2D Plotter – A Student Project from Fall 2014

This project, built by Nathaniel Nolt, reuses a couple of old CD ROM drives from a computer, an Arduino Mega and a stepper motor control board to create a 2 dimensional plotter. The plotter is built from mostly scrap parts.  The CD ROM drives were obviously reused, but the project also reuses a switching power supply from an old Nintendo Wii as well as scrap sheet aluminum, aluminum tubing and other hardware.

The picture above is a top down view of the plotter.  On the left hand side, you can see the stepper motor controller which is plugged into an Arduino Mega underneath.  In the middle is a yellow sticky note with the pencil at the bottom right.  On the right hand side is the motor and linear motion assembly from the CD ROM drives.  To draw the y-axis, the pencil moves up and down; to draw the x-axis, the sticky note moves left and right.

The plotter uses the Sprinter firmware to interpret GCode commands and control the stepper motor.  A PC running Universal Gcode Sender v1.0.5 is used to send GCode commands to the plotter.  GCode can either be entered into a command line or can come from a file.  This picture shows the result of a trial run:

According to Nathaniel, he sees this as a prototype for a larger system that would become a router based CNC.  I’ll keep you posted if he makes progress on that more ambitious project.