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Are there any good plotters

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Hi,

I've searched for good plotters but everone obviously is here because they have problems.

Can anyone suggest a good low cost 42" plotter. I am only printing polygon outlines of our product when it is too difficult to dimension.

It must be accurate to +1, -1mm over the width.

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I may be wrong here, but I don't believe it's possible for paper to be that accurate, with natural shrinking or stretching.

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If you use mylar, you can expect approximately 0.02mm expansion per one degree Centigrade change in temperature in the 42" direction.

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Actually I was refering to the plotting tollerance not the size of the plot later in the day.

As you rightly say Ray, the paper will change with the humidity.

I would just like to know who has a cheap & reliable AO or 42" plotter they can suggest to buy new.

I guess the other question I should ask is which brand or model should I stay clear of but I can probably get that answer from this forum and the issues being discussed.

I am only plotting difficult outlines of 2D patterns that can't be easily & quickly draw/manufactured by our factory.

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I've only used HP large format printers. My printer is a DesignJet 430, the cheapest printer out there when I bought it 10 years ago. It is a workhorse that has not let me down. They haven't made these for years. I'm not sure what HP has now for budget printers.

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Ray,

How is your 430 connected to your computer. I have a 430 and IMac but the 430 has a parallel port and the Mac has USB so I need a USB to parallel cable - any recommendations?

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Hi Fred (and Ray) I also have an HP 430, and up until a few days ago it was connected on the network via AppleTalk. But now in Snow Leopard AppleTalk is gone, so there are two solutions: for the short term I have kept the old AppleTalk Print Server and have then added the printer to a different computer (still running 10.5) and then set it up to be Shared. This seems to be working fine for the moment. For the long term I have ordered a Parallel to Ethernet print server which (supposedly) will allow the printer to show up on the network as a "Bonjour Printer". I should have it by early next week. I will let you know if/how it works. My guess is that it will be fine as I already have one other HP (a 7210 all-in-one) hooked up that way and it works great.

All good, however the 430 is only "D" size (36" wide), and you say you need "E" size (42" wide). So I'm not sure any of this is is really helpful to you. Did the 430 come in an E size??

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That's very similar to the print server I use, you shouldn't have any problems.

It must be the home made roll feed (closet hang rod in a bookshelf) I have on mine. Too cheap to pop for the one HP sells.

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Peter, Ray,

I have no network setup - just the Mac directly to the plotter hopefully with some sort of parallel to USB cable.

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Fred,

From what I understand there is no such connector.... But I could be wrong. I think without a network you will need to make sure that whatever plotter you get can be connected via USB.

Ray,

Good to know ;-)

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Actually I was refering to the plotting tollerance not the size of the plot later in the day.

As you rightly say Ray, the paper will change with the humidity.

I would just like to know who has a cheap & reliable AO or 42" plotter they can suggest to buy new.

I guess the other question I should ask is which brand or model should I stay clear of but I can probably get that answer from this forum and the issues being discussed.

I am only plotting difficult outlines of 2D patterns that can't be easily & quickly draw/manufactured by our factory.

There really isn't a cheap plotter.

You get what you pay for.

Higher duty cycle = higher cost.

Wider carriage = higher cost.

More memory and speed = higher cost.

etc.

HP largely dominates the general CAD market, and unless you're into the "I'm different" lifestyle that's a reasonable place to start.

The 42" DJ 510 is about $3200 US. http://www.shopping.hp.com/shopping/pdf/ch337a.pdf

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HP largely dominates the general CAD market, and unless you're into the "I'm different" lifestyle that's a reasonable place to start.

Dear me! I had no idea that HP printers would only work with lifestyle operating systems such as Windows! Those love, devotion and surrender -type of things: hare, hare.

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Don't worry I wasn't expecting you to start there.

HP doesn't offer them in matching Cupertino White.

Edited by brudgers

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Peter,

FWIW Macro Enter's X-Rip software supports the 430 and earlier 330, is updated for 10.6 and can be purchased with the necessary parallel to USB cable. This will let me continue to use the 430 for B&w output and my HP8750 for 13 x 19 color stuff. SL has the necessary driver and I got the printer for free.

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Thanks Fred. That's good to know. I am a bit suspicious of the the one I ordered because on further research I noticed that the tech specs say something like "Mac users will need to use a PC to configure the print server." We shall see. If necessary I might need to call Macro Enter (great folks from whom I've purchased lots of stuff over the years). P

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Hi Ray, I noticed you use a HP DesignJet 430 plotter as do I. I am upgrading to a new computer with Windows 7, 32 Bit in a few weeks, the same as you. What version of the HP driver are you using? HP does not have a windows 7 driver available for the DJ 430 on their website.

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The recent HP design jet 111 model, 24" output with roll feed is an excellent machine for about $900.00 A friend just got one (autocad & PC) which I went to see in action and the output in black & white or color was very good for cad line work and color fills & hatches. Much quicker than my 330, and since I'm on a Mac, comes with SL driver. I plan on getting one very soon.

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Got the designjet 111 with 24" roll feed- excellent color & black quality,

easy set up, drivers for everyone, paid just under $700. Highly recommended if you don't need larger than 24 x 36 output.

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