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Mystery plotter...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Plotters' started by RakerTooth, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. RakerTooth

    RakerTooth New Member

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    Seymour
    I got hold of a plotter from a freind, I don't know yet whether it works, but it shows promise. On the housing, it says "ADC sign runner 5000". There are no other stickers and such, and a Google search was negative. Then I found a sticker inside that says "Newing Hall Inc." That did turn up some info on a search, but nothing about plotters specifically. The company is big into engraving machines, and other stuff. I guess they sell a limited number of sigh plotters, and that's what this is, no doubt. Friction feed or punched, with 7 different widths possible for the punched wheel.

    It's a big, neat-o looking machine, and maybe even made in the US. I won't be able to contact the company till monday. In the meantime, I'll probably try running it with a Roland driver, or an old HP pen plotter driver. They're all HPGL as far as I know, and it's surpising how interchangeable some of these old drivers are. I think sometimes they're called "generic drivers".

    Anyway, has anyone seen or heard about this company or plotter? Thanks for any help.
     
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  2. Replicator

    Replicator Major Contributor

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    How 'bout a couple of pictures there RakerTooth . . . . and Welcome aboard !
     
  3. masterdesigns

    masterdesigns Member

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    No idea on the plotter; I would be amazed if the ink and printheads are working; let us know how you make out.
     
  4. mladams7259

    mladams7259 Very Active Member

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    Pics would be great!
     
  5. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    That sounds like an different, perhaps evolved version of the Newing-Hall AccuTrac plotter which I mention in this post earlier this month. It was a helluva plotter.

    It featured both tractor feed and friction feed from less than 12" to 36" vinyl widths and a tangential cutting head. I'm pretty sure, if it's the same or similar, that you can drive it with an HPGL driver if you want to go to the trouble.

    One of the downsides of the plotter was the difficulty of getting the blade depth right. The blade holder had a set of small roller bearings to set the depth and it was extremely awkward. If what you have is the same, I would also suspect that getting replacement blades could be a problem.

    Newing-Hall is your best bet for definitive answers though.
     
  6. andy

    andy Active Member

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    From what Fred says your machine sounds similar to my pair of Vytek cutters.

    These have variable friction capability upto 36" and the ability to run sproketed vinyl. Cutting is tangental not drag so it's great for small letters.

    My blade holders have a pair of circular bearings mounted vertically either side of the blade.

    If your machine has the same head as a Vytek you need Houston blades- ones for DMP60's fit straight into Vytek heads. Houston compatible blades are still easy to find- here in the UK at least.

    I have a UK and a US spec machine both are getting on for 20 years old but still cut perfectly. Speed is pretty good- not as fast a newer machine but still good enough.

    If you have a long drive roller which runs the width of the machine you need to check that the grit on it hasn't worn away. These machines use a rough surface on the drive roller to friction feed- after years of use the roller wears smooth.
     
  7. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    That's interesting Andy as to how things work out. Your plotter was originally designed and marketed in the UK by Norris-Booth, then licensed for manufacture to Newing-Hall who then sublicensed the manufacture to Vytek, who then split off and added their own modifications and eventually sold a pair to you. :Cool 2:
     
  8. RakerTooth

    RakerTooth New Member

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    Seymour
    Fred and Andy, it sounds as though what you're talking about is very close. Thanks for the info. I'm going to try and post an image here, it might take a few tries.

    The long grit roller is in great shape, but I'm concerned about how the blade holder (red Mcdealy) holds the blade right over the grit roller. Man, one time of cutting through the backing paper, and toast-o blade-o.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    wow... no teflon strip under the blade? I agree that doesn't sound like good design to have the blade over the grit roller... even when the blade is not set too deep.
     
  10. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    That looks exactly like the Accutrac. My guess is that some dealer has relabelled it. I sold about a half dozen of them before giving up on being a systems dealer. That was 1991-1992. I don't recall at this point why ... but I don't recall the grit roller as having any problem with the blade touching it.

    Tim Booth used to demonstrate the strength of the motors in it by holding onto the vinyl while a second person would slew the vinyl backwards. Instead of jamming the motors, the entire plotter would be pulled towards the person holding the vinyl.
     
  11. Replicator

    Replicator Major Contributor

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    Cool looking antique . . . Thanks for the pic !
     
  12. RakerTooth

    RakerTooth New Member

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    Seymour
    I got ahold of Newing-Hall support, here is what they said:

    ************************

    We have never supplied drivers for the Accutrac 439. Software manufacturers
    always took care of it. Basically need a driver that will send HPGL to the
    plotter.
    Baud rate settings and such may need to be determined. In order to do that
    we need to know the types of boards in the machine otherwise you can guess
    trial and error for com settings.

    ********************

    They identified it as an Accutrac 439. I'm not sure I'll look to see what types of boards are in it, might have to. My other machines all have the same settings: 9600, 8, 1, etc.

    I've been tinkering around with it, here is what I noticed:

    At some point, maybe when I turned it on, I saw the blade holder turn around, so I know it's capable. But I was able to get it to do a test cut (circle inside a square) and it didn't turn. Most of the cut was torn.

    I can't remember how I got it to perform the test cut. I pressed certain buttons in a cetain sequence, But I can't do it again.

    I hooked up a serial cable to a couple of different ports, and tried several drivers, but the test job just sat in queu. I tried a driver for Roland Camm1, HP draftsmaster pen plotter, and a better aftermarket driver for the same HP machine.

    Does anyone remember how to operate the buttons? Does anyone have a driver, or manuals for this machine? Thanks for any help.
     
  13. RakerTooth

    RakerTooth New Member

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    Seymour
    Bump...

    I dusted this machine off last night, and started tinkering with it again, I got further along than before, I can reliably run the test plot, and this machine is in great shape. At this point I have 3 questions, can anybody help me out?


    1: Is the HPGL driver mentioned above the same as the HP pen plotter driver or the Roland Camm 1 driver?
    2: Does anyone have a driver they can give me for this plotter?
    3: Does anyone remember what kind of port this had? Any chance it was SCSI?
     
  14. sarge

    sarge Active Member

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    i would assign it any availabe port you have .. if you dont have one create one .. you can create a lpt3 or 4 if you have to .. i hardly think it was scsi .. i would more think it would be serial before scsi .. i am not so sure it was set up for cutting vinyl so much as maybe drawing schematics .. it is the lack of a teflon strip that gives me the idea .. i looked at my list of drivers in autocad and that plotter doesnt get a hit
     
  15. John L

    John L Very Active Member

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    I am trying to understand this one. The grit roller is there to provide a friction grip below the vinyl where the pinch rollers above are pressing down, yes? How can the blade be passing across the grit roller also?
     
  16. RakerTooth

    RakerTooth New Member

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    Seymour
    Sarge, I was wondering about the port on the machine, not the computer. I have a bunch of different cables lying around, there may be one I haven't tried yet. It definitely is a cutter machine, because the action is tangetal, no need to lift a pen at the corners.

    John L, pretty simple, the tool holder/carriage head works between the two pinch rollers, just like a Roland Camm 1, only it cuts on the roller bar instead of a designated vinyl strip.

    At any rate, it cuts really well, I have repeated the little square and circle test cut a number of times.

    Also, a big thanks :cool1:for continuing to help with this relic, to have a 24 and 36 inch punched plotter would be awesome, and this thing is in great shape.
     
  17. Cadmn

    Cadmn Very Active Member

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    might use parallel port most serial setups I've used run on the 8,none,one setup
     
  18. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Going from memory ...

    The plotter uses a serial connection.

    The unit is 36" with sprocket drive using a standardized IBM punch pattern and also has friction feed. I doubt you will have much luck finding punched vinyl in that width. Trying to remember, and it seems to me that the sprocket width was adjustable, so you could probably run 15" punched vinyl with it.

    Pretty sure it would run on HPGL output. Any drivers you might find would have been written for DOS. I don't think the plotter was popular enough to make it through the transition to Windows taken by the software publishers of the day. Every one that I installed was setup with CasMate (DOS version).

    The plotter is built like a tank and cuts beautifully. It is a tangential tool head with an adjustable depth control comprised of two roller bearings with the blade fitting between them. Getting the depth set right was the only negative about the plotter that I recall.

    Here's one source I found for replacement blades.

    Advanced Plotting Devices claims their Design Art software will drive the Accutrac. Here's a link to their plotter driver page.
     
  19. RakerTooth

    RakerTooth New Member

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    Seymour
    Hmmm, didn't think about the DOS part. Still, even if connected via serial to a Win 2000 box, there should at least be a "found new hardware" message pop up when the cutter is connected, and turned on, but there isn't.
    That's the problem I'm dealing with now. I've swapped drivers around before, on other cutters, and had interesting results. Even if the starting point of the cut was way different than what print preview looked like, there was some transmission of data. If I can get it to that point, I'll zero in on the right driver, but for now, I'm concerned whether the port/wires/board/chips are working in the cutter. I've seen these ports get damaged by lightning EMP and whatnot.
    Thanks again for the help, talk to you tomorrow.
     
  20. andy

    andy Active Member

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    Your machine is exactly the same as mine.

    I have always run my machines through sign wizard and have a driver for a US spec machine (I have a US imperial geared machine and a UK metric one).

    The cutting heads are indeed tangential which give you better results on smaller cutting than drag blades do. The head assemblies I have are scrounged from an old Houston DP60 which is also an antique machine.

    The grit roller isn't a bad design nor is it a problem, in fact it's better than today's wear strips. As long as you set the depth accurately you can cut all day every day and never strike the roller- in 25 years I don't think I've ever scrapped a blade by hitting the roller. Take the head off the carriage and run it over a piece of scrap vinyl until you get the cut depth you want and put it back on the machine- job done. These machines are uber precise so once you set the blade depth it never deviates.

    These machines look old fashioned because they come from an era when vinyl cutting cost a lot of money to get into- in return for a lot of cash the machine manufacturers gave you an industrial machine not a plastic toy.

    If you weren't so far away I would be very keen to buy your machine as another backup.
     
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