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Plotter Info This Wiki is dedicated to information about all sorts of plotters. Some of it historical, much of it related to DIY and hacking matters. There will be be a place for contemporary comercial units as well as things that are similar to plotters.

Basically a sparse matrix collection of anything related to things that render output in some way in some coordinate system. Specialisation will be included for devices that do more than draw but are otherwise similar.

Contents

History

Coordinate systems

Cartesian

XY

XYZ

XYZUVWAB

Polar

Phi Theta

Cylindrical

R Theta==

Work Product

Pen plotters

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CRT displays

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Vinyl Cutters

Drag Knife

This uses a small swivel knife mounted in a device much like a standard digital XY pen plotter. With the pen down command the knife cuts through the top layer of adhesive backed vinyl and after weeding one is left with text and graphic outlines that can be placed for sineage or other purposes.

Driven Knife or Tangential Knife

Some more robust devices have an extra control axis that is used to orient the cutting knife in the correct direction. This allows for more acccurate cutting of small corner radii and clener entries especially into thicker materials. This is pretty essential for reciprocating cutters. These are used to cut foam or material, some units will cut through a stack of 200mm of cloth for the high volume clothing industry and are also used in the composite industry.

Laser markers

Lasers have been used in plotters from early days. It made a laser into a production tool where it otherwise is not much more than a expensive light source or a piercing tool.

XY

Most CO2 laser markers use an XY gantry system to manouver the optical components, mirrors and focusing lens. Larger steel cutting lasers sometimes move the sheet and keep the laser turret stationary, this is especially common in combined laser/punch units where the punch frame is too massive to translate.

Galvanometer

For many of the pulsesd laser marking units make use of 2 axis mirror galvanometers to steer the beam and plot text or graphics onto a wide range of substrates, this technique is preferred when speeds higher than flying optics are required or more separation from the beam source is desireable.

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Photo Plotters

Film

Many film plotters have been made are in regular use. One of the more famous brands in the electronics world is the Gerber Photo plotter. This was used to expose film to use for exposing of photo sensitive resists on copper clad circuit boards and sensitised silk screens for printign solder masks and component legends. These were originally intricate digital XY plotters with the option of selecting various apertures for flashing the exposure onto the film. The Gerber file format has become a industry standard and is still used in many raster photo plotters.

Substrate

Scanning (tunneling) electron microscopes

Particle Beams

Many semiconductor processing technologies make use of particle beans, mostly electron or ion beams. These are generated in evacuated enclosures and deflected either electrostatically or magnetically much like a TV or ocilloscope CTR to expose a mask or direcly etch or implant dopants into a semiconsuctor substrate

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Cutting

Plasma

(Abrasive) Water jet

Wire spark erosion

Bead deposition

Used to lay down adhesive or gasketing material.

Similar to Fused Filament Deposition but typically only one layer is laid down though most will be in a single plave, it could be used to support more complex planes in 3 dimensions or using rotary axes.

3D Printing

One of my happy topics. Have a look at RepRap for a DIY look at open source 3 dimensional printing

Feel free to browse around. If you think you can improve on some of the pages and have a bit of wiki skills ask for an account and make improvements. One day if there are enough people to monitor changes I will make it easier for visitors to create accounts and start editing.

Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.

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