Computer Knowledge

Plotters and Their Types | Advantages & Disadvantages of Plotter

Plotters and Their Types | Advantages & Disadvantages of Plotter

Plotters and Their Types | Advantages & Disadvantages of Plotter


The plotter is used to plot graphical image on the paper. A plotter can be used to produce graphical image such as map, design, machine drawing etc. A plotter is a specialized output device designed to produce high quality graphics in a variety of colors. They use ink pad or inkjet to draw graphics or drawing. For plotting, single or multicolored pen can be employed. The pen driven by a motor. Drawing can be prepared on paper or Mylar (polyester film).
The first plotter was invented in 1953 by Remington-Rand. It was used in conjunction with the UNIVAC computer to created technical drawings.


  • They can print on a wide variety of flat materials.
  • Plotters can produce high-quality output on large sheets.


  • Plotters are quite large when compared to a traditional printer.
  • Plotters are also much more expensive than a traditional printer


There are two basic types of plotter those that use pens and those that do not. Drum Plotters and flatbed plotter both uses pens. Electrostatic Plotters do not use pens.

  1. Drum Plotters

In this plotter is mounted on the surface of drum. The drum rotates back and forth to produce vertical motion and the plotters pens are horizontally positioned over the target are. Under the control of the computer, the drum and the pen(s) move simultaneously to produce the graphic or design.
Because of complex mechanism the printing speed of this printer is slow.

  1. Flatbed Plotters

A flatbed plotter plots on papers that are spread and fixed over a rectangular flatbed surface. Normally, the paper does not move and all the motion is provide by pen – holding mechanism. The pen mechanism moves the pen left, right, top and bottom side. The plot size is restricted by the area of the bed.
It is used to draw Cars, Ships, Airplanes ,Road and highway design etc.

  1. Electrostatic Plotters

They use electrostatic charges to create images out of very small dots on specially treated paper. The paper is run through a developer to allow the image to appear. These are faster than pen plotters and can produce images of very high resolution.
Plotters are normally very slow motion because of excessive mechanical movement. Hence there is a great mismatch between the speed of the CPU and the speed of a plotter. Because of this reason, output is fist transferred by CPU to magnetic tapes and then the plotter is activated.

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