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What is Plotter Paper?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated May 16, 2024
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Plotter paper is a special type of paper used with plotter machines. These are printing devices used with computers that are capable of printing vector type graphics. The plotter machine is most widely used by architects and house or building designers in order to create their blueprints. They are also used alongside software programs such as AutoCAD® and other drafting and technical drawing programs.

The plotter machine prints using a special pen that moves across plotter paper. There are several types of paper used for printing vector graphics that have been captured by the plotter. They are available in different sizes and textures. One type is usually sold by the roll. The drawing from the plotter machine is completed on a drum plotter, which the paper is wrapped around.

Another type of plotter paper can be used on a flatbed plotter machine. This paper is placed on the machine's flat service. An electrostatic plotter allows the user to sketch on negatively charged plotter paper that has a positively charged toner.

Plotter paper is available for both inkjet and traditional pen plotters. Bond paper is one such paper that shows this type of versatility. It can be used for black and white inkjet plotting, making it ideal for engineering and architectural uses. It is sold on rolls measuring 50 yards (457.2 meters). Some are available with widths from 24 to 36 inches (about 60.96 cm to 91.44 centimeters).

Inkjet vellum plotter paper is usually the preferred choice for printing a large volume of blueprints, because it is capable of printing in high quality. Its size is usually 24 inches by 150 feet (about 60.96 cm by 45.72 meters). For a fraction of the cost of vellum paper, one can get translucent bond plotter paper. Packages generally weigh 18 pounds (8.1 kg) and are available in sheets and in rolls up to 36 inches (91.44 cm) wide.

Gloss presentation plotter paper is used most often with pen plotter machines. This type is able to capture all of the sharp lines and high contrast of drawings created by the user. The end result is a product that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also clean and professional in appearance.

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Discussion Comments
By anon127856 — On Nov 17, 2010

Most office supply stores should have some plotter paper rolls (office depot, staples) or should be able to direct you to where you can get some. The other obvious answer is to look online, which has the most variety, but now you add shipping cost to the equation.

As for what type of paper, to be safe, "bond" paper is the most common type that drafters use, all the other ones are fancier or have more specific purposes (display, reproduction, long term storage, etc). So unless specifically required, avoid "vellum" "glossy" "photo" "semi glossy", etc, these are technically better, but definitely not what would be used at an introductory drafting class.

By FirstViolin — On Sep 10, 2010

When choosing a wide format plotter paper, have you guys had more success with OCE plotter paper or Canon plotter paper?

Those are the only two choices my local store has, are those any good?

By galen84basc — On Sep 10, 2010

OK, so I was at the store the other day looking for plotter paper, and there were so many different varieties.

So can someone let me know; what is the difference between plotter photo paper and CAD plotter paper?

Also, I saw something called vinyl plotter paper, what would that be used for?


By CopperPipe — On Sep 10, 2010

Can somebody recommend me a good plotter paper supplier in Ottowa? My son says he needs a plotter printer paper roll for his drafting class, and for the life of me I don't know where to get plotter paper supplies.

Can anyone help me out?

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