Types of Plotters: Which Do You Need for Your Printing Operations?

A cutting plotter working on vinyl film.

Cutting plotter close-up. The process of cutting a vinyl film.

If you’re thinking of expanding your printing operations, consider adding plotters. These devices print vector graphic images from diagrams and banners to architectural plans, construction maps & other engineering drawings. With such capabilities, plotters can bring a bunch of new customers to your printing shop. They’re also a must if you’re an architectural or engineering firm that no longer wants to outsource vector printing. But which types of plotters should you buy?

We’ve listed different types of plotters and their specific use below. Read on to get more ideas about what you should buy to expand your printing operations.

Drum plotters

The drum plotter works by having a pen that moves up and down on a single-axis track and a cylindrical drum that moves the paper to the right and left. If the device has multiple pens, it can produce different colours. With a drum plotter, you can print graphics up to the size of the drum itself. That can give your shop the versatility to accept a variety of large vector printing jobs, including architectural drawings. 

Flatbed plotters

While they don’t use traditional printing heads, ink cartridges and nozzles, flatbed plotters have built-in pens and holders available in different shapes and sizes. They work by fixing paper on a flatbed while pens move to translate the vector images into the paper. Due to built-in pens and holders, flatbed plotters can quickly produce complicated drawings and structures, like construction maps, highway designs, car and aircraft designs and other intricate CAD drawings.

Another advantage of flatbed plotters is they can use different colours of pens to create detailed and visually stunning graphics. Plus, they are available in larger sizes than other types of plotters. In turn, you can produce larger documents and accommodate special requirements from architectural and engineering firms. 

Inkjet plotters

Do you want to target customers other than architects, engineers and contractors? Add inkjet plotters to your printing operations. This type of plotter is often used to serve advertising agencies and individuals who need massive banners, billboards and other large prints that can’t be accommodated in standard printers

Inkjet plotters work by pushing beads of ink directly on the surface of the material. They typically print in three or four-colour palettes (cyan, yellow, magenta and black) and simply mix colours to create other shades. The inks used for these plotters are often water-based, making them an environmentally-friendly printing option.

Additionally, inkjet plotters are more affordable and versatile than other types of plotters. So if you’re shopping for a new plotter, include them in your shortlist. 

Cutting plotters

Compared to other types of plotters, cutting plotters are smaller in size. But they are useful in producing high-quality window graphics and vinyl stickers. As long as they are connected to a computer system that helps develop the intricately shaped vinyl designs, they are almost 100% accurate in printing them. 

With highly accurate vector-cutting capabilities, these plotters allow for practically any graphic to be traced or cut onto vinyl and similar media. What does that mean for your printing operations? You can accommodate more varied printing orders. 

Get in touch with us at the Printer Repair Centre.

Now that you know the popular types of plotters, you’re more prepared to buy one. Do you already have a specific plotter in mind but need some help getting hold of a unit that fits your budget? Let us help. With our wide industry network, we can help you get a good deal on a new plotter. Do you still need assistance deciding which plotter type and model to get? Give us a call, too. Our sales team is ready to guide you in shopping for the machine that best suits your printing operations. 

Additionally, keep our contact number, as that will be handy if in the future, you need a competent company to repair and maintain your plotters. Besides handling office machine sales, our company specialises in same-day plotter repairs in Sydney

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