3D model of Plott3r

Overview - v1.2

This is a 2D pen plotter built using LEGO® components. This page is a little basic at the moment, but will be updated when I have worked on the software aspects some more.


The build instructions are available as a PDF, or LDraw file if that is preferred, from the resources section below. Note: This cannot be built from just the 31313 kit alone. It uses extra parts that I obtained from the 45560 Educational Expansion Kit, and some parts bought that would be found in the 45544 Core Set; the treads and sprockets used for the x-axis drive.


Videos of it at work are on YouTube:


The code, as currently provided, will initialise the pen holder and x-axis drive. It will then wait until a sheet of paper is detected over the colour sensor - only then will the paper drive load the sheet. It will draw the paper in until the top edge of it is seen - the bottom of the sheet is loaded first. The coordinates used are in millimetres, standard X/Y orientation, with the origin next to the touch sensor as the paper is loaded. Due to the gearing, sprocket and wheel sizes, 1mm ~= 9˚ of x-axis motor rotation, and 8˚ of y-axis motor rotation.

The pens I use are easily held in the pen holder, thinner pens may need some modification to them (tape?) or to the holder. When inserting the pen for the first time, wait for the first stage of the initialisation step, then insert the pen so that its tip is ~2mm off from the paper bed. The pen holder is only lifted, gravity is used to lower the pen on to the paper. I use felt tip pens; others may or may not work so well.

NOTE: Before using the Plott3r for the first time the program "Reset_Calibration" must be run. This creates an empty calibration data file. This is used to manage the backlash in the system. The default values ought to be good enough, but a calibration step is offered by the other programs so you can tweak the values if needed; you will be asked "Calibrate?". To skip this step press middle button, otherwise use the arrow keys select yes/no and then you can adjust the X/Y backlash correction values on the next page.



Updates to the project are noted below. Where relevant EV3 code, LDraw files and PDFs will have been updated to match.


If you have any feedback on this project, documentation, code or any other aspect, feel free to contact me via email at lego <@> jander [dot] me [dot] uk.

Permission to use

I'm releasing this design and the EV3 code under the Creative Commons licence below:

Creative Commons Licence
LEGO® Plott3r by Jerry Nicholls is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://jander.me.uk/LEGO/plott3r.html.

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