[chiplotle-discuss] Temperamental Plotter.

douglas repetto douglas at music.columbia.edu
Sat Mar 17 00:01:00 EDT 2012

When I've seen this behavior -- the plotter plotting for awhile and then
jumping around randomly -- it has usually been when there's something
wrong with command buffering, either in Chiplotle or on the plotter. If
the plotter misses some commands it will make lines between the commands
it has received, which can result in the desired drawing mixed with


On 3/8/12 3:02 AM, Ryan Gallagher wrote:
> When I posted previously about attempting AutoCAD over serial
> (Prolific USB-to-Serial) with my Roland DXY-1100, it was exhibiting
> strangely similar sounding spikey line behavior.  I haven't seen
> that via chiplotle yet though.
> If i resolve it from AutoCAD though I'll be sure to mention what
> seemed to be the issue in case it's related.
> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 10:13 PM, Carl Lostritto<clostrit at mit.edu>
> wrote:
>> Diogo- I'm no expert but your issue reminds me of a funny story
>> that might prove helpful: In the beginning my plotter would seem to
>> be plotting fine... As long as I was supervising it. And then I
>> would leave the room and it would seem to misbehave. I was well on
>> the path to anthropomorphizing the thing already and so this
>> behavior was quite startling. It was as if it was getting sudden
>> pen down commands to random points. Horrible huge "spikes" as it
>> would draw to a point way off the commands i was sending and then
>> draw a line back again to the next correct point. I believe in my
>> case it was the serial-USB adapter. It installed a network profile
>> that caused Mac os to "look for Internet" on it. Whatever pinging
>> it would do only occurred (I guess, or maybe it was just more
>> likely to manifest) when my Internet was idle (when I stopped
>> browsing and left the room).
>> Long story short is I found a different driver (for a keyspan I
>> believe) and that eliminated the spooky behavior.
>> Obviously victor offers a systematic way to narrow down the
>> problem... I just couldn't help but chime as my experience seems so
>> similar.
>> Best Carl
>> On Mar 7, 2012, at 9:49 PM, "V!ctor Adan"<vctradn at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Diogo,
>>> answering inline...
>>> On Wed, Mar 07, 2012 at 01:51:57AM +0000, Diogo Tudela wrote:
>>>> I am talking about one single shape, containing a lot of
>>>> information, and the thing is that my plotter is getting MORE&
>>>> Sometimes, while drawing/printing, she seems to collapse, and
>>>> she starts to scribble around, always in straight lines, and
>>>> then she gets back to the drawing and it proceeds normally,
>>>> usually, leaving a gap on the image outline.
>>>> a) At first, I thought that this behavior was related to the
>>>> amount of data/complexity of the image that I was sending to
>>>> the plotter. But, this has happened with extremely simple
>>>> drawings and, on the other hand, this plotter has already
>>>> printed images composed of thousands of points.
>>> Yes, if you're using Chiplotle to send the data to the plotter
>>> this is almost certainly not the case. Chiplotle manages the feed
>>> to the plotter so that the plotter's buffer never gets filled.
>>>> b) Then, I thought that there could be a relation between the
>>>> frequency/rate of printings that I was doing consecutively. But
>>>> I was wrong.
>>> Not sure what you mean here.
>>>> c) At this point, I am considering the possibility of dividing
>>>> my spiral into a series of arcs or bezier curves, so that,
>>>> instead of considering one massive shape, the plotter will
>>>> draw the same amount of data divided in different bodies. I
>>>> will try this tomorrow.
>>> Probably better to find the root problem. Could be your
>>> hardware... do you have another plotter? I would try plotting in
>>> another machine to see how it behaves. Could also be the hpgl
>>> file itself, that is somehow not getting converted correctly from
>>> illustrator to HPGL. More unlikely, but possible. Have you tried
>>> visualizing it with io.view()? Is the shape well formed?
>>>> Finally, just to make things clear. My work flow is this:
>>>> Processing/Illustrator>  PDF>  PStoEdit>  HPGL>  Chiplotle;
>>>> So, if you have experienced some similar problems, if you've
>>>> found a way to make your plotter's behavior stable, or if you
>>>> know something about HPGL's DO's and DON'T's, please, drop me a
>>>> line. I would be much appreciated.
>>> Douglas has the same plotter and his would sometimes do weird
>>> things too, like stop suddenly and the like. I believe he opened
>>> it up, cleaned it, and got it to behave well.
>>> Victor. _______________________________________________
>>> chiplotle-discuss mailing list
>>> chiplotle-discuss at music.columbia.edu
>>> http://music.columbia.edu/mailman/listinfo/chiplotle-discuss
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