Summa vs Graphtec vs Roland

Behrmon

Pr. Bear-Mon
2 Summas here, ST2-160 and STC2-160. Great machines for any substrate we throw at it whether cut vinyls or laminated reflective. Good luck.
 

stxrmxn

New Member
Still leaning hard towards the Summa. Sure seems like for every two people that tell me to stay far away from them, ten people tell me it's the best plotter they've ever used. Maybe they just have slightly sub-par quality control and their lemon to good machine ratio is higher than other manufacturers, but the good ones they build are great? I dunno...like I said initially, I feel like it's a crap-shoot either way.

Keep the opinions coming!! I'm still not sold quite yet!
Oh yeah. You will need one of these on this "great" machine as well because the blade doesnt lift up high enough when moving from one cut to the next and scratches your media (all the time)
I know, I know...I guess I was just hoping for someone to really sway me one way or the other. As for service, I honestly don't know. My FC7000 has only had a tech look at it once in its 13+ year lifespan, but that was five years ago and we actually had to drive it two hours away to the only place that would even touch it because it was "so old." (Ended up needing the mainboard replaced.) Maybe that's saying something, however...I really have had very few problems with the Graphtec in all that time.
You will also need one of these on your "great new piece of sh!t sorry kit" because the blade does not lif up high enough on th up travel and scratches the media (alot) on the Graphtec you can set the up height as far as you like.
 

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easystickerco

New Member
Graphtec, CM4 for both PC & MAC, FC9000 workhorse, blades last a long time, easy to swap a blade... no learning curve for you hmmmm
 

Solventinkjet

DIY Printer Fixing Guide
Oh yeah. You will need one of these on this "great" machine as well because the blade doesnt lift up high enough when moving from one cut to the next and scratches your media (all the time)

You will also need one of these on your "great new piece of sh!t sorry kit" because the blade does not lif up high enough on th up travel and scratches the media (alot) on the Graphtec you can set the up height as far as you like.

There's an adjustment for that.
 

Superior_Adam

New Member
We ran a Summa for 15 years. When it finally crapped out we went with Roland. Worst decision ever. We quickly sold it and got another summa. I would go with the tangential blade for small letters. We run a drag version on our 64" Summa but we are not cutting small letters on it.
 

dsd7

New Member
I have a summa s2 tangential and a graphtec fc7000. Summas are absolutely nicer, faster, incredibly accurate, and have many more features, capabilities and setting. However, more complex and accompanying problems. the software it comes with sucks so plan on using another software. We do lots of large volume print+cut and cut vinyl. Love the summa for print+cut, when it works. We can cut roll to roll with the summa, the graphtec no. The summa profiles have to be properly setup for optimal speed and accuracy per media and we have never been able to fully utilize some of its features because it wont cut reliably for us(print+cut with barcodes+ sheet cutting and perf cutting).
Blades changes are not pleasant.
Plan on using 3rd party software.
I have had several mechanical problems needing their tech to replace parts 2 times.
Accuracy is incredible.
Full speed is frightening.


That being said,
My employees love the simplicity of the graphtec, integrates with illustrator and is just plug and go. Not a fan of the registration system but newer models have upgraded.
Our graphtec recently broke down and isnt reparable. We are looking at getting a new fc9000 rather than another summa, for what its worth.
 

easystickerco

New Member
I went with the FC9000 and opted for the take-up. I cut 54" x 30-40 yards of various files using bar code & datalink system. Just copy all my cut files to memory stick. and set the first job and let it go.
 

signheremd

New Member
We were torn between the Summa and the Graphtec FC9000 - went with the Graphtec and never looked back. It is fast and accurate, reliable, and price was significantly less than the Summa. We heard that Summa are a bit more temperamental. We had a Roland 30" plotter at one time. When it broke down we pulled our old Graphtec 30" out of storage, found some drivers, and it is still working - just an ancient beast. When we bought the 60" Graphtec, we had to update our Flexi software, but now can print/cut graphics printed on our UV flatbed printer - that expanded our capabilities - plus the Graphtec does an excellent job cutting small text. You have 8 presets you can use to adjust speed and pressure for the material you are cutting. Blade must be extended manually to match total material thickness. Blades are reasonably priced. The Summa is a nice machine, but we have found Graphtec to be real workhorses.
 

IanZane

I'll Stick, Spray or Paint Anything!
I have a Summa D-610 I bought in 1994. I have used it as my main cutter. It has also traveled around with me quite a bit. The only trouble I've had is it blew a fuse about a week after getting it. I finally after all these years (26) took the underside cover off to blow it out. It was surprisingly cleaner than I thought. It's been a great cutter and working right now as I type. I going to replace to cut strip tomorrow as it looks like it needs it. I've worked with many different manufacturers cutters over the years and the Summa has always performed well. Only a Mumaki I worked in one shop 15 years ago cut slightly better for smaller text. Good luck!
 

Miftah

New Member
I know, I know...I guess I was just hoping for someone to really sway me one way or the other. As for service, I honestly don't know. My FC7000 has only had a tech look at it once in its 13+ year lifespan, but that was five years ago and we actually had to drive it two hours away to the only place that would even touch it because it was "so old." (Ended up needing the mainboard replaced.) Maybe that's saying something, however...I really have had very few problems with the Graphtec in all that time.

Hi friend
which brand that you got for your cutter?
How was the experience sa far?
 

IanZane

I'll Stick, Spray or Paint Anything!
I've had a Summagraphics D-610 I bought in 1994 that I still use daily. I've trucked this plotter all over the eastern US in my moves. The only problem I've had other than general maintenance and blades was a blown fuse and media sensor went out. I've run MILES of vinyl through this machine and it still acts and cuts like it did the day i started cutting with it. I just have to make sure I have enough vinyl in it for the cut job I'm sending to it. Tracks great. I bought a Summa DC-4 Thermal Resin printer from my experience with Summa. I believe I have to replace the printhead on it as I've had it for 8 years now. I have found it cost a bit more per sq.ft. than a "traditional" inkjet large format printer. I dont use it much anymore except when I need to print white on clear with a contour cut, like wine bottle labels. The only cutter I have found better than a Summa was a 48" Mumaki. Cant remember what model but it was a drag knife. I'd weed 20 lines of copy and 48" of cut vinyl all at once. I was impressed. Summa on that decision I believe.
 

Bly

New Member
One thing I'd suggest is buying a wider cutter than you mentioned unless you never cut wider than 54"
Summas are good - just don't buy one for doing the super thick Substance MotoX vinyls or you'll be cranky like old mate above.
I've found their software and connections to be a bit flaky but once running it's fine.
Not sure how people are finding blade changes difficult, it's not.
You can also get 3rd party blades which can last as long as oem much cheaper.
I haven't had a Graphtec for a long time but I think they would also be a decent machine.
 

fullpoint

New Member
We have been using Graphtec for 10 years and we are extremely happy with them.

Bought Summa S2T-140 because the dealer said it does better cutting than Graphtec. Turns out, Our graphtec was WAY better at cutting really small details.

We had the mechanic come over twice to fine-tune Summa S2T-140 but it still doesn't cut as good as Graphtec FC8600.
 

Joejo

New Member
2 Summas here, ST2-160 and STC2-160. Great machines for any substrate we throw at it whether cut vinyls or laminated reflective. Good luck.
Do you run the software that came with the machine or do use a 3rd party cut software
 

Zach Starr

Head of Printing Operations
G
Yes, I've searched, but I was hoping for some updated opinions before making such a major purchase. I also feel like if I search enough, I'll find folks who love and folks who hate each of these plotters for various reasons.

In my 20+ years in the business, I've only ever used Gerber and Graphtec plotters. My FC7000-130 which was purchased new back in 2007 is on it's last legs. The USB port just recently crapped out, but I was able to build the custom serial cable (that Graphtec no longer sells) and get it working via the serial port, so I'm no longer in an immediate rush to replace it, but I know I should replace it sooner than later because I really don't want it to die when I'm actually busy. Board was already replaced once with a used one about 5 years ago. I was almost ready to pull the trigger on a Summa S2 T-140, but had a few folks tell me how much they hate theirs and how overpriced they are, so now I'm on the fence. I'm not a high-volume shop, but my plotter is probably the most used machine in my shop and I do cut a fair amount of reflective and small text (usually 220 vinyl), and a fair amount of print/cut stuff. My biggest concern is reliability and expense down the road. I hear blades and parts for the Summa are quite expensive. Here's the three plotters I'm considering. Any input anyone has on these would be much appreciated. I do plan to make a decision in the next week or two.

•Summa S2 T-140 - I was offered a deal on this for $5995 including shipping, install and training. I think this is a smokin' deal that is pretty hard to pass up (MSRP is $8790, not including delivery/install/training). The tangential blade intrigues me as I cut a fair amount of small text, but I've heard it's not really worth the extra cost. I always thought these were top of the line plotters, but I guess that was mostly based on their high prices. Some say just because it's the most expensive doesn't really mean its a superior plotter.

•Graphtec FC9000-140 - I can get this plotter for $5795 with free delivery, but no install or training. I'm assuming it's pretty similar to my FC7000, so I'm sure I can handle install and learning curve should be pretty low since I'm already familiar with Graphtec and Cutting Master 4 software.

•Roland CAMM-1 GR540 - I was quoted $5500 + $500 for delivery/install/training, but rep told me he could talk to his guys and probably get me a slightly better deal. I have zero experience with Roland, but I know they've been around forever.

I'm just trying to get as much info and opinions as possible before I pull the trigger on one of these. This is a major purchase for my small shop. Your input is appreciated!! Thanks!

Summa is brilliant we have multiple units here, works amazing !
 
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