View Full Version : Plotter

02-12-2006, 01:31 PM
hi Jimmy,

i would like to know wich plotter and masking film you use.
would a little plotter from hp do the job? they already cost as much as 2 yoke bx's. and hey... the shell for the x6 you made is quite one of the nicest looking shells i seen so far *Thumbs up*
oh yeah... the name of th program you use to design what the plotter is cutting later would be of interest to.

thanks for the help,

Greets Marco

02-12-2006, 03:26 PM
I think he uses Adobe Illustrator 10 CS2?

02-12-2006, 10:09 PM
hi there,

ok thanks!:)

02-12-2006, 10:37 PM
Hi Marco, I use a graphtec plotter, its expensive I think but mine is a bit old so wasnt too expensive.
I use vinyls from graffityP mostly, I use some low-tack stuff for windows and for the window masks I sell..
But for really nice lines and the best detail, I use CAST vinyl. it isnt meant for masks but it is really good - it just needs to be heated (hair dryer) to remove it since it can be hard to remove.

I use Adobe Illustrator CS2 now, which is illustrator 13 I think. Let me know if you need any help when you get your plotter - I am no expert but I will help where I can.

03-12-2006, 06:52 PM
What are these like Jimmy?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/NEW-700mm-CREATION-PCUT-USB-VINYL-SIGN-CUTTER-PLOTTER_W0QQitemZ130052448887QQihZ003QQcategoryZ46 742QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

04-12-2006, 07:46 AM
That's a similar plotter like i bought yesterday but mine has got 6Mb Ram.
I payed 600 Schweizer Franken = 253.966 Britisches Pfund.
thats a pretty tiny prize in comparsion to a make like hp or so.
And i thought it's cutting well, when i seen it in action. so... i will find the real issues later when i'm growing into the materia:rolleyes: .

first of all i have to setup my pc newly cuz it's full bugs. then i'll get that coreldraw and install the plotter to give it a try.


What colors did u use for the x-6 hood? Spazstix?
I'm trying to get SpazStix but no one sells them here in switzerland.

i report when i got first efforts with the plotter :) .

Greetings Marco

Tony Gray
04-12-2006, 09:55 AM
I got one of these Chinese 'Rabbit' ones off ebay, paid just over $400 Aus for it. And..its bloody brilliant.... Can't fault the thing and seems to cut anything with precision and quite quickly.
Compared to my Brother-In-Laws Roland its actually better!

Came with its own software (Artcut) which I use to do the actual cutting, but I do my originals in Corel Designer.


04-12-2006, 10:26 AM
not bad prices, my graphtec is a real quality item and is supposed to go forever..

I use createx and faskolor (createx rebranded) paints, I just like to work with them.

07-12-2006, 12:25 PM
Hi Tony!

I got the same one! well i have the lil bro of it (360)
with that artcut software.

but...um... when i vectorize a .bmp and click on "cut/plot" the programm crashes and the machine wont do any moves at all.

my biggest effort till now is to cut the test-square:rolleyes:

I'm a total plotter-newb and i beg for Help.

i'll contact the guy who sold it to me now.

Greets Marco

07-12-2006, 01:21 PM
try cut my oople logo, see if that works. I never really vectorised anything from a bitmap for cutting so I'm not sure what sort of lines it produces for that. but I have Illustrator and eps vector formats for download in my download secion - maybe worth a try ?

07-12-2006, 10:40 PM
I use my schools laser cutter. hehe I want to have a got with there CNC milling machine see if i can make some custom parts.


Tony Gray
08-12-2006, 05:09 AM
Marco, I vectorize my bmp (or jpegs) in Corel Trace and then export that trace as a hpgl (plt) file.

For me anyway, this works pretty well.


08-12-2006, 07:56 AM
Thank you guy's!!:D

I'll try that this evening... as soon as i get a corel.

09-12-2006, 10:20 PM
I just can't get that plotter to work dammit! :mad:

in the devicemanager it always shows that ugly,well-hated "?-sign" from hell.

Windows cannot load the driver for the rabbit-plotter (error-code 31).

i'll gonna smoke a cig now, then i'll copy all i need from my hd and provide a format c.

Tony Gray
10-12-2006, 12:00 AM
Dont give up Marco.... Mine took a few goes to get the software loaded but now its as sweet as..

10-12-2006, 12:05 AM
hmmm, I am sorry I can't really help marco. Have you looked for the latest drivers on the net ? maybe there are newer / better ones ?

Another idea is to check out a forum maybe where other people might have the plotter like you have. The only one I have used before is uksignboards (google it), there seem to be a few forums with a lot of sign people who will maybe be able to help.

10-12-2006, 12:42 PM
Hey ppl :(

i got my pc newly installed and everything, now the artcut-software doesent crash anymore it just doesent plot lol.

i am registered in a forum wich is dedicated to exactly this plotter-make but they do not have any ideas.

that sucks bad :(


10-12-2006, 05:24 PM
what ya think to these jimmy? any experience?

what do you use to make the name stickers? a wax thermal printer?

19-12-2006, 04:24 PM
my plotter works :D i can't believe it myself but yeah... god came to earth and saved me from delirium.

i installed the soundcard-driver newly cuz it had a yellow shout-symbol in the device-manager. after that i tryed the plotter again and it worked right away :D

don't ask me what a plotter has in common with a soundcard... i'm just happy now.

suddenly after some test plot's... i found out that i'm a complete dork with designing-software :wtf:. so i'll must learn "how to"

btw: do you guy's have snow over there?

19-12-2006, 04:35 PM
haha, no snow! just misserable weather! :)

Glad you got it working.
I use Illustrator myself for designing things.

19-12-2006, 08:47 PM
i use that too... but i am far away from beeing able to really "use" it.:eh?:

Tony Gray
19-12-2006, 09:07 PM
Dont ask why it wanted a sound card driver...Just accept that computers are strange!

As for software, I use Corel Designer Tech Suite 12, it has all I need. Corel Trace can take bitmap images and convert them into vector graphics which I can then output from Corel Designer in a .plt format for the cutter.

Here's an example from yesterday that I did. Took about 30 mins. The 'Hokkaido' lettering is about 1mm thick, thats damn small!

20-12-2006, 03:42 PM
nice one tony, wow 1mm is damn small!

Tony Gray
20-12-2006, 07:38 PM
No-one was more susprised than me Marco. I didnt think it'd do stuff that small, but it does it very successfully.
The one VERY important point that I tell people is that when you're drawing/tracing the lines, make sure to do as many 'points' or 'nodes' as possible, particularly on the curves. The more you do, the better the finished job.

20-12-2006, 08:27 PM
yeah¨the more nodes you got the "rounder" the curve gets right?

Tony Gray
21-12-2006, 01:12 AM
Correct. You can draw what looks like a smooth curve using b-spline curves but its an illusion, the curve still only has a few points.
So I use b-spline (you dont have to, its a personal choice) but manually drop a lot of nodes.
The plotter uses the nodes/points to decide where to cut so they're VERY important.

22-12-2006, 08:53 PM
What sort of files do you send to these plotters? can you send a CAD drawing? .dxf or .dwg files? Sounds like such a cool toy..!


Tony Gray
22-12-2006, 09:10 PM
Neil, they like vector files mainly. As a rule I do mine in hpgl (.plt) format because I know that it works.
However, my plotter will also happily take dxf, eps, and a few other formats too.
I paint a LOT of shells (mainly Minis) and this thing has saved me hours and hours just on simple things like window/grille/headlight masks. To say nothing of how its speeded up my graphics masking and lettering.
Its the tool I've needed for 25 years.....

23-12-2006, 08:58 PM
well I seem to have stumbled across this a bit late!
I could have answered most questions but didn't realise this thread was here.:eh?:

I've been using plotters for the last 8yrs or so and they did speed up my shell spraying big time.....but now i've left the company.:(

Dxf are usually ok. Corel can sometimes be a pain in the arse at getting plotters up and working. Illustrator is much better or a propper cutting program like Sign Lab or something...much easier to use.

Signmaster, we used them for most of our stuff, top blokes but can be a little expensive if thay have to pay visits.:wtf:

Tony Gray
23-12-2006, 11:35 PM
I only use Corel to draw up the initial picture. I use it all day in my normal job so I'm extremely proficient at it.
Then I use Artcut (it came with the plotter) for the final output.

I always knew a plotter would be great, but it wasnt up until now that I was able to find one cheap enough to buy! Now I dont know how I could cope without it...

24-12-2006, 12:14 AM
you do cope, its not that bad :o honest!

The one we had at work was an all singing all dancing graphtec, it'd cut things STUPIDLY small without even flinching........until we had a bearing replaced.....then it wouldn't cut bugger all below 4mm! which when youve got to do a few thousand millennium eye logo's in reflective material was an absolute pain!:eh?:

They don't usually throw bearings, its just that we cut a lot of reflective material and the glass bead in the stuff got everywhere....and that included the bearings in the machines.

26-12-2006, 04:24 PM
I dont know if you guys are aware, but there is a Transformers movie coming out next summer (www.transformersmovie.com) and I want to do a Transformers RC10B4 inspired shell for next year. I wont have a lot of space on the shell so was thinking of Autobot logo on the 'bonnet' or roof and TRANSFORMERS text down each side. I have drawn the logo and text in Autocad by importing the raster graphic which i copied from the website and then drawing over it with lines in CAD. I now need to transfer this to the shell. My original idea was to fluid mask the inside of the shell, then print the logo/text onto paper and stick it to the outside of the shell, turn it over and trace/cut the design through the liquid mask on the inside... I am not sure how i am going to do the drop shadows yet, probably spray the main section first, remove the rest of the masking fluid and then attempt do do the drop shadows free hand.

Does this make sense or is it possible for one of you guys to make either stickers or masks using the dwg or dxf files? I have uploaded both on our club website. Jimmy I know you and I knocked this around a bit, but i know your very busy!


Thanks, Neil

26-12-2006, 10:26 PM
oooh, that looks the nuts that film does!

What I normally do is get the image, put it inside the shell and draw the image onto the outside in marker pen, this way it doesn't move around when you're trying to cut it.
Then just mask it up and cut it on the shell.

for the transformers text, if you print it out the wrong way round (mirror) get a peice of lexan and tape the text print out to the underneath, cover the other side in masking tape and cut it into the tape. then when you've cut it, remove what you don't need, cover it in tape, pull it off the lexan and then stick it to the inside of the shell (you may need a light source underneath to do this). If you do 4 lots, stick the main ones on and then place the other two lots of txt just below and to one side to create the drop shadow. paint the main part of the shell first, peel the drop shadow off and paint black, then peel the main text off and as required.

Or you gould use picture glue and put them on straight from your printout.
Or......PM me and I could sort it you out.:D

Tony Gray
26-12-2006, 11:09 PM
And I'd be happy to cut the masks for you but its a long way from Melbourne Aus to you...
Plus, I'm watching the cricket at the moment!

27-12-2006, 01:11 PM
Tel, I had to read that a few times!, but i get what you mean now! that should work. Glad it is mostly straight lines so not too difficult to do the cutting. Im not sure how easy it is to apply the "carrier" tape to the masks I need to cut and then peel them off the lexan.. have you done this before on another job? I usually use Tamiya Tape, but would you recommend using a wide tape?


27-12-2006, 02:36 PM
If I bought on of these, could I use phorosho por illustrator for cutting? Maybe wiuth an add-on?

27-12-2006, 05:41 PM
Another question for TEL and DCM,

Do you know where you can buy sheets of lexan for practise?


05-01-2007, 11:20 AM
Yes I've done this before on a few shells for RRCi. All you need to do is cover the design you've cut with the same tape and lift it off of the lexan (you could use a peice of glass if you've got one too rather than the lexan) but you do have to do this carefully. then when you put it on the shell rub it down and pull the backing tape off. when you pull the tape off, fold it right back on its self and it will come away easier.
Not sure where you could get some spare lexan from though.

When i get my site back up and running I'll put a tutorial on it for this sort of thing.:wtf:

06-01-2007, 09:19 AM
Dont go out and buy sheet lexan to practice on, thouroughly clean a pop bottle and cut it in half and use that instead, works a treat.