Evil Mad Scientist’s new AxiDraw V3 personal drawing machine can use any pen or marker to print or write on your behalf if your penmanship is awful. But simply watching the machine draw ultra-precise doodles and complex patterns is so satisfying you might be able to justify its $475 price tag as just a relaxation tool.
Okay, so this is what’s called a pen plotter. We used to use these in drafting, until large-scale inkjets came down in price.
Pen plotters are a blast to watch, no doubt. This one is a very precise one, but it’s nothing new.
They all but died out because you simply couldn’t produce multiple copies of CAD drawings fast enough to meet demand - usually you’d only plot one set, and then send them out to the print shop for copies. It would take possibly hours to get the original drawing set done, and hours to get the copies made.
Now, we’re down to minutes for multiple full sets of plans.
Pen plotters are cute, but this is not new technology - what you’re watching is a relic.
source: My first CAD class, I was stuck on an Apple IIe using AppleCAD with a light pen (everyone else was on the fancy 386's running Windows 3.1 and GeneriCAD through DOS). Minus learning time, it took me a week to draw three views of a simple house. The plotter i used was a pen plotter, similar to the one above, but MUUUUUCH slower, and it could only plot on 8.5x11 sheets of paper. It creaked like an old barn door.