AxiDraw V3 by Evil Mad Scientist Labs
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The AxiDraw V3 from Evil Mad Scientist is a simple, modern, precise, and versatile pen plotter, capable of writing or drawing on almost any flat surface. It can write with your favorite fountain pens, permanent markers, and other writing implements to handle an endless variety of applications. Its unique design features a writing head that extends beyond the machine, making it possible to draw on objects bigger than the machine itself.
AxiDraw V3 is an all-new version of the AxiDraw, redesigned from the ground up for high performance. It features smooth rolling wheels on custom aluminum extrusions, specially designed for high stiffness and light weight. Its sturdy, rigid construction gives it finer quality output and in most applications allows it to operate at up to twice the speed of the previous AxiDraw.
AxiDraw V3 features a new, highly repairable, field-serviceable design for a long life. While no parts on AxiDraw require regular replacement, this new machine is built with a "screws not glue" design approach throughout, where essentially every part can be replaced by the end user if it should ever become necessary.
The AxiDraw is an extremely versatile machine, designed to serve a wide variety of everyday and specialized drawing and writing needs. You can use it for almost any task that might normally be carried out with a handheld pen.
It allows you to use your computer to produce writing that appears to be handmade, complete with the unmistakable appearance of using a real pen (as opposed to an inkjet or laser printer) to address an envelope or sign one's name. And it does so with precision approaching that of a skilled artist, and — just as importantly — using an arm that never gets tired.
Suggested applications include:
- Formal invitations
- Place cards for formal dining
- Signing diplomas and other certificates
- Addressing envelopes and boxes
- "Hand-written" wine lists and menus at restaurants
- Decorating lunch bags
- Computer generated artwork
- Technical drawing
- Thank you notes and cards
- Writing signatures
The XY travel (printable area) of the AxiDraw is just over US letter (8 1/2 × 11") and A4 (297 × 210 mm) paper sizes. It can work with any paper up to and including that size, including envelopes and note cards. The AxiDraw comes with a mounting easel (board with clips) that can be used for holding paper, cards, and envelopes of various sizes.
However, its unique design features a drawing head that extends beyond the body of the machine, making it possible to also draw on flat objects bigger than the machine itself. For example, you can set it right on top of a box to write an address or add decorations. You can even set it on top of a poster board, chalkboard, or whiteboard to draw graphics in place.
The pen holder fits a wide variety of pens, including Sharpie fine and ultra-fine point markers, most rollerball and fountain pens, small-bodied whiteboard markers, and so forth. It can even hold a fountain pen at a proper angle of 45° to the paper. You can also use implements that aren't pens, such as pencils, chalk, charcoal, brushes, and many others. However, you'll get the best results with instruments such as fountain pens and rollerball pens, which do not require the user to apply pressure.
- The AxiDraw drawing machine, fully assembled, tested, and ready to use.
- Universal-input plug-in power supply with US-style plug. (For other regions, an inexpensive plug shape adapter will be needed.)
- USB cable
- Easel (Board and clips) for paper holding
The AxiDraw comes fully assembled, tested, and ready to use, right out of the box. A universal-input plug-in power supply is included with the AxiDraw, as is a USB cable, and an optional paper-holding easel. Assuming that you've installed the software first, you can be up and plotting within minutes of opening the box.
To operate AxiDraw, you will need a reasonably modern computer with an available USB port (Mac, Windows or Linux), plus internet access to download necessary software. Pens and paper are not included.
AxiDraw is normally controlled through a set of extensions to Inkscape, the excellent, popular and free vector graphics program. Basic operation is much like that of a printer driver: you import or make a drawing in Inkscape, and use the extensions to plot your text or artwork. It's all handled through a straightforward graphical user interface, and works cleanly on Mac, Windows and Linux.
- Usable pen travel (inches): 11.81 × 8.58 inches (Just over US letter size)
- Usable pen travel (millimeters): 300 × 218 mm (Just over A4 size)
- Vertical pen travel: 0.7 inch (17 mm)
- Maximum XY travel speed, rapid: 11 inches (28 cm) per second.
- Native XY resolution: 2032 steps per inch (80 steps per mm)
- Reproducibility (XY): Typically better than 0.005 inches (0.1 mm) at low speeds.
- Major structural components are machined and/or folded aluminum.
- Holds pens and other drawing instruments up to 5/8" (16 mm) diameter.
- Overall dimensions: Approximately 21.5 × 16 × 4 inches (55 × 40.5 × 10 cm).
- Maximum height with cable guides: Approximately 8.5 inches (22 cm).
- Footprint: Approximately 17 × 3.5 inches (43 x 9) cm.
- Physical weight: 4.75 Lb (2.2 kg).
- Shipping (Dimensional) weight: 11 Lb (5 kg).
- Drive directly from within Inkscape, using the AxiDraw extension.
- Alternative drive software: RoboPaint
- Compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux
- All software free to download and open source
- Internet access is required to download software.
- Note: programming is not required to use the AxiDraw.
- RESTful API available for full machine control, stand-alone or accessible by running RoboPaint in the background.
- Simplified "GET-only" API available as well, for use in programming environments (such as Scratch, Snap) that permit only retrieval of URLs.
- Direct EiBotBoard (EBB) command protocol available for use in any programming environment that supports communication with USB-based serial ports.
- Code that generates SVG files can also be used to (indirectly) control the machine.