Although the use of graphic plotters has declined since the 1990s, they are still useful in a number of different contexts. A graphics plotter is a machine that prints vector graphics -- graphics made from lines and curves. The plotter creates the images by using moving needles with pens attached. This printer and its function is of value in several different professions and has specific advantages.
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The graphics plotter is particularly effective in printing images that need to be precise. Such images include fine art reproductions, construction plans and product designs. Sectors that work with precise images, such as architecture and graphic design find graphics plotters to be beneficial.
The graphics plotter is well suited to printing large images including maps, diagrams, blueprints, schematics, posters and patterns. It prints up to the equivalent of 1,000 dots per inch (dpi). This equates to high resolution on even the largest of paper sizes.
A graphics plotter user can choose from different types of ink, in an array of colours and qualities. You can change the ink colour, and also the ink line size, by changing the pens on the plotter's needles. This allows you to design and print posters with a variety of different colour combinations and features, on various materials -- even less absorbent materials like vinyl. The choice of ink also lets you print fine art reproductions that match the colours and appearance of the original piece of work. Graphics plotters use different types of paper; you can print drafts on inexpensive paper or archival-quality images on acid-free paper.
One reason why the graphics plotter is ideal for fine arts reproduction is that it can use fine arts materials such as Arches paper and India ink. The plotter is the only digital device capable of deploying such materials.
As plotters create images by drawing lines and curves, they are ideal for producing maps, most of which are in vector form.
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