PlottyBot beautifully handwrites your typing

Ben Akrin created the incredible PlottyBot to get out of hand-writing tonnes of Christmas cards. Scrooge vibes aside, this is an amazing Raspberry Pi Zero-based project, and this pen plotter can do much more than scribe “Season’s Greetings”.

What does it do?

PlottyBot is controlled via a simple web interface and can be calibrated automatically or manually. It can work on complex hours-long plots without missing a step, as well as smaller projects. The design features a rotatable pen holder so you can use it with various tools, from pencils to fountain pens.

Raspberry Pi Zero powers the stepper motors, limit switches and servo motor.

Raspberry Pi Zero getting wired up before being tucked away inside the build

I want one!

If you want to build your own, Ben has shared all the 3D printed parts you’ll need. He also created the PlottyBot SD card image ready to flash onto your Raspberry Pi.

This project also comes with perhaps the best step-by-step walk through we’ve ever seen. Ben uploaded tonnes of photos and videos showing you how each 3D-printed piece fits together and where to solder every single wire.

Parts list

  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • 12V power supply
  • 5V regulator
  • Servo motor
  • Linear rods (various sizes)
  • Stepper motor
  • Limit switch
  • Heatsink and fans
Just a giant circuit showing you PlottyBot’s inner workings to round things up

We love this project with all our hearts. Let us know if you decide to make one yourself – we are champing at the bit to delegate writing our own thank you notes, birthday cards and Christmas cards for all eternity.



How do you write this up and not give props to EMSL for the Axidraw. Looks like it used many of the same principles and the serious number of 3rd party drivers.


Except it does not. The AxiDraw is the most recognizable of a well established family of pen plotters build with this sort of belt system. My software stack is nowhere close either. That’s how.


Seen a number of such writing pen plotters even before the Axidraw. Did EVMS pay hommage to the first person to come up with it?
Are we now going to lecture everyone who makes an Arduino weatherstation or plant irrigator too?
Anybody who now comes with a plotter, 3D printer, cncrouter is not original and got the idea ‘somewhere’


I’m wondering what packages need installation since the goal of having to format my own microsd is to avoid having to install anything in the first place? 10-15 minutes installation time? That’s a lot of packages!


This isn’t a golden image scenario with everything pre-installed. It all loaded but gets installed on the first boot after Raspbian has expanded to fill the SD card. This way you can burn the image on any SD card size, much like Raspbian itself. It’s a lot of libraries, PHP, Apache, Python and packages to turn the Pi into a wireless AP.

On a Pi Zero, all this apt-get install and pip install takes a while on the first boot yes :).


It’s just a typewriter


Yes! I am interested in building my own ‘PlottyBot! How do I get started collecting the components?


The article refers to the tinkerers web page as “possibly the best step-by-step walk through” and it can be found right here:

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