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Plotify2D

Introduction

Requirements

Quick start

Avoiding Damage

Introduction

Plotter art is making a comeback, and if you already own a 3D printer you don't need to buy a separate robot to make your own drawings.

Plotify2D is software that makes it easy to convert a SVG image into Gcode drawing commands that can run on your printer.

Requirements

3D Printer / Firmware

Plotify2D was designed and tested on Creality CR10 and CR10s printers. It generates RepRap flavored Gcode, so any cartesian printer running Marlin, Repetier, or Sprinter based firmware should be compatible.

Pen Mount

You'll need to mount a pen to your 3D printer. We wrote a blog post with tips for selecting a good mount design, and a link to our favorite on thingiverse. We also have our own mount available for order.

Internet & Browser

Plotify2D is a web application and it requires that you have an internet connection. For the best experience we recommend Google Chrome.

Subscription

To access Plotify2D you will need an active license. On the yearly plan you are billed $19.99 once a year (~$1.67/month).

On the monthly plan you are billed $3.99 once a month. You can switch from monthly to yearly at anytime by canceling your plan and signing up for the alternate plan. In this case, we apply a credit for the time unused on the monthly plan, and charge for the yearly plan starting right away, resetting the billing schedule.

You can cancel recurring billing at anytime and your membership will remain active until the end of the current billing period.

Plotify2D is a digital product that cannot be returned, all sales are final.

Quick Start

Please tell us if you find anything confusing or if you still have questions! We strongly recommend reading through the entirety of the quick start guide, the requirements, and the avoiding damage section before you start plotting. But here's a video that provides a basic plotting example.
  1. If your machine is compatible, and you have a way to mount a pen, then you are ready to upload a SVG file on the Plot page. Plotify2D will do it's best to process it into a plottable drawing. [Click to download a test SVG]
    Example input svgExample Input SVG
    Example output svgExample Output SVG
  2. Preview and edit your drawing. What you see is what you will get.
    screenshot of plot preview
    Plot Edit & Preview
  3. Follow your typical 3D printing routine to level your bed. Then secure the paper to your printer's bed (we use neodynium magnets, alligator clips, or painters tape).
  4. Mount a pen on your printer and move it to the origin of the paper (bottom left corner). Use something thin (foil or paper) to keep the pen from drawing on your paper and adjust the pen in the mount (or move the entire z-axis) until the the pen is just resting on the tin foil.
  5. With the pen resting on the foil start your print and remove the foil as soon as the pen raises.
  6. Please read the Avoiding Damage section below before your first drawing!

Avoiding Damage

Plotify2D is not liable for any damage done to your printer, but we've provided some information below that can help you avoid potential issues.

The gcode generated by Plotify2D will issue a Set Position (G92 X0 Y0 Z0.1) command to zero itself on the starting position (the Z0.1 is to account for the tin foil).

Let's say your printer has a bed size of 300mm x 300mm and you start your plot with the steppers positioned at X=50mm and Y=50mm. In this case, the printer will set position (50,50) to be (0,0) and you'll be left with an effective plot area of 250mm x 250mm. Your printer's firmware might not be smart enough to prevent movements beyond X=250mm or Y=250mm. If your drawing exceeds that range your printer can damage itself as it tries to move beyond it's limits. As a result, it's criticial that you have sized your drawing correctly.

It's easy to avoid this situation if you follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your printer's bed dimensions are accurately reflected in the Plot Area settings. Then you can visually confirm that the drawing does not exceed your printer's limits by selecting the "Show plot area" checkbox.
    screenshot of plot area settings
  2. Before your first drawing home your printer. Then mount your pen and adjust the X and Y positions until the pen is at the paper's origin. Read off the X and Y stepper positions and use these numbers as your tool offsets. These tool offsets will be reflected in the Plot Area preview. If the bedsize was set at 300mm x 300mm and the tool offset was set at 50mm x 50mm, the preview would display a Plot Area that was 250mm x 250mm so you can easily check that your drawing isn't too big.

Pen Mount

: be careful homing your printer while your mount is attached and while a pen is loaded in the mount. They might get in the way and damange themselves or your printer.

Plot Settings

SVG

screenshot of svg import fields

Import

: When you import a SVG file, Plotify2D will attempt to transform it into a plottable drawing. Not every SVG will be processed how you want it. Some known limitations include:
  • lack of support for text elements. If you want to use text in your plots, they need to be represented as Path elements (the subject of a future blog post).
  • lack of support for raster elements. If you have a raster image that you want to plot, you'll need to first convert it into vector format.
  • SVGs with thousands of nested elements have longer processing times.

Apply stacking order

: If you are importing an SVG with filled shapes, this setting will try to clip shapes which are partially (or fully) hidden because they are behind other shapes. This setting can't be toggled after the SVG is imported, you'll need to reset the plot preview if you want to change it before importing again.
Overlapping shapes
Default output
Output when stacking order is *not* applied

Merge matching neighbors

: If you are importing an SVG with filled shapes, this setting will try to merge overlapping shapes if they have the same fill and stroke. This prevents unwanted outline paths on the inside of a complex shape. This setting can't be toggled after the SVG is imported, you'll need to reset the plot preview if you want to change it before importing again.
Overlapping shapes with same fill and stroke
Default output
Merge matching neighbors output

Download SVG

: save the processed version of your uploaded file.

Artwork

screenshot of artwork settings

Preserve viewBox

: The dimensions of a SVG file are defined in its viewBox . Plotify2D's default behavior does not preserve the viewBox when scaling your artwork to fit the paper. When you specify the margin, you define the distance between the outermost pen stroke and the border of the paper. If the preserve viewBox feature is turned on, the viewBox dimensions will be used to scale your artwork to fit the paper. In that case when you specify the margin, you are defining the distance between the viewBox boundaries and the border of the paper. If there is no viewBox present in your SVG this setting will be disabled.
Artwork size adjusted without viewbox
Portrait orientation artwork is resized without viewBox to fit landscape orientation paper.
Artwork size adjusted with viewbox dimensions preserved
Portrait orientation artwork is resized with viewBox preserved to fit landscape orientation paper.

Show viewBox

: If you've chosen to preserve the viewBox you can use this checkbox to toggle it's visibility. It will be outlined with a gray dashed line (this will not be present in your SVG or GCODE downloads). If there is no viewBox present in your SVG this setting will be disabled.

Position on paper

: Position the artwork in the center of the paper or at the origin (bottom left corner).

Margin

: Specify the margin between the outermost pen strokes of your artwork and the edges of the paper. If the "preserve viewBox" setting is on, then you are specifying the distance between the viewBox boundaries and the edge of the paper.

Line width

: The width of the line drawn by your pen. This is not necessarily the same as the pen nib size! For the most accurate plot preview we recommend drawing a line with your pen and paper of choice, and then using calipers to measure the width of the line.

Paper

screenshot of paper settings

Position your paper at the origin of your printer. For best results, check that the edges of the paper are parallel with your printer's X and Y axes. Being exactly on the origin isn't necessary but make sure you've read and understood our section on avoiding damage to your printer.

Plot Area

screenshot of plot area settings

Show plot area

: show or hide the plot area. This will not impact your SVG or Gcode export. If tool offsets are specified, they will be reflected in the preview. Minor increments = 10mm. Major increments = 50mm.

X & Y Axes

: the dimensions of your printer's bed.

Tool Offsets

: See the section on avoiding damaging your printer for instructions on determining your tool offsets. Tool offsets are needed when after homing your printer, you need to move the X or Y axis steppers in order to get your pen positioned at the origin. Having a tool offset effectively shrinks your maximum plot size. By specifying your tool offsets you'll be able to preview the 'effective plot area' when the plot area is showing.

Gcode

screenshot of gcode settings

Plotify2D generates RepRap flavored Gcode and uses the following commands: G1, G21, G92, M104, M140, M201, M204, and M205.

Pen Up Position

: How high the pen is lifted in between drawing segments.

Pen Lift Speed

: The maximum movement rate of the pen while it is lowering and rising at the start and end of each drawing segment.

Drawing Speed

: The maximum movement rate of the pen while it is drawing (while it is in the down position).

Travel Speed

: The maximum movement rate of the pen while it is not drawing (while it is in the up position).

Trace Count

: The number of times the entire drawing will be traced over. You may want to set this above 1 if your pen doesn't provide the best ink coverage.

Optimized drawing order

: This setting will reverse and/or reorder drawing segments to try and minimize the pen-up travel time. Default: on.

Feedback

If you run into any bugs, or have anything else to say please reach out to us: support@plotify2d.com

Feature Roadmap

If you are a current or prospective user, we want to hear from you! Please check out our product roadmap survey.

contact@plotify2d.com

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