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This is a small python module linking python's Turtle Graphics to the Chiplotle plotter library


Connecting a plotter

The plotters i use are HP 7475A plotters. Another plotter will probably work too, although you may have to change the scaling.

Connect the plotter with a USB-to-Serial adapter. Install the drivers. For the ones we have at the WDKA, this driver will work. You will also need a converter cable, like this. So the setup is like this:

[plotter]-[converter cable]-[usb to serial cable]-[computer]

The little DIP-switches next to the connector are set like this:

S2 S1 Y US A3 B4 B3 B2 B1

vv vv v ^^ ^^ ^^ vv ^^ vv

Installing the chiplotle library

  • First install pip. Open a terminal window, and type: sudo easy_install pip
  • Then install chiplotle. type: sudo pip install chiplotle
  • Run chiplotle once. type: chiplotle and press ENTER two times. It will generate some files in the home-folder. When using this in a workshop, make sure this is done for the user that is logged in at that moment, else python will give an error.

Write a program

  • Download this repository, open the example in a text editor, (for instance Sublime text), run it (in Sublime-Text: command-B), extend it.

Plot it!

  • When there are no errors, the console will show a .plt file is being created in the plots/ folder, with the current time as its file name. To plot this file: open a terminal window and run chiplotle . After the plotter has been found, type for instance plotter.write_file('140318.plt') Of course, make sure the directory is correct.

Supported commands

  • begin()
  • end()
  • forward(x)
  • backward(x)
  • left(x)
  • right(x)
  • setheading(x)
  • goto(x,y)
  • speed(x)
  • up()
  • down()
  • randint(x,y)

Interactive mode

To make the plotter execute the commands on the fly, change the OFFLINE = True to False in the file.

Written by Thomas Rutgers for the Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam Compatible with the laser-cut physical turtleblocks for teaching programming


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