Beyond Imagination
Looking back at our achievements in vertical plotting, we'd like to take a moment to reflect on those things which we could have, and quite possibly should have, done differently, had we more time and resources at our disposal. We might have considered a more permanent assembly that was held together by something sturdier (and perhaps something with a higher melting point) than duct tape. We also probably shouldn't have relied on a company to send us free push/pull solenoids, even though they repeatedly told us that they were going to send them to us. And another thing, we wouldn't have followed the schematic for the programmer and would have ignored the diodes if we had known it wouldn't work with them in place.

Even more interesting than what we could or should have done differently, are things that we would have liked to expand on given more time, money, etc. It never ceased to amaze us that when people got a look at our plotter, their reaction was one of immediate astonishment followed by a statement that usually started with "hey you guys should..." or "how are you going to..." We typically dismissed such statements with something to the effect of "yeah we'll do that later" or simply pretended not to have heard the statement in the first place. Some of our favorite "suggestions" are, but are not limited to, the following:

1.   "Make the plotter erase the board."
2.   "Pull the pen off the board to move without drawing."1
3.   "Use an electro magnet to maintain more rigid contact between the pen and the board."
4.   "Make a java applet for the user interface rather than an LCD/keypad."
5.   "You guys should go home"
6.   "Have it plot pictures input from a scanner"
7.   "Why don't you have it write something obscene?"
8.   "The motors heat up? Have it bake the user cookies"
9.   "Go f$@k yourself"


1. This one would have been realized had we gotten our free solenoids, but alas, it was not to be.