My DesignJet 450C is now 18 years old, and while it hasn't exactly been trouble-free, in general I've been pretty satisfied with its performance. But this morning its yellow cartridge crapped out, and ink cartridges for it are no longer being manufactured. I can find new-but-expired cartridges on eBay, but I don't know if they'll work, and their availability going forward is likely to be limited. I thought this might be the time to explore the service bureau option again.
I plotted the drawing I need to PDF and sent it to FedEx/Kinko's. It's a 2-sheet 24"x36" topo in color, and I need 2 copies of each sheet on bond paper. FedEx just called and said that the cost will be $57 and change. That seems kind of pricey, especially when I just need check prints. The FedEx guy said if I went with B&W the cost would be around $31, but even that seems like a lot. Maybe I'm just cheap. (Okay, there's not really any maybe about it.)
I don't generate many prints these days -- most of my deliverables are digital -- but I do need to see check prints occasionally, and Records of Survey have to be on mylar. So I'm reluctantly thinking that I need to retain an in-house plotter. What's the latest recommendation for a minimum D-size plotter?
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616
My Designjet 500 is still lugging along. I use it to plot originals and check prints. However deliverable copies are done at the local UPS store. I don't do color but I am not paying anywhere close to what you are being charged. Is FedEx picking them up at your office and delivering them? Do the prints come framed?
Dan Moehrke, PLS
Local print shops, around here, are about half of what the big chains charge, for color and Mylar.
You might look at leasing a plotter; that way you'll get a new one every couple years. Just make sure you fold the extra cost, into your hourly rate.
I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun.--Thomas A. Edison
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What I've observed about you. I'd recommend a cheap one.?
My town has a shop that fills empty inkjet cartridges at 1/2 the price HP sells them for. They usually work the same as originals. HP has a chip on the newer cartridges that won't let them work, but I just keep taking them back till I get one that works.
You can't give away old Plotters.
Ditto what others have said re: the local UPS Store.
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If all you're really using it for is check prints I would get a larger all-in-one that will do half-size. We have an Epson WF-7520 what will take 12"x18" sheets. After that anything that needs plotted for a deliverable would get done in a print shop, the expense passed through at cost +10%.
We have a full size Xerox 6204 Plotter that has been a serious workhorse. I would recommend something like it although it won't do color.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
I'll second the T520. Reasonable price, small and so far dependable. We bought it a few years ago when our HP 750C was incapacitated.
We have a Staples across the street if quantity is needed.
We still have the HP 750C chugging along. A few you-tube videos and some parts and presto. That unit was bought used 18 years.
After reading Jims post I looked up replacement ink cartridges. Nuts, you-tube won't fix that problem.
I still have the cartridges I sent you a list of last August. The black shows an Expiration date of Nov. 2017 and the colors are earlier. I assumed that you got the list, but weren't interested as I never heard back from you. I've always had some luck with getting an out of date cartridge to work by wetting a paper towel and working with it to get it flowing again. I still have the list if you would like to nsee it again. Let me know.
After starting my business a year ago, I began to realize that I needed to have a plotter in the office. I didn't have time to wait for Staples or the builders exchange to print check prints let alone drive to get them. Also being a small town, no one will print on mylar for recording even if I provided the mylar.
I went with the Canon IPF780. Love this machine. Quality and speed are great and price is affordable.
Michelle McBride, PLS
If you're a glutton for punishment get an HP T120 - I've had mine for about 3 years and it's the most aggravating device I've ever owned. Prints D sized landscape dwgs OK right off the 22" roll, autorotates perfectly. Load a single D size sheet of mylar, won't rotate the dwg, prints 22/34ths on one end of sheet. Have to print to pdf, rotate pdf 90°, then it will plot it.
IF you can get it to accept the single sheet and acknowledge that it is in fact 22.0" wide, and not 21.48" or some other nonsensical number.
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I use Staples, generally walk in, full size B&W and 11x17 color, 1 each for a check print, deliverables are cost plus. I have a new 12x18 color plotter sitting in a very big box waiting for me to clear up some office space. it is just so much bigger than the 11x17 that crapped out.
I wanted an HP 8.5x14 B&W laser, but am very satisfied with the Brother I got instead.
I am spoiled as I have 2 Staples within 3 miles of home, North or West and one is almost always on the way to the majority of my field work, so dropping in is no big deal.
Paul in PA