Flatbed plotter

Updated: 01/31/2019 by Computer Hope

A flatbed plotter is a computerized plotter that works by using an arm that moves a pen over paper rather than having paper move under the arm as with a drum plotter.

The paper is placed on the bed, a flat surface, of the flatbed plotter. The size of the paper that can be used is dependent on the size of the bed. Larger flatbed plotters can print on paper up to 60-inches in length.

Some flatbed plotters can print on material other than paper, including cardboard, plastic, or even metal. Flatbed plotters can also generate perfect copies again and again, with no loss of quality in the printed drawing. However, they can be quite large in size and very costly to purchase.

An example of an early flatbed plotter is the CalComp Model 738. Used in the 1970s, it had a large bed, allowing it to create large drawings. The CalComp Model 738 was an offline flatbed plotter, so a magnetic tape was used to input data into the device.

Drum plotter, Printing terms