The AxiDraw Drawing Machine (Legacy version)

[This documentation is for the older-model AxiDraw, sold prior to February 2016, with white Delrin chassis. Click here for current model support.]

Software installation

The AxiDraw is controlled from within Inkscape by means of the standard WaterColorBot (WCB) extensions which were developed by EvilMadScientist. Although the extensions were originally intended for the WaterColorBot (and therefore handle things like changing colours, washing brushes etc.), they have a "pen only" mode which is ideal for the AxiDraw.

This page will give a brief overview of the software installation procedure - for more detailed information on the WCB extensions, and how to use them with Inkscape, please see EvilMadScientist's wiki pages on the WaterColorBot and Egg-Bot (the Egg-Bot extensions provide the basis for the WaterColorBot extensions so the information is relevant to both).

Remember that, although the primary means of controlling the AxiDraw is with Inkscape and the WaterColorBot extensions, it is quite possible to send commands directly to the EiBotBoard, since it appears as a serial port and any terminal emulator can be used. Please see the EiBotBoard documentation for full details of the available commands.


Inkscape is a free vector graphics editor which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Download and install the latest version of Inkscape suitable for your operating system from

Important note for Windows 8 users: On my own Windows 8 computer, the latest version of Inkscape seems to have various problems with mouse movement and drawing. This may be a more general problem with Inkscape running on Windows 8. If you experience problems on Windows 8, then try installing an older version of Inkscape. Previous versions are available here - I found that v0.48.2 worked well. Make sure you uninstall the current version of Inkscape first before trying to install the older version!

WaterColorBot extensions

Download and install the extensions from EvilMadScientist's GitHub repository. For Mac & Windows users, you can use the installer file, however Linux users need to install the extensions manually as described at that link.

USB driver (Windows only)

Windows systems require a driver to enable communication with the EiBotBoard. Download and install this from EvilMadScientist's page here. Choose the executable file called "UBWDriverInstaller_v20.exe" (or similar).

Next: software configuration

[Return to Legacy AxiDraw documentation]

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