Calibration of Plotters

Over the past 10 years Film & Vinyl Designs has worked to make the perfect patterns for Tinting and then more recently for the Paint Protection market. Through the years we have received more that our share of Great feedback on how the patterns fit and they should not be changed. Sometimes we receive feedback that the patterns do not fit at all and they are all too short left to right or top to bottom with relation to the door glasses or back windows. Typically the other smaller windows are not of concern as they will fit for nearly all customers.

Many times the feedback that comes on the same day, are both, one customer raves about how the patterns are perfect, and then later the same day a customer decides that the patterns are not working for them, they are just not good enough for their customers. On one of these days I started working on finding the answer. Is there just that much difference between one customers requirements on quality and another. What if the glass is not the same. What about the plotters, could the plotters be inconsistent or maybe it is in the calibration, or lack of calibration?

After quite a bit of time the only real logical answer is the calibration on some plotters is very close from one plotter to another but if there is a tolerance of say 1% plus or minus (which is the amount that most plotters advertize) how much would that really be on a door glass for a auto. I did some math to find this answer.

Let’s say a window is 19” x 35” wide, as standard 2 dr front door. If the window is a 1% difference in the size how much would that come out to? 18.81 x 34.65 which is nearly ј inch short top to bottom and almost 3/8 short left to right. This is a bunch. If a window for a door glass is off consistently by 1/8th inch then that is a tolerance of just 0.3 of 1 percent. This is a real challenge and should be looked at, some customers could be off on the plus side and they may be the ones saying the patterns fit perfect.

The one nice thing about Film Designs is the ability to add just a touch to either the X Axis or the Y Axis individually. When the graphics industry makes the plotters to be “within specs” they are not going to have any grief if the line of text is off even up to Ѕ inch on a 4 foot line of text. But with windows if the patterns are off for a 1/16 of an inch then I am making changes to all of these. It is my conclusion that I am not hearing from the customers that have the calibration on the money or over but do hear from the customers that are under in calibration. If there is a consistent need or ability to add a 1/8th of an inch to each pattern then we should make a small adjustment and then evaluate the fit of the patterns.

If you have Film Designs and notice that the patterns are just "off" of what you would like in fit, then we will make an adjustment to see if that works. If you plan to start using Film Designs, then you can be confident that even if the plotter you are using has not been calibrated or cannot be tested or calibrated, then Film Designs can overcome the lack of accuracy and fine tune the system even down to the 0.1 of 1 percent that can be the difference between making the pattern cover that 1/8th of an inch to make it fit perfect.

Brett Wassell Film & Vinyl Designs