I know this posting is contrary to what this site is about but lately I just can't find anything to print that interests me.I'm sick of
taking things off of Thingivers just for the sake of printing. I thought I'd switch things
up a little. Turning printers into plotter is pretty common but I don't see where anyone is taking advantage of the varieties of inks
that are available. I got these Sugar Skull prints off of Google images. I'll get back to the 3D type of prints real soon. I promise
this looks like some funky fun to have, but you lacking details for others to follow. you mention INKS so you swapped the extruder for a pen? you make a pen holder. how you convert an image into Gcode ?
Plotting pictures is not all that different from regular printing. The plot is pretty much just a single layer print.
I use the free programs Blender, Inkscape & Slic3r to create the G-code. Cura has the ability to import JPEGS & bitmaps to create g-code but these raster images don't slice well. Using vector drawings/SVG files or images of vector drawings will produce the best results . I just search Google images for the subject I'm looking to print and include the keywords "vector drawing" Black and white line drawings or clip art images are best. There are a lot of sites that offer free SVG files for download but they usually want you to register before they let you download them. I prefer to skip the registration process and just save a copy of a vector image as a PNG file and use Inkscape to convert it to a SVG file. Or you can save a few steps and just download the SVG file.
After doing it a few times it only takes about a minute to convert the image into a printable file. Even when adding in the Inkscape steps.
Drag the file into Inkscape and embed the image. Shift+Alt+B to trace the bitmap image. Select colors from the pop-up box, Set then number of scans to 2, uncheck the smooth and stack scans boxes and check the remove background one then hit the Update button. A preview will appear now hit the OK button delete the original PNG image and save the traced image as a plain SVG file. I like to size my image while in Inkscape to fit my print bed. Alternately it can be
sized in Blender if you just downloaded a SVG from the site.
Blender is great for converting the SVG file into a STL. Simply select File from the pull down menu, select import and then the Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) to bring in the file for editing. Select the file hit the Object on the menu bar to Convert to MeshFromCurve/Meta/Surf/Text to convert the SVG to a STL.
Enter Edit mode, press A to select all and E to extrude. Go back into Object mode to size the print. I set the Z height at 20microns. This will be the first layer setting in the slicer.
Now you have the STL import it into Slic3r, Cura or whatever slicer you are using. Set up your slicer with the following settings
Set the bed and extruder temperature to zero
set the top layer to 0 and the bottom layer to 1
set layer height and 1st layer height to 20microns
nozzle diameter needs to be set at 0.20 or else thin lines on the drawings won't slice right.
set minimum travel after retraction to 0.5mm
set retraction to 1mm and Z-lift to 1 or 2mm to prevent the pen from dragging across the paper while it moves to another point.
Now slice the file to create the g-code. But there is one more step before sending the file to the printer host. You must modify the G-code a little. Open up the gcode file in a text editor and insert a pause line (G4 P30000). This will pause the print for 30 seconds and allow you to Insert your inkpen into the holder, wiggle it around to make sure its depositing ink on the paper, then clamp the pen in place before the print stars. Save this modifed file as your gcode file and bring it Pronterface/Repetier or whatever host program you use.
Here is a snippet of the start gcode. Note the last 4 lines.
; generated by Slic3r 1.1.7 on 2017-03-25 at 14:51:35
G21 ; set units to millimeters
G28 ; home all axes
G90 ; use absolute coordinates
M82 ; use absolute distances for extrusion
G1 F2400.000 E-1.00000
G1 Z2.200 F6000.000
G1 X85.465 Y17.251 F6000.000 ( the x carriage has moved to the starting point)
G1 Z0.200 F6000.000 ( the Z has dropped down and the print is about to start)
G4 P30000 ( printer is pausing, with this line you have 30 seconds to get the pen in place)
G1 E1.00000 F2400.000 ( the print resumes)
Using different colored inks isn't all that much different than using different colored filaments. I was able to create a g-code file using 3 extruders and the sequential print option to make this multi-color plot. I only have a single pen/holder so I had to use the pause command again to swap the pens when each of the areas was finished.