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Ideas for a plotter

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I can see from the posts that people seem to like the Summa, Graphtec and Roland.

I have some options:

I may be able to get a used Summa T750 for $1600 locally. It is in good shape, but I found that he lied in a few points. He told me he bought it new, and I know it was a demo, and he said it was 3 years old, and the serial number says it is 4 and a half. I see it has no optical input, and no pounce unit, but overall looks to be in good shape. Oh yeah...no USB. No biggie there.

After buying a Panther and returning it from signwarehouse, the rep told me that buying a used unit from anybody would get no support. I called Summa, and Drew assured me all Summa units have lifetime support and warranties are fully transferrable. I like Drew.

Drew also told me about a special D60 that does not do scraps. It is called the D60-FX. He said he would sell that for $1595 + ship.

I see the Graphtec 3000MX2-60 on past Ebay sales that went unsold at $1349 + 100 ship. That includes a stand! I think I could talk signwarehouse down even more. I am also thinking that as it is a Graphtec, I would be able to get support from Graphtec direct? I see a refurb Panther for $1000.

What do I need this unit for? Good question!

I am a computer geek by trade. I am also a RE Broker part time, and I have paid my friend who owns a sign shop to do my truck a couple of times. It cannot happen anymore as I am no longer a Jehovah's Witness, and my friend must shun me. Bummer.

So, as I used to watch him do my truck, and have even torn apart his brand new Mutoh Printer/Cutter, I am not scared of the technology. I may even sell some signs as a hobby. So, I am looking at this as primarily a hobby, but maybe I will turn it into a business, as the computer business is a real pain these days.

What would you do given the four options? The T750 may be gone in the morning, as the guy said he had to hold it overnight. It is what it is.

Will I ever need the optical? Maybe later, who knows? I would rather overbuy than underbuy. Tangential head? Why not. I see the 3000MK advertises tangential "style," but is that the same thing? Summa D60 does not.

Thanks for the advise.

I did do some searches, but did not see the comparisons of these 2 brands.



New Member
good luck,
if yer gooan be a hobbiest.. then...
you do not need tangie cutting ability,

Why would a full time computer geek wish to spend thousands on something that you know nothing about. In a trade that you know nothing about.. This sign making is not a bobby thing. There is too much to know just to play around without any commitment. Do u have any knowledge of design, or how to select a font, or what material to use?

This trade is not desktop publishing.. That is a complete different animal.

How would you like it if I came into your shop and asked you for a list of test equipment, and tech software and started a shop near you.

And why would you,, a part time RE broker want to spend 2 grand for a cutter,, when you can make much more money doing your real estate. This is not smart. Unless you just want to make your own signs and cut out a perfectly good sign man from the mix just to save a few bux,, and maybe do a few for your RE buddies and save them a few bux.

As for your friend.. There are lots more sign persons around that will do as good if not better.

I may even sell some signs as a hobby. So, I am looking at this as primarily a hobby,

This will get you nowhere here from me. Personally. I do not wish to train some hobby shop any techniques that will take work away from a truely committed sign person who is trying to make a living feed his kids.

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
I have to agree with most of what Techman had to say but I also understand the desire to do it yourself. So here's my suggestion:

Forget the plotter, forget the vinyl and transfer paper inventory, forget the whole production part. Focus on the beginning and the end. Get yourself a licensed copy of Corel X3 or Illustrator CS and concentrate on doing good designs and layouts. That's where most of the gratification is anyway. Farm out the production part to either a local shop willing to work with you or to a dedicated wholesale jobber. Then do your own applications and installs.

If you can't go with that and buy yourself a plotter, then stay with a brand name that will hold it's value. If you buy a plotter and sell it a year from now because your real estate efforts are providing you a better ROI, it will cost you less to have owned and liquidated the name brand. OTOH, if you find your hobby something you like and continue on with it, you will have a machine that is far more reliable and which outputs a better looking result.


I have a truly licensed copy of X3.
Thanks for the help.

Please remove my account.


New Member
Fred Weiss said:
That's a first. Consider it done. :Sleeping:

Actually, I think I tried it once. Changed my mind though.

Hey bud, if you ever log back on. Grow some kahooni's and realize that no one likes competition and not many like offering free advice to newbies, so you're not always gonna get warm and fuzzy advice. Oh yeah, and the sign trade is an art trade. Basically meaning it's full of know-it-alls that are hard to work with (sorry folks, but atleast I'm grouping myself in there too). Just a fact of life. Don't always expect friendly advice. It may be good, but just not always warm and fuzzy. You just gotta recognize it as that. So man up, sign back on, ask a bunch of more questions, and jump into the trade headfirst feeling comfortable in what you're doing!!!!!!

Geesh... did I seriously just write that? Wow. :smile:


New Member
Yes, Fred, that was definitely the quickest quitter I've ever witnessed. Speaking of witnesses.....I wonder if they thought the same thing of him. Sounds like it....especially when you consider his testimony of how long he stayed with Signwarehouse as well.

Is it just me or does anybody else imagine this guy's day as: Buying a plotter, joining an annoying door-to-door cult, signing on this message board at breakfast time......and then flakin' out on all three things before dinner time is over. :tongue:



New Member
Talk about flip/flop,,,,,
I just got thru posting a "welcome" thing
and turn around with a "never mind" here !!!
Pardon my "skidmarks" please !!!
Now look what you have done Techman...Don't you feel bad? I wouldn't either.

What in the world are these people thinking that you can buy a plotter, some vinyl and with the snap of your fingers your going to be in business making the big bucks? Oh wait a minute look at all of the struggling sign shops that think adding a digital printer or a router will increase their sales, but I digress.

I just can not understand that mentality, jeez I've seen surgery performed on TV on those reality shows and have never thought (insert lightbulb here)" you know I've got extra money I could buy a hospital bed (I see them for sale all the time after people die at home) a scalpel, EKG machine as I'd rather overbuy in the event that I would like to do more advanced procedures like heart surgery rather than being limited to general surgery because I didn't have all of the tools , and a anesthetic machine, and start to perform surgery on my friends and family, I will start with the basic stuff, broken bones, cyst and tumor removal, I will practice on my pets and strays until I am comfortable with the techniques and equipment... and then you know I can save my friends and family a little money and cancell our health insurance policies as well...and as I get better and if I like it I could turn it into a "real" business.

I do not understand the people who can not grasp the concept that their signs, vehicle lettering, etc, are the first impression that their potential and current customers will see. If you do not have the design skills and the experience manufacturing the signs why would you do this yourself to save a couple of bucks (when in fact you are most likely spending more to make your own signs by spending the money on ownership of equipment, maintaining a inventory of material, and wasting a massive ammount of materials going through the learning curve to be able to operate your equipment and learn the basics of manufacturing...

no sign manufacturing is not brain surgery but just because it looked easy as you watched a sign professional execute the procedures necessary to produce a professional, quality sign because he has put in the time and earned the experience and skill to work smoothly, efficiently and appearingly effortless does not mean that you are a now a journeyman and possess the same talent.
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