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Encyclopedia > Plotter
Inkjet plotter
Inkjet plotter

A plotter is a vector graphics printing device that connects to a computer. Look up Plot in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 768 pixel, file size: 33 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Plotter gerber Infinity From http://pl. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 768 pixel, file size: 33 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Plotter gerber Infinity From http://pl. ... It has been suggested that Vector monitor be merged into this article or section. ... A computer printer, or more commonly a printer, produces a hard copy (permanent human-readable text and/or graphics) of documents stored in electronic form, usually on physical print media such as paper transparencies]]. Many printers are primarily used as computer peripherals, and are attached by a printer cable to... This article is about the machine. ...

Pen Plotters print their output by moving a pen across the surface of a piece of paper. This means that plotters are restricted to line art, rather than raster graphics as with other printers. They can draw complex line art, including text, but do so very slowly because of the mechanical movement of the pens. (Pen Plotters are incapable of creating a solid region of color; but can hatch an area by drawing a number of close, regular lines.) When computer memory was very expensive, and processor power was very slow, this was often the fastest way to produce color high-resolution vector-based artwork, or very large drawings efficiently. Suppose the smiley face in the top left corner is an RGB bitmap image. ... For the crosshatch symbol, see Number sign. ...

Traditionally, printers are primarily for printing text. This makes it fairly easy to control, simply sending the text to the printer is usually enough to generate a page of output. This is not the case of the line art on a plotter, where a number of printer control languages were created to send the more detailed information like "draw a line from here to here". The two common ASCII based plotter control languages are Hewlett Packard's HPGL2 or Houston Instruments DMPL with commands such as "PA 3000, 2000; PD". PCL (Printer Command Language) was developed by HP as a printer protocol that has become a de facto industry standard. ... HPGL, sometimes hyphenated as HP-GL, is the primary printer control language used by Hewlett-Packard plotters. ... Houston Instruments was a manufacturer of pen plotters. ... Digital Microprocessor Plotter Language (DMPL) is a vector graphics file format from Houston Instruments developed to control pen plotters and later used on cutting plotters. ...

Programmers in FORTRAN or BASIC generally did not program these directly, but used software packages such as the Calcomp library, or device independent graphics packages such as Hewlett-Packard's AGL libraries or BASIC extensions or high end packages such as DISSPLA. These would establish scaling factors from world coordinates to device coordinates, and translating to the low level device commands. In HP 9830 BASIC, it was actually simpler to write a plotting program than today with C#.NET. For example to plot X*X, the program would be Fortran (previously FORTRAN[1]) is a general-purpose[2], procedural,[3] imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. ... This article is about the programming language. ... A program or file is device independent when its function is universal on different types of device. ... A Graphics Language (AGL) is an extension of the BASIC programming language, implemented on Hewlett-Packard minicomputers to simplify controlling a plotter. ... The Hewlett-Packard HP 9830A was the top of the line of the 9800 series programmable calculators, introduced in 1972. ...

 10 SCALE -1,1,1,1 20 FOR X =-1 to 1 STEP 0.1 30 PLOT X, X*X 40 NEXT X 50 PEN 60 END 

Early plotters (e.g. the Calcomp 565 of 1959) worked by placing the paper over a roller which moved the paper back and forth for X motion, while the pen moved back and forth on a single arm for Y motion. Another approach (e.g. Computervision's Interact I) involved attaching ball-point pens to drafting pantographs and driving the machines with motors controlled by the computer. This had the disadvantage of being somewhat slow to move, as well as requiring floor space equal to the size of the paper, but could double as a digitizer. A later change was the addition of an electrically controlled clamp to hold the pens, which allowed them to be changed and thus create multi-colored output. The Calcomp 565 drum plotter, introduced in 1959 was one of the first computer graphics output devices sold. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Computervision, Inc. ... This page is about the duplication instrument. ... In telecommunication and computing, the term digitizer has the following meanings: A device that converts an analog signal into a digital representation of the analog signal. ...

Hewlett Packard and Tektronix created desk-sized flatbed plotters in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, the small and lightweight HP 7470 used an innovative "grit wheel" mechanism which moved only the paper. Modern desktop scanners use a somewhat similar arrangement. These smaller "home-use" plotters became popular for desktop business graphics, but their low speed meant they were not useful for general printing purposes, and another conventional printer would be required for those jobs. One category introduced by Hewlett Packard's MultiPlot for the HP 2647 was the "word chart" which used the plotter to draw large letters on a transparency. This was the forerunner of the modern Powerpoint chart. With the widespread availability of high-resolution inkjet and laser printers, inexpensive memory and computers fast enough to rasterize color images, pen plotters have all but disappeared. Tektronix is a United States corporation that is currently a major presence in the test, measurement, and measuring industry. ... The 1980s refers to the years from 1980 to 1989. ... The HP 7470 was a small low-cost desktop pen plotter introduced by Hewlett Packards San Diego division. ... HP 2640 Terminal The HP2640 and other HP264X models were block-mode smart and intelligent ASCII standard serial terminals produced by Hewlett Packard using the Intel 8008 and 8080 microprocessors. ... Inkjet printers are a type of computer printer that operates by propelling tiny droplets of liquid ink onto paper. ... 1993 Apple LaserWriter Pro 630 laser printer A laser printer is a common type of computer printer that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper. ...

Plotters were also used in the Create-A-Card kiosks that were available for a while in the greeting card area of supermarkets that used the HP 7475 6 pen plotter. The HP 7470 was a small low-cost desktop pen plotter introduced by Hewlett Packards San Diego division. ...

Plotters are used primarily in technical drawing and CAD applications, where they have the advantage of working on very large paper sizes while maintaining high resolution. Another use has been found by replacing the pen with a cutter, and in this form plotters can be found in many garment and sign shops. Technical drawing, also known as drafting, is the practice of creating accurate representations of objects for technical, architectural and engineering needs. ... “CAD” redirects here. ...

If a plotter was commanded to use different colors it had to replace the pen and select the wanted color and/or width.

A niche application of plotters is in creating tactile images for visually handicapped people on special thermal cell paper.

Note that in most of today's environments, plotters in the traditional sense have been made obsolete by large-format inkjet printers and LED toner based printers. Such printers are often still known as plotters, even though they are raster devices rather than pen based plotters by the definition of this article. The newer plotters still understand vector languages such as HPGL2. This is because the language is an efficient way to describe how to draw the file using just text commands. A technical drawing in HPGL2 can be quite a bit smaller file than the same drawing in a pure raster form. Large format describes photographic films, view cameras (including pinhole cameras) and processes that use a film or digital sensor the size of 4 x 5 inches or larger. ... Inkjet printers are a type of computer printer that operates by propelling tiny droplets of liquid ink onto paper. ...

A pen plotter's speed is primarily limited by the type of pen used. The typical plotter pen uses a cellulose fiber rod inserted through a circular foam tube saturated with ink, with the end of the rod sharpened into a conical tip. As the pen moves across the paper surface, capillary wicking draws the ink from the foam, down the rod, and onto the paper. As the ink supply in the foam is depleted, the migration of ink to the tip begins to slow down, resulting in faint lines. Slowing the plotting speed will allow the lines drawn by a worn-out pen to remain dark, but the fading will continue until the foam is completely depleted. Also as the fiber tip pen is used, the fiber tip slowly wears away from rubbing against the media, wearing down the thin conical tip into a thicker smudged line.

Ball-point plotter pens with refillable clear plastic ink reservoirs are available. They do not have the fading or wear effects of fiber pens, but are generally more expensive and uncommon.

Vinyl Sign Cutter

A vinyl sign cutter (sometimes known as a cutting plotter) is used by professional poster and billboard sign-making businesses to produce brilliant weather-resistant signs, posters, and billboards using self-colored adhesive-backed vinyl film that has a removable paper backing material. The vinyl can also be applied to car bodies and windows for large, bright company advertising and to sailboat transoms. A similar process is used to cut tinted vinyl for automotive windows.

Colors available are generally limited only by the collection of vinyl on hand. To prevent creasing of the material, it is stored in rolls. Typical vinyl roll sizes are 18-inch and 36-inch width.

Generally the hardware is identical to a traditional plotter except that the ink pen is replaced by a very sharp knife that is use to cut out each shape, and the plotter may have a pressure control to adjust how hard the knife presses down into the vinyl film, allowing designs to be fully or partly cut out. The vinyl knife is usually shaped like a plotter pen and is mounted on ball-bearings so that the knife edge rotates to face the correct direction as the plotter head moves.

Once the letters or designs have been cut out, there are two methods for handling the

The most common method:

  • From the front surface, peel off the surround and unwanted areas of shapes from the letters or design.
  • Apply a slightly tacky carrier film over the letters or design (this film is similar to masking tape though clear carrier films are also used.
  • Cut out the area which includes the desired design, including the carrier film, vinyl and vinyl backing material.
  • Apply a small piece of masking tape to the sides of the resulting sandwich to ease positioning.
  • Ensuring that the area to which the vinyl is to be applied is clean, position the sandwich. When it is in the desired position, apply a hinge of masking tape to the lower edge. Remove the two side pieces of masking tape and the sandwich will fold down along the hinge.
  • Carefully remove the backing paper by peeling sideways, not away from the letters or design.
  • The cut vinyl is now held in position by the carrier film.
  • With a small plastic wiper (a credit card will also do), sweep the cut vinyl into contact with the mounting surface, stroking upwards and outwards, taking care to leave no air bubbles.
  • When all parts of the cut vinyl is in contact with the mounting surface, gently peel off the front paper sideways, and apply final pressure to the front face of the cut vinyl to produce a weather-resistant sign.

An older method: Masking tape Masking tape is a type of adhesive tape made of easy-to-tear paper backed with a weak adhesive. ...

  • Once the vinyl has been cut, the individual cut-out pieces are peeled off the backing paper and carefully assembled by hand on the mounting surface to form the final image.
  • A heat gun may be used to melt/bond the vinyl pieces to the substrate.

Sign cutters are primarily used to produce single-color line art. Multiple colors can be cut and assembled but the assembly process is extremely painstaking if the cut sections are thin and flexible. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Line Art. ...

As with the pen plotter, sign cutting plotters are in decline for general billboard and sign design. They are being replaced by wide-format inkjet printers that use special fade-resistant UV-protected solvent-based inks, which can directly print onto fabrics, vinyls, or plastic sheeting. These large inkjet printers have the added advantage of performing smooth color transitions and photo printing, which sign cutters cannot duplicate. Wide-format printers are generally accepted to be any printer with a print width over 24. Several manufacturers have models capable of printing up to a 5-meter width. ...

However, sign cutting plotters are still very much in use for precision cutting of graphics produced by wide-format inkjet printers, for example to produce shaped stickers and window graphics.

Static Cutting Table

Image:Eastman M9000 Static Cutting Table.jpg
Eastman static cutting table

A sign cutter functions primarily like a traditional roll-fed or sheet-fed plotter, in that the media to be cut is stiff and is rigidly held together by the backing sheet as pieces of vinyl are cut out. As the letters are cut, the backing stays properly aligned in the moving rollers. This does not work when cutting a floppy material with no backing, like normal fabric textiles or leather. Cutting a hole or slit will cause the unsupported material to droop and fall out of cutting alignment.

The static cutting table extends from the roll-fed sign cutter, to use a large flat vacuum cutting table. The table has a series of small pinholes drilled into the surface. The material to be cut is placed on the table, and a sheet of plastic overlayed onto the fabric. A vacuum pump is turned on, and air pressure pushes down on the plastic cover sheet holding the fabric tightly in place. The table then operates like a normal vector plotter, again using different types of knives to cut holes or slits into the fabric. Even as the fabric and plastic sheeting is cut, the vacuum inside the table continues to hold the material in place until cutting is complete.

Reference: Eastman M9000 Static Cutting Table

External links

  • plotter simulator - HP-GL, HP-GL/2, HP-RTL


  Results from FactBites:
plotter - a definition from Whatis.com (191 words)
A plotter is a printer that interprets commands from a computer to make line drawings on paper with one or more automated pens.
Unlike a regular printer, the plotter can draw continuous point-to-point lines directly from vector graphics files or commands.
Plotters were the first type of printer that could print with color and render graphics and full-size engineering drawings.
plotter.html (2656 words)
Plotter is capable of displaying any plot whose data set (points) are encoded as CLOS instances.
A plotter window can also serve as the destination for musical events that are generated from some external source, for example, from a group of musical processes running in the scheduler.
A plotter window can display more than one plot at a time but only the forward-most plot in the display is available for editing.
  More results at FactBites »



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