Posts with «plotter» label

Servo Plotter Needs Nothing Exotic

Although the widespread use of 3D printers has made things like linear bearings and leadscrews more common, you still can’t run down to your local big-box hardware store and get them. However, you can get drawer slides and any hobby shop can sell you some RC servos. That and an Arduino can make a simple and easy plotter. Just ask [JimRD]. You can also watch it do its thing in the video below.

Of course, servos aren’t usually what you use in a plotter. But the slides convert the rotation of the servo into linear motion. One servo for X and one for Y is all you need. Another microservo lifts the pen up and down using a hinge you could also get from a hardware store.

Is it pretty? No. Does it do amazing artwork? No, again. But it is the kind of thing you could probably throw together from things you happen to have hanging around, especially if you are about to trash an old desk or cabinet with slides in it.

This would make a great rainy day project. We are suckers for simple plotter projects even though you could just mate a pen to your 3D printer or CNC machine. Those won’t fit your whiteboard, though.

Arduino Drives Faux Spirograph

The holidays always remind us of our favorite toys from when we were kids. Johnny Astro, an Erector set, and — of course — a Spirograph. [CraftDiaries] has an Arduino machine that isn’t quite a Spirograph, but it sure reminds us of one. The Arduino drives two stepper motors that connect to a pen that can create some interesting patterns.

The build uses a few parts that were laser cut, but they don’t look like they’d be hard to fabricate using conventional means or even 3D printing. The author even mentions you could make them out of cardboard or foamboard if you wanted to.

The electronics are straightforward with two stepper drivers. We couldn’t help but think that some of the old 3D printer motherboards we have laying around here could handle this very easily. However, in this project, the CPU is an ordinary UNO with a CNC shield to drive the motors.

Of course, the real trick is the software. Apparently, the different patterns come from the relationship between the delay between steps of the right motor and that of the left motor. There’s got to be some math behind that, but the patterns are certainly pretty.

If you prefer something that looks more like an actual Spirograph, grab a bag of Lego. Or try the Art-O-Matic.

Vektor Kollektor Inspector

With the world opening up again, [Niklas Roy] and [Kati Hyyppä] have been busy making a public and collaborative project. Meet the Vektor Kollektor, a portable drawing machine experience, complete with a chip-tune soundtrack. It’s great to see public art meet the maker community with zero pretension and a whole lot of fun!

The build started with an HP7475A pen plotter from the 80s, one that was DOA (or was fried during initial testing). [Niklas] and [Kati] kept the mechanism but rebuilt the controls allowing for easy integration with an Arduino Nano and to be powered with a motorcycle battery.

The magic seems to be less in the junk-bin build (which is great) and more in the way this team extended the project. Using a joystick with arcade buttons as an input, they carted Vektor Kollektor to public parks and streets where they invited others to make art. The Kollekted drawings are available on a gallery website in a very cool animated form, freely available for download, on t-shirts, 3D prints, and on coffee mugs because, why not?

Some select drawings are even spray-painted on walls using a large plotter, and we really hope [Niklas Roy] and [Kati Hyyppä] share details on that build soon. Of course this comes hot on the heels of the workshop window cyborg we saw from these two hardware artists.

Pen Plotter From Salvaged Printer Parts

Like many of us, [Benjamin Poilve] was fascinated when he took apart a broken printer. He kept the parts, but unlike most of us, he did something with them, building a neat little plotter called the Liplo. Most pen plotters work by moving the pen on two axes, but [Benjamin] took a different approach, using the friction drive bars from the printer to move the paper on one axis, and a servo to move the pen on the other. He’s refined the design from its initial rough state to create a very refined final product that uses a combination of salvaged, 3D-printed, and CNC-milled parts.

The Liplo is driven by a Teensy 3.1 and an Eibot board to drive the motors. [Benjamin] was planning to offer the plotter a kit on Kickstarter, but life got in the way. His loss is our gain, as he is now offering the plans and code for this neat build for free. If this one doesn’t plot your desires, we’ve seen lots of other home built plotters recently, including this one made from a 3D printer, and even one made of cardboard.

Hack a Day 30 Jan 19:30

Junk Build Printer Uses Pencil To Print

Sometimes, it is interesting to see what you can build from the bits that you have in your junk drawer. [Dr West] decided to build a printer with spare parts including a hard drive, a scanner base and an Arduino. The result is a rather cool printer that prints out the image using a pencil, tapping the image out one dot at a time. The software converts the image into an array, with 0 representing white and 1 representing black. The printer itself works a bit like an old-school CRT TV: the scanner array moves the printer along a horizontal line, then moves it vertically and along another horizontal line. It then triggers the hard drive actuator to create a mark on the paper if there is a 1 in the array at that point.

We’ve seen a few drawing printers before, but most use a plotter or CNC approach, where the motors move the pencil on an X-Y . This type of dot matrix printer (sometimes called a dotter) isn’t as efficient, but it’s a lot of fun and shows what can be achieved with  a few bits of junk and a some ingenuity.

Make a Plotter Out of Rulers

Instructables user [lingib] made a clever and inexpensive pen arm plotter that uses plastic rulers for arms. An inspiring sight for anyone without a bunch of robot parts lying around,

The electronics are straightforward, with an Arduino UNO and a pair of Easy Drivers to control NEMA17 stepper motors connected to robot wheels, which serve as hubs for the rulers. At the end of the arms, an SG90 micro servo raises and lowers the pen as commanded, shoving the whole pen assembly off the paper with its horn—an elegant solution to an age-old drawbot problem. He even wrote wrote a custom Processing program that allows him to control the plotter from his desktop

[lingib]’s experimented with different kinds of drawing machines, including a drum plotter (video after the break), a V-plotter, as well as a rolling drawbot.

You’ll find tons of Hackaday posts about all types of drawing machines, including vintage plotters, plotters for making circuit boards, and even one built out of cardboard.

…the aforementioned drum plotter…

[Thanks, Setvir]

Filed under: cnc hacks
Hack a Day 17 Jun 00:00

Anatomically Correct Plotter Avoids Back Scratch Fever

Everybody needs somebody sometimes, even if it’s just for when your back itches. But directing your itchy interlocutor to the correct spot can be a spatial relations challenge: “Right in the middle… no, down a bit… left… no, the other left! Harder! Wait, not that hard!” Why bother with all that messy interpersonal communication and human contact when you can build an automated, precision-guided back scratcher?

[VijeMiller] has aluminum extrusion tastes on a cardboard budget, but don’t let that put you off this clever build. The idea is pretty simple: a two-axis plotter that moves a rotary-action business end to any point within a V-shaped work envelope. The Arduino in the base talks to a smartphone app that lets you point to exactly the spot in need of attention on what for most of us would be an incredibly optimistic photorealistic map of the dorsal aspect of the body (mildly NSFW photo in the link above dips below the posterior border). Point, click, sweet relief.

The video below shows the rig in action, along with the Thespian skills we’ve come to know and love from [VijeMiller] with such classics as the fake floating 19th green, the no-idling-while-texting alert, and the more recent ker-sploosh fighting foam filled toilet. It does seem like he changed his name from [TVMiller] somewhere along the line, but he can’t throw us off the trail that easily.

Filed under: misc hacks
Hack a Day 08 May 03:00

PyroGraph is a plotter that burns images on paper

Inspired by the traditional thermal printers, the PyroGraph is an experimental plotter that uses a soldering iron to burn images onto paper.

Created by the team of Bjørn Karmann, Lars Kaltenbach and Nicolas Armand, PyroGraph works by analyzing any picture and then converting it into dots that are scorched onto a piece of paper with a 450 °C tip. The time of contact between the iron and the paper determines the grayscale of the dot?—?the longer it presses against the paper, the darker the dots get.

The machine uses a paper roll (so the length of the printed piece can then be up to 100m) and a head moving on a fixed x-axis, controlled by servo motors and a custom software developed by the group of Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design students.

But that’s not all. The PyroGraph will also listen to the ambient noise within its environment to make a connection between the space and the printer. The drawings will be distorted depending on the sound activity of the room in which it will be displayed.

You can read more about the project here, and see it in action below!

(Photos: CIID)

Arduino Blog 15 Sep 19:39

Cartesio – low cost cartesian plotter robot

Primary image

What does it do?

Plotter robot arm

Recently the famous site evilmadscientist introduced the new art robot called Axidraw.I saw the robot in action and it is very similar to the robot I built in the 2015, called Cartesio, a 3d printed cartesian robot.

Cost to build

$60, 00

Embedded video

Finished project



Time to build


URL to more information


read more

Arduino Makerbeam Live Plotter Controlled By HTML5 Canvas and Java Website

We’ve never seen someone build a plotter out of buzzwords, but [roxen] did a really good job of it. The idea is simple, place the plotter over a sheet of paper, open a website, draw, and watch the plotter go. Check out the video below the break.

The user draws in an HTML5 Canvas object which is read by a Java Web Server. From there it gets converted to serial commands for an Arduino which controls the steppers with two EasyDrivers.

The build itself is really nice. It perfectly meets the mechanical requirements of a pen plotter without a lot of fluff. The overall frame is T-shaped, for the x- and y-axis. The movements are produced by two steppers and acetal rack and pinion sets. The pen is lifted up and down by a hobby servo.

We like the use of rubber end caps to hold the frame fixed with friction against the table and a single ball bearing to to contact the table in the direction of its movement. This has the added benefit of being a 3-point contact that automatically squares the assembly to the same plane the paper is in. Any twisting of the frame will have little effect on its drawing ability since it’s end-effector is a ballpoint pen.

We really enjoyed this project, and think it would be fun to play around with. You could hack it to take text input, and output the handwriting you would have if you were replaced by a unconvincing robot copy of yourself.

Thanks for the tip [Daniel R.]!

Filed under: robots hacks
Hack a Day 04 Mar 21:00