In honor of National Robotics Week we thought we’d take a look back at some of the more interesting and fun robot projects we’ve run on Make: over the years. One unique category of actuated smart object that’s not really a robot in the conventional sense (it’s really more of a CNC plotter) but uses much of the same hardware and software found in robotics is the drawbot.
A drawbot is what it sounds like, a computer-controlled machine that draws. They mechanism for a simple drawbot can be anything from a brainless vibrobot that holds a pen and motors around on a piece of paper, to one with computer-control and a robot arm to precisely translate and render a digital image, to wall-mounted drawbots that use motors to control the location of a pen suspended from string.
Drawbots are a great way to explore robotics technology in a fun and not very intimidating way. And when you’re done, you have your own cool little robo-Picasso to do your bidding.
Here are some of our favorite drawbot projects that we’ve featured at Make:.
A Drawbot That Writes Poetry in Sand
This Drawbot Constantly Writes Out the Time on a Whiteboard
Turn Two Old CD Drives into a RBpi Drawbot
Learn how to create your own drawbot using two old CD drives, a servo, and a Raspberry Pi.
Arduino-Compatible Drawbot Building Set
The mDrawBot is a girder-based construction kit that lets you create a number of different drawbot configurations, from a wall-based artbot to one that draws on eggs. The project was crowdfunded by MakeBlock and you can now buy the kit on their website.
Turn Your iMac Box into a Drawing Robot
“Man Turns Computer Packing Material into a Drawing Robot” isn’t a headline you read every day. But that’s exactly what James Coleman did. He turned his discarded iMac box into a unique drawbot design and meticulously and cleverly documented the project.
If you want to see what state-of-the-art drawbot technology looks like, check out the recently-announced AxiDraw from our pals at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for drawbot content on Make:. Do a search on the site to uncover many more projects.