An Afternoon With the Axidraw

I was really impressed with the Axidraw once I was able to get it running. Its movements are very precise and showed no jagged stepping at all. I used a Uniball pen and a felt marker and both came out great. The real problems were mostly on the software side. The Axidraw uses a program called InkscapeĀ that looks like it’s from more than ten years ago. It was pretty clunky but could still load SVGs. I would ideally like to see some functionality akin to the way laser cutters can be run directly from Illustrator or AutoCAD. The text was also pretty cumbersome as I was required to enter what I wanted to write into a dialogue box that then “rendered” out the text as single line vectors. Unfortunately, once you write something, it can’t be changed! The website however offered some really interesting links. I had a lot of fun with the stippling algorithm, but it would be nice if there was a way to translate the radii of the circles into Z values, instead of just drawing different circles.

I’m looking forward to playing a bit more with them when I get some extra time.

I messed this one up. The pen started drawing on different pages when I didn’t line up the edges correctly.
The quality of the circles are pretty impressive and it moves fairly quickly.
This is the output from a processing sketch that optimizes the travel distances of the Axidraw for the stipple portrait. The paths themselves communicate darkness through density. Its a picture of my dog!


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