Types of plotters

Types of plotters

A plotter is a special output device used to produce hardcopies of graphs and designs on the paper. A plotter is typically used to print large-format graphs or maps such as construction maps, engineering drawings and big posters. Plotters are divided into two types:

1. Drum plotters
2. Flatbed plotters

Drum Plotter
A drum plotter is also known as Roller Plotter. It consists of a drum or roller on which a paper is placed and the drum rotates back and forth to produce the graph on the paper. It also consists of mechanical device known as Robotic Drawing Arm that holds a set of colored ink pens or pencils. The Robotic Drawing Arm moves side to side as the paper are rolled back and forth through the roller. In this way, a perfect graph or map is created on the paper. This work is done under the control of computer. Drum Plotters are used to produce continuous output, such as plotting earthquake activity.

Flatbed Plotter
A flatbed plotter is also known as Table Plotter. It plots on paper that is spread and fixed over a rectangular flatbed table. The flatbed plotter uses two robotic drawing arms, each of which holds a set of colored ink pens or pencils. The drawing arms move over the stationary paper and draw the graph on the paper. Typically, the plot size is equal to the area of a bed. The plot size may be 20- by-50 feet. It is used in the design of cars, ships, aircrafts, buildings, highways etc. Flatbed plotter is very slow in drawing or printing graphs. The large and complicated drawing can take several hours to print. The main reason of the slow printing is due to the movement mechanical devices.

Today, mechanical plotters have been replaced by thermal, electrostatic and ink jet plotters. These systems are faster and cheaper. They also produce large size drawings.