1 Reply Latest reply on Jul 19, 2017 6:41 PM by Tom Gagnon


    James Pare

      Can anyone recommend a good plotter, ours is on it's last leg

      We do not do a lot of plotting anymore, but it is needed once awhile

      Needs to be colour

      36" Papar width - roll for different lengths


      Must be able to handle large SWX drawings

        • Re: Plotters?
          Tom Gagnon

          Yes and no. I'll share what I know. I have brutal bias from painful experience, which should be entirely apparent where evident. You can make up your own mind, I hope.


          First off, see Anyone out there using an HP T520 24" plotter thread. It appears to be one of the only other Plotter threads that isn't over 3-years old.. I'll revisit topic of timeliness below.


          Coincidentally, we just ordered a Designjet T520 new. I haven't received it yet. I thought I'd share what I learned about this model in research to present to boss for purchase approval. Some of this wisdom comes 2nd hand from consulting the Wide Format specialist at our reprographic service vendor, who came today upon 1-time request to troubleshoot our old wide format printer to confirm it is now deceased, demised, passed on, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible, an EX-PLOTTER. You know, before we throw even more money at it.


          There's some YouTube videos on the Internet. Search term shows stuff you want. Use model number, get reviews and/or hype. Try to distinguish between those two.


          HP Designjet T520 was beta tested in October 2012, and released by Autodesk University event in December 2012. This makes it recent, but not last year's model. Last year is ideal and here's why. You buy an old thing, and by the time it breaks, replacement parts will be very difficult to find, and most likely in equally used condition if you can even get it. You buy the latest and greatest thing, and now you're the troubleshooter to find all the bugs in the drivers which will need fixed. Buy, like Goldilocks, the thing which is close to new but not brand new, and you will get a better deal because its problems have already been fixed and patched, but its proper-use life will extend beyond an old thing, including replacement part availability. I spelled this out to my boss so that we would not be disappointed in a reduced life expectancy - because we got a great deal on it now at just over $2k. If you're being really choosy, find one that is 1 or 2 years old, not 5 like this one, and pay more for it so that it lasts longer and you won't have to go through this process again for a longer interval.


          HP as a whole has lost all respect in my book for many reasons and in many ways, with one isolated exception: the DesignJet series of wide format printers. It led the way in WFP's, mostly replacing plotters. Then later Canon came along and joined the party. Canon products are very competitive in print speed, ink volume, sheet handling, and cost per print. Canon reduced the price standards, which HP has responded to by lowering theirs to match or compete. While most HP products have increased the suckage, DJ's remain quality products with standardized ease and minor interface improvements carried over from other HP failures. Designjets are dependable workhorses  - as long as you keep them clean and humidity controlled. Misunderstanding the exacting precision of this last sentence will lead to disappointment and unmet expectations. Humidity range is listed in its spec sheet. See also: "Clean Room." If you find a Canon product to be superior in all ways, then you should've already responded to this thread -  but I'd be interested to hear something practical other than marketing hype about Canon.


          It is listed as a Wireless device, but it also has (1) Ethernet and (1) USB 2.0 ports. Beware of products which lack former interface protocols. Flexibility is good.


          It's also listed as a ePrinter so that you can print poor quality crap from your smartphone after arguing to your IT that cornholeing the whole company's security is a really good idea. It can even accept prints from a website so that abusive trolls can run out your printing supplies for you with the most disturbing images you've ever seen and are now unable to unsee. Forever. Hey, the good news here is that this is entirely optional and can simply be disabled by not activating it. Doing nothing and winning because of it is pathetically awesome in a very slacker way.


          Ink costs suck. By this point, you should have already gotten over this. HP is the king of that. But, the counterbalance here is the complete ubiquity of HP ink supplies. I can have it delivered free the same day, or next day at worst. They are absolute and pure commodities, so that your price shopping will reveal an astounding maximum price difference of five cents between most expensive and least expensive. Do NOT keep stock of ink, as it expires. OTOH, it can be acquired within a day with ease if you're even relatively close to a metropolitan area. Don't buy expired ink, and punish vendors who supply you expired ink.


          The 36-in model comes with the 36-in spindle, although it is listed separately in its spec sheet for some reason. Furthermore, the 36-in spindle can and will accommodate a 24-in roll. For another inexplicable reason, the 24-in spindle is offered as an accessory for the 36-in model. I don't know how that works.


          Good luck. I can't think of any more at this time. If you want, I'll let you know how this one goes, though others already say it works well. That's enough for me, given a realistic understanding of all else.