Looking for "Programming CalComp Electromechanical Plotters" book

Randy Dawson rdawson16 at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 28 20:39:59 CDT 2007


I have hung on to something that might be useful it this sort of project.  Its some code I've always wanted to revive, because it was so cool when I first used it.

Its the Versatec Versaplot package.  I'm sure its long dead and abandoned by the company, (do they even exist, it got sucked up by Xerox I think) but perhaps the group can advise how we go about getting clearance to post code on bitsavers or some such similar archive.

Its a really cool massive Fortran vector plotting library, with a back end rasterizer (Laing-Barsky algorithm for clipping into mannageble bands, or bitmap arrays)

Ive ported this to the PC a few times, and it was pretty simple task with Ryan McFarland Fortran, should be a snap with GNU.

I also have the updated follow on to Brigham Young University MOVIE.BYU.   Its a c Xwindows app for 3d raytracing and animation.  I paid for it, ($$$$) a license from BYU, but they never really supported me so I dont feel too guilty about releasing this one either.  It was Sun, SGI, HP workstation code, but I got it ported to PC unix (real SYSV) and later Linux.

If anybody knows of any other leading edge graphics from the past, I would be interested in hearing from them.

Randy

> Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 17:38:39 +0200
> From: erik at baigar.de
> To: dave at kaleidosoft.com
> CC: cctalk at classiccmp.org; sellam at vintagetech.com
> Subject: RE: Looking for "Programming CalComp Electromechanical Plotters" book
> 
> 
> 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 
> running.
> 
> > 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 
> project,
> 
>     best regards,
> 
>        Erik.
> 
> 
> > -----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
> > >
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > --
> > > International Man of Intrigue and Danger
> > http://www.vintage.org
> > > 
> > > [ Old computing resources for business || Buy/Sell/Trade Vintage Computers
> > ]
> > > [ and academia at www.VintageTech.com  || at 
> > > http://marketplace.vintage.org  ]
> > > 
> > 
> 
> 

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