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What Plotter Brand Would You Give Your Highest Recommendation To?

Discussion in 'Polls' started by Fred Weiss, Jun 15, 2005.

What Brand of Plotter Would You Most Highly Recommend?

  1. Allen Datagraph

    6 vote(s)
  2. Gerber

    28 vote(s)
  3. Graphtec

    75 vote(s)
  4. Lynx

    4 vote(s)
  5. Mimaki

    9 vote(s)
  6. Mutoh

    2 vote(s)
  7. Panther

    16 vote(s)
  8. Roland

    54 vote(s)
  9. Summa

    53 vote(s)
  10. Generic Chinese

    8 vote(s)
  11. Other

    9 vote(s)
  1. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    What's the brand of plotter you would most highly recommend to a friend?
  2. Marlene

    Marlene Major Contributor

    Jun 8, 2004
    I've never used anything but Gerber plotters. I'm never down due to break downs and when a problem has come up, it's only been a small fix that was no big deal. I
  3. Leondo

    Leondo Member

    May 17, 2005
    Generic Chinese! they make great stuff like fried rice :thumb:
  4. TC49010

    TC49010 Active Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    I have only used Roland so I cant give input on any others.

    Never been down to machine problems, just owners learning curve!! :)

  5. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    Hopefully a newbie will take into consideration most of us have only used one brand of plotter and they should purchase according to an educated search. I have used almost every major brand plotter out there but really can't discount a Panther or a Lynx simply because I have never used one. (though if it's any help, I would never by a plotter where it has a limited distribution)
  6. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    Rick, the poll is really an outgrowth of some thread discussion about opening up the Reviews section. This poll is one of the more common questions that gets asked here and the results express opinion rather than an impartial review.
  7. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    We've used a few different makes. Currently, our vinyl cutting and pattern plotting is done with Graphtec models. We used Allan Datagraph stuff for awhile, but had some repeated problems with them. Gerber's stuff is pretty decent (but pricey). Our studio had a Signmaker 4B plotter for a long time; it was sold a few years ago to a cemetary headstone maker. We also had a larger, old Gerber S750 that I wanted to throw out a window whenever I had to use it. It really stank at drawing paper patterns.

    Plotters can still have their problems these days. But with how much more powerful computing technology has become, most new plotters can handle what's thrown at them much better.

    That doesn't get you past some of the physical problems. Huge paper install patterns (for things like routed building letters and graphics) can still be a pain to produce. If my artwork requires the plotter to draw something like a horizontal rectangle over 10 feet in length, I'll often break up the path into several smaller line segments to force the plotter to draw all the artwork from left to right. You risk mashing up your pattern paper if the plotter is having to go back and forth across long lengths of paper to draw objects.
  8. geb

    geb Very Active Member

    Apr 23, 2003
    I chose Summa in this survey mainly for the positive's I've heard about it from users, seeing it in person at a trade show, and it seems priced well for someone starting out.

    I've used Roland, Ioline, gerber s750(years ago), and presently anagraph and allen datagraph. They have all performed well, some better than others. The last three years I have watched for sale ads on ebay and sign forums on the net. Very few used summa's are available, I figure that says alot about their quality in my opinion.

  9. jimdes

    jimdes Active Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    It would be a real close call between the Graphtec and the Summa but after having checked into both brands and calling for some technical answers, the summa wins it by a nose.

    Customer support at Summa was able to answer questions about alignment, maximum force and pinch roller replacement without any wait. Graphtec had the answers in what I assume was either a brochure or computer data base but they seemed less confident in their answers.

    I have used the Gerber 4B, Graphtec CE1000, Vinyl Express Lynx-60 and an older Allen Datagraph. All have had their quirks, positive points and negative points. The best advice I can give is to READ as much as you can about your plotter and understand what makes it tick and learn how to fix the problems that can shut you down.
  10. Spot Color

    Spot Color Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    I've had several in the past but if I was buying a new one this morning it would likely be the Mimaki or Graphtec.

    I voted other because I have owned an Anagraph for about 4 years and it's been a work horse. Also, the Ana is the only cutter I know that will cut outside of the pinch rollers. Pretty cool, huh? That may not sound like a lot but it's a real time and material saver.

    Oh, BTW, I own a Gerber also. As far as I can tell it's overpriced by about $5000.00. Who ever invented the thing sure didn't have to actually use it. But, that's just my thoughts on it. Your results may vary.
  11. WVB

    WVB Very Active Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    I have used Roland (Stika SX-12) and the thing I liked about Roland was their tech support. It has been over two years now that I have owned the Roland and sinced moved up to a 24" Panther at the time due to pricing. In any event Roland to this day still calls me up to check to see how I am doing and if there is anything they can do for me. VERY impressive.

    I voted for the Panther since a 24" model is the average I would guess. The two negatives about the machine is one no auto registration mark sensors. (Now they come with them problem solved) the other has nothing to do with the machine itself rather who dist. them which is only one company - signwarehouse. The machine has never let me down, has never had any issues with cutting or tracking up to around 16' so far. Very easy to use, comes with a DVD which shows you how to opperate the machine as well maintain it in excellent condition. Very good build quality and has held up so far. I really like the media roll flanges, it holds the vinyl in place where it should be while tracking. I cut decals at the factory set ips at 23.5 with downforce set to 3.17 reflective set to 5.9 at the same ips. The machine gets moved around a lot - every weekend for that matter.
  12. Kevin T

    Kevin T Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    I love our Graphtecs and Gerbers. The best built machine I ever owned was a Gerber GS15, over 10 years no troubles built like a tank and noisy as one as well. :Big Laugh I've had Rolands as well and they were ok but tracking over the long cuts was dicey sometimes. The FC4100-130's have been wonderful machines for us, just change the blades. The Envision we use for cutting Edge graphics is only 6 months old but has performed very very well. Gerber is priced right for my money as a companion to the Edge.:smile:
  13. ReedAerospace

    ReedAerospace Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    I started out with a ROLAND PNC900 but I was going bald from pulling out my hair listening to it cut. I have a Graphtec FC5100-75 now .It is fast ,dependable

    and quiet. It has no problems on Print/cut jobs. An excellent machine.
  14. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

    Apr 18, 2003
    I've only used the Summa D60 and have been impressed with both the machine and the service. I don't call service often, and it is usually about a setting or CoCut, and not a problem with the cutter itself. Having said that, I'd still heavily consider a Graphtec FC5100 or FC7000-series cutter as an additional cutter due to their reputation and the fact that they have OPOS for considerably less than the comparable Summa.

    I've sent several people to Summa for the D60, so that should say something about them.
  15. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

    Mar 12, 2005
    New England
    I've mostly used Gerber plotters, starting with the 4B.

    Now have a Super Sprint that's been going strong for 15 years.
    I have used Anagraph and it was OK.
    I have been spoiled by the Gerber, endless tracking without a problem, they
    run forever.
  16. Baz

    Baz Very Active Member

    I clicked on chinese brand just cuz it made me laugh so much i had to vote for it :Big Laugh
    I was working with Gerber plotters since the 4b was out, moved to the Sprint and Supersprint (that thing had awesome speed!) and finally the shop i worked for went with 3 GSX-15. All of them were total work horses. Cutting from 8 to 5 (many times later) monday to friday, year after year.

    I bought my 24" Roland Camm1 in '98 and the only time it had to be sent for repairs was in 2000. Twice in one month i touched it and static blew the mainboard. This was caused from dry winters in my basement. It hasnt caused me any problems since.

    The only thing i dont like from it is cutting long straight lines. It's easy to shift off track. But this is minor and hasnt caused me any production problems. My SC-500 is an outstanding plotter!! Twice as fast as my Camm1 and tracking is awesome on 48"-54" material.
  17. uneedasign

    uneedasign Active Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Palm Desert CA
    I am shocked that I am the only one that likes the allen datagraph plotter. I purchased my model 830 with gold touch head used in October of last year, that was originaly purchased in '97. When I recieved the plotter, it had been neglected, never serviced. I have had great customer suport from the manufacturer, and this thing has over 500 grams of down force. I just did a logo for the side of a trailer, 13.5' long, and I hand NO tracking problems.
  18. cOrKinSA

    cOrKinSA Very Active Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    Does everyone still feel the Graphtec as a winner over Summa now that 3 years has past on this poll?
    Reason I ask is because I am torn between the Vinyl Express, Graphtec, and Summa with Summa coming in as a winner.
    Possibly having to order a cutter today.
  19. Case

    Case Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    Graphtec FC7000MK2 all the way..... Awesome Machine and Reasonable Price....

  20. Air Art Girl

    Air Art Girl Very Active Member

    Nov 26, 2006
    I have only used Rolands.