#Inktober 2019 Project – Post 1

#Inktober is a hashtag I have seen popping up over the past few years. Inktober was apparently started in 2009 to encourage people to do an ink drawing everyday in October. The #plottertwitter generative art community has joined in recently.

I am not much of a hand drawing person or even a generative art person, but I do like to make drawing machines. I decided to use Inktober to work on a new plotter. I am getting a little head start, so I can actually do some plotting in October.

Atari 1020

I decided to try to convert an old Atari 1020 plotter to use Grbl_ESP32 as the controller. It would give the plotter Bluetooth and Wifi support and use gcode to plot. I could talk to the existing controller via the Atari 1020 serial protocol or I could completely replace the controller with the ESP32.

I decided it would be more fun, challenging and great opportunity to learn some things by replacing the controller. I set the following goals.

  • Do no harm. I want to avoid damaging any parts. Cut no plastic and cut no wires.
  • Change only the controller. I will use the existing, unmodified switches, stepper motors, etc.
  • Clean implementation. Try to make it look original. Use the existing mounting holes. Use existing holes for connectors, etc.

About the Atari 1020

The Atari 1020 was sold in the early to mid 1980’s. It was designed by ALPS Electric. It uses the same ALPS DPG1302 mechanism as the Commodore 1520, Tandy CGP-115, Sharp CE-150, Atari 1020, Mattel Aquarius 4615 and Texas Instruments HX-1000

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2 Responses to “#Inktober 2019 Project – Post 1”

  1. Brian C (WarHawk8080)

    Your ESP32 should fit in there nicely!

  2. Gert

    Hi, the broken gear is a well known problem for this mechanism. I found little stepper motors with the perfect gear on eBay and with a bit of heating you can pop these off and slide them onto the original motors. (the new stepper motors are a lot smaller so no direct fit of the complete motor). The gear is 13T brass and not plastic so it will probably last forever..