A plotter is a graphic printing device. Printing is performed using matrix technology as needle, thermal, ink, light or electrostatic printing. In addition to the flatbed plotter, there is the drum plotter and the tool plotter, which is used in tool technology for processing workpieces. There are also special plotters, such as the photoplotter for exposing layers of printed circuit boards and cutting plotters for punching fonts.
Plotters use drawing pens to create the vector graphics. They can draw solid lines, as well as graphics in the form of a dot grid. Their printouts can be single or multicolored and range in size from A4 to A0 . In special applications, this size is even exceeded by drum plot ters. Common to all plotting processes is the control of the drawing pens in X and Y direction, whereby this pen movement can also take place in only one axis and the control of the second axis takes place via the paper movement, as with the drum plotter. As soon as the pen movement is completed and the coordinate points are reached, the drawing pen is pressed onto the media.
Electrostatic plotters work with an electrostatically charged paper that is coated with a toner after plotting. The toner sticks to the electrostatically charged dots and thus forms the plot image. There is also the cutting plotter for cutting contours from foils.
The difference to printers lies in the output format, which for printers is DIN A4 and DIN A3, and for plotters can be DIN A1 and DIN A0.