1Delivery and Installation:
The parts of the pen plotter fit together seamlessly, and I didn't encounter any issues during the assembly process. Each piece had a precise fit, giving me confidence in the overall build quality of the machine. It was evident that the manufacturer had taken care to ensure that the assembly process would be hassle-free for the end user.
2Software and User Interface:
When it comes to controlling the iDraw 2.0, there are a few software options available. From what I can tell, the most popular choice is Inkscape, a vector drawing software. However, you can also use other g-code sender software if needed. As a complete beginner, I will be starting with Inkscape and the extensions provided. Even though a copy of Inkscape was provided, I went directly to inkscape.org and downloaded the latest version. It is open source, i.e., free. Installing the software and getting up and running was an incredibly easy process. Grateful for that.
As a beginner, having the option to use Inkscape with the iDraw 2.0 is very convenient. You can create your designs, make adjustments, and control the pen plotter all within the same software. Since I have never used Inkscape before there is definitely a learning curve. There are, however, many videos out there and you can always Google keywords to try to figure out how to do what you want to do with it.
Regarding the sound when it is running, I have used some pretty loud 3D printers before so in comparison this plotter is relatively quiet. At the time of writing this, I have printed about 15 different things and have had zero performance issues with the plotter itself. Any issues I have had were either user errors or just not knowing how to set up the design properly in Inkscape.
The only challenge I'm running into is knowing where on the print bed the drawing will be placed. I haven't really figured that part out yet. After playing with some of the document properties in Inkscape I am getting it figured out.
Print #1 (Floral Line Art)
Print #2 (The Honey Bee)
The next print was a honey bee on a black card-stock using a gold metallic sharpie. What I learned about this one is these SVGs don't fill themselves in. I'm sure there is a solution within the Inkscape software. Just haven't gotten that far yet. I will work on this in subsequent attempts. The gold on the black was beautiful and I can see myself using this combination for multiple artistic applications.
Print #3 (Robert Frost Poem)
I still don’t know if it is just the way the font is made (straight lines between a series of points) or if the table I have the plotter on is vibrating… Maybe it is a combination of both issues. I plan on refining it to the point where it looks flawless. I’m also thinking about getting a custom font made. With some practice and experimentation, I think I can achieve handwriting that looks incredibly realistic.
As far as applications for these features go, unlike hand-drawn writing, which can vary in legibility and uniformity, the iDraw 2.0 A3 delivers consistent results every time. This is especially beneficial for tasks such as creating invitations, addressing envelopes, or producing professional-looking handwritten documents. I see some party invites in my future… perhaps playing with a calligraphy pen or 20. 😊
Print #13, #14, and #15 (Cherry Blossom Trees)
5Pros and Cons:
Easy Setup: The iDraw 2.0 A3 pen plotter comes almost fully assembled, so you can start using it quickly without much hassle or time wasted on a complicated setup.
Precise and Accurate Results: The advanced stepper motors in the iDraw 2.0 A3 ensure precise movements and accurate positioning, resulting in high-quality and detailed drawings. I had no issue plotting tiny complex designs
Large Drawing Area: The pen plotter offers a spacious A3-sized drawing area, allowing you to work on larger artwork or fit multiple smaller designs in a single print. This is especially beneficial for artists working on diverse projects.
User-Friendly Software: The iDraw 2.0 A3 seamlessly integrates with Inkscape, enabling you to create, prepare, and control your designs all within one user-friendly software. This streamlines your workflow and eliminates the need for multiple applications.
Limited Pen Options: While the pen plotter supports various pens, it may not be compatible with certain specialized or proprietary pen brands. Make sure your preferred pens are compatible before purchasing.
No Wireless Connectivity: This means you'll need to connect it to your computer using a USB cable, which could limit mobility or require a nearby computer. I’m working on a network file transfer so at least I don’t have to walk a thumb drive back and forth from my main machine. For my 3D printer, I control it remotely using Octopi software. Something like that would be great for this. It may exist, I just haven’t gotten around to looking into it yet.
Complex Calibration: Calibrating the iDraw 2.0 A3 for accurate positioning and alignment may be a bit complex for some users. I haven’t quite figured that part out yet.
I absolutely love the iDraw 2.0 A3 pen plotter, and I'm super excited to use it for many more projects. As a beginner, this pen plotter has exceeded my expectations and opened up a whole new world of creativity for me. Setup was a breeze, and it works seamlessly with Inkscape. The precision and accuracy of the pen plotter are impressive. I'm also impressed with the durability and sturdiness. It feels well-made and reliable, which gives me confidence that it will last for a long time, allowing me to create countless projects without worries.
I’m sure most if not all of the little issues I have had were no fault of the plotter. I’m so new to this… but having a ton of fun.
I can't wait to get a laser head so that I can do some laser engraving with it. I see endless possibilities with the iDraw 2.0 A3. If you are on the fence about this model, I don’t think you will be disappointed.