How do I use terraPen?
terraPen uses gcode to tell the machine what to plot. You can use a number of different programs to convert bitmap images or vectors into gcode or you can directly create the gcode instructions from a generative program. The choice is up to you, but below are a few example workflows.
Once you have a gcode file, upload it to terraPen using the web interface, install and position your pen and page, zero the pen position where you like and press play on your uploaded gcode file.
If you want to plot live from a generative program, you can stream gcode directly to the machine over a USB connection!
There are many ways to generate gcode, here are a few to get you started.
Plotterfun is a simple but powerful web app to translate images to vectors. It has several filters with variables to modify a variety of configurable renderers.Plotterfun (mitxela.com)
Drawing Bot V3 is an open source program that comes in two flavours, a free (with limits) and premium commercial program that can convert images into various formats including gcode using a variety of configurable renderers.
Lightburn is a commercial laser cutter and engraver software, but its gcode output works on terraPen. It is a sophisticated piece of software and exports gcode quickly.
vype is an open source Python script that can convert svgs directly into gcode.
The simplest way to get started. Connect directly to terraPen via Wi-Fi and upload your gcode file the plotter. From here you set the zero pen position and start the file plotting.
When you first power on terraPen, it will start up a Wi-Fi access point that you can connect to (named terraPen.local, password: 12345678). Once you are connected, your device* should automatically open a browser and load the Web UI shown above, but can also be accessed with http://terrapen.local. Once you are connected, you can edit the 'GRBL' settings and enter the connection details for your local network so the plotter can connect. You can then access http://terrapen.local without having to first connect to the plotter.
* (Windows and Android. Note: Apple devices will attempt to open the page, but it will not allow you to do anything, you will have to close that window and manually open terrapen.local in a browser).