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Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

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Post Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:08 am

Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

Morning guys,

I’m having a rejig of the setup I have here following a couple or PC failures.

I run a 1220mm Roland cutter, a Gerber Edge with a GS15 plus cutter and a Mutoh VJ1304.

I used to run the Mutoh off a Vista machine with Posterprint 2008. It did everything I needed it to do... until it died. Posterprint’s compatibility restricts what operating system I can use.

The Roland and the Edge run off a steam powered XP machine with Signlab 5 and Omega Composer. Again, it does everything I need it to do.

Thinking of getting a decent PC to run everything... just wondered how you guys operate or what suggestions you have.

Obviously the issues I’ll face are software and hardware based unless I spend a fortune.

The Mutoh runs via an Ethernet cable. The Roland is parallel, as is the Edge and the GS15 is serial.

I suppose the easiest thing to do is acquire another XP machine to run the Mutoh.

It’s all messing with my head! Opinions appreciated.
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Post Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:29 pm

Re: Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

Good question Carl. I have similar issues with a lot of legacy software that does what I need it to do but needs the older operating systems to run. I recently had an issue with an old PC packing in and was in panic mode for a couple of days before it was fixed. I vowed then to buy a backup PC similarly specified but of course never got around to it.

I use a combination of Casmate, Signlab and Corel and a troop rip. As time has gone on it's all become more and more cumbersome and I have to go exporting and importing between different applications whereas it would all be so much simpler if I could do everything from one application.

I'm sure the latest versions of Signlab or Flexisign would meet my current needs but I have little doubt that a few years down the line these would end up outdated as well.

Interested to hear what others suggest
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Post Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:55 pm

Re: Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

We've just taken the plunge and upgraded our studio systems, moved from iMac's, onto windows based PC's.

Hardware is cheaper, you can pick up a 250gb SD, i7 processor, 16gb RAM, PC for less than £600... compare that with a mac. If any of the hardware breaks, it's pretty standard gear, I can pick up locally and change.

I've begrudgingly upgraded from adobe CS5, to CC, and now pay monthly for the two computers we use, along with upgrading Suitcase and Quark.

Why did we bother you may ask... because something was going to fall over at some point in the future. We'd have to upgrade eventually, so why not do it when it suites us, rather than on the back foot when the brown stuff's hitting the fan.

I'm fully behind the if it ain't broke don't fix it mentality, however, there comes a point where it will break and it can't be fixed, or will cost a small fortune to bring back online.

I've no idea how you'd go about upgrading if you're running legacy software & machines.

I know of one local signmaker, who ran his machine until it died, but then found himself in the predicament of needing a new printer, without the capital to buy one, and the finance costs on even a used machine were another overhead they'd not had for years.
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Post Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:23 pm

Re: Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

The NHS had a similar issue last year when they were hit by a virus and everyone wondered why they were using obsolete operating systems - the reason was legacy software applications. Even NASA and the space shuttle had a problem sourcing computer chips for the space shuttle which was over 30 years old so we're in good company :awkward:

Car companies used to bring out new designs each model year to entice people to upgrade - software developers don't have that incentive they can use so make their software become obsolete by working hand in hand with Microsoft.

I'm surprised the government haven't introduce the equivalent of an annual MOT test on computer systems in an ever desperate attempt to stimulate economic growth...
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Post Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:01 pm

Re: Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

It was the same in the navy. We had a "processing room" that contained cabinet after cabinet of computers to process the data for our sonar & tactical systems.

It was all 1980's tech, all custom built, spares were carried but if you didn't have it you were buggered.

I tested the latest system before I left, that was built on linux, but was still 1990's tech, but at least it was made of off the shelf parts. I believe some weapons systems use xbox's controllers now.

Now we're pushed onto SaaS, now when the software updates, you may find yourself needing new hardware, or pay monthly for old software.
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Post Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:10 pm

Re: Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

The later Signlabs should run your older cutter but finding a PC with a parallel port will be a challenge, I think you can get parallel port card though.
Any new RIP should run your printer via Ethernet but they are expensive.

No idea on the Gerber Edge as I've never run one.

Steve
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Post Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

have a look at
windows xp in windows 7 virtual machine but are microsoft stopping 7 now

we use this to overcome some of the problems with older software. on a win7 pro 64bit
other older stuff that really requires xp seams to work in compatibility mode but on a 32bit win7 pro as well much to our amazement.
will have to start delving in to win 10 before long see what happens
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Post Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:38 pm

Re: Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

I don't do that much work now so my software requirements have changed a lot but when I was orking full time I had a design computer set up with 2 virtual machines.

Same idea Chris is talking about but instead of using microsofts virtual machine I was running vmware player which was free & reviews rated it as a better system than the microsoft version, that may all have changed now as not up to date.
My main operating system was widows 7 pro & I had 2 virtual machines, one XP & one windows 98se :lol: :lol:

This is not the same as a dual boot system where you would boot the computer into one or the other operating ystems. This is all run from windows 7 so starting vmware player brings up a new screen for what ever virtual machine you have installed, you can drag & drop between the 2 as well which was great :lol: :lol:

You will need a licenced copy of the operating system you want to install on the virtual machine though :lol:
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Post Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:13 pm

Re: Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

Yes I had considered using virtual machine with older operating systems installed (In fact I tried it) but discovered the older software relied on old style parralel ports to communicate with the plotter and dongle. Newer PCs don't have these (only USB) so I never figured out how to get around this?
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Post Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:03 am

Re: Plotter, Gerber Edge and inkjet... what setups do you guys have.

2 methods Phill either fit a pci parallel port into one of the spare slots in the computeror or use a usb to parallel adapter, if you go down the adapter route buy one with an FTDI chipset :lol: :lol:
Really easy to set up as well :lol:

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