I can’t go on enough about how useful my plotter is to me. I bought a used hp 430 plotter in 2000 for about $1500. I can’t draw to save my life, so I use the plotter to print life size (1:1) furniture designs. I then use spray adhesive (photo mount sucks for this kind of thing, I use super-77) to stick it to a hunk of wood. Then I can just cut on the dotted line. Or, in the case of a curve, use a circular plane to plane down the the line, if I’m looking for real precision.
I’ve been spending most of this week building models. Since I’ve been thinking about using containers for my house design, I figured I’d make some out of card stock. As usual, I got carried away, and printed up some container patterns on the plotter, complete with actual photo images of containers mapped onto the pattern. I stuck these to card stock, and then went nuts with double sided sticky tape and x-acto blades. The results aren’t half bad; I’ll post pictures soon. The sad part of all of this is that my plotter main drive belt shredded. I think it was old; the plotter doesn’t have a lot of miles on it. I replaced the belt, but now it flashes error codes at me, so I toted it off to the shop. No mean feat, these suckers are heavy, and too large to go UPS.
Which brings me to my next point.I looked at replacement cost, in case the repair was egregious. I’d upgraded the 430 to a 450c (I added color functionality). I did a quick ebay scan, and it looks like the value on these guys max out at about $500. And $70 shipping, if you’re lucky. But these are perfectly functional plotters, if low-res. And they’re built for commercial work, which means they’re meant for continuous, batch printing, and they’re meant to be repairable. So why not invest in one? I also use it for glass patterns. More on that, and the model project, later.