Looking for "Programming CalComp Electromechanical Plotters" book

Erik Baigar erik at baigar.de
Fri Sep 28 10:38:39 CDT 2007

Hi Dave,

thanks for your email. Given this information, I think
my stuff is not of use for your project...

> We have an IBM 1627 plotter which is really just a private-labelled CalComp
> 565 plotter.  It has a 220mm width plot area and uses presurized ball point
> pens.
Yes, this is an early ancestor of the 1038/1039 I have got up and 

> We have the schematics for the IBM controller, but don't have one.  We'll
> need to build our own to connect between the IBM 1620 computer and the
> plotter.
I do not know the details on this, but maybe it is easier to
rip an other plotter using stepper motors and connect the clock
and direction signals to the 565 directly. There should be quite
a lot plotter out there suitable for this.
What kind of processor does the IBM controller use? In somewhat
later Calcomp plotters (as mine from 1972) a OPC (online plotter
controller) was included. The original Calcomp PCB contains a 
6800 processor which interprets signals from a RS232C interface.
This PCB generates the signals needed to drive the plotter (i.e.
step and direction pulses). Since this OPC was optional it might
be easier to obtain than the IBM part? Maybe they are identical?

For the Calcomp OPC I have got schematics and ROM dumps. It has
the same name as the language it understands "PCI906" and of
course includes a character generator...

> The information we are looking for is:  1) detailed descriptions of the
> CalComp HCBS [basic plot] library;  2) the algorithms used by CalComp to
> implement the plotting functions;  and 3) the vector character font data
> that CalComp used.
Sorry, I do not have anything of the mentioned...

> We have no application programs for the IBM 1620 that do plotting [although
> we have 200,000 punched cards of programs and data].  We'll be writing the
> demo application in addtion to the basic plot library.
That sounds great - I wish you the very best for this 

    best regards,


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Erik Baigar [mailto:erik at baigar.de] 
> Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2007 10:33 PM
> To: Sellam Ismail
> Cc: Classic Computers Mailing List; dave at kaleidosoft.com; Erik Baigar
> Subject: Re: Looking for "Programming CalComp Electromechanical Plotters"
> book
> Dear Sellam Ismail,
> I have got a 1039 plotter which I got from a engineering company years ago.
> They used it in the 90ies with DOS based software and they had certain
> libraries (I think it was fortran) from Calcomp to use the plotter. These
> libraries contained commands for e.g. drawing mathematial diagrams,
> characters and so on.
> Maybe I somewhere have got the documentation (a few
> pages) listing the commands which are implemented in the library.
> Is this the kind of stuff you are looking for? What type of plotter do you
> have got? Has this one got a digital interface (like e.g. PCI907 or PCI906)?
> Do you have got any application software on your 1620?
>    Best regards,
>       Erik.
> > The IBM 1620 Restoration Team at the Computer History Museum needs a 
> > copy for a project they are working on to interface a CalComp plotter 
> > to the 1620.
> > 
> > If you've got a copy you can provide (all they need is a photocopy or
> > scan) please contact Dave Babcock <dave at kaleidosoft.com>.
> > 
> > --
> > 
> > Sellam Ismail                                        Vintage Computer
> Festival
> >
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