View Full Version : Types of plotter/printer for Adobe illustrator?
01-26-2010, 10:13 AM
Hello. I would like to know the best types of plotters/printers suitable to use for a map making company. They use Adobe illustrator CS4 with MAPublisher 8.1 on machines with Windows 7. Makes and models would be helpful. Also, what is the best device for digitizing? Any suggestions welcome.
01-27-2010, 07:52 AM
Hello. In honesty I would maybe try one of your local computer stores for that type of information my friend. Is this your own company?
01-27-2010, 12:19 PM
A computer retailer isn't really the way to go for industrial-strength machines. Hopefully Gamerprinter will be along shortly to help out with this one, as he runs a print shop and probably knows more about the topic than any of us.
For digitizing, you'll want a flatbed scanner for work up to 11 x 14" and a traction-fed scanner for large-format pieces. You'll want to weigh the costs of items like these against how much a mapmaking company is going to be bringing in, though. It may be more economical to plan on subcontracting printing and large-format scanning to another company, particularly if you're looking at mass-market maps, for which you'll want hundreds, if not thousands, of prints.
01-27-2010, 01:49 PM
As Midgardsormr mentioned, I run Gamer Printshop - which specializes in the large format printing of RPG maps for gamemasters and publishers, then laminate and ship worldwide. I use a Windows based system, and Photshop to do direct printing, I also offer direct printing from Campaign Cartographer 3, Dungeon Designer 3 - basically all Profantasy software, NBOS Fractal Mapper as well. I use a Canon IP8100 44" large format inkjet printer - as it lets you print without requiring a RIP (raster image processor), as many large format printers require. It also prints using archival (100 year) ink. I can print anything from 100 ppi to 2880 dpi in sizes up to 42 inches by any reasonable length - most maps falling into 17 x 22, 18 x 24, 24 x 36, and 36 x 48. I offer lamination up to 36 inches wide by any length using 3 and 5 mil laminants. I ship to any location worldwide using US Postal Service, or to US/Canada with UPS. I have used HP, EnCAD and Canon printers, though I greater prefer Canon at this time.
I have been providing this service since April 1994. I offer a website to print and sell maps for established publishers and cartographers, including: Rite Publishing, Open Design Project, 12 to Midnight Games, Jonathon Roberts, Michael Tumey (me), Mythic Games, E.N. Publishing (War of the Burning Sky campaign maps), and many others.
I use a large format flatbed scanner, and roll-type b/w only large format scanner, though most clients send digital files formats and PDF to print.
01-27-2010, 01:50 PM
For digitizing, while I use older software to digitally convert prints to digital format, it only works for lineart maps - especially for CAD purposes, which saves the file as a DXF, which can easily be converted to various CAD formats, I don't feel the process is ideal for fantasy maps.
That's more a case by case basis.
01-27-2010, 04:58 PM
Was that an answer or a marketing plug? :)
01-27-2010, 06:05 PM
Both, I think. Others will read this post as well. But the answer also gives a thorough look at all that's involved.
I've used other larger format printers for example, but they required a separate hardware or software RIP which is anywhere from $1500 to $5000 more than just buying the printer alone. The Canon IP8100 is the first large format printer that allows me to print directly from Photoshop, via a plug-in which is much more cost effective, far better at controlling colors since all is done within Photoshop and simply an easier production workflow. Being that its a Canon and in direct competions to Epson's large format color printer its aimed for high end photographic work, which makes it ideal as a map printer.
It sounds like Beck11 is looking for doing this commercially himself - in a map print shop. I wanted to fill in some of the details in what I do, to let him know what additional equipment/services would be necessary if he did this himself.
Also it tells him and others that such a service "map printing" already exists - that I am very competitive in pricing (I'm cheaper than any Kinko's or other online printing resource.) So if he wants to compete its actually harder to do, since my profit margin is so thin. You'd have to sell them at cost to beat my price, and most won't be able to do that.
And Beck11, if you have any questions more specific than the one you posted, I'd be more than happy to answer - I'm not afraid of competition. :P
Sorry to sound like a "salesman" but its hard not to...
01-30-2010, 02:28 PM
Thank you for your information. Everything you've said will be taken on board.
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