Updated: 12/26/2023 by Computer Hope
Plotter printing machine.

A plotter is a computer hardware device much like a printer used for printing vector graphics. Instead of toner, plotters use a pen, pencil, marker, or another writing tool to draw multiple, continuous lines on paper rather than multiple dots, like a traditional printer. Plotters produce a hard copy of schematics and other similar applications. Though once widely used for computer-aided design, these devices were more or less phased out by wide-format printers.

When was the first plotter invented?

The first plotter was invented in 1953 by Remington-Rand. It was used with the UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) computer to created technical drawings.

How is a plot created?

In general, a plot is a drawing comprised of multiple connected lines. A plot drawing may be created for a diagram of a computer component allowing manufacturing to know exactly how the component should be created. Today, to create a plotting on a computer it's often done using CAD (computer-aided design) and once created printed out as a hard copy using a device like a flatbed plotter.

Advantages of plotters

  • Plotters can work on large sheets of paper while maintaining high resolution.
  • They can print on a wide variety of flat materials including plywood, aluminum, sheet steel, cardboard, and plastic.
  • Plotters allow the same pattern to be drawn thousands of times without any image degradation.

Disadvantages of plotters

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

CAD, Drum plotter, Flatbed plotter, HPGL, Line art, Peripheral, Printer, Printer terms, Resolution, Vector