3D Printed Arduino Pen Plotter

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I designed this plotter in SolidWorks and 3D printed the parts. The NEMA-17 motors are controlled by an Arduino running a forked version of the GRBL software that supports the use of servos. In short, it modifies the stock GRBL spindle PWM to control the position of a standard hobby servo. Here is a link to it if you would like to learn more:

The design for the pen lifting mechanism moves all electronics off of the print head, which decreases moving mass and simplifies cable management.

The paper roller assembly uses a small idler roller on a spring shaft, which keeps constant preload on the paper. I originally thought of this design after seeing a similar system used in a consumer inkjet printer.

I used Inkscape's GCodeTools extension to generate G-Code. This works with any vector image. For non-vector images, I used a bitmap trace.

The G-Code is then sent over serial communication to the Arduino. I used Universal G-Code Sender for this.

As a note for anyone else building a project involving GRBL, I highly advise you to avoid using a cheap Arduino clone like the ones sold under the Kuman brand. These use a CH340G serial communication chip in place of the Atmel 16U2 chips used on genuine Arduino boards.

When running a heavy load like GRBL, these clones are very unreliable in my experience. The plotter would randomly stop during prints. The errors given by Universal G-Code Sender were rather cryptic, leading me to believe the issue was somewhere in the software. Eventually I switched to an Elegoo Arduino board from a different project. Switching to this Arduino fixed the problem immediately.
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