How Does A Plotter Printer Work

by Chris And Marry

A plotter printer is basically a device used to print on media, such as paper.


What Is A Plotter Printer?

Plotters are mainly used in specialized work sectors such as architecture and engineering as the results that hail from them are extremely detailed and convoluted.

They are mostly used for technical drawings, maps, architectural designs, engineering diagrams, blueprints, charts, etc., and are comparatively pricier than printers.


What Is A Plotter Printer?
What Is A Plotter Printer?

How Do Plotter Printers Work?

Regular inkjet or laser printers are fundamentally raster scan devices that print a single line on the given media at one time. However, plotters on the other hand are vector-based and they function by printing continuous lines from point to point.

You can use plotters in two ways: as a standalone gadget with its internal processor or as an external output device that you can connect to your computer. Once it's set up and there is something that needs to be printed, a set of commands from the host computer is sent to the plotter and the pens and carriage begin to move according to those commands.

Based on what needs to be printed, the pens and carriage operate in unison. For instance, when it comes to printing something that involves more than a single color, hundreds of pens that carry wide ranges and combinations of color are instructed to work in sync on the selected media.

Software's for plotters include Adobe Illustrator, Corel, Flexi, and CAD. Moreover, the formats that plotters can comprehend are AI, CDR, DWG, and any other format as long as it is vector-based.

Kinds Of Plotters

There are two kinds of plotters - flat-bed plotters and drum plotters.

In flat-bed plotters, the paper is meant to remain stagnant and still as the pen moves from one point on the page to another, along with the carriage. For drum plotters, the paper is positioned over a cylindrical drum and the pen slides over the page as the cylinder rotates. Both of them are used for printing materials that contain elaborate details such as architectural and engineering blueprints, however, the outcome from drum plotters is more precise.

Advantages Of Plotters

  • One of the more obvious advantages of plotters is that the printing quality is superb and it is strongly irrefutable. This is mainly the reason why plotters are opted for when it comes to printing out the blueprints of infrastructure and complex diagrams.
  • Another pro to using plotters is that they can work with relatively large sheets of paper. Not only this, but the paper isn't the only form of media that plotters can operate with; some of the others include plywood, sheets of steel, cardboard, and even plastic.
  • The resolution remains unaffected in plotters. Even if images are enlarged, they do not appear pixelated.

Disadvantages Of Plotters

  • It is argued among critics and industries that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages of plotters. Nonetheless, one of the cons that should be mentioned is that it consumes more space in comparison to other printing devices. So, if you lack accommodation, then perhaps plotters are not the route to opt for.
  • Another negative aspect worth mentioning is that plotters are generally more expensive in comparison to your traditional inkjet or laser printers.
  • Although it works at a stable pace, it is slower when compared to regular printers.
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