All posts by Windell Oskay

About Windell Oskay

Co-founder of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Introducing the Bantam Tools NextDraw™

Bantam Tools NextDraw 1117

Bantam Tools proudly unveils its latest advancement in proven plotter technology with the launch of the new Bantam Tools NextDraw™ series of drawing and handwriting machines. Engineered for artists, innovators, and educators seeking exceptional versatility and performance, Bantam Tools now offers a trio of new models designed for drawing and handwriting.

“The Evil Mad Scientist team have brought their engineering prowess to Bantam Tools and the new Bantam Tools NextDraw series are proven creative tools that set a new standard in plotters. The Bantam Tools NextDraw series of plotters are exceptional computer controlled machines for innovators.” says Bre Pettis, CEO of Bantam Tools.

Each model in the Bantam Tools NextDraw™ series comes standard with the incredibly fast, nearly indestructible, brushless pen-lift mechanism that was only available as an upgrade to legacy models. This system provides a remarkable increase in speed. As an added bonus, the brushless pen-lift mechanism empowers users to use writing implements that need pressure on the paper, welcome news to lovers of ball-point pens. For those that plot multiple artworks or letters, the auto-homing feature streamlines the user experience while enhancing precision, allowing artists and writers to execute repetitive work with ease and confidence.

Each of the three different sizes of Bantam Tools NextDraw™ plotters has a drawing area which ranges from 8.5×11”/A4 to 22×34”/A1, ensuring a solution for every scale of artistic endeavor. Even the largest Bantam Tools NextDraw™ can draw on a postage stamp and the smallest Bantam Tools NextDraw™ can be placed on the center of a mural sized piece of paper.

The Bantam Tools NextDraw™ is a hardware and software ecosystem designed for a range of innovative applications not limited to drawing and handwriting. The ecosystem features a variety of accessories available to expand your capabilities and help you explore your creative frontier.

The robust construction of the Bantam Tools NextDraw™ plotters is evident in their sturdy electronics enclosures, which feature easily accessible power, pause, and reset buttons, alongside built-in cable strain relief, enhancing both functionality and durability. Notably, the two larger models are machined in-house from billet 6061 aluminum, adhering to tight tolerances that not only improve precision but also provide increased stability.

“In the past few months we have been able to implement new firmware features and motion control software that improve the quality of the output while at the same time making everything dramatically faster. The whole series of Bantam Tools NextDraw machines look great and the new generation of firmware gives a whole new sound to the machine too.” says Windell Oskay, Bantam Tools CTO.
The Bantam Tools NextDraw™ plotter’s enhanced acceleration and efficiency are in a class of their own; it manages intricate artistic details and curves with speed and finesse.

“I can’t wait for our past Evil Mad Scientist customers to get their hands on the new Bantam Tools NextDraw. The improved performance from the brushless motor, the ease of the new homing routines, and the overall improvement in acceleration and speed will allow artists to make more art in less time. For customers who use our machines for handwriting applications like sending out wedding invitations or thank you notes, they can create notes and address envelopes so much faster.” says Lenore Edman, Bantam Tools COO.

Versatility, compatibility and user experience are key highlights of the Bantam Tools NextDraw™ series. The familiar software, originally developed by Evil Mad Scientist and tailored for Inkscape, has been improved to offer enhancements that streamline the plotting process. There are also advanced API features for custom applications.

Proudly FCC certified and manufactured in Peekskill, New York, Bantam Tools continues its commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable products that push the boundaries of design and innovation in the creative industry. The Bantam Tools NextDraw™ plotters are not just tools, but partners in the creative process, designed to meet the rigorous demands of modern artistic expression.
The Bantam Tools NextDraw™ is the proven and reliable compatible computer-controlled plotter that provides versatile solutions to artists, innovators and educators.

See the Bantam Tools NextDraw™ in action at

Linkdump: December 2023

Polynorm pantographic lettering tool with overlapping letters on a brass plate

Linkdump: August 2023

Random Dances (1964 - 1968), Jeanne Beaman at Cybernetic Serendipity. A screen shows instructions for the dancers.

Hidden line removal for AxiDraw

AxiDraw Control v3.9 screenshot, showing hidden-line removal feature

We’re pleased to note the release of AxiDraw software version 3.9 this week, with a couple of neat new features. One of them is that the “preview mode” button — which lets you simulate plotting to see how the results will come out — is now accessible no matter which function is selected. The other, the big one, is that AxiDraw now supports hidden-line removal as a standard feature.

There’s a full changelog up on GitHub, which also notes a few new features for users of the AxiDraw CLI (command-line interface) and AxiDraw Python library, including the ability to resume a plot a little before where it was paused.

But, let’s talk more about hidden-line removal.
Continue reading Hidden line removal for AxiDraw

Linkdump: April 2023

Close up of typewriter image next to box with clip name and source and play feature showing in screenshot

Open Circuits: Now available

Earlier this year, I wrote about my then-forthcoming book, Open Circuits: The Inner Beauty of Electronic Components, co-written with our regular collaborator Eric Schlaepfer.

Open Circuits is a coffee table book full of close-up and cross-section photographs of everyday electronic components. And, it’s now shipping! As of today, it’s available in hardcover from your local bookstore, as well as to purchase online and in electronic versions.

Open Circuits, hardback

We also just launched a new website for the book, with links of where you can purchase it as well as lengthy galleries of images from the book and of outake photos.

We put up a list of sellers on the website, including direct from No Starch and our own store, where signed copies are available.

Open Circuits

I’m very pleased to announce my forthcoming new book, Open Circuits: The Inner Beauty of Electronic Components, co-written with Eric Schlaepfer.

Open Circuits is a coffee table book full of cross-section photographs of electronic components, along with photos of those components in context, and descriptions of how they work. It’s coming this fall from No Starch Press, and is available now to pre-order.

Book cover for Open Circuits

From the rear cover:

Open Circuits is a photographic exploration of the surprisingly beautiful design waiting to be discovered inside everyday electronic devices. Through painstakingly prepared cross-sections and stunningly vivid close-up images, the book reveals a hidden world full of elegance, subtle complexity, and wonder. From simple resistors and capacitors, to cutting-edge circuit boards and retro Nixie tubes, the authors’ arresting imagery transforms more than 130 electronic components into awe-inspiring works of art that will delight engineers, artists, designers, and photography enthusiasts alike.

My co-author Eric Schlaepfer has been our regular collaborator on projects such as the Three Fives and XL741 soldering kits, as well as the MOnSter 6502 and our Uncovering the Silicon project.

Open Circuits is coming this fall in hardcover, and is available now with a pre-order discount and early-access PDF from No Starch Press.

It’s also available to pre-order at your local bookstore — who we sincerely encourage you to support — as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major booksellers.

Linkdump: December 2021

TinyNES console with two controllers attached

Linkdump: January 2021

CMYK embroidery