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graphtec a good start? Need advice!

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by kev_b81, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. kev_b81

    kev_b81 New Member

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    I currently own a traditional print shop and am looking to expand our services. Recently, the opportunity to buy a FC3100 came up. Is this a good machine to get into the business? Where can I learn about the business and sign making (books, tutorials, etc?)
     
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  2. mark in tx

    mark in tx Very Active Member

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    The 3100 series is the lesser priced, and what many consider to be a light duty, non-professional machine. But, it can do the job.

    Getting into the sign business from being a printer seems an odd choice, if its just a sideline for a little profit, then why not partner up with a sign maker?
    You get the markup from wholesale for a lot less headaches.
     
  3. kev_b81

    kev_b81 New Member

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    so do you think this is a bad move..i can pick up the machine for $500

    will it be able to make standard products or am i better off starting with a more expensive machine?
     
  4. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    Partner up with a sign dude. Make a deal. He supplies you with goodies at a wholesale price. You make 20% with no work. Better yet trade out printing needs.
     
  5. TresL

    TresL Very Active Member

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    Which model of the 3100 is it?(how wide)
     
  6. Buddy

    Buddy Member

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    mark in tx.......

    Where do you get your knowledge of the 3100 series Graphtec ?

    The 3100 series Graphtec is the all time most reliable Graphtec industrial type machine ever built. It's the CE series Graphtecs that are the light duty and have only come onto the market recently. Additionally the newer Graphtec if anything have gone down in industrial strength not up (as stated by our vedor).

    The ONLY Graphtecs we've ever had to send in for repairs have been the newer models 4100, 5100's etc. While the 3100's and even older desktop models have been the most rugged and reliable work horses ever built.

    Graphtec started out their plotters as industrial ONLY. And only in recent models have they even considered lighter duty machines.

    Interesting advise you're giving based on what?

    We've owned 6 or 7 maybe 8 or more Graphtecs. Still have 4. Have been using Graphtecs since 1990.........I know Graphtec models inside and out.

    Read the user forums on the most recent Graphtecs (7000 series) and you'll find quirks inherent in the new models that do not and have never existed in the 3100 series.

    Anyway.....just thought I'd ask if you had some Graphtec spec sheet that would state otherwise ? If so let me know. I'd be curious to find out the 3100 series was light duty. Very interesting. We have two of them and that particular model would be the last one I'd consider selling because of it's industrial strength as compared to ALL the other models.

    And your statement: "lesser priced, light duty, non-professional" - - - - - that is just out there somewhere. Bad advise....need to think first, speak second. They are FAR from lesser priced. Sold for around $4,000 new which is MUCH higher by comparison to the newer cheaper models (7000 series). As for non-professional ? We've cut as much as $250,000 worth of decals in a year on one, year after year.....so I don't know how you could get anymore professional than that.

    Crazy advise.
     
  7. mark in tx

    mark in tx Very Active Member

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    Buddy,

    My mistake, I thought I read it was a "CE" model.
    Mea Culpa

    I heartily agree with you on the "FC" series. I have an FC5100 and it is the cats ***. Absolutely no problems with it.

    Sorry if I peed in your cheerios this morning.
     
  8. kev_b81

    kev_b81 New Member

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    its a Graphtec Cutting Pro FC3100-100 ( 42 inch plotter with stand)
     
  9. Buddy

    Buddy Member

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    kev b81........

    Obviously $500 is a good price for the 3100 plotter if it operates properly. But if you have to send it in for repairs then you're looking at around $600 + or - depending on what type of repairs and shipping costs (shipping is expnsive). So just factor that in.

    The 3100 is a powerful / industrial / never die machine. We have two of them (as stated in my post above). They have never needed repairs in the years we've used them. And we use them (don't abuse them) but we cut with them day in and day out. They are NOT entry level machines, NOT light duty machines, NOT cheap machines. Far from it. Graphtec has only made those types of machines in recent years or models. (again see above post)

    There's a lot of advise on this forum that should be classified as either speculation or opinion.....not advise. So beware when you accumulate advise as to the validity.
     
  10. Buddy

    Buddy Member

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    mark tx.......

    I'm just being as *** as always ! ! Don't hesitate to tell me where to get off.......I understand that type of communication clearly !! haaaa

    didn't mean to give you a hard time....
     
  11. mark in tx

    mark in tx Very Active Member

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    No problem dude!
     
  12. k.a.s.

    k.a.s. Very Active Member

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    I have an FC3100-60 it has worked everyday, without interuption for over 10yrs. It has been a great machine.

    Kevin
     
  13. TexasBob

    TexasBob New Member

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    The older model FC series cutters are some of the best out there in my opinion. If you can get a hold of one cheaply, get it - you will be well served. It doesn't hurt to shop around for a spare one while you're at it. In the off chance that you do need to repair it, the extra parts from the spare will come in handy and generally the older the cutter is the harder it is to find the parts for them.
     
  14. kev_b81

    kev_b81 New Member

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    thanks guys..just picked up the machine this weekend..anyone have (or know where to get) a manual..i went to graphtecusa.com and couldnt find my model on the site..i want to learn about hte machine before i start using it.

    also, what are some good resources for a newbie? thanks all!!
     
  15. Buddy

    Buddy Member

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    You email Graphtec tech support........or fax them (sometimes you have to do both bugging them) and they will send to you a link to a .pdf file which includes all the model operators manuals.

    I'll look later and see if I have the link still and if so........I'll post here.

    BUDDY
     
  16. Pro Image

    Pro Image Major Contributor

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    I have a CE-1000-60 that will be ten years old in april......I have never had one problem with it. As for being a "hobby cutter" I have cut over 25 50 yard rolls of vinyl in one month with it. I wouldn't trade it for one of the new cutters out today. CE or FC models.............
     
  17. Buddy

    Buddy Member

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    good post Dustin.....thanks for the 411

    I have wondered what the difference was btwn the CE and FC models besides price. I suppose it might be down pressure ? Will your CE cut sandblast resist ? Also it's possible the CE will not do advanced functions such as repeat cuts ? And perhaps the buffer size memory is not as large.

    If that's the only difference then for 99% of sign shops the CE would be a better choice simply because of the $$ savings in purchase price.
     
  18. Jackpine

    Jackpine Major Contributor

    If that's the only difference then for 99% of sign shops the CE would be a better choice simply because of the $$ savings in purchase price.
    Reply With Quote
    I use a CE3000Mk2 and it is a very good cutter. My only regret was not to get a 30" FC model, but only the 30". Some times size does matter! I had a 20" Roland PNC1000 ( used it for 18 years )and a Roland GX24 ( used it for 4 months) and got along OK. As far as the quality....I am sure the FC series is a better built cutter, but for the money and quality the CE series is a very good choice many.
     
  19. TresL

    TresL Very Active Member

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    I have 2 of the CE-3000 series and have no problems with the actual cutters.

    But, I don't do 25 50 yard rolls a month with them either.
    They can do repeat cut, either through software or through the control panel.

    But, as far as the control panel, I only use a few features.(axis alignment, down force, speed, offset, etc...)

    It does have the option to do rotation and several other features.

    I see the CE3000 series as a gap between the hobby cutters and the high end machines.
     
  20. Jackpine

    Jackpine Major Contributor

    I control much of my cutter with my cutting software. It overrides the plotter. I use the control panel for speed, down force. These I have preset for various task and cutting material.
     
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