From 3D Printer to 2D Plotter


In this article, we will guide you on how to turn your 3D printer into a 2D plotter. This means that you can use your 3D printer to create beautiful and intricate 2D drawings. You can repurpose your printer to perform various tasks that involve printing in two dimensions, such as drawing and sketching. By following the simple steps outlined below, you can easily transform your printer and create your own projects.

Hardware Setup

To modify your 3D printer, specifically an Ender-3 Pro, to become a 2D plotter, you need to attach a pen holder to the print head. The holder allows for easy switching of pens, enabling the use of multiple colors. The pen holder can be obtained from pascalmakes designer, and you can print it yourself using the plans available online. We recommend using liquid ink pens such as Pilot Pure Liquid Ink as they work best. Here's how to assemble the pen holder:


Software Setup

To configure the software aspect of the 2D plotter, we recommend using Inkscape software. This software is free to download and is licensed under GPL. Inkscape is ideal for managing vector drawings and performing various editing tasks with ease.

To transform the vectorized design into gcode, you need to install the jtechphotonics and KM-laser extensions. These steps are explained in detail in a video tutorial by "Teaching Tech". You can make some modifications to the process but watching the video is highly recommended for a more detailed explanation.

The following header and footer should be used instead of the ones presented in the video tutorial. These modifications protect the final design from accidental pen strokes and allow for a presentation of the design at the end of the print.

G0 Z30
M117 Deploy Pen NOW! 5
G4 P1000
M117 Deploy Pen NOW! 4
G4 P1000
M117 Deploy Pen NOW! 3
G4 P1000
M117 Deploy Pen NOW! 2
G4 P1000
M117 Deploy Pen NOW! 1
G4 P1000
M117 Drawing..
G0 Z30;
G1 X0 Y220; present print

The geometry of the 3D printer leads to modifications of the parameters of the Jtechphotonics extension. You should change the global offset to suit the printer and the pen support.


It is also important to change the global offset in the extension.


Production methods

To begin, resize the Inkscape workspace to match the bed size of your 3D printer using the File > Document Settings function. For example, if you're using an Ender-3 printer, set the size to 220 x 220 millimeters.

Next, draw the outline of the card on the page. For example, if you plan on printing on a gift card measuring 82 x 128 millimeters, draw a rectangle of that size to outline the printout.

Finally, secure a sheet of paper to the print bed of the 3D printer using drawing clips. This will allow for a precise and steady printing process.


In conclusion, adding a 2D plotting feature to a 3D printer can significantly expand its capabilities and enhance its overall functionality. By utilizing software modifications and designing a pen holder attachment, users can convert their 3D printers into precision 2D plotters for a variety of creative projects. Moreover, with further advancements and modifications, it is also possible to replace the pen holder with a vinyl cutter, which can allow for even more diverse and intricate designs. The possibilities are endless,