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Vinyl Plotters

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by stroker79, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. stroker79

    stroker79 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,802

    Does anyone have one?

    I like stickers and I am really into marketing and promotion and see plenty of value in decal type advertisments and sinage.

    I am always thinking of new stickers business and non business related but its too expensive to get randome stuff made here and there.

    So I thought about just buying my own plotter. Id save a buttload of cash in no time quick. I dont need anything big nor can I afford a huge one but I saw one on ebay made by usplotter or something like that and for a 12" plotter it would cost about $250 not including materials like vinyl and backing and whatnot.

    Is that a decent plotter?

    I know this post is all over the place but to those that have one, was it worth it? any brand recomdations? advise?


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  2. carcrz

    carcrz Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    I had one on my "to buy" list, right before an embroiderer. Didn't buy either yet though. Never know when you might need one. There's a lot of information on them on google. I found a couple different brands in that price range & never really heard anything one way or the other on them.
  3. packey

    packey Member
    Messages: 97

    Sound awful cheap. but then I know things in the sigh bussines keep getting cheaper. the 12 inch will only allow for 10 inch characters. Also these smaller units are really light and very slow. Many of the cheap import plotters work off older out of date soft ware. I know this from experience I have a plotter that is 3 years old that will not run of anything newer than windows 98 this is not a problem for me I just use an older computer for that unit. I am just letting you know what to look for. I bet if you are looking Roland makes a sticka machine that is in 10,12,15 inch versions I bet you coul find a used one for not a whole lot. as far as good brands look for roland, lynx, summa graphtec
  4. mnormington

    mnormington Senior Member
    Messages: 156

    I have a US Plotter but it's a 24 inch one. Had it over a year now with no problems whatsoever. Can't complain a bit. Got that for $400 I think. It's paid for itself and then some. One cool thing about it is that it uses blades for a Roland so they are cheap and plentiful.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2008
  5. stroker79

    stroker79 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,802

    thanks for the advise.

    I am still looking for other opinions as well.

    Also, those Roland machines look nice but pricey. Are they something to look at used? or is this one thing you want to buy new?

    here is the unit i was looking at

  6. RYDER

    RYDER Senior Member
    Messages: 281

    I have a 48inch that I bought off Ebay. I made the signs for my trucks and have made a little extra $$$ making decals for my kids and there friends, I even made some signs for a few restaurants. I got in to it when I was helping a friend that owns a sign shop. I learned how and it it pretty easy.payuppayuppayup If you have any questions you can call me(Tom) at 616-889-1133.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,554

    Brands like Roland and Suma have excellent tracking. Eg when you print something really long it doesnt wander. However I bought a 32" a few years back and it cut some monster signs no problem. More then paid for itself. I found out however that after I bought it many people started telling me they had one, and that they would cut me signs cheap. Ah well. Look at what software comes with the plotter. I got Flexi by Amible. It works pretty good. If you get frustrated easily dont get a sign plotter or get into the sign business. Its pretty frustrating when a giant pc of vinyl folds over and sticks to your work area, your arm, your knife and its all crooked.
  8. RYDER

    RYDER Senior Member
    Messages: 281

    Mine is RED SAIL.
  9. RYDER

    RYDER Senior Member
    Messages: 281

    I paid $1000.00 for my 48in with software. and it was worth it. I can give you a web site to go to if you PM me.
  10. stroker79

    stroker79 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,802

    Thnaks everyone. Gives me something to think about a bit more.

    Ryder, sent you a PM

    Anoyone else have any input?
  11. NJ Plowman

    NJ Plowman Senior Member
    Messages: 794

    Don't buy a machine that uses anything less then 15" vinyl. Having to use 12" vinyl limits you severly as to the types and colors of vinyl you can use. Most vinyl comes in 15" and 24" sizes,

    You also need to get a good software program. Flexi and UltraFlex are the best. Roland makes the Roland CutChoice that comes standard with their cutters. The Roland GX24 CAMM-1 cutter is one of the best in the industry. It's about $2000, I have had one for years and it works fantastic.

    Roland makes a cheaper model in 8, 12, and 15 inch models called a STIKA, but it is for hobbiests and not a commercial cutter.

    Mind you we are talking about cutters, all they do is cut one color vinyl, they don't print on vinyl and then cut it out. A printer/cutter like the Roland VersaCAMM 30 inch is about $15,000.

    Hope this sheds a little light onyour vinyl cutting questions...
  12. stroker79

    stroker79 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,802

    Thanks for your help. But I wont be using this plotter for lettering my trailer and truck. I just want to make small stuff. I dont have the cash to buy something for even $500. I am doing this as a low budget type thing. For the big stuff i have a good friend that is in the sign business and he was the one that lettered my trailer and truck. His sign shop is about an hour away so i dont want to pester him for every little idea i come up with. that is my primary reason for buying a smaller plotter. It will probably get a lot of use at my wifes school classroom.
  13. wishin4snoww

    wishin4snoww Junior Member
    from S.E. MI
    Messages: 27

    Us plotters comes with crap for software the only thing it will be good for is regular letters only and all measurements have to be converted very limited. My first one was a usplotter 28" and since upgraded a bit. You get what you pay for.
  14. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    It never occured to me to get my own plotter. I have spent over $500 in the last year lettering my trucks. Could have had one paid off by now.

    I'd have the business name on a lot more stuff if I had my own.

    What is the cost of the vinyl? Length, width, cost?
  15. stroker79

    stroker79 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,802

    yeah thats sorta my reasoning but i think im gonna hold off on the idea until i can gat a better quality unit and a larger one.

    Vinyl is cheap. on ebay you can get a 5 year vinyl on a 12in wide roll thats 50ft long for about $12 plus shipping. basic colors are the cheapest but if you get the metalic looking kind or the chrome kind its a bunch more expensive. i hate putting sign guys out of more work but it really does get expensive fast. I figure ill get one thats 24" wide and leave the big big stuff to my friends sign shop. That way i can nail out the little things on my own like yard signs and cools stickers to put on mowers and equipment.
  16. RYDER

    RYDER Senior Member
    Messages: 281

    It depends on color, with of roll, length of roll, brand of vinyl, and if it is warrantied for outside use and for how long. I buy Oracal in 15inch wide and 50yds long 5year outside warranty for around $55.00 a roll. and $65.00 a roll for Avery brand.
  17. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    That's cheap!!

    I like my sign shop. I have a good time going in and ordering stuff. They have my logo, phone number, sayings, etc on the computer so I go to them instead of another shop. In the beginning they were helpfull coming up with business ideas and stuff. But now I just go in because I don't have my own plotter.
  18. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    When I have ordered they come on a piece of transfer paper, any idea where to get that?
  19. RYDER

    RYDER Senior Member
    Messages: 281

    You can buy the transfer paper from the same place you get rolls of vinyl. Look in your yellow pages under sign supplies or sign making supplies.
  20. mnormington

    mnormington Senior Member
    Messages: 156

    For software, the signcut software that comes with the US plotter works quite well with Corel Draw. As you will find out if you have to look for sign software, this is a MUCH more cost effective solution, just takes more patience to use it.

    Also, don't think you're gonna make a bunch of money with it. It's just like plowing - LOWBALLERS everywhere willing to work for free. But you can make a few bucks to pay for it pretty easy. Go to one of the sign shop forums and you'll see them whining about lowballers just like on this here forum.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008