using the plotter
- Eric Schrijver
- Eleanor Greenhalgh
- Christoph Haag
- S V
- Anne Laforet
- Gijs Heij
A small introduction to Roland, the plotter.
So our nice new plotter is from the late eighties —very camp— and speaks HPGL.
Documentation on HPGL is quite vast:
- http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/chiplotle/manual/chapters/api/hpgl.html ← Documentation by the python library I use, only the commands they’ve wrapped are in this list, but as far as I know they cover all of them.
- http://www.isoplotec.co.jp/HPGL/eHPGL.htm ← with pictures :)
Installing ChiplotleThis is the Python library that lets you talk to the plotter. It acts a sort of driver/abstraction layer. It’s also possible to send commands with the cat command, but I hadn’t any success, and you’ll run into problems with big files since the plotter only has a tiny buffer (512k).
- sudo easy_install -U chiplotle
Connecting the plotterConnect the plotter via USB to your laptop and turn it on. It should be in /dev/ttyUSB0, or somewhere similar (e.g. /dev/tty/USB1). Run:
If you get error “no plotter found” when starting chiplotle, exit chiplotle to get back to the bash terminal:
- sudo chmod 777 /dev/ttyUSB0
Or to avoid doing this every time plotter is plugged in, add daily user to group “dialout”.
Now restart chiplotle:
Choose the plotter that best fits your hardware.
When in doubt choose the generic “Plotter”.
-  DPX2000
-  DPX3300
-  DXY1300
-  DXY880
-  HP7475A
-  HP7550A
-  HP7575A
-  HP7576A
-  HP7585B
-  HP7595A
-  HP7596A
-  Plotter
OSP’s plotter “Roland” is a DXY-1100, so type 2 and press Enter.
Chiplotle shellYou should now be in the interactive Chiplotle shell, with the chiplotle> prompt.
See this tutorial for learning chiplotle syntax: http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/chiplotle/manual/chapters/tutorial/intro.html
Units and coordinatesRoland is approx 16000 × 11000 units wide. Use these units in chiplotle commands.
- left bottom: 0,0
- far right: 16158
- top: 11040
- 40 plotter units = 1mm (is this true?)
- PR: point relative
- PA: point absolute
To print whole filesInstead of sending commands one line at a time to the plotter via the Chiplotle shell —requiring an esoteric pythonic syntax— you can write plain .hpgl files and send them to the printer.
Chiplotle provides a script that helps you do this :
From the terminal, give your .hpgl file as an argument to this script:
- plot_hpgl_file.py myscript.hpgl
To get a preview of your .hpgl file you can just use:
- convert file.hpgl file.png
The documentation of chiplotle is quite nice: http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/chiplotle/manual/index.html
And a tutorial (better than mine): http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/chiplotle/manual/chapters/tutorial/index.html