image formats, excluding PDF)

[ 02-03-2006, 10:24 AM: Message edited by: Christiaan ]

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you should be able to create any page size you want with the epson. I have created many different custom pages/ rotation etc. and used them with my epson 9600 not so with my HP455

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This has been my one, consistent beef with Epson. Their drivers over-ride the rotation settings. . .generally even if you enter a custom size. I couldn't get 18x24 sheets from 24" rolls without extra trim, so we had to load 18" paper.

I believe the 7600 and 9600 drivers are the same. It would be very interesting, Kurt, to know that you can print a 24x36 sheet on 36"-wide paper rotated so the sheet prints without trim being required.

This issue has been completely solved with the advent of Epson's x800-series. I'm happy to report that we can now print 11x17 sheets on 17" rolls all day long on the 4800 and never trim a thing.

Good luck,

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Travis, you mention the 4800 but not your 9800. Are you able to rotate prints on the 9800?

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Another update on the 130. I was getting ready to throw it out the window over the weekend. I waited until Monday morning to talk to HP tech support. They were able to walk me through the Maintenance Utility install. It involved deleting a couple files and running a reinstall. Worked great. I was having serious printing/paper jam issues as well. Unfortunately, those were completely a user setup error related to the roll feed. It did take over an hour to go through everything, but the plotter printed great at the end of it.

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