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Graphtech Vs. Designtech

Discussion in 'Graphtec' started by kilerb, Apr 3, 2006.

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  1. kilerb

    kilerb Member

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    Hi there, I've been looking at 24 inch plotters and I've been reading these forums. I've learned a lot from the posts. It seems that Roland, Summa, and Graphtech are the way to go and to stay away from the Chinese models. I also read on here that the Designtech 60 is actually a Graphtech plotter. If that's true it sure seems like a great value at the signsupplystore.com for only $850. I really wanted to stay at $999 or so. Seems like the 24" plotters that actually have the name brands listed above are about $1600-1700. Can I get any opinions on this? Is the Designtech not as good as a plotter with the name graphtech actually on it? Also, I read that it works with Corel but not Illustrator. I'm using this for T-shirts primarily with vinyl text on them and right now I use Adobe Photoshop for everything I do. Would I be able to make it work with that program somehow? Thanks for any advice in advance, I appreciate it! :)
     
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  2. Prism1

    Prism1 Member

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    I can tell you I have had my Graphtec for 10 Years...NOT 1 problem...knock on my wooden head.
     
  3. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    No!

    all plotters cut from "vector" files. Photoshop is not a vector based program. While it may have remote similarities in the use of paths... Photoshop is a pixel based program & will most likely never be suitable for outputting graphics to any vinyl cutting device.

    Illustrator is an excellent program that interfaces well with photoshop, & one you would find easier to learn if you already know Photoshop. There is at least one program that works with Illustrator to output Illustrator files to a cutter. Magi-Sign is one, & I think Sign-Post may be another. There is also a program that works to drive Gerber Edge print & cut technology from Illustrator.

    As for the Designtech... I have no idea, but if you search out Howard Kieper, he is a member here & also a representative from Graphtec. He would have the facts straight.

    I have a entry level graphtec & it has been a real workhorse for 8 years. It still runs like new. When it did have a sensor go out, I just called Howard & got another one sent out for $40. I'd think the extra money would be well worthwhile if you get a different machine. Most things in life, you get what you pay for... but if a Designtech is the same thing with a different sticker.. then I would have to look at that too.

    Good luck!

    oh yeah... I found Howards profile for you:
    http://www.signs101.com/forums/member.php?userid=2751
     
  4. njsigns

    njsigns Very Active Member

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    I asked the same question about a year ago:

    http://www.signs101.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3776

    In your price range, you may be able to pick up a Roland Stika 15". I started out with that machine. It worked out well for what I was doing at the time. It has since been sold, after a few solid years of service, and I bought another Roland, the GX 24.

    I too was strictly photoshop, and the transition from photoshop to illustrator wasn't easy for me. The problem for me wasn't I didn't understand vectors, it was more that the interface looked so much alike, and didn't perform the same functions (may I recommend Mastering Illustrator CS - great tutorials....). Anyway, the Roland Stika comes with Dr.Stika Plus, which with some seriously large files you can import bitmaps and they will cut fine (I had success at 600 dpi at the actual size you want to cut). Now you will need Ram and Patience!

    As far as cutting vinyl for shirts, I suppose you mean Thermoflex or something like it. Here is the downside - I never had success cutting through thermoflex (I believe it was Thermoflex Plus - which may be thicker - I don't know for sure). I didn't try too many times in fear I would break my Stika. I have heard of others having no problems, but I personally tried a new blade, and blade depth with no real success. It would cut most of the way through, and in places through the liner.

    You might also want to take a look at this thread, especially the bottom 2 posts:

    http://www.signs101.com/forums/showthread.php?p=25426


    Well I hope this information is of some use...

    Gene
     
  5. Howard Keiper

    Howard Keiper Member

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    Doug's info is mostly correct.
    Graphtec does manufacture cutters for both SSK (the Designtec, as you have observed) and Sign Wherehouse. There may be more around the world that I'm not aware of. In any case, these machines are built to provide their respective customers a quality of manufacture better than can be had from the Chinese or Tiwan built units which are certainly adequate, but not Graphtec quality. Having said that, it is also true that although we build the machines, they are not the same as their same-size counterparts in the Graphtec line feature for benefit, nor do they wear the Graphtec label. There is no way that the Designtec can or should be compared to the CE3000 mk II though it may have similar skin. Ditto the S/W Vinyl Express machines. OEM units lose all Graphtec identity including warranty responsibility and Graphtec does not service them.
    To be sure, they are very good machines and well worth a look, but they are not Graphtec twins.

    All Graphtec units ship with software plug-ins to allow cutting from Illustrator (to and including CS2); and Corel (to and including 12, at the moment).

    Howard Keiper
     
  6. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    wow... thats cool.. software plug-ins to cut from illustrator??

    will my old CE 1000-60 be able to use one of those plug-ins? Can I get one? how much?
     
  7. kilerb

    kilerb Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks for all the input. So the Designtech won't have the same warranty and tech help that a Graphtech has, but do you think the quality is comparable? Do you think there are major differences? It is HALF the price of a Graphtech and that would really help me out.

    I believe the type of material that is used for the tees is called Hotmark 70. Or there is another softer feeling one called hot flock which is fuzzy. Anyone ever have issues cutting this material with certain brands of cutters?

    By the way, I believe Adobe Photoshop CS2 uses vector graphics. I'm only using it for text. I have Illustrator and can learn how to make a text file very easily there too I'm sure, just know that the fonts on Photoshop are vector based too.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    I just opened the box for my CS2 suite last week & haven't played around with it much... but I think you are correct to some degree... BUT what will you do with that vector information? You still need a program that can communicate with your plotter.

    Yes, I think the quality is comparable... if you compare them, the real graphtec is better! Major differences? ...well, based on using mine to MAKE money for 8 years... the additional cost is negligible, and the "costs" of cutting corners now... could be far greater over time. Besides, back to that other question.. what program will you be sending your vectors from? will the half-price fake graphtec also come with Illustrator plug-ins?
     
  9. WVB

    WVB Very Active Member

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    What SSK has told me about the differences is:

    Design = 4 settings
    Graphtec = 8 settings
    The speed is slowed down quite a bit from the Graphtec as well as less downforce with the Design.
     
  10. kilerb

    kilerb Member

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    I just called Sign Supply Store (I know, that would've been a great first step heheh) and asked their sales person what the difference was. This is what he said... I guess my question is now, will these differences make a difference to me, someone who is just making text tees with Hotmark 70?

    The differences in the Graphtec CE3000MK2-60 and the DesignTech 60 are follows.

    Graphtec has:

    1.) Tangential cutting

    2.) 8 user presets

    3.) Automatic registration mark sensors

    4.) Cuts at 24 inches per second

    These are the only differences between the machines. Everything else is the same.
     
  11. WVB

    WVB Very Active Member

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    The Graphtec's have True Tangential cutting or is it Tangential Software Immulation? The only plotters I know of that offer both software and True Tangential cutting are the Summa's.
     
  12. Howard Keiper

    Howard Keiper Member

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    Aug 17, 2005
    The quality is comparable (SSK vs CE3000) within limits. The CE will, for the difference in price, as you noted, be a bit more robust...but they are both made by Graphtec...and that alone sells either.
    As kilerb notes, the feature set is markedly different and sets the CE apart from all other 24" cutters on the market...period.
    Tangential control is a concept; different companies execute that in different ways. Summa likes to call their method "true"; we don't....not in our vinyl cutters, anyway...we do use hardware and firmware versions in one of our flatbeds, the FC3600. One is not superior to another any more than a carburator is superior to fuel injection in a car.

    Doug,Yes, Cutting Master will work well in a CE1000 or 2000, and retails for $200. It's free with a CE3000...e-mail me about this, ok?

    hk
     
  13. WVB

    WVB Very Active Member

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    So that I understand this a tangential machine (one motor for which turns the knife 360) is not supior to a tangential software immulation (drag knife) machine? I would find that some what hard to believe hk. If you could shed some light on this I myself would be greatful. Thanks in advance.
     
  14. kilerb

    kilerb Member

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    I know this is probably a dumb question, but if I'm just making text images for tees on the Designtech 60, will I be able to use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator right out of the box? I'm just so used to printers and if the drivers are there, they work with any program. From what I've been reading, this is different?
     
  15. Howard Keiper

    Howard Keiper Member

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    I can't say what software complement ships with Designtec, if any. Graphtec's ship with both Corel and Illustrator plug in's.

    The tangential issue has been debated for years. It's just not necessary for the blade to be manipulated by a motor to keep it oriented into that which is being cut. A drag knife does that rather well. There are some materials that can't depend on swivel action to turn them effectively...leather, fluted materials like e-flute, cardboard carton, thick paint protect film, etc, and for those we do, indeed, use motor or pneumatic means to turn the blade. But for materials normally encountered in signmaking activity from metal-poly to diamond grade, nothing, but nothing beats the Graphtec tangential. I have yet to see any other machine routinely cut perfectly weedable 1/16th" letters in vinyl, Rubylith, or foil. It probably can be done...??
     
  16. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    HEHE!!!

    I for one will not be found cutting nor weeding 1/16th letters. And, I would guess about 99.9% of those on this site will not be doing letters this small either.

    If lettering has to be that small it will be printed in my shop. If it gets done at all. And just for the record. I cannot see to handle letterign this small anyway.

    techman
     
  17. kilerb

    kilerb Member

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    How small is 1/16th lettering? I'm making tees and have no idea how small such a thing would be. I would think my lettering would be an inch or two in height.
     
  18. Howard Keiper

    Howard Keiper Member

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    It's not that you do..., it's that you can.
    hk
     
  19. tinysuperbug

    tinysuperbug New Member

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    Mar 28, 2006
    So, the DESIGNTECH 60 Does not have even tangiental emulation of any kind?


    Oh, yeah. Hi all, :smile: first post. Been gleaning loads of usefull information for a while though.
     
  20. kilerb

    kilerb Member

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    2 questions came to mind. What is this tangiental feature and what does it do for someone? Also, I noticed that most people here are making signs, and I'm making tees. It seems that the type of vinyl used for making tees (Which I believe are hotmark 70 and hotflock?) seem to be sold in 15" width only. I assume it will load into a 24" machine fine, but am I wasting money going with a 24" machine if that's all I'm using it for? I know it will have better resale value, but are their any other benefits in my situation?

    Of course, after reading, it seems the 15" machines are as much as the designtech machine in cost anyway. I'm so confused. :)
     
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