A drawing robot brain shell! The PolargraphSD Case

A drawing robot brain shell!  The PolargraphSD Case

A drawing robot brain shell! The PolargraphSD Case

I have a confession to make.  I freaking LOVE Sandy Noble’s drawing robot project called Polargraph.  The Polargraph is a very simple to build, simple to operate, open source drawing robot that produces absolutely stunning results.  The entire robot is little more than (a) an Arduino (b) a motor shield or one of Sandy’s awesome Polargraph shields (c) some USB and power cables (d) two motors (e) some printed parts and (f) string, twine, wire, fishing line, or something similar you might have lying around the house.  You may even have many of these parts lying around your work area or hidden in an old printer right now.

Sandy has been constantly improving his Polargraph design, firmware, and software.  The latest iteration of his Polargraph kit includes a custom designed Polargraph Shield which includes a touch screen and operation from an SD card.  Even cooler, he’s using a 3D printed case for the drawing robot brain, featured above.  Having built a basic one myself, I was able to purchase all of the parts for about $100. 1

Importantly, my MakerBot has enabled me to customize the project and drastically reduce the cost.  Instead of beaded cord and sprockets, I designed and printed my own spools for using fishing line, motor mounts, Arduino mount, and gondola.  What would normally require specially machined parts or the use of a lasercutter, basically just cost me less than $1.00 in plastic. 2

Since the size of your drawing is basically limited only by the size of your canvas and the amount of string you have, the drawing possibilities quickly become staggering.  I was able to take a picture of R2D2, convert them into a single-line-drawing, and draw a three foot tall poster for my daughter.  Not only did she love the picture, she demanded it be put up in her room immediately. 3

If you’re looking for a very beginner friendly project that your kids will absolutely love, you should definitely try this one out. 4

  1. Had I been a little more patient and even slightly more competent, I could have built it for even less. []
  2. And my daughter got to choose the colors.  Which is why the fishing line spools are pink. []
  3. A few hours later I began to wonder why she had been so quiet.  It turned out she had spent the entire time coloring the poster in with her markers and crayons. []
  4. If you’re interested in such things, I’ve got about 50+ posts on my personal blog about my adventures in building and operating my DrawBot []