Computer aided design (CAD)
Best Plotter for CAD Drawings
CAD plotters are essential tools in many design and engineering departments, and various options are available on the market. However, they're also a significant investment, so it’s important to get your next plotter purchase right. In this article, we'll highlight key features to keep in mind when choosing the best plotter for CAD drawings so that you can make an informed purchase.
What Is a CAD Plotter?
A CAD — CAD meaning computer-aided design — plotter is a machine that can produce accurate drawings of objects or 3D models. They are commonly used by engineers, technicians, architects, and others in the construction industry.
A CAD drawing is a graphical representation of a physical object or structure. CAD software can be used to create blueprints, schematics, and 3D models. But you're probably aware of this if you're an engineer, architect, designer, or stakeholder in the construction industry.
What to Look for When Buying a Plotter for CAD Drawings
There are many types of CAD plotters on the market, each designed for different uses and needs. So it’s essential to choose the one that best serves your company’s needs.
The best plotter for CAD drawings should have these three key features:
1. Inkjet Printing Technology
Inkjet printing technology uses an inkjet print head mounted on a moving carriage to deposit ink droplets onto a page. The print head is typically composed of hundreds or even thousands of nozzles that emit small jets of ink.
The most common type of inkjet printer is the thermal inkjet printer. This printer uses heat to vaporize ink droplets, causing a bubble that ejects through the nozzle and onto the paper. This printer is generally more costly than other types but produces high-quality, detailed prints.
There are also non-thermal inkjet printers that use electric charges to direct ink droplets onto the print medium. This type is generally less expensive than thermal inkjet printers but produces lower-quality prints.
Given the need for high-quality and detailed prints with most construction-related design and rendering projects, inkjet printing technology is a must-have utility in the best plotter for CAD drawings.
2. LCD Colour Touchscreen
If you're looking for the best plotter for CAD drawings, then you should consider purchasing one with an LCD colour touchscreen. They can create detailed drawings and illustrations, and they offer many advantages over traditional plotters.
For one, LCD colour touchscreen plotters are incredibly user-friendly with CAD, meaning you don't have to deal with complex controls or manual tools. Everything is conveniently located on the screen.
Plus, they offer stunningly realistic results. Thanks to their high resolution and crisp colours, your CAD drawing will look precisely how it was designed.
Also, if you need to change your drawings later on, LCD colour touchscreen plotters are simple enough to use that you won't struggle with any complicated software or instructions. Instead, you can simply adjust the settings as needed, and you'll be able to produce stunning results in no time.
3. Options for Different Paper Sizes
When selecting a plotter for CAD drawings, it's essential to consider the paper size you'll be using. Some plotters are specifically designed for larger sheets of paper, while others are better suited for smaller sheets.
However, there are plotter printers that can work with a variety of paper sizes between A4 to A0.
Other vital considerations on paper sizes are:
- Calliper — This refers to the thickness of the paper used in printing. Thou or mil is the standard measurement unit for a thousandth of an inch.
- Roll length — Industrial sizes usually range between 150 and 650 feet.
- Core diameter — This refers to the tube holding the paper, which typically measures between two and three inches.
- Roll width — Roll widths can range between 11 and 42 inches or more.
A plotter printer that accommodates a wide range of these four specifications would be most desirable. However, the cost can be an impediment, in which case you can consider one that covers the most paper size modalities you need.
Features of the Best Plotter for CAD Drawings
When choosing a CAD plotter, there are a few key features you'll want to consider.
Here are ten key considerations to factor in your decision:
It must be able to handle various complex plotting tasks, from drawing simple shapes to creating intricate 3D models. Make sure the plotter you select has the capabilities you need in your line of work.
2. Output Quality
Your plotter's print quality affects the accuracy of your drafting and design work. Look for a model with high-resolution graphics that won't distort or pixelate when plotted onto a surface.
3. Ease of Use
A user-friendly interface is critical for quick and easy navigation throughout the plotter's features. Choose a plotter with the most user-friendly interface so you can start your projects quickly. It'll also help you reduce the time and resources required to train your team.
A good CAD plotter should be flexible enough to handle various drafting and design tasks, from creating and printing simple 2D drawings to more complex 3D models. So make sure the plotter you choose has the features you need to complete your job.
Not all CAD plotters are created equal, and the price range can vary significantly. Make sure you choose a model that fits your needs and budget before purchasing. Factor in the acquisition and operational costs in your calculations to get a clear picture of the total outlay. If necessary, conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the various options to get the most out of your investment.
While print quality can compromise a plotter's output speed, the best plotter to choose should be reasonably fast without compromising print quality.
A secure boot process and whitelisting capability are non-negotiable features in the best plotter for CAD drawings. Contrary to popular belief, printers are a low-lying yet lucrative target for cybercriminals. Neglecting this essential factor opens up your company to more cyber threat vectors.
The best plotter for CAD drawings should be compatible with numerous devices, operating systems, and software.
The best plotter should have numerous, easy-to-use connectivity features. This allows for more convenience for users and additional practicality. At the very least, it should have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity features that work with most of your team's devices.
Make sure the plotter you select has a good warranty in case something goes wrong during use. This ensures your money is protected. Also, it's an assurance that the manufacturer believes in the product's quality.
Final Thoughts: Which Is the Best Plotter for CAD Drawings?
A good plotter for CAD drawings needs to be fast and accurate. It should also provide a high level of resolution. To get the best value for your money, you need to look at more than just the price.
When you consider all the different factors in your final decision, you'll be more likely to get the best plotter for your needs. Also, remember, the best plotter for CAD drawings is only as good as it is durable, reliable, and easy to maintain – all attributes associated with HP products given our extensive global market reach and longstanding commitment to providing only the best products for our valuable customers.
Looking for a CAD printer? Contact us today to discuss your printing needs.
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