I have this four stars because the physical quality is superb. However, the software is terrible. Only buy this product if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and do your own coding. The firmware needed some tweaks and the PC software is terrible. I wrote my own in python. You also need to figure out what you want to do with this. I also wrote a tool to create Spirographs in python that generates the g code for the plotter. There is also a way to use an image tool, creating paths that can be rendered in g code. This is an advanced skill and will need some ability to modify code and figure a few things out. There was much tuning and coding for me to use it for what I wanted. I have enjoyed it and learned a lot. If you’re that type, I highly recommend.
Recommendations. Scrap the PC code and write your own. Tune the servo steps. Tune the code getting the steps per mm right in both coordinates. Turn the pen up/down in the z axis. Figure out how to write your own g code and figure out how you’re planning to render it.
Between the motors sometimes being able to move the pen and sometimes not, and the software only rendering outlines, this project was a huge disappointment. It's not like putting together a 3d printer and if you get it right, you actually get the ability to print reliably. This is a project that is at the proof of concept stage at best. The pen holder is awful, the electronics are weak and unreliable and if you do manage to make it work briefly, the software converts your images into very basic outlines only. No way to make it better. This is for people who enjoy building more than using.
Put together went well, programming software is lame! Instructions were not accurate either. Some wiring did not hook u Where pictures said. Over run or home sensors don't do anything. Machine over runs and skips the belts. Not very accurate...
this arduino driven 'robot', well it's a plotter, is a great pleasure and lived up totally to the expectations. 2 parts to it: building it. i felt like a little child again. to build it, i spent 10 hours of great fun and as an engineer, i immediately improved the pen-holder. overall, a great experience. the only drawback: after i have read some complains from the early stages of the V2.0 about the pen-cable being too long, they are now being shipped too short. i had to byu new ones (2 x 1m) from a local store and payed another $15 for them. switzerland, you know. but that doesn't scratch on the fun. part 2: software. that part is not documented very well. after trying on several windows images, which all failed, i was a little disappointed. image 1 windows 7 on a very old laptop, where usb was not supported well. image 2 was 32b, which is documented not to be supported. image 3 windows 7.1, where mDraw immediately crashed. later, i found out, i had to re-install the visual studio supporting dll-s. then, on win7, by default, there is no usb-serial-converter-driver, which i also had to find and install. and then ... still nothing. until i brought the arduino to my office (image 4 windows 8, where everything is supported upfront) and re-flushed the the firmware. finally working! first drawings promising. working environment: wind8 + win7.1 (with some tweaking) with the natively compiled mDraw. arduino IDE also working properly. not so well working (and i did not yet find out the conditions): mDraw python. sometimes it's going, sometimes i don't get connection through the com-port. same on linux. because there is no native mDraw for linux, you're stuck with the python-version, which is or is not doing something. what i'm missing: for teaching purposes (i'm also a teacher), i'd like to have a command-line interface. that would be given with python, but ... conclusion: yes! i would buy again and i can recommend.
PROS: really great fun! all parts are nicely done, fit together and basically work. stability of the construction is good, but you have to be careful, because it's aluminium and that doesn't take maltreatment well.
CONS: software (esp the requirements) not documented very well, but doable. python interface does not work reliably, neither under windows nor under linux.
I finally found a weekend to put this kit together. It came together pretty nicely between two evenings, but when it came time to turn it on and operate it, I discovered one of the two Me Stepper Drivers was dead. That means I have a Y Plotter instead of an XY Plotter. :(
PROS: Assembly was fairly straight forward after getting updated instructions. Make sure you check the type of Adruino board you own and download those specific instructions. Orion and Leonardo variations require two different setups. Good updated instructions and links to downloads can be found here, since the kit doesn't come with them: http://learn.makeblock.cc/xy2/
CONS: DOA part the kit came with is going to cost $$$ to replace