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24" plotter recomendations

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Plotters' started by rhodek01, Sep 2, 2006.

  1. rhodek01

    rhodek01 New Member

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    Hi all,

    So we have setteled on just buying a 24" plotter for now and cutting out solid color cell phone skins, so we can start to get a sense of the volume we might be able to do, then expand to printable down the road in a couple of months.

    The problem - what plotter to get. Again, we are trying to keep costs as low as possible, and will be plotting the shapes of cell phones over and over. I found this one http://signsupply.com/Hardware/GraphiCut/GraphiCut.asp but don't know anything about the brand. If somebody has a used 24" cutter that they want to get rid of - we are very intersted, as long as it actually works. Apparantly there aren't so many on ebay - at least not that I would trust the listing.

    Brand advise?
     
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  2. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    Exactly why do you figure that cutting the same pattern over and over would warrant a lesser machine than cutting all manner of shapes? Do you figure that somehow the mechanism will get used to it and not have to work as hard? Perhaps that doing repetitive work might drive a better machine insane but a lesser unit would be like hiring a representative of the mentally indisposed?

    That one looks suspiciously like the old Sign Warehouse Panther/Lynx/whatever. The end covers appear identical, I'm not sure about the control panel.

    Go with Graphtec, Summa, or Roland. Assume for the nonce that all else is junk. That's a wide brush and any given example from another name may or may not be but garbage you don't know enough to be able to tell the difference. Never, as in ever, by el cheapo tools. If you do you'll just get to buy them again and again. Likewise, listen to anything anyone selling a plotter has to say with a jaded ear.
     
  3. rhodek01

    rhodek01 New Member

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    thanks for the advice. I meant not that it was doing the same thing over and over, but that cell phone shapes are relativly simple - circles, squares - as supposed to complex contour patterns.

    If we have to buy again - that might be okay. We are starting with solid colors, but then if all goes well plan to upgrade to a versacamm and do printable phone skins as well. So anyways in six months we will be buying. We just don't have the funds right now - and have no idea how popular the product will be - so we figured a cheap machine and solid colors will allow us to test the waters without going overboard.

    But again, thanks.
     
  4. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    Summa D60 is the most bang for your buck in my opinion if you are set on a 24" plotter, i especially like that it will allow you to feed material up to 30" through the machine (it will only cut 24" of that) but it is nice to have the option should a distributor be out of a size you need. Quality machine, great customer service.

    But whatever you do stick with a reliable professional machine, Summa, Graphtec, Roland, Gerber....or more than likely you will find yourself buying another machine either because it is unreliable, does not produce quality products (drifting material, poor cutting, etc), and if you need it customer service can be VERY difficult to receive on some of the cheaper brands.

    One last thought buy the biggest plotter you think that you will need, you can always panel larger jobs but the price difference between a 24" and 30" in my opinion will pay for itself in no time at all, if it is in your budget.

    i do think it is a odd business model trying to sell solid color cell phone skins when there is a multitude of designs out there being sold for very low cost, i would think that i would want the ability to print unique designs versus being limited to selling solid color or specialty film products only. or even better yet to find a wholesale source and simply stock a nice variety of designs and if you have a design idea that you believe would be a HOT seller have it manufactured, this seems to be a much more profitable scenario and also giving you a much wider variety to offer to your potential customers....just my thoughts.
     
  5. rhodek01

    rhodek01 New Member

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    basically, we are still figuring out the printing custom graphics part. you see - we already own a cell phone accessories kiosk - our max workspace for printing skins would be about 40" which is way smaller than almost any product on the market. We have looked at the gerber edge system, but those are very expensive, and even used, they are pricey. Especially since like I said although we are convinced that the product will be wildly popular, you never can tell until you actually try to sell it.

    For years now we have carried solid colored and patterned face plates, and believe it or not - the solid colors are the most popular. For that reason we have decided to start with just a cutter and solid colors. We will probably do metallics, holographic, and reflective ones as well. That will give us a better guestimate on volume. That will allow us to make a better decision on price.

    Also all the printer/cutters (including the edge) I have been told don't have great resolution, because they weren't made to be photo printers. But we want to offer photo printing on the skins. So we are playing around with other options like an epson 4800, and a laminator. We would cut blank white templates on our cutter at home for each of the phone models, and then would print onto them at the store.

    We also have to keep it simple, because it would be our run of the mill employees who are doing the skins on the spot. We hired them because they cell accessories well, not because the necessarily have graphic and computer expertise.

    You are right - we could get them wholesale and try to stock a bunch of good designs - but that kind of defeats the point. We run into the same problem that we do with the face plates - you can't predict what people want, and if you try - like 20 people a day look at your designs and say - ehhh that's not what I was looking for.

    We are definatly going to move onto printing at the kiosk, we just haven't figured out the best way to do it yet.
     
  6. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    do not get birds, or cats, or any other cutter that does not say,,,,
    GERBER, GRAPHTRC, SUMMA, or ANAGRAPH on it..
     
  7. Bradster941

    Bradster941 Very Active Member

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    Not that I’m indorsing this by any means, but I have on occasion cut white vinyl into 8 ½” by 11’ sheets and ran them through my color laser printer to print a picture.
    Note; this is a high risk way of doing it and is for short term prints and honestly I wouldn’t send precut blanks through it, only full sheets.
    At under $300 for a color laser at least you wouldn’t be out much if it gets smucked up.

    You say you have 40” to work with so a laser printer is around 20” wide leaving enough room for a little Stikka 15” cutter, providing it’s friction / roller feed. Just a thought.

    Of course, a better thought is to simply have 6 to 10 layouts to choose from for your customers and have a merchant member like Ink Fish run you off 500 or a thousand to see if your idea is going to be profitable. That would be the lowest risk way to go about it. Good Luck.
     
  8. Just Me

    Just Me Active Member

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    I also agree with the Summa D60 as I have one and its a workhorse, but if your trying to save money and get an entry-level machine....

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Vinyl-Cutter-Cutters-w-SignBlazer-software-JSI-P-24_W0QQitemZ290022991445QQihZ019QQcategoryZ26245QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    www.ebay.com item no.290022991445

    the JSI 24" vinyl cutter is the way to go, I have one of these also and has been an absolute workhorse, cutting everything from florescents to holographic vinyl, it has been a great machine!

    at $549.00 it wont break the bank either!
     
  9. magsigns

    magsigns New Member

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    i've had expensive and cheep plotters. at one time roland was considered a cheep plotter.

    the only thing i would want to know is can u get parts for it.

    the cheeper the the plotter i found is the easier it it to fix if something goes wrong. and i mean fix it your selve. servo motor, belts, power supply, controler board.

    i bought one of those cheep 24" plotters over 3 years ago. 1st weak i had it servo motor burned out. company sent me a new one 3 days latter.i installed it myself
    havent had a problem since.

    i use to buy only the best and most expensive. not any more. today the best just means the most expensive. not necassarly the best.

    roland, graphtec, gerber way over priced and rated.

    if u buy a 24 in plotter make sure it can handle 30" material. will keep drifting to a minimum.

    Ed
     
  10. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    another thing i think i should add after reading your reply and noted that you want to do holographic films...etc, most of these films are metalized polyester (such as Arlons metalized polyester 07 silver...the ones that look like crome, not glitter for lack of a better description in trying to put colors into words)these materials do not conform the same as cast and calendered vinyls and i forsee a problem getting them to adhere to the complex shapes of a cell phone especially around the rounded corners where the top meets the side as it will wrinkle and the material just does not have the "give" and stretch that "normal" vinyls do....so this is definitely something that i would recommend that you experiment with b4 selling the product to your customers....

    i have printed vinyl with metallic gerber edge ribbons to overcome this problem and it has worked great (especially for outdoor applications as metallized polyester materials are not recommended for outdoor use or at least not for any length of time, i know this isnt a issue for you but added it for anyone who may be reading this thread that may need a alternative to metalized polyester for outdoor application.)

    i have seen the older gerber edges for sale at very affordable prices, just make sure that if you find one you find out how much time is on the head and call gerber with the serial number and find out the history and maintenance on the machine, in addition you would also need to add a gsp15" plotter to this setup so that you could cut out the shapes after printing, unless you were to make a die for each model cellphone and then punch out the print but this would make it so that you could not use the printer for any other potential signage application and with the multitude of cellphone brands and designs would require quite a library of dies and the time to make them would probably justify buying the plotter:rolleyes: .

    i personally have no experience with the ALPS printers but i know that many people print onto vinyl with them as this may be another affordable route for you to experiment with printing on vinyl, i have heard that there will be no support on the ALPS printers at a upcoming date but i do not know if there is any merit to that statement, you can find them on ebay.

    Now myself i would watch the sign forums, the yahoo sign forums, ebay, etc...as the sign market is flooded with digital printers and print and cut machines at the moment and keep my eyes open for a used opportunity at a good price, hopefully one that was not in a production shop but a hobbyist who had big dreams and learned the realities of our industry and has to unload it.

    Additionally, the technology is advancing so quickly that new and "improved" machines are becoming available seemingly everyday this again is going to provide a market of used machines as people replace the machines that they have. This explosion in the digital market is also quickly making the machines less expensive, so if you are in a position where you can practice a little patience i would bet you could find a machine that would fit into your budget and produce the product you are after. Just be ready for the learning curve, it is time consuming and costly, do not think that you are going to buy the machine place it into your kiosk and be producing product immediately...especially with a staff with limited to no graphics background.
     
  11. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    Now you are merely makeing these machines into a commodity.
    Thats a laugh,, No, thats pure bullscatt..
    Just look around the many BBS boards and read what is said about the cheaper machines. All of them fail their owners in some way some day. Even yours had a problem the first week you had it.

    Good Tools COST. Junk Tools Cost MORE. If what you say is true ,, why is it that snap on, and other higher priced tools sell so well? Its because those who use those tools know that weak tools waste time and cost more money.

    In my bizz, a machine that does not perform first time every time is GONE. I do not have time to fix a machine when production is waiting. A cheap low end cutter will never make it..
     
  12. Cadmn

    Cadmn Very Active Member

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    other options like an epson 4800, and a laminator. We would cut blank white templates on our cutter at home for each of the phone models, and then would print onto them at the store.

    If I remember correctly that is total opposite of the correct way to do things but then I'm not the one doing cell phone covers . personally I think you are throwing your money into a hole that won't give it back but hey go for it many others have , you can get custom covers of of ebay
     
  13. johnny_loves_amy

    johnny_loves_amy Member

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    As far as the printing goes, you had better be looking for a laminator too. Hands rubbing printed vinly + no laminate = no repeat business.. Just a thought...
     
  14. mnapuran

    mnapuran Active Member

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    I have a 24" pro cutter for sale... upgraded to a 54". PM me for more info if interested.
     
  15. NukeProof

    NukeProof Member

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    Summa D60 all the way
     
  16. Doug Pulver

    Doug Pulver Member

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    I don't know if you found a cutter yet but there is a Suma D60 on Ebay for $795.00. Item #220300080471
     
  17. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    I'm sure he found one by now. This thread was started two years ago.
     
  18. kustomsigns&designs

    kustomsigns&designs Member

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    HOW FREAKIN FUNNY, i was just reading away, like it was all new
     
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