Raspberry Pi 3, Graphtec MP3100, config guidance sought

Post about using Inkscape with cutters or plotters.
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:18 pm

Raspberry Pi 3, Graphtec MP3100, config guidance sought

Postby bp@www.zefox.net » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:05 pm

I'm trying to use Inkscape and Inkcut on a Raspberry Pi 3 to drive an old Graphtec MP3100 plotter.

Inkscape is version 0.48 (latest Raspbian distribution), Inkcut is 1.0 with Graphtec support included.
The setup works, very erratically, which begs a handful of questions:

Is it worthwhile, or even possible, to find a later version of Inkscape/Inkcut for this hardware?
Features aren't an issue, but even simple bugs are hugely confusing at this stage.

The MP3100 supports HPGL and two flavors of GPGL, called Personal and Digiplot.
Can anybody recommend one over the other two? The plotter has no display, but I
believe it can send status messages on the serial port. Can Inkcut show them?

I'm presently using a PL2303TA usb-serial adapter with Xon-Xoff flow control. Very short
plots tend to be incomplete (rectangles miss one side), longer plots (a few turn spiral)
stop prematurely and the Alarm/prompt light comes on, using any plotter language.
Is hardware flow control helpful?

In Dump mode, the plotter prints the characters received. HPGL looks ok, except that
the initial "I" is missing from the "IN" at the beginning of the command string. The same
error appears in the sample file output, so it's not a comms error. Is this a bug in Inkcut?
Using GPGL a few characters appear which look vaguely Japanese. Does that seem
like normal behavior? I thought GPGL was ASCII text.

I've ordered parts to make a hardware flow control cable but will put that aside if it's unlikely to help.
I do have the complete user manual, which is cryptic in spots 8-) and dense everywhere.

Thanks for reading, and any guidance.

bob prohaska

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Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:44 am

Re: Raspberry Pi 3, Graphtec MP3100, config guidance sought

Postby Moini » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:23 am

I guess this might be interesting for you:
https://www.timewasters-place.com/inksc ... s-the-3rd/
(also the two previous articles linked from there)

(if you want to use it, please check if the current version still works with Inkscape 0.91 - extensions need to explicitly be made compatible with both versions by their author)

Sorry, cannot help with Inkcut itself.

I think upgrading to 0.92 might cause you issues with scaling (that can be prevented by starting out from a px template).
Does Raspbian have any backport repositories?
Upgrading to 0.91 will probably gain you some stability and features, but also needs an updated extension.
Something doesn't work? - Keeping an eye on the status bar can save you a lot of time!

Inkscape FAQ - Learning Resources - Website with tutorials (German and English)

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:18 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi 3, Graphtec MP3100, config guidance sought

Postby bp@www.zefox.net » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:09 am

I'm acquainted with timewasters place.com, that's what got me started on this trek 8-)
Despite careful reading I can't sort out what's going on.

Unfortunately, there are lots of potential troublespots. Inkscape 0.48 is fairly old, the port to Raspbian might not
be perfect, pl2303 usb-serial adapters have a poor reputation (though I've found no demonstrable errors in serial
communications yet). After some repeat testing, it looks as if I can get partial (too small, incomplete) output
using HPGL, always accompanied by an alarm/prompt light.

Last couple times I tried GPGL (both flavors) the plotter did nothing at all except when in dump mode, when it
seems to print non-ascii characters occasionally. That makes me wonder if GPGL has evolved to the point
this plotter (early 1990's) won't work, or needs a backwards-compatibility switch in the software.

I've looked around to see if it's possible to download sources for Inkscape 0.92 and compile them, but that's
likely to be an involved project under the best circumstances; the dependencies are going to be very complex.

I don't understand what's meant by "backport repository". Raspbian uses apt-get, which claims Inkscape is up to date.
Inkscape seems to be distributed in a "flatpack" which is unlike the usual tar.gz archive. I suspect it's more like SVN
or CVS but can't tell for sure. Either way, that's a big hammer for what I hoped would be a small nail.

Thanks for reading and replying,

bob prohaska

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