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#1
GISRox

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I see very little discussion about plotters in this forum.

Does anyone use and own a plotter? I've been looking at some lower end HP models and wanted to get a feel for what people felt about those products.



#2
Rob

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I use an HP800 we bought about 1.5 years ago and have been very pleased. We opted to not buy the post script up grade. Printing from Arc, AI, CAD, and PS on normal bond is fast and crisp. Air photos need a higher quality bond to keep their saturation. I think we paid about $5k for the unit.

#3
BEAVER

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We have one HP800, one HP500 and smaller 17 wide Epson 4800. If we ever were buying another plotters again we all agreed never to buy HP plotters. Don't get me wrong, those plotters are a work horses. We got the HP500 about four years ago and HP800 last year. The four year old 500 plotter is used daily by our engineering department and had at least 3000 24X36 size prints plotted with just the print heads and belt replaced. The quality of the print is the problem. The 500 series is 600dpi and the 800 is 1200 dpi. Well the 800 prints look the same as 500. It uses the same print heads #11 but the 800 software supposed to simulate 1200 dpi with 600 print head. It tries, it runs slower and the prints look the same even under 30X magnification. We tried all types of expensive high res. media for some of our posters and the image always is grainy and colors are way off. Take any map with lakes that have 100% cyan in YMCK color mode and plot it out using standard HP software. The lakes are so dark that paper gets soaked with cyan ink. Try dark blue and it comes out as dark purple. We had the HP guy trying to calibrate the plotters so that we get better and sharper lines and we were told that the plotters are really good for simple Cad drawings and not to expect high quality output. We never new just how bad they were till we got our four Epsons 4800s. It's like night and day. The prints are crisp and colors are what you get on the offset press. Even using cheap plain paper, the output is sooo much nicer. I don't know about Epson plotters, but if they plot anything like the 4800, HP 500-800 plotters will be collecting dust. There is also problem with HP 500-800 plotters and Adobe products. The HP offers free rip program to fix the problem, but you have to call the HP tech support and give them the serial # of your plotter, they will mail you a CD. Like I said, we had the 500 for a while and I was vary happy with it till I saw prints from 4800 and realized what I've been missing. After printing few maps on 4800, I disconnected the HP plotters and never used it again.

#4
supercooper

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I've used several different HP plotters over the years at different jobs. Currently we run two 1055 CMs and they are workhorses, but the resolution can be ho-hum on them. But they are robust. Used a 60" 5000PS a few years ago, and that thing was a nightmare, lots of options, buttons, settings...but the prints were great. Also got to buy a 800PS at my last job, and using the photo paper, that thing would print out digital photos that were amazing. Also, shaded relief maps were gorgeous. Didnt use that one too long though. I've heard good things about Epsons also, but have never used one. Our drafting dept has a new HP400PS and they like it so far, they say aerial photos print great, but take forever.

#5
Matthew Hampton

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I agree that the HP1055CM's are great workhorses. We have two running off an ONYX RIP and they are throwing ink almost constantly 40 hrs week. However before the RIP server (even loaded with RAM) they would choke on maps with complex PS3 elements. Using photopaper at 600dpi is pleasing.

My only experience with an Epson was a medium format (5000) printer that was a complete nightmare.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#6
Rick Dey

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We've been using an HP800ps 42" for about 4+ years now and it has been a solid dependable printer. You need to do some tests with the variety of options to find the best speed and quality for your use. We usually use Maximum Quality, Optimize for CAD and Print Quality Normal for most of printing. Our use is primarily proofing projects but if you are going to be printing things for people to hang on the wall for extended periods of time, be sure to investigate fade resestant inks, the default ones don't hold up well to sunlight or flourescent office lights.
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#7
Themarko

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We use an HP5000 42" every day for about 5 years now and it is a nice all around machine. It took a little learning to get the paper and settings right and there are lots of variables to set. We're not doing a lot of photos but it does them well enough. Note that the quality of paper has a dramatic affect on the output, we learned that the econo paper we had been using was not good enough and went to HP coated paper for production.

I also have an HP 130 nr in my office that is a very nice little plotter for quick jobs and it prints photos well also.

#8
wildwood

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Hi,

I just purchased a Canon imagePROGRAF ipf600 Inkjet printer (24"). I have been very impressed with it's output and features. It was also very reasonably priced.

Thanks,

Amos

#9
MapMedia

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Also have an HP800 PS (42"), I especially like the ram (I don't always have to RIP or use ArcPress) and speed.
Paid $4k one year ago. Color calibration is key though.

#10
CHART

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I have an HP500 42" (non PS, no extra memory) .. no problems. I normally RIP the PS(ai) in PhotoShop at a high dpi eg. 600-1200 before sending to the plotter at best output setting. From the tests I did this gives me the best outputs. Not sure on the largest file it could handle this way but I have done just under 1gig without problems. Maybe there is a file size limit? Not a good thing when you run out of memory in the middle of a job. Maybe someone could shed some light on memory issues with this model.
I also purchased an HP Officejet ProK550 for the office work...e.g printing the invoices. Does a nice job using Vivera HP inks, and is very fast so I get the invoices out faster...however don't expect high speed from the HP500 but you can let it work while you sleep.

Happy plotting.
Chart

#11
Matthew Hampton

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We just had an HP4500 (42") roll through the door. Our two HP 1055's worked great for years. Last week I think one of them saw the writing on the wall and must have heard a new, larger, better, shiny unit was coming in and decided to spray balck ink all over the wall. :lol:

The 4500 is massive in comparison - I'll let you know how it works rip-wise. I think I'll be able to send to it tomorrow.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#12
Matthew Hampton

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I must say that the HP 4500 (thus far) is a great machine! With only 256k RAM it ripped through a fairly complex file loaded with PS3 language (transparency, etc.). It was my guess that it would choke on it and we'd need to run it through a more robust RIP - but it sailed through.

It also has a very informative 'job queue' portal (http). I just sent Patterson's new Physical Map of the US at 42" (test purposes :P ) and it plotted in 11min5sec and used 2.23 ml of ink and 15.91 sq.ft. of paper.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#13
GISRox

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I wanted to bring up an old topic.

We are looking at moving to a Canon plotter after many years of reliable service from our HP's. The pricing is significantly less and the output looks tremendous. Any comments?



#14
Greg

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I have found that most Canon plotters commonly have buffer issues, make sure you have a proper print server!

If you are doing any kind of archival or Giclée plotting, Canon has some incredible archival "100 year" inks.

Although one of the more expensive 60" plotters, Canon's iPF9100 is an incredible machine.

If you are just doing in shop proofs, I would check out the Océ line.. they are incredibly fast, and their sharp image is great for proofing.
Greg Moore

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#15
chris w

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We have one HP800, one HP500 and smaller 17 wide Epson 4800. If we ever were buying another plotters again we all agreed never to buy HP plotters. Don't get me wrong, those plotters are a work horses. We got the HP500 about four years ago and HP800 last year. The four year old 500 plotter is used daily by our engineering department and had at least 3000 24X36 size prints plotted with just the print heads and belt replaced. The quality of the print is the problem. The 500 series is 600dpi and the 800 is 1200 dpi. Well the 800 prints look the same as 500. It uses the same print heads #11 but the 800 software supposed to simulate 1200 dpi with 600 print head. It tries, it runs slower and the prints look the same even under 30X magnification. We tried all types of expensive high res. media for some of our posters and the image always is grainy and colors are way off. Take any map with lakes that have 100% cyan in YMCK color mode and plot it out using standard HP software. The lakes are so dark that paper gets soaked with cyan ink. Try dark blue and it comes out as dark purple. We had the HP guy trying to calibrate the plotters so that we get better and sharper lines and we were told that the plotters are really good for simple Cad drawings and not to expect high quality output. We never new just how bad they were till we got our four Epsons 4800s. It's like night and day. The prints are crisp and colors are what you get on the offset press. Even using cheap plain paper, the output is sooo much nicer. I don't know about Epson plotters, but if they plot anything like the 4800, HP 500-800 plotters will be collecting dust. There is also problem with HP 500-800 plotters and Adobe products. The HP offers free rip program to fix the problem, but you have to call the HP tech support and give them the serial # of your plotter, they will mail you a CD. Like I said, we had the 500 for a while and I was vary happy with it till I saw prints from 4800 and realized what I've been missing. After printing few maps on 4800, I disconnected the HP plotters and never used it again.


Does anyone know the reason for this problem? We have a HP1055 and a HP5500uv for local plotting needs (normally local proofing). The HP1055 is a sequence of grainy dots and the HP5500uv is a sea of blue, cyan and purple. That's even using the ICC print profiles. A lack of colour calibration cannot be responsible for colour errors of this magnitude!
Like the post above, we have an Epson StylusPro 4800 that whilst it can't cope with the fine lines and small text on maps at least it prints things in the right colour! Only thing is that many of our maps are over A2 size therefore we need to use the plotters.

HELP! please


Chris




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