Drawing Machine – part 1

All the people studying at ELbygget NTNU Gløshaugen knows that it lack some real interactive art. So the last couple of years we have been thinking about filling that gap. And after dumping over Hector, and the video under, we had found the perfect creation!


Video of the prototype


The Idea

The first idea was to make a machine as shown in the figure under. It consists mainly of a head who holds the pen and controls the distance to the paper and two stepper motors connected to the head with AT5 timing belts.

All the software on the master (the unit interpreting images and controlling the machine) is going to be open source, making it easy to create new algorithms and ways to use the machine.

And after a successful application to NTNU, we got funding from the Department of Engineering Cybernetics.


The first sketch of the machine


The first creation

System overview

Mainboard frontside

Mainboard backside

Reading the device ID for the first time

Testing the motor and the motor controllers

Ragnar is happy about the prototype plate

Timing belt pulley

The backside

The frontside


The first  drawing

As you can see in the video, the timing belt was not as flexible as we had hoped, so we had to find another solution. We went for a spool concept, but thats puts a heavier load on the motors (they have no counterweight to help them).


Something went wrong…

Damaged pen

First drawing

First drawing

First drawing

First test of the capability to draw A2 paper size



Impressive quality ;)

A drawing by and of Guri Venstad


Continue to part 2 here.

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  1. [...] is exceptional for its incredibly high quality drawings and bespoke pen holder.  Ragnar provides a detailed description of his setup in two posts.  This may be the single most beautiful pen holder of the bunch.  With heavy brass [...]