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Which Plotter to buy?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Hardware' started by rimm, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. rimm

    rimm New Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    Hi Everyone,
    Richard here, and of course I'm new to all of this business. I'm learning all the time and find that this sign making will hopefully be a great addition to my classroom. Actually its not so much the sign making I'm interested in, as space and budget would prevent me from teaching this successfully. Its the equipment which I hopefully can apply to the areas of instruction that I presently teach. I am a High School art teacher in California and I teach stained glass and jewelry making. I'm hopeful that I can introduce my advanced students to this art of sign making from the stand point of working with very small designs on vinyl. We have sandblasting equipment and can regulate the pressure of the media and sand down to pressures as low as o 20 pounds and maybe less. What I would like to do is cut very small designs on vinyl which student would create and transfer these to small pendants of glass, silver sheet or small slabs of rocks about the size of a nickel and quarter. Designs such as chinese symbols, celtic designs, or fancy lettering on their jewelry would be the goal. Can someone recommend a plotter that would be able to cut small designs to accomplish this for me? As far as cost, I will probably be footing the bill as schools are out of money and struggling to keep afloat. Thanks for your time and suggestions.

    Respectfully, richard
  2. sinetist

    sinetist Member

    Jul 2, 2009
    Gabriola BC, Canada
    Most plotters are quite capable of cutting very fine detail but tiny details can be very hard to weed (removing the parts you don't want). You might want to consider this product and process.
  3. Bradster941

    Bradster941 Very Active Member

    Sep 5, 2005
    Really sounds like, (for that size), you need to be looking at a laser engraver.
  4. astrofan

    astrofan New Member

    Sep 16, 2009
    The school that my son attends offers a class called "Tech". It's sort of a combination of wood shop, metal shop, and auto mech in one. They do similar things with sandblasting and I was able to help them by cutting vinyl designs to use on drinking glasses and small mirrors.
    As long as the area to be blasted is at least somewhere around 1" square this can be done. I cut the design for them on cheap intermediate scraps that I had laying around and let the students do the meticulous job of weeding and applying.

    I would start by contacting local sign material suppliers in your area and see if they know of any of their customers that are selling a good used plotter. You should not need anything bigger than 15". Friction feed is better in my opinion because you can feed scraps of media through it. As far as brands go, stay with the brands you see listed in this forum, for your applications any of them should be fine.

    I tip my hat to all you teachers out there that are willing to make sacrifices like you do in order to teach our kids. Call around to to local sign shops in your community (there are always sign shops in any community) and ask if they would cut the projects for you (just keep it simple) on scraps - any color. Most of us should be glad to do something like that. At very least they could provide you with the scrap vinyl so you can cut it yourself, there is always scraps.

    God bless you Richard, the kids are worth it.
  5. SignPainter

    SignPainter Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    One person on signs 101 said he cut 1/16" letters with his graphtec plotter. I personally would have to see it to believe it.
  6. 7oaks

    7oaks Active Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    May I suggest cuttingedgesandcraving.com. Introduce youself in the parlor and get a lot of advice from experienced sand carvers on how to get detail out of vinyl.. photo resist gives better detail but high end. Photograph blasted on christmas ornament is
    pretty neat. sandblasting dollar store glassware is another option.


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