What Is a Plotter Used For?

Whether you are a seasoned sign maker looking to update your machinery or just getting started, plotters are critical to your business. A plotter is used in construction and mechanical computer-aided design applications–it is a computer hardware device that is used for printing vector graphics.

People often mix up plotters, printers, and cutters. A plotter receives commands from the computer and then draws the design on the page or material, a printer prints texts and images after receiving commands from the computer network, and a cutter uses a microblade to score the graphics and images into the material with precise cuts.

It is possible to get an all-in-one plotter. We typically recommend a large Summa flatbed cutter, as it has capabilities beyond plotting. Flatbed cutter plotters are an investment for your business, and the right plotter cutter can take your products to the next level while giving you more space to safely work in. By choosing a plotter that has multiple capabilities, you will have a streamlined production process.

Choosing the Right Plotter

With so many options on the market, it’s easy to not know where to begin. By choosing a plotter that also cuts, you are saving physical space in your work environment and investing in timesaving practices. High-end plotter cutters can plot and cut automatically, and even do back-to-back jobs, but not every business requires that quick turnaround. 

Let’s dive into factors that need to be considered when choosing a plotter.

Evaluate Your Projects

It’s easy to know if you need a plotter for your hobbies or your business. Consider the details, including the size needed for projects you have, the materials you print on, and the number of colors you’ll need. We also recommend factoring in the speed of the plotter and the resolution requirements. If you have a high customer volume, you want a plotter that spends less time printing but can still produce high-quality graphics.

If you are new to using plotters and only need them for small craft projects, it won’t make sense to purchase a large flatbed plotter cutter. If your sign-making business is booming with many large orders, then you likely won’t want a small desk plotter.

By evaluating these factors, you’ll ensure your plotter can handle the types of projects you take on. 

Select a Brand

The market is full of plotter brands, so which one is right for you? You want to purchase a brand that is compatible with your specific plotter pen and plotter items. Think back to our previous point and ask yourself—what are the measurements you typically work with? What specifications are crucial to your business? Choose a brand and model that aligns with your business’s target projects.

Recommendations for Professionals

There are many incredible brands that offer business-grade plotters, but our favorite is Summa. The Summa flatbed plotters and cutters offer twitch all-in-one capabilities that can take your business to the next level. They come in a range of sizes and most can handle multiple materials and types, including rigid materials (e.g., foamboard, MDF) and flexible materials (e.g., vinyl, fabric). 

In Summary

Plotters are a specific category of printing technology that uses pens to draw graphics after receiving commands from the computer. They’re used for producing hard copies of high-quality designs. Many commercial flatbed plotters come with cutting capabilities; we recommend growing businesses invest in a flatbed plotter cutter to streamline their projects. 

Summa is our favorite brand of plotter cutters because of its versatility and state-of-the-art technology. If you find yourself needing software support for your Summa products, call the experts at AirMark. Our team can boost your printing business to new heights with our expertise and selection of plotters!