How Does a Plotter Printer Work

by Chris & Marry

When you hear the name "plotter printer," what comes to mind? Is it an outdated technology that is no longer used in the printing world? If so, you would be surprised to learn that plotters are still being used by a number of different industries. So, what exactly is a plotter printer and how does it work? Let's take a closer look.

What Is a Plotter Printer?

A plotter printer is a type of computer printer that produces high-quality graphics and line drawings. Unlike a regular inkjet or laser printer, a plotter uses special pens to draw images on a piece of paper. Plotters are often used by architects, engineers, and other professionals who need to produce precise, detailed drawings.

Plotters are available in a variety of sizes and prices. Some plotters are small enough to fit on a desk, while others are large enough to fill up a room. The most expensive plotters can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but there are also less expensive options that start at a few hundred dollars.

If you need to produce high-quality graphics or line drawings, then a plotter printer might be the right choice for you. However, plotters can be very expensive, so it's important to make sure that you really need one before you buy one.

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.

Different Types of Plotter Printers

There are several different types of plotter printers on the market today. Some are more specialized than others and are designed for specific tasks. Others are general purpose and can be used for a variety of applications. The type of plotter printer you choose will depend on your specific needs.

The Inkjet Plotter

The most common type of plotter printer is the inkjet plotter. Inkjet plotters use ink cartridges that must be replaced periodically. They are generally less expensive than laser plotters and are often used for general purpose printing.

The Laser Plotter

Laser plotters use lasers to create images on paper. They are more expensive than inkjet plotters but offer higher quality prints. Laser plotters are often used for more specialized printing applications such as CAD drawings or high resolution photos.

Flat-Bed Plotters

Flat-bed plotters are a type of inkjet plotter. They use a flat printing surface and can print on a variety of media including paper, cardboard, and fabric. Flat-bed plotters are often used for wide format printing applications such as posters and banners.

Drum Plotters

Drum plotters are another type of inkjet plotter. They use a rotating drum to print images onto paper. Drum plotters offer high quality prints but are more expensive than flat-bed plotters. They are often used for specialized printing applications such as labels and decals.

When choosing a plotter printer, you will need to decide which type is best suited for your needs. Inkjet plotters are generally less expensive and can be used for general purpose printing. Laser plotters are more expensive but offer higher quality prints. Flat-bed plotters are often used for wide format printing while drum plotters are better suited for specialized applications. Choose the type of plotter printer that best meets your needs and budget.

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.

Conclusion for All About Plotter Printers

We've looked at both flat-bed plotters and drum plotters in this article, and now you should have a good understanding of the differences between them. If you need to print large, high-quality images, then a flat-bed plotter is the best choice. However, if you need to print smaller images or documents quickly, then a drum plotter would be a better option. Either way, plotter printers are a great option for anyone who needs to print large or complex images.

I hope this article has helped you understand more about plotter printers and how they can be used. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll be happy to answer them. Thanks for reading!

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About Chris & Marry

Chris and Mary fell in love with printmaking in college, and they've been exploring the art form ever since. They are experts in the field, and have written extensively about printer troubleshooting and printmaking. These days, they love to write about their experiences with printmaking and share tips with other artists. They are always learning new things about the art form, and they can't wait to see what the future holds for them as printmakers.

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