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Advice on lower cost plotters

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(I originally asked this in a caving forum - and got few answers. Hoping this group has more experience in this matter. This a little more specific then the previous printer thread here.)

After spending 10$/ft2 for a color output at Kinkos (yes thats 120$ for a 2 - 36x24" maps) I have started looking 'round for an affordable large scale printer. From my point of view, I dont have to print a lot of maps to make this pay out.

My requirements:
- Color
- 24" wide
- roll stock
- 1500$ or less

So far I have found the HP designjet 90 series and the 130 series. Does anyone have any experience with these in terms of cartography, or failing that, photography?
? - Are there other printers I should be looking at?
? - How should I care about resolution. Especially for printing maps do I care if it is 1200x1200 or 2600x2600, or is this paying more for unneeded resolution
? - From what reviews I can find, it seems these printers are replacing line plotters in some offices - is this true?
? - My previous use of a HP designjet (8 years ago) had me throwing away ink cartridges as they would dryout and jam if not used frequently. However my home printer does not seem to have this problem. Has this been solved (This is important as this will not be a high throughput printer)?

Any help, suggestions, or tips will be appreciated!




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My limited experience with the HP designjet series (24 inch roll) is that they give good sharp printouts, even very small text (4 pt.) is readable and crisp. I haven't seen any problems with ink cartridges drying out on a printer that sometimes sits for a few weeks between print jobs. Of course your results may vary, but my experience with them has been very good.

Dave Barnes
Map Geek

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