High School CAM Class, Episode 5: Plotter Pens!

My name is Lexus Pickett, and I’m Weston Mohawk, and we are with the Renaissance Academy Woodworkers. We are both juniors in high school that are interested in computer aided manufacturing.

Our class has now moved onto Plotter Pen projects. The first thing we had to do was find an image that would be easy to trace and that we could get crisp, clean lines of. Coloring book pages worked easily for this, but some of us went for more complex designs.



After we get our desired picture onto Aspire, we then had to trace the bitmap. If the design is simple and doesn’t have shading getting the preferred outline is easy. If the picture has a lot of shading and different colors then there will be a lot of noise in the traced version.


Once the bitmap is traced, we hide the bitmap layer so we just see what is traced. We then want to go in and get rid of any unneeded vectors. This makes it easier for the machine to draw and the image turns out better.

Next we create a toolpath for our design using a profile toolpath. We had to create a new tool and call it Plotter Pen.

Once we were satisfied with what the outline looked like we saved our toolpaths and set up the paper and plotter pen tool.



After putting in the plotter pen tool, we had to zero the x, y, and z axis’s. We had to zero the z axis by hand using the keypad and page down button. Depending on how detailed the picture was, it took between five to thirty-five minutes for the machine to draw.


The finished products basically ended up looking like huge coloring sheets.

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