Epson T3270 or T3470 Experience?
It looks like my HP-450C has finally given up the ghost. Even with a fresh black cartridge, it's producing blotchy plots.
I don't produce many full-size prints anymore -- most of my deliverables are digital now -- but I still need full-size maps on mylar for recording. I've been toying with the idea of ditching the in-house plotter entirely and relying on a service bureau for the half-dozen or so mylars I need every year. That would mean foregoing the ability to plot full-size check prints, but I guess I can live with that.
The local FedEx/Kinko's can't do mylar, nor can the independent copy shop in town, so I sent the project at hand to a service bureau in Sacramento (about 15 miles a way, it's the nearest one, as far as I know). I got the mylar delivered on the same day, and it looks great. The only problem is that the cost of printing and delivery came to $140.88 for a single 18"x26" mylar. At that price a couple dozen mylars will pay for a new plotter.
So I'm looking at new plotters again. HP doesn't seem to have done anything innovative recently in the small-shop market; the T520 looks like a warmed-over 450C, and I've read a lot of complaints about HP's drivers. I'm looking at the Epson T-series, which look like they might actually be using newer technology. The trouble is, I haven't found any actual user reviews except one by Ralph Grabowski, who got a pre-production T3170 to test. He liked it, but doesn't have any reliability data.
Since I've standardized on 34"x22" or smaller, I can get away with a 24" printer like the T3270 or T3470. (Epson support staff told me that the T3170 isn't recommended for use with mylar, but that both the T3270 and T3470 are.) From what I've gathered the difference between the two is the print head (10-channel versus 4-channel, which translates to the color gamut capability). The latter is also reportedly optimized for workgroup use, whatever that means.
My question, then: Does anyone here have experience with Epson large-format inkjets that they'd care to share?
I can't comment on the T3270 or T3470 but I do have the T3170. I haven't used it enough to say how it's going to hold up but overall I am happy with it, especially for the price.
I haven't tried to print on mylar yet but I can say that there is a definite improvement in the print quality when you change the settings from standard to CAD/Line Drawing.
If you would like a test plot to see the quality, shoot me an email with a pdf and I'll print it and mail it to you. c o r e y f @ p l s - a r . c o m remove the spaces.
Old HP 600 stills works but can't get good ink anymore. Won't do good shading either.
I found a local print shop that will print a 24x36 Mylar for $2.50 if I supply the Mylar. I've thought about telling them to at least double the fee as I don't want them to go out of business. I had a roll of Mylar but probably won't last to much longer then they are going to supply the mylar. Problem is they are about 50 miles away. Can get it next day UPS for about $12 but I need to supply the boxes which are about $1. They should charge to box it up.
The only Mylar's I plot anymore are ones that are required for filing or recording. As soon as I can get around that plotting will be totally dead. You can file records of survey in some counties digitally (none I work in). I'm not sure how we get a subdivision plat done digitally as for the number of signatures needed. Possible but may be difficult to do (get it all signed).
It's hard for a solo operator to justify a good plotter for sure. It inconvenient to not have a plotter.
I also can't comment on those two, but you shouldn't overlook the HP T120
The T120 gets very mixed reviews right here in this forum. A couple say it's great, a couple say it's awful, and at least one says "it's okay, but I'd get something better."
In your experience, how does the T120 do with mylar film? That's my most important criterion.
The mileage charges and extras can make having your product delivered by the printer is too costly unless the client wants to bear that expense.
When that happens, I sent to the reproduction shop and let the client make whatever arrangements and pay for them.
Epsom are some fine printers and always had to be on and were intended for several reams of paper each week.
They are not the turn on let it warm up and make your prints and turn it off equipment, they have some fine ink ports that produce the great print features you want and need to maintain an automated cleaning process for them to be able to do that. Turn them off and the ink will be drying up on the heads.