A graphics printer that draws images with ink pens. It actually draws point-to-point lines directly from vector graphics files. The plotter was the first computer output device that could print graphics as well as accommodate full-size engineering and architectural drawings. Using different colored pens, it was also able to print in color long before inkjet printers became an alternative.
Pen plotters are still the most affordable printing device for CAD use and offer resolution unlike any other printer. The lines are not made up of dots. They are actually drawn, providing infinite resolution. See drum plotter
, flatbed plotter
, electrostatic plotter
and inkjet printer
Drum and Flatbed Plotters
Both types of plotters actually "draw" the images. The drum plotter (left) wraps the paper around a drum with pin feeds. It moves the paper back and forth for one direction of the plot. The pens move across the paper, creating the other axis. The bed of the flatbed unit (right) determines the maximum size of the total drawing.
Pen plotters use drawing pens that provide infinite resolution, because the lines are actually drawn. All other printing devices print dots.