hello i'm jake and quite new to this game, i'm wanting to purchase a decent plotter to get goin, i want to do vehicle graphics and general signage to begin with, i've been bombarded with different names and sizes of machines, i would appreciate a bit of helpful advice at this stage, i am quite happy to buy something worth the money secondhand as i'm not into all the fancy new stuff but more into something that is big enough works well is easily maintained and that is capable of producing nice work, also is there a machine available that can print and also plot/cut, many thanks in advance for loads of replies
If you're new to this, I wouldn't even think about getting a printer at this stage. If your not using a printer daily, I would recommend just getting a plotter and using a 3rd party print Supplier like JKN Digital or a more local supplier.
I had a signmaking business for 4 year which I sold about a month ago when I moved home. During this time I got by with doing a lot of cut vinyl and not much printing at all, and it was no problem to get the printing outsourced. Remember if you have a printer, you'll probably need a laminator too.
With regards to plotters. I had a Graphtec CE5000-60 with stand which served me well at a cost of Â£1300 + VAT. IT has been replaced with a CE6000-60ES.
I don't think machine supplier matters too much as they all do similar job if you stick with a good brand, except if you buy a cheap foreign chinese import.
I think the size of the machine may be more important. I would suggest a 60cm one as you can get vinyl alot easier in this standard size. During my 4 years there have been a few instances where a larger machine would have been bigger, but I just changed my design approach instead. I probably turned down a job or 2 because of this too, but 60cm was generally fine for me.
martin, good to hear from you and many thanks for your reply, but why did i only receive the one reply, anyway lets move on, is a 60cm plotter big enough for doing vehicle graphics, also what artwork or software is required for vehicle graphics and where is the best place to source the vinyl rolls, again thanks for loads of replies, jake
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In the 4 years that I did this, I can not think of any instance where 60cm was a limitation that I couldn't work around, although I am pretty sure there must have been one or 2.
The closest to a limitation was this one below:
Even this wasn't a problem as I did the circle in 2 halves, but could have been an issue if the van was bigger and they wanted a complete big circle.
I have done some window frostings, that would have been nice to have been wider than the 61cm roll that it came on. Ideally 2.5 to 3 foot would have been ideal, but they I would have had to have bought a 122cm roll.
If I really needed that extra 15 to 30 cm, I could have just cut another piece underneath and have a visible gap and make it part of the design. Perhaps have a 9cm piece then a 6cm piece then a 3 cm piece with gaps.
I used CorelDraw which costs around Â£400. This does quite alot more than I ever used. I think the Graphtec machine comes with it's own software, which I believe should be ok to get you started.
There are other software out there. I have used SignLab too, which is also good, but for me I stuck with CorelDraw as I was already familiar with it.