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CNC Plotting

Let’s re-invent the wheel, while we’re at it!

When I was a kid, plotters were the first printers I was exposed to (computer wise). I was in awe of them.

Well, I’ve got this CNC machine, just sitting around…

Two types of tools I’ve found for this job:

– Drag Pens

– Spring Loaded Pens

The drag pens, due to the build angle, automatically swivel to follow the movement of the spindle, and are (as far as I can tell) used on large, flat surfaces. The Spring Loaded Pens, on the other hand, have flexible Z axis movement under either a controlled weight or spring pressure, allowing the pen to move over irregular surfaces (cylinders, rough work).

Like the Spring Engravers, a mix of people building their own, and purchasing. One turn-off for me on the spring loaded I found for purchase is you are locked into their pens. Having said that, the company has been around for eight years or so, so not exactly a huge risk.

The best DIY spring loaded takes a simple click pen, and modifies it! Cost? The click pen *grin*



WidgetWorks Coilover Pen Holder, Thick Line (they nominally stock a thin line as well, but seem to be out at the moment)

Shopbot Forum Posting on the WidgetWorks unit

RockcliffMachine Drag Pen – Video of it HERE


The aforementioned Click Pen DIY

DIY Coil Over Pen for Plotting, by Grunblau Design (makers of my drool worthy next acquisition: Platform CNC) – DIY Pen Holders (Shows how to use a wooden block and dowel for a drag pen, and a compass, good thinking)

Floating Weight Style DIY for Sharpie Markers (Practical Machinist) – (Zip file with drawing at the bottom)


Example of (assumed) overkill (I think this was meant for a gantry type CNC): Artsoft Link to Forum Post, and in the same thread, the aforementioned Click Pen Modification