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Pencil Plotting

HP 7580B Plotter

Oops. We’ve got another pen plotter at Interlock.

HP 7580B Plotter

I mentioned before that I’ve been tinkering with said plotters and webcams and some minimal computer vision noodling. Eventually, I’d like to implement some of my own software (likely using Processing) to do some more in-depth sketchy-yet-robotic drawings.

As such, I had been trying to think of easy/cheap ways to get a pencil working on the device. A normal pencil will only get so far before it needs sharpening, and none of my plotters have yet become talented enough to lumber over to the pencil sharpener. Soo…

Pencil Plotter

Tada! Did you know they make mechanical pencils that auto-advance their lead? I didn’t, until this was mentioned on a mailing list I’m on for discussing the Chiplotle python plotter library (and plotters in general).

A quick Amazon Prime-ing of the BIC AI mechanical pencil and away we go. I stuck it into a hollowed out plotter pen, as demonstrated above, and it seemed to work fine and auto-advance the lead whenever necessary. Sweet.

Pencil Plotter

So for the two of you out there interested in pen plotters, now you know. For the rest of you, maybe you’ve got an Eggbot or a Makerbot Unicorn or some cool sort of homebrewed plotter… go get it running with some genuine 100% lead mixture of graphite with clay binder. And if you’re into drawing and/or robots and/or software, you should stop in and play with the plotters someday. I’ll get you started, so bring in some vector artwork, and maybe some paper, and we’ll see what happens!

from on February 24th, 2012Comments2 Comments

2 Comments on “Pencil Plotting”

  1. 1 Poul Bundgaard said at 3:37 am on February 28th, 2015:

    Very good info, thanks for sharing. I have an old Roland DXY-1300 and DXP-3300 which I would like to draw with pencil, but until now I haven’t been able to figure out how to avoid exhausting the lead. This could do it. Thanks again.

  2. 2 Bertje said at 10:38 am on October 12th, 2015:

    Thanks, I’m that second person interested in using an actual pencil in his plotter!

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