Hanging Plotter With a Color Twist


[Jack Boland], a mechanical engineer at the University of Wisconsin, built a cool hanging plotter project called HangBot. It’s a fairly standard setup, where he converts an image to G-Code files, and it is plotted using two stepper motors for control. We’ve seen vertical plotters before, but they tend to only have a single pen. [Jack] expanded this one to bring color into the mix by splitting an image into separate CMYK layers, and plotting each onto separate transparency film. When overlaid, they create something close to a full color image. His idea is to use this setup as a replacement for typical window signage.

Since it’s drawing a continuous line, he appears to be employing a grid instead of a traditional dot pattern. That, combined with the inaccuracy of a marker tip means resolution will be limited. Still, you can tell that he’s made a great start in this (albeit blurry) photo. Check out the video of it’s operation after the break.


  1. Gronk says:

    Was really hoping to see it printing in multiple colors (or layers) and see an image produced.

  2. EdgarVice says:

    This technique is as new as a CRT screen

  3. t-bone says:

    He’s really getting nailed by the instability around the attachment point.

  4. ejonesss says:

    speaking of crt’s

    connect the servo motor wires of the teddy ruxpin for the eyes and mouth to the deflection yoke of the crt and you can get a pattern kind of like what is pictured above

  5. vonskippy says:

    UW needs to get some AV geeks – that video was awful. More a pitch for the Uni instead of a project demo. The “color twist” was what made his hanging plotter different – so of course you wouldn’t want to show even a peek of that in the video.

  6. medix says:


    Still my favorite, and the best I’ve seen so far..

  7. Galane says:

    Still using that section of an old Playboy centerfold. Let us sing… “The plotterbot is for porn!”

  8. henry says:

    needs a hanging weight or something to reduce the shake.

  9. Paul says:

    I’m wondering if you could run a small current to an electromagnet through the wires being used to hang it; then (potentially) use that to create a gap between the board and the marker tip (e.g. power on = magnet charged = repulsion = pen up; power off = magnet off = gravity = pen down).

    (I think) there would need to be an oppositely charged magnet on the back side; but you could potentially just tie it to the same movement mechanism to keep it in position.

  10. SATovey says:

    Are you sure the shaking is just not the vimeo player bugging out?
    I can never get a clean play while the video is downloading.
    Flash player does not have that problem.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94,486 other followers