My HP 650C plotter has finally made its last plot and I need to get a replacement. My requirements are black and white (I don't need the color), 24" wide roll feed and automatic sheet cutter, and compatibility with Mac OS10.6.8. This will be a light duty operation, I only run a few sets a few times a month, and plotting speed is not critical. I would appreciate any recommendations and insights into plotters that users have acquired in the last few years, both machines to consider and machines to avoid.
Have you considered NOT having an A1 plotter - I do everything at A3 even when final sheet size is A1. Builders etc download and do their own plots. If I really need an A1 set (even authorities prefer A3 and only ask for 1 x A1 so I email to a printer and pick up the prints.) Even multi sets of A3s are done this way as I only usually need to do check prints myself.
Even other architects offices will charge me 'mates rates'
I find it very cost effective as bureau prints are so cheap compared to buying ink replacement etc
I had an old HP450 plotter that I used for many years, but it was slow and now I email pdfs to everyone and have the blue printer just deliver the full size prints when I need them
(cost is reimbursable).
I bought a remanufactured HP 5000tn laser printer for about $360 and it will print 12"x18" and couldn't be more pleased.
Because my standard sheet is 24x36 the 12x18 is exactly half scale. Great for fast and easy check prints and they are so sharp I can read all the detail and scale things if I need to.
The only problem is that the old HP software won't allow my iMac to feed from the large tray, so I have to stack the fold out tray with 12x18 sheets when I print. Not a big inconvenience.
It's quiet, very fast and very sharp and no more ink cartridges! And it saves a lot of paper...........
Thanks for the recommendation (and the advice about the roll attachment and trays), I was very happy with my current HP, so am glad to read that the current model is fine. My old plotter was also slow, but much faster than sending files to a plotting service then getting delivery back ($) or going to pick up the plots myself.
Harry Monaghan and Don Lee:
I did not have a plotter when I started my practice and used a plotting service (actually a reproduction service since I started with pencil on vellum then went to plotting when I got started with ArchiCAD), so I have had experience going that route. I need full size (min 18" x 24") sets for meetings and permit submissions, and have found I need fewer check sets as I have become proficient at checking pdf files on screen. In my current location it takes a minimum of 2-3 hours to get sets back from a service, and they charge extra for delivery, vs. the 15 - 30 minutes to run off sets in house, particularly when on deadline. Since I bill clients at the same plot rate as a service, the plotter has been a small profit center for me, so I expect to get the cost of the machine back in a few years. If I was within walking distance of a service then the equation would be different. Thanks for your comments, but an in house plotter has advantages in my situation.
Any other plotter recommendations, pro and con, are appreciated.