FowlesElectric

Wide Format Plotter

Recommended Posts

What is a good entry level plotter for a small contractor? I print mainly 24" x 36" plans on a weekly basis and occasionally the project plans are 30" x 42". Typically, I average 700 -1,000 pages per month at $1.56 per sheet from my local printer. I am curious if it would be cost effective to purchase my own wide format printer / plotter.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Fowles Electric

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is pretty solid qty numbers, so id say you'd be best served leasing (or buying, but I like to lease) a KIP.  You want a toner based printer, not inkjet for the #'s you are talking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How are you providing your prints to your print shop? Do they scan and copy or print from file?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While you may save money for the production of the prints, don't forget the time you will need to spend to assemble and manage it.  For me, my time is more valuable spent on drawing then printing and assembling.  Therefore I push the print shop and digital files whenever I can.  So make sure to figure your hourly time into that price and you may find the print shop price is pretty good.  However, if you have a lower waged employee managing that without sacrificing production, then it may work out.

 

Best of luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree w/ Ben, you will spend a lot of time waiting for the less expensive plotters unless you have a separate computer just for printing. The are just too slow for production work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with Ben and Drawzilla about the time required.  At 40-50 sheets per day you are looking at about an hour/day to assemble and staple the sets.  I moved from HP to Canon last year and will never look back. Fast, reliable, much better quality and far better ink handling.  If you need a 36" model I'd recommend this with an output of 2 D-size sheets per minute.

 

Canon imagePROGRAF iPF750 (or the iPF771)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply's everyone. I am a small commercial electrical contractor and I receive bid invites in electronic format. I send these electronic files to the print shop to have the plans made. I spend a lot of time waiting for the print shop to print my order and then I have to go pick them up. I prefer to keep all the plans loose so I can spread them out for bidding purposes. Therefore, I will not spend anytime stapling or binding these plans. In fact it's the opposite, I spend a lot of time taking the plans apart in order to separate them now because the printer never seems to leave them loose. Any recommendations of plotters that I should be looking at?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canon is very strong, I have the ipf600 (an discontinued model now) I use it for print proofing and use an internet company to print at $0.65 per 24" x 36" sheet. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought my small printer from these guys. They are very knowledgeable and can certainly steer you in the right direction. They also have a pretty strong selection of used equipment.

 

http://www.plotterpros.net/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like you need to talk to your print shop about your orders. Our printer will send plans to us however we ask for them - bound, loose, collated or uncollated, rolled in a tube, I'm sure they'd even throw them on the ground and dance on top if we asked them to (though it might be an extra fee  :)). They also deliver at no additional cost, which works out great for us when we don't have time to swing by and pick up our plans.

 

If you're not able to work something out, or find a different print shop that's more accommodating, I recommend you talk to a document management company - for example, H & H is one in our area that has been trying to sell equipment to my company for a while, we just don't have the volume. This company and companies like it are specialists in large format plotters and can recommend a device that will work best for your situation based on output, color needs, even units that auto-staple (true story!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at the OCE Plotwave 350.  Superior product to all others out there.  Uses less energy and you will have way less downtime.  They are built in Germany and are the preferred large format printers for most production printing shops as well as large firms.  I believe they go for around $11,500 installed, without a scanner.  I worked in a fortune 100 company doing engineering work for 8 years and we abused our OCE printers, but they kept cranking out prints.

 

You should be able to find a local rep that can show one to you.  Superior to KIP and Canon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Member Statistics

    27469
    Total Members
    6254
    Most Online
    THDesign
    Newest Member
    THDesign
    Joined