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  1. #1

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    plotters and autocad

    Hi:
    I have a question on plotters, drivers and autocad.
    I was looking at several older plotters. Most of them are pen plotters which makes the several years old. I am running windows xp and (taking an example) HP does not have a driver for xp for some of the units I have been looking at. There are places that make drivers for this situation but they are very expensive all things considered. My puestion is that Autocad has a add a plotter section that has several of these plotters listed. Does that mean that the driver is built into the program and I do not need another one or is that a program that needs to be run in addition to a XP driver? It may be very simiple to you but it is confusing to me. When I attach other equipment to my computer it pulls up basically the same screen telling me that xp has a compatable driver built in. I am sure someone knows the answer. One of the plotters I was looking at is listed as a draftmaster1 made by HP. The drivers I can find are for 3.1 and that is old!! Ant insite into connecting a computer to my computer will be greatly appreciated. What is the longest cord you can use to connect the computer to the plotter?
    Thanks in advance for any information anyone can give. I want to again thank those that have responded to me in the past.
    Don

  2. #2

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Use the Acad drivers. Should have the exact one for most pen plotters. If not then go to the AutoDesk site and see if they have it.

    Use File/Plotter Manager to set them up. Hopefully your computer still has a 9 pin serial port for the cable to the plotter. I would get an 11 x 17 inch inkjet to proof out sections of your drawing before you use up a couple of pens and fourty minutes plotting it out.

    About 50 feet is good. No more than 100 feet.
    Any Lift Is Good Lift!!!

  3. #3

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    SoCal:
    Thanks for getting back to me. I was concerned about this as everything I have read says that the plotters don't like windows XP and I do not want to buy one just to find out they don't work. Also everytime I look up a driver it seems that there are several variations and I don't know if they are updates or things to be added.
    Thanks again for your help.
    Don

  4. #4

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Don....

    Doubtful.

    If you want to plot in shortest amount of time, go to the Fontana Electronic swap meet held the second Saturday morning at the high school parking lot. I got a computer there for $35 and connected it into my plotter. Beforehand, I had plotter technitian from Corona over here, he played around for two hours and nothing. I connected the plotter to the old computer with DOS 6.2 loaded up, and it burped and took off running. The situation here is that pen plotter information and use died with the introduction of Windows 95. From then on it was inket, thermals and other raster capable types.

    The Lorand plotter site used to get hit with requests for pen plotter drivers for Windows ME or XP and then there was silence. There supposedly is a way, as someone from Australia reported a find, but no one domestically reported in. The older H-P plotters ran on HP-GL language, which is still used today, but instead for running laser cutting machines. Winline has a driver at $395 for Windows 98 and up, but I bet you did not pay that much for the plotter. The Autocad ADI 4.1 driver will run your's but you need a way to run both your software and the plotter in DOS mode. The Autocad 4.2 will also run it, but you need a technitian to set up the switches and get it to plot out accurately then. To run a pen plotter, you have to think in relation of drivers available for Autocad R-12, occasionally R-13 and in certain distinct instances R-14. Most of the difficulties revolve around text, in that the pen plotter does not know how to handle TrueType fonts, only the older SHX or SHP types. If you go to CADALOG they have a K-boodle of free pen plotter fonts for you. If anyone is working with a Non-Autodesk product, such as a CAD or Graphic arts system, then you need to ask the software vendor for a driver. I know that the late model TurboCAD versions will not run it, but Aotodesk has left a provision in LT for these older drivers to run.

    For the older H-P plotters you need one of their special plotter cables. They are wired differently than others. There used to be an H-P info sheet by the I.T. section as how to make up your own cables. Autodesk sent me a copy a few yaers back. You cannot use one of the common ($1) straight through cables for these twenty year old plotters. The Draftmaster is not a fast or as sturdy as a similar Calcomp, but it is easier to locate information and parts. I think you only need to use 5 wires, but you do have to connect togethre some pins.

    I have a report on pen plotters at my site for reading.


    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  5. #5

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Thanks for the information. I have not bought it yet and after your information I do not think I will! Nothing in life is easy!
    Thanks again, you saved me some money and I am sure a lot of headaches!!
    I will keep looking!
    Don
    You came through again!

  6. #6

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Now I presume that you are always referring to the older Draftmaster I and II plotters. I used a Draftmaster II for a couple years. There was a reintroduction of the name Draftmaster my H-P, but that applied to an inkjet model. You will soon get familiar with ball point pens (stay away from the fibre tips as they dry up too fast in Sou. Calif.) and liquid ink pens. You then learn that colored lines indicate pens in the turret.

    I picked up a H-P 1000c big format printer at the Fontana meet for $2 about two years ago. Had no cartridges inside, so got them from next vendor for $1 the pair. This is another H-P product in which was born during the Windows 3.1 era and no Windows 98 and later drivers exist. It will however work within Autocad, as they have theirown drivers available.

    Call Ralph McGranahan in Corona for any plotter supplies, other than consumables like paper and pens.

    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  7. #7

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Wm.
    Thanks for the information. I have lived here since 79 and did not know anything about the school having a sale! I did go to the auction on Citrus once. Is the meet the one where the old National lumber was or the one of the one on Valley East of Sierra or the one closer to Riverside ave?.
    I never thought anything would be sold like that there.
    I was watching to see when the auction would be held again as the schools get rid of alot of things there. I needed a microfish reader for aircraft information several years back and found it there.
    I will keep looking. I have been watching e-bay for ones that are close as the shipping is terrible. I was hoping the drivers in 2002 would work! My luck.
    Thanks.
    Don

  8. #8

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    The swap meet is near the top of Sierra, almost to the new freeway. There is a stop light near some apartments, and your turn left there. Go down lumpy-bumpy road to the west, and school wiil be there. Go to far side of school, turn north on street, and along to some new classroom construction.
    Then, the hard part. Just try and find a parking space in the lot.

    There is also one at Chino Hills high school parking lot on third Saturday of each month. Visit http://www.chhsmusic.com for information on it.

    Don't bring a lot of cash to these places, as things go pretty cheap. I got a digitizer tablet at one for $10, add-on port boards for the computer at $2 each. Software is usually about $10.


    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  9. #9

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Wm.
    Thanks:
    I will haver to try to make it to one of them. I have to work Saturdays for the next month or so. I will make it to one of them after that though.
    Thanks for the information. I will go just to see what is there.
    Don

  10. #10

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Went to swap meet. Talked to both vendors. Prices went down even more as computer adapter boards now cost $1 each.

    Other vendor mentioned an old solution. Instead of a second computer, give thought to installing a secondary software called System Commander. I have this on a laptop. It will enable you to install Windows XP on your computer and old fashioned DOS 6.1 also. I partitioned my hard drive then installed the software. Then you install the operating systems and secondary softwares. I can then develop plans in Autocad within Win 98 and save to the partition. Then reboot, open up DOS 6.1 and pull the same drawing into older Autocad with the plotter drivers still active, and plot out the project. This is a multiple step routine, but it works fine. You can then connect in all the printers, plotters and pointers you need and never have to remove them.

    Only problem with System Commander is that you need to have Original and good operating installation disks. You also have to install proper drivers into their operationg system, not just once.

    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  11. #11

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Wm.
    Thanks.
    Still looking around. Found 2 plotters Both pens - Drivers up to 98. One a HP in Glendale, one a Calcomp 2036 around orange. What are your thoughts. Both around 100.00 each. I was hopeing for one that uses a roll but! Not for any reason but wanted to be able to plot the whole plane at 8' with out splicing. Can all plotters that use a rool plot longer then normal sheets. One plotter said it could plot 50'!! (not the one's I am looking at though.
    I appreciate your time.
    Thanks.
    Don

  12. #12

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Acad had the drivers for the CalComp 2036. What model is the HP?
    Any Lift Is Good Lift!!!

  13. #13

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Hi:
    All it says is design jet HP/GL2
    Thanks- Do you know anything about either of these?
    Don

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    That is too much for either. I had been getting them locally for free.

    Telephone up a few of the local engineers, architects, and commercial builders first. I know of a free Calcomp 1043GT out near Palm Springs for free. There was a guy in Moreno Valley trying to get rid of a PaceSetter too. Give a few telephone calls over next week, and get back to here about end of week.

    On a Calcomp, they used to have a RHOM pack that unplugged from the unit, usually in one leg or near the base. You have to find out part number on these, as they were about the only firm who had plotters available for Fortran users. The plotters are dead on the market, but ony until the correct RHOM pack is located. Remember, before Microsoft, there was Fortan and Basic. Calcomp had been building plotters since 1959. These obsolete operating systems were installed on only about 5% of the plotters, but you have to be aware of them.

    Early H-P designjet plotters had problems with feed and the replaceable cartridges. Unless the cartridge works right now, you are in for a hefty bill in locating a replacement. Most firms in the 1990's sold off their cartridges to reloading firms, as they were worth $30 then. Orr was one of the locals who were buying up old cartridges, and he sells them for $60 now in used condition. The Calcomp inkjet uses Cannon cartridges, which you can purchase new at Staples.


    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  15. #15

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Just a FWIW from someone with limited CAD experience: Don't let the lack of a plotter discourage you from creating drawings. I took a floppy with a 60 size DWG (ACAD 2002) plan on it to a local blueprint shop. The people there were most accommodating. They converted it to a different format that they preferred and plotted it out on a huge laser plotter. The cost was about $6.00.

  16. #16

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    APope must be unaware of set-up and operating routines for pen plotters and other low cost printer/plotters.

    Within the industry there is a large variation as to set-up routines for individual CAD station operators. In round terms, linewidths applied to one computer do not necessarilly apply to another. Shading values applied to one plotter will not always come out the same on the next plotter of same manufacture. With modern machines, most CAD operators will run a couple test plots of colored lines, varying these items, such that a catalogue can be made up and then applied to the drawings.

    Within the CAD industry, most drawings are done in B&W. Color is used for applying a variation of line widths and line intensities (or shading). Once a CAD software is loaded up onto a computer, some 0,0 parameters are set in, and it is then up to the individual operator to find these and adjust to company or personal standards. The plotter also has a routine to override these adjustments and plot out what it has been set up to understand. If you have ever worked at a large multi-user firm, alteration of these parameters to create nice looking drawing is generally frowned upon.

    The idea of having a plotter at home, in the long run will save the CAD operator time and money. For many of the projects sent to the plotter are of INTERIM linework. Most of us are not perfect, and thus need to adjust the positions of the views on the plan, need to adjust the line widths, need to adjust the position of lines within each view, and continually add in more detail as the project progresses. We are not able to work on a project and instantly have a complete and ready to reproduce work of art. It takes several tries to complete a drawing, not just one $6 blast. Most often it takes about four to six plots before the project is ready for showing to others. Add in your time and money for visiting these places and eventially you will be on the diminishing returns side of the plan development after your third or fourth project.

    The main idea with CAD is to have a nice looking - reproducible - which also is accurate, complete as to detail, and a host of other incidentals. It is sort of 50/50 as to the intentions of CAD, use it for aide to designing something accurate versus completing a nice looking drawing. Operating your own home plotter is today not out of the ordinary.

    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  17. #17

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    My problem is I like playing with cad. The one plane I was tracing is 7' long so it took 4 E size sheets to get a top and side view on the first try. Then another 1 for the wings. Then as you said- Some of the lines did not meet and were off so they are nice to look at to get me motivated but they are wrong. I can see the paper piles now!!!
    Don

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Biggest plan that I had done was 36 inches by 444 inches. Took 35 minutes to come off of plotter.

    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  19. #19

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    What was that of!!!!!!!!
    Don

  20. #20

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    It was a this-a-way and that-a-way multiple view of some Swedish aircraft in 1/5 scale. The thing was so huge I crammed it all together, overlapping, such that it would fit the paper left on the roll under the plotter.

    Before doing the cramming it was about 500+ inches long. I figured it would take maybe 10 minutes, but it took 10 just to compile the plot before an inch of paper began to roll out.


    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
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  21. #21

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Is it the plotter ,driver, or both that make it so you can plot such a long drawing? Or should I say what makes it so that you can plot such a long plot? If you have a sheet plotter, can you use a roll? I understand it will not cut the paper but can it handle a roll or is there a problem with it twisting sideways?
    Thanks.
    Don

  22. #22

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    No, you cannot plot such under a Windows system plotter. This being the default or not printer/plotter when you go through the Windows Start button routine. Seems windows has a limit of something like 160 inches maximum length. Autocad will override this, using the inborn driver and plot to whatever maximum length you choose, ot to the limits of the drawing. I usually choose the later, as then I do not need to go back and forth too often. This extra length and optional "fit to plot" is why I like Autocad for plotting against other CAD softwares which simply use the Windows routine. Once you get going, even 160 inch long plots will seem short. Autocad will enable you to gang up your set of drawings and plot end to end all of the sheets. Thus if you have a three sheet set of 36 by 100 inch long drawings, it will come off the roll stock in one big long sheet.

    Long as you have a plotter designed for roll feed, they alway come off straight. When you consider that is the only way paper can come off of a roll. If the paper is cone shaped on the roll due to moisture, then the problems develop. Not too many sheet feed plotters like the original H-P Draftmaster series, the 758* series, and Calcomp 1+, 2+ and 3+ will accept roll stock. I have a plotter which uses a matt , and you must tape the paper on to get the results. Got this one, as it is only plotter which will work with oval paper. The roll feed plotters all now have automatic sheet cut off, whereas beforehand it would stop and you cut off the sheet your self. With cut sheet paper plotters you do have to be concerned as to alignment, and usually they will not go beyond 48 to 60 inches long. My matt plotter will handle up to one sheet of 64 inches long.


    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  23. #23

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Wm:
    Thanks.
    Don

  24. #24

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Oval paper?
    Any Lift Is Good Lift!!!

  25. #25

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    RE: plotters and autocad

    Yep....

    One early project was to plot onto stickers used on gasoline pumps at stations located through-out Southern California. They supplied the plain colored stick ons, and I put on the ink. Worked fine until they got bought out by ARCO.

    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too


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