A plotter is a hardware device similar to a printer that is used to print vector graphics, but rather than using toner it uses a pen, pencil, marker or razor blade to follow the vector image. These machines are also referred to as plotter cutters or die cut machines. They can cut paper, vinyl, plastic, felt, cotton and some specific die cut machines have the ability to cut cake icing or metal. What these machines have the ability to cut depends on the type of blade you use.

These machines are incredibly useful for projects. They allow accurate physical renditions of specific designs and have the ability to cut nearly any vector image you choose.

A vector image is a file that is generally universal in file format, such as .eps, .jpg, .gif or even .pdf. What makes an image a vector image is the use of polygons in these computer graphics. These polygons allow an external device to pick up on control points, or nodes, on the x and y axis in your work plane.  These points allow the software to determine a path for the hardware to follow and each path can have a specific characteristic assigned such as fill, stroke, thickness, curves and shape itself.  There are different kinds of vector images used for different purposes. For the purpose of a plotter cutter, vectors must be all black or two-toned. Multi-color vectors are typically used more in printing such as signs or shirts done by more complex equipment that uses toner.

This machine gives me the ability to create clear and concise lettering for paintings and personalized vinyls for any project.

3D Printing is going to change the world. They call 3d Printing “Addictive Manufacturing” and it is just that. Once you start, you don’t want to stop. I have joined the revolution of sharing information and assisting others with understanding this tech.

For more information about how to find, use and start 3D Printing, check out some of my blogs here.

The 3D printer I use is the Robo R1 and R2 printer. This is one of the original at home 3d printers and although technology is quickly advancing in this field comparable to cell phones, this printer holds its own. It is a compact but versatile machine that has the ability to use different printing materials such as PLA filament, ABS filament and other newer materials such as printable wood and flexible rubbers.

3D Printers are a means of taking a three-dimensional image and bringing it to life typically by using a form of CAD drawing (Computer Aided Design). They use .STL files (Stereolithography) or .AMF files (Addictive Manufacturing File) and slicing software. Slicing software takes these three-dimensional images and breaks them down into literal slices that a 3d print er then reads layer by layer that results in the physical product at the end.

 

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ese modern printers use a spool of filament that are fed into an extruder that melts the filament into a small controllable stream capable of drawing on the work plane in extreme accuracy. Like the plotter the printer uses the x and y axis along the work plane, but it also uses the Z axis which is what tells the printer how to climb vertically. The work planes are typically heated to assist in keeping the object stationary. Prints can take anywhere from a couple minutes to hours depending on the complexity of the file.

If you have questions about 3D Printing or would like assistance in what device is right for you please feel free to use the contact form here.