3D printers, CNC mills, laser cutters, and pen plotters all work in very similar ways. The specifics of their construction vary, but they are all designed to precisely move a tool in at least two axes. That means that it is often easy to convert one machine into another. For example, many 3D printers these days come with laser or router attachments so you can have 3-in-1 machine. Or if you have a Creality Ender 3 3D printer, you can use this affordable “pltr v2” toolhead to convert your printer into a pen plotter.
While they’ve largely been made obsolete by inkjet and laser printers, pen plotters used to be commonly used to print documents and line drawings. Today, large-format pen plotters are mostly used by engineering teams to produce technical drawings. Machines like the Silhouette Cameo and Cricut Maker have also proven that pen plotters can be very useful for crafting. You can, for instance, use those machines to print greeting cards that have a nice handwritten calligraphic style. The pltr v2 is a toolhead that you can attach to your Creality Ender 3 to give it similar pen-plotting capabilities.
The pltr v2 mounts in the same place as the Ender 3’s extruder. To install it, you simply remove the extruder and screw your new toolhead into place. No modifications to the printer’s controller board firmware are necessary, because it will still accept standard G-code commands. You can use open source Inkscape vector drawing software with a free plugin to generate that G-code from an image or text. Calibration is as simple as homing the machine and adjusting the Z-height for your pen. There are two purchase options for the pltr v2: DIY and fully assembled. The DIY option costs just $4.99 and includes the necessary hardware and an STL file so you can 3D print the toolhead body. The assembled option costs $14.99.