In the summer of 2018, I embarked on a project to reverse engineer an old HP plotter from the 80’s – an HP Draftpro DXL 7575a, to be exact. My goal was to not only connect the plotter to processing, but also to add a “human touch” to the machine’s mechanical precision. To achieve this, I combined the plotter with one of the oldest printing techniques in existence – etching.
I hacked the plotter to accommodate a metal plate, which I then etched using a small needle in place of a pen. The process took about six hours and produced approximately 300,000 points. The end result was a series of twelve etches that could never be replicated by hand, adding a unique and irreplaceable quality to each piece.
Although connecting the plotter to processing was a remarkable achievement, the addition of etching allowed me to merge technology with one of the oldest forms of printing, resulting in a fascinating blend of old and new.