Healing penplotters (Wordhole)

From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki

or destroying them, as you prefer.

Penplotters are incredible high precision pieces of technology that nobody cares about anymore, common back in the 70’s and 80’s to draw blueprints, charts, schemes... Luckily XPUB exist to regain control over these lost machines!

Healing penplotters is one of the main focus of XPUB during the first trimester '23. Some of us participated in few evening meetings organised by Joseph. 🚧The process is still ongoing 🚧

"this pen plotter is (not) made to die" - Joseph

It was extremely exciting to play a bit, finally, with some physical/material practice of fixing hardwares. We got our hands dusty as we tried to find solutions to some technical issues, some of them were fixed some others are still undergoing investigation.

We focused on decoding online/offline manuals of those plotters we got (HP7475 A3, BBC Goertz Metrawatt SE-283, TAXAN X-Y KPL710...), then studying a bit the penplotter language (hpgl). We started inspecting the machines, then soldeing DB9 and DB25 connectors and pin them to the pen plotters.

After that the real disassembly of these graphic robots happened, so lot of screwing and unscrewing, cleaning, we had to 3dprint some part of the pen plotters that were broken (wheel mechanisms), we fixed cables and motors (someone could help with the techical terminology here (人´∀`) ).

It's interesting how we didn't get trapped in the apparent rigid, static, structure of the penplotters, we ranged more creatively in the use of different materials, pens, to create various types of outcomes. We got lot of good ideas.
It's important to accept it will take time to fix and find solutions to some issues of the machines, and that's the exciting part (so, one of the main aspect of this experience is the patience practicing).

Our goal is to let the penplotters become easy accessible tools for everyone in the studio, effortlessly connected to chopchop as well. Until now we produced zines, personal and collective works, radio show experimentations. We worked together??? We failed together??? We had fun???