using the plotter

using the plotter

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:

Installing Chiplotle

This is the Python library that lets you talk to the plotter.  It acts a sort of driver/abstraction layer. Its also possible to send commands with the cat command, but I hadnt any success, and you’ll run into problems with big files since the plotter only has a tiny buffer (512k).

Connecting the plotter

Connect 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:
It will ask to create a directory on your laptop; hit enter to continue, then enter again to go into interactive shell.
If you get error no plotter found when starting chiplotle, exit chiplotle to get back to the bash terminal:
To change permissions so daily user can write to plotter:

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.

OSPs plotter Roland is a DXY-1100, so type 2 and press Enter.

Chiplotle shell

You should now be in the interactive Chiplotle shell, with the chiplotle> prompt.
See this tutorial for learning chiplotle syntax:

Units and coordinates

Roland is approx 16000 × 11000 units wide. Use these units in chiplotle commands.

To print whole files

Instead 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 :
This script by default lives in /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/Chiplotle-0.4.1-py2.7.egg/chiplotle/scripts. You can copy this script to wherever is convenient.
From the terminal, give your .hpgl file as an argument to this script: 
You may have to choose your plotter model again. After a short pause it should print your file!

To get a preview of your .hpgl file you can just use:

Hello Plotter

The documentation of chiplotle is quite nice:
And a tutorial (better than mine):

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