Instructables
Picture of XY-Plotter
The Project:

Perhaps you have never been gifted at drawing, or you don’t have the time to do it yourself, so why not let a simple x-y plotter draw for you. This simple two axis device can accurately moves a pen to draw out anything.

The Device:

The x-y plotter has a two axis control and a special mechanism to raise and lower the pen. The plotter has a hole in its base where the pen goes through. It was designed to print on both paper or any surface such as a wall; simply place the plotter against the surface and the pen will draw away through the hole. Each axis is powered using a single stepper motor and belt. Pen control is achieved using a servo. All electronics are controlled by an Arduino and powered by a 12 volt wall adaptor.

A Demo Video
This video shows a demo of one axis (y-axis) of the plotter moving back and forth. The x-axis was moved by hand to generate curves.


The Team:

This project was completed by Tommaso Buvoli, Kristina Callaghan, Bruce Deakyne, and Phillip Dunlap for CU Boulder Things that Think Spring 2011.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Tools:
- A Laser Cutter capable of cutting pieces up to 18” long.
- Band Saw
- Drill Press
- Screwdriver

Raw Materials:
- Several sheets of 1/4 inch thick acrylic (One side must be at least 18”).
- A small sheet of 1/8 basswood
- Several 1/4 inch dowels (metal or wood - at least 18”)
- 14 small long bolts and nuts
- 28 washers

Electronics
- 2 Gear & Belt combo sets: http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G15973
- 2 high torque stepper motors: http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G18202
- 2 stepper motor drivers (ULN2003A)
- 1 breadboard
- 1 2.5v, high current supply
- 1 5v supply (for arduino, USB cable acceptable)
- 1 EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10267)

magno_237 months ago
no updates?
hello, I'm doing a prototype plotter but I am con difficulty in programming the arduino, I would like to provide programming to help me?
My contact email is danielffonsi@hotmail.com
grateful for the attention
valdenir1 year ago
hi! can you post your electric schematic? i need to make a cutter plotter.
valdenir1 year ago
hi! can you post your electric schematic? i need to make a cutter plotter.
jduffy541 year ago
I would suggest you shorten the marker arm. It only needs maybe a milimeter of movement, and I noticed that the marker was flopping around. I would also suggest gripping lower on the marker, to avoid the bending as well. Also, where can I get software to convert a .dae to G-code? I want to build a 3-D printer using arduino, and can't find an easy way to directly output G-code from the computer to the arduino one line at a time.
Remony1 year ago
the goldmine-elec-products links are dead. could you please describe the parts you were using? thanks a lot!
pankaj772 years ago
Have anyone completed this project? I want to make it but I'm stuck on the reprogramming part to convert the 3d reprap code to 2d use.I'm a mechanical guy and not much familiar with programming...If anyone have already done this project please help.
See link below for inkscape extension which may be useful

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:17631
quasar932 years ago
Sounds like this could be redone to use a plasma cutter--just beef up the structure a bit. Hmm...sounds like I have a new project...:)
Mojo_JoJo2 years ago
I had made something like this way back when I was in college. At the time I had very limited hardware. My stepper motors were drived from the parallel port through a buffer and controlled using a simple visual basic program to draw lines with a LOGO style commands. The pen was lifted using an electromagnet from a relay coil. Since then I've always wanted to improve on it and draw pictures and shapes from files. I now even have a dremel, drill, vice etc. probably my dream will come true now, thanks a ton.
kissubin2 years ago
Excellent explanation, very easy to follow and very helpful.
fgredauer2 years ago
Thanks for this!
Fragmaster3 years ago
You mention the Arduino, but didn't include it in the "Materials" list. Add please :)
jwoo20233 years ago
Are stepper mototrs harder to control than servos? What are the differences?
weldor3 years ago
What about an airbrush for specialty work? It could be set up to run multi color via seperate tubes and orifices. The orifices as well as the "media" pressure could be made adjustable.

Your project is basically a very much improved version of the old pantograph and "tracers" used for drawing as well as router work. What you have built could easily (?) be modified to operate larger units in order to produce...

Like al of the others I commend you for your efforts. Truly a job well done!!




espdp23 years ago
I'm thinking that if you move the servo to the underside of the Y-axis that rides on, and move the pen holder down close to the tip (the way we hold them) , it would wobble very little. Try holding a Sharpie by the cap and writing your name; it'll be very difficult because there's too much friction and leverage.

Also perhaps substituting larger dowels - like 1/2" or greater - for less flex might help. Nice 'ible! 3/5 stars.
SHIFT!3 years ago
Sweet! Could this build perhaps be reworked into a mechanized Etch A Sketch? That would be pretty neat.

doxsys SHIFT!3 years ago
THAT is a fabulous idea!
doxsys3 years ago
Coolo! This looks like my next project.

@nutsandbolts_64 and @Unclegummers -- The pen-on-servo trick works surprisingly well in the egg-bot, which is where I'd guess they got the idea.
Why not use a rack and pinion gear on the pen so that it goes straight up and down instead of just, well how it is then. The servo motor will still prove useful nonetheless to turn the small gear and raise/lower the rack along with the pen. I would like to see an RGB version of this someday.
Very cool! I think if you just secured the pen a little bit better and used something with less friction than a sharpie the loose pen issue may be solved.

Good start for maybe eventually attaching a drill or something to it and creating a CNC machine ;)
Not really liking how loose the pen is. I like your project, but I suggest using worm gears on the axis instead of belts.
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