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Used Plotters - A Better Source than Ebay?

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Was talking to one of my sons yesterday. He lives in the Tampa Bay area. He was telling me that many of the local pawn shops have been taking in plotters and other signmaking paraphenalia and have them for sale.

One can draw whatever conclusions one wishes as to what that says about the number of people getting in and out of the business. My point is that for those wanting to buy at the lowest price and without support, using the pawn shop allows you to inspect the equipment hands on rather than hoping you get what's in the picture on ebay.

mark in tx

New Member
Sounds like a good source, feel sorry for the people that pawned them though. They probably got 200 bucks for a 3 thousand dollar plotter.

Arlo Kalon 2.0

New Member
Reminds me of awhile back goin' into a pawn shop for my usual look around at guitars/basses/amp deals. For those who know what one is, I saw a brand spankin' new K12Cutawl machine for sale for $80.00! I've used 'em a lot in years past for a line of dimensional "interior decor" fake signs I used to do for a very large restaurant chain. Mine was quite old and troublesome. I broke out in a sweat carrying it to the counter, and played dumb about it. I even asked what it was. The guy told me he thought it was "some kind of grinder?"!!! Anyway, I got it for $60, & later priced it (the whole thing I got - case, assorted blades, spare bulbs, lubricant) at over $500.00!

Now, if I could just run into a new T-Jet machine for 50 or so there!


New Member
A source not usually thought about for plotters,,,
but I guess it stands to reason !!!
Sad,,, but,,, a lot of dreams die in a pawn shop
while other dreams are born there !!!
Thanks for the heads up,,, will have to have a look !!!


New Member
My first cutter, I found an old Graphtec for $25 at a Goodwill! It had blown a fuse, backing had peeled off and jammed it up. Cuts up to 18" wide out of a 24" mouth. I didnt even buy a new blade for it for a year and a half, and even then it was just in case, not because it was having problems cutting.


New Member
I found out about my first plotter when I picked up a hitch hiker here in Maui. I was working part time for Island Sign, then a screen-print only shop. The owner wanted to sell, but nobody wanted to buy, & I was concerned about losing my job if it sold, but I didn't have any savings at all... & not much in the way of possessions besides the beat up old truck I picked up the hitch hiker in.

I had inquired about buying the busines on a payment plan, but without earnest money, or some kind of down payment, he didn't feel that it was a safe gamble for him as he hoped to leave the country when he found a buyer & without any real investment on my part, he feared I might just up & walk away if things didn't go well.

Anyway, the hitch hiker worked in a sewing machine repair shop that was sub-leasing the corner of a small window blind manufacturing business. He told me his landlord had an old plotter gathering dust in the attic.

I met the guy & found he had a roland PNC 1050, a 486 Gateway tower, a copy of Casmate (which I had used extensively in previous jobs on the mainland) and several rolls of vinyl.

Long story short... I showed him I knew how to make money with it & he let me move in for 4 months free rent, & put all his equipment down as a downpayment on the purchase of Island Sign. After 4 months he decided to close up his window blind shop & move to the mainland. I rented a warehouse around the corner, & he gave me a bunch of heavy duty pallet racks to build a storage loft. We agreed on $2500 for buying out his equipment & software & he split. 10 years later, I'm still around the corner, he & the former owner of Island Sign are long since paid off... & I don't have a beater truck anymore!

...but I still shop at pawn shops. I just got a Dewalt 18V jigsaw with case & charger the other day. Not the steal of the day, but a good buy!


New Member
when i lived in sarastoa fl. i must painted the windows for at least 1/2 of all the pawn shops in town. 1 shop owner and i got to be freinds and he would always sell me stuff for way less then anyone. from him i got a STHIL chain saw for $50, when hurricane elana 1986 sat off the coast of fl for couple days, tore up some trees at our house. that same chain saw was used here after ivan 2004, and i cut a lot of trees with it....then the best part....the tree company that came in to clean up for FEMA, the owner saw my STHIL 015 on the carport....and he had it in his hands one day and asked me if i wanted to sell it....i said not really i need a chain saw, so he went to his truck pulled outa new STHIL 021, and said ill trade ya!!! i thought he was crazy...but then he tells me he collects chain saws, and that 015 is one he dont have!!!!! so i got a $400 chain saw for a $50 one!!!!!!!
back to the pawn shops.....the great thing also about doin all the windows..i did a lot of TRADE OUT....my wife has ruby & emerald rings to go on 4 pairs of hands, on every finger!!!!
the one that was my freind, sold me a pottery bead kiln http://www.clay-king.com/itemok129fl.html and it had never been used for $75. i have so much stuff from pawn shops....and i never paid for most of it....did trades.
this is a project i did for my freind that had the pawn shop.
kid sits on this horse, and bounces up and down, and the legs have wheels on the bottom and the bouncing makes the horse move forward....circa 1940-1947. all steel. the before and after i painted it.


Premium Subscriber
Quite a few years ago, a guy called me from our phone book ad and asked me if I was interested in buying a printer of some sort. Like the rest of you, I played dumb [not too hard for me] and asked him what it really was, because I never saw a printer like that. He said he wasn’t sure, but it must’ve cost a lot in its original state, because now it looks as if many of the parts are missing and he’ll reduce the cost. I knew what it was. It was a complete turnkey system from ANAgraph with scanner, Excel V plotter and a screaming 12 Mhz processor with a 40 meg hard drive.

Turns out, all it needed was a fuse also. Got it back to the shop, got it working and told the guy from the pawnshop, that I finally got it working, what did he want for it ?? He said oh, about $100.00 should do it. I told him that I just put two or three hours into getting it to work, does he want me to undo it all and he can come pick it up ?? He said $50.00 and I dropped the money off the next day. Back then, that system was worth new $37,000.

I just sold the plotter about two years ago for about $500.00. I still sleep at night, too. The 286 bit the dust a few years ago, but the software lives on and has been upgraded and we’re still using it. :unclesam:

Pro Image

New Member
On the topic of used equiptment…………..I was brousing throught our local trade times weekly and came across a ad for sign equiptment…….Call the lady and she said her son had tried to make signs but he would rather play video games than try anything that took more effort than moving his thumbs…….She had a P-cut CT. for sale with WinPc Sign Letter edition all for the low low price of…………1500.00??? I ask if she got it off of Ebay and she said yes (I knew she had) I looked it up while we talked, It was bought for 499.99 + 75.00 shipping………I asked her why she need a 1000.00 profitt on a used machine and she said …..now get this- She was looking for a sucker like herself to unload this piece of crap on…………………lol lol lol lol


New Member
Used heat press

i just bought a used non working 15x15 heat press on ebay for $60 and bought 2 relays on ebay for $5 and now have a great working heat press. GO EBAY!!!!!!


New Member

going back to ebay, a few months ago i was looking around the vinyl films on ebay and i ran up on a new seller with zero feedback by the name of a popular vinyl supplier who had 20 or so rolls of 3m 580 reflective film. I knew who "the supplier" was, i have bought from them in the past. the starting bid on a 30"X10yd roll was around $12. I bid just to see what the reserve was, it was $18 dollars. there was also several 24"X50Yd rolls of white reflective 580. I called "the supplier" and spoke with someone who verified that the auctions were legit. I could not believe it. I bid on the 50yd white rolls and the reserve was only $90 dollars!! I thought I would surely get outbid on all of the vinyl... I won every roll!! I guess everyone was afraid it was a scam since the film was so cheap and the seller had zero feedback..but I knew better. After i won around 20 rolls (about 15 30"X10yd a couple of 15"X50yd and a couple of 24"X10yd rolls) I called "the supplier" up and asked if they had anymore. Sure enough, they had tons!! I bought every roll of 580 they had for almost nothing! i got 24"X10yd rolls for $12 and 30"X10yd rolls for $18 and 24"X50yd rolls for $90. I got almost $10,000 retail dollars worth of 3m 580 film for around $1000!! They also had tons of 3m 7025 film. for half the price of reflective!! I bought about $1000 dollars worth of that too! I couldnt turn it down! I sold 3 out of my 6 rolls of 24"X50yd 580 film and paid for every roll i bought plus a little profit!!! I guess it pays to do a little investigation!! That was the best deal I have ever gotten!! Im still using the films today!!