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Hardware  53 years ago  730
A curated list of code and resources for computer-controlled drawing machines and other visual art robots.
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Awesome Plotters Awesome

A curated list of code and resources for computer-controlled drawing machines and other visual art robots.




  • AxiDraw - Pen plotter from Evil Mad Scientist, very popular on #plottertwitter.
  • Line-us - A cute little kickstarted robotic drawing arm.
  • Drawing Robot - 3d-Printable AxiDraw clone w/ Arduino CNC Shield controller running grbl firmware.
  • 4xiDraw - Yet another 3d-printable AxiDraw clone w/ Arduino CNC Shield controller running grbl firmware.
  • WaterColorBot - XY art robot and software to plot with watercolor paints.
  • EggBot - Pen plotter for egg-shaped and spherical objects.
  • HP Pen Plotters - Vintage desktop and floor-standing pen plotters from the creator of the HPGL standard. Model 7475A is very common and can usually be found on eBay.
  • Roland Pen Plotters - Vintage flatbed HPGL pen plotters. Search eBay for "roland dxy".
  • Polargraph - The original polargraph hardware and software project.
  • BrachioGraph - A cheap and simple plotter made from sticks, servos, and a Raspberry Pi running Python.
  • Arduino CNC Drawing Machine - A fairly simple 3d-printed AxiDraw-style plotter with good video documentation.

Motor Controllers

  • grblShieldstars126 - All the stepper motor control hardware needed to turn an Arduino into a G-code-based motion controller using the grbl firmware. (adafruit)
  • TinyGstars802 - More featureful and robust 6-axis G-code-based motion control hardware. (adafruit)
  • Arduino CNC Shield - Grbl-compatible stepper motor control shield for Arduino, similar to the grblShield.
  • Raspberry Pi CNC Hat - Raspberry Pi add-on board w/ stepper controllers and a microcontroller running grbl. Interfaces with the Pi's serial pins.
  • EBB Driver Board - USB-based dual stepper motor controller board, originally designed for the EggBot.


  • WiFi232 - Wifi to RS-232 serial via a DB25 plug. Control your serial plotter wirelessly.
  • Plotter Cable Pinout - Schematic for a plotter cable that will work for most HP and Roland plotters. Search eBay or Amazon for DB9 to DB25 Serial Null Modem Cable or similar to find them for sale.




HPGL is a serial/text-based protocol used by most old pen plotters, and even many new vinyl cutters.


G-code is a text-based standard for controlling CNC machines. Though it was designed for industrial machines, its use in many hobbyist 3d printer firmwares has made it ubiquitous in small-scale DIY projects as well.


Software that is specific to a particular plotter or controller.

Vector Creation

Tools to create vector artwork from scratch or by conversion from other formats.

  • Inkscape - Popular cross-platform open source vector graphics editor.
  • p5.js - "JavaScript library that makes coding accessible for artists, designers, educators, and beginners".
  • Paper.js - "The Swiss Army Knife of Vector Graphics Scripting".
  • lnstars3.1k - Vector-based 3D renderer written in Go.
  • autotracestars320 - Converts bitmap images to vector graphics.
  • stipplegenstars359 - Creates interesting stippled drawings from bitmap images. (blog post)
  • SquiggleDraw - "SquiggleDraw will create a SVG file from an image, using the brightness to change the amplitude of sine waves".
  • svgurt - Web-based PNG to SVG creative noodler.
  • maptracestars112 - Produce watertight polygonal vector maps by tracing raster images.
  • Drawbot_image_to_gcode_v2stars128 - Creates G-code for use on drawbots.
  • blackstripesstars80 - Turns a PNG image into a SVG line drawing.
  • Ribbonstars225 - Ribbon diagrams of proteins in written in Go.
  • penplotstars252 - A development environment for plotter art in JavaScript.
  • penkitstars123 - A Python library for creating line-based SVG graphics.
  • generativeExamplesstars58 - Example Processing code that generates plottable PDFs.
  • Let's make map - Web-based tool to export an SVG map from Mapzen tiles.
  • SuperformulaSVG for web - A generative line art web app.
  • scribbleplotstars37 - Scribbly image transformations in Processing.
  • Maker.js - Library for creating 2D vector drawings for CNC and laser cutter machines.
  • Turtletoy - Browser-based JavaScript turtle graphics API with SVG export.
  • cozyvecstars66 - Web/Standalone terminal environment for plotter art and tweet plots.
  • makio135/plotter - An Observable notebook collection full of plotter-oriented work.
  • PlotterFun - Browser-based Image to SVG converter similar to SquiggleDraw.
  • SVG.js - Dependency-free lightweight library for creating, manipulating, and animating SVG.
  • Components AI - Experimental computational design platform for exploring generative space.
  • DrawingBotV3stars147 - Cross-platform software for converting images to line drawings.
  • linedrawstars579 - Python tool to convert images to sketchy vector line drawings.

Vector Utilities

Tools to manipulate and optimize vector-based file formats.

  • svgsortstars216 - Path planning for plotting SVG files, reduces time spent moving with the pen up.
  • svgostars18k - Node.js-based tool for optimizing SVG files.
  • Polargraph Optimizerstars56 - Optimize drawing plan for a polargraph.
  • penkit-optimize - An SVG optimizer that uses a vehicle routing solver to minimize plot time.
  • svg-crowbarstars823 - Chrome-only bookmarklet for extracting SVG from an HTML document.
  • vpypestars485 - Plotter-focused Python-based CLI utility for generating and manipulating SVGs, including scaling and optimizing paths.
  • SVG Cropper - A browser-based tool to crop SVGs using different primitives, custom shapes, or other SVGs.


Single-line vector fonts or "engraving fonts".

Inspiration and Instruction

Blog posts, articles, tutorials, galleries, videos, et cetera.

Manuals and Ephemera

Scanned plotter manuals and marketing ephemera, mostly from the Internet Archive




Where to find other plotter and drawbot friends.

Plotter Art For Sale

Other Awesomes


  1. Awesome Plotters Awesome
  2. Contents
  3. Hardware
  4. Plotters
  5. Motor Controllers
  6. Accessories
  7. Pens
  8. Software
  9. HPGL
  10. G-code
  11. Plotter-Specific
  12. Vector Creation
  13. Vector Utilities
  14. Fonts
  15. Inspiration and Instruction
  16. Manuals and Ephemera
  17. Manuals
  18. Ephemera
  19. Community
  20. Plotter Art For Sale
  21. Other Awesomes
Last Checked At: 2022-08-03T13:25:04.027Z


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