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HPGL interpreter for motion controllers

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article image Hewlett Packard graphics language interpreter.

AUSTRALIAN Baldor has released a free Hewlett Packard graphics language (HPGL) interpreter for its range of motion controllers.

The utility is written in the Mint motion language. It reduces the development time of machinery for processing two-dimensional shapes.

The Mint HPGL Interpreter converts HPGL commands into moves and commands for real time motion control hardware. HPGL is an industry-standard protocol used in plotters and printers and is widely supported by low-cost graphics and CAD software. It therefore gives users a very economical basis for creating machinery for applications such as cutting, routing, engraving, etching, sign-making and glue laying.

The interpreter is provided as source code, allowing users to adapt the software easily for application-specific tasks. Examples include adapting the control of the pen or Z-axis to accommodate a tool like a laser cutting head or a driven axis such as a tangential knife blade. To aid system integrators and automation engineers, the areas of the code that can be modified are documented with searchable comments.

The utility runs on motion controllers from the NextMove family, which offers users a choice of five different platforms ranging from low-cost board-level controllers, to ready to use, panel mounting modules.

The NextMove range includes motion controllers with standard serial ports or USB ports for interfacing with hosts. NextMove controllers will accept HPGL programs of any length. The interpreter is optimised for fast operation. Users can also set the size of the memory for buffering HPGL commands, providing a further means of tuning performance for any application.

A datasheet and example code for the new HPGL software are available from http://www.supportme.net/content/documents/appnotes.htm

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