Picture of Mug Plotter
No desk is complete without your own personal mug to insist on having your tea in. Oh sure, you can use a suitably obscure freebie mug that you picked up somewhere, or even buy your own, but do any of them really express the personality that you'd like your workmates to understand? No, you're going to need a personalised mug for that desk. The cheap and easy solution is to buy one from an on-line printing company, but where's the fun in that?

The mug plotter is loosely derived from Evil Mad Scientist's Egg Bot - it uses the same control board, and a modified version of the software, so you can design and print your mug from inkscape.

To build the mug plotter, you're going to need the following as a minimum, regardless of how you approach it:
two stepper motors
5V Power supply
mini-usb cable

To build the Mark I mug plotter along broadly the same lines I have, you'll also need the following:
3mm ply
Something to cut it with (laser cutters are good)
250mm of threaded rod, and a nut to suit. I've used M5, but its not important.
Some 1/4" aluminium rod (but anything in that range will do). 
Around 20mm metal tube big enough to slide over the rod - I didn't have anything to hand to drilled a 6.5mm hole through a bit of 1/2" aluminium rod.
Some connectors suitable to join your stepper motors to the threaded rod and 1/4" rod.
Lots of small (M3) screws and nuts.

There's quite a degree of flexibility in the choice of stepper motor. I went for Bipolar, 200 Steps/Rev, 28x32mm, 3.8V, 670mA because it was pretty much the first one I saw, but it's within the ballpark of what you need
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tady1 month ago
Its because he is using an M5 threaded rod for the pen spindle... If you take a look at the M5 thread standard you can see the thread pitch is 0.8mm/turn.. And he is using a 200step/rotation motor... So in one motor rotation (200steps) the pen moves 0.8mm.. So you have to ask your self hoe many steps does the motor need to make so the pen moves 1mm... The answer is 240... That means 240 steps/mm... Hope this helps...
skawikk2 months ago
hi, first: sorry about my english

why scale_screw are 240?
bhanbija3 months ago

Do you think i can make it using arduino mega instead of eibotboard? Can you help me with the coding?

teed (author)  bhanbija3 months ago

The main reason for using the eibotboard is it has a pair of stepper motor drivers built in, which the arduino doesn't, and it already has a plugin in inkscape. You could use an arduino with a motor shield of some sort as a couple of people have suggested, but you would have to program it first, and I don't have the time to help, sorry. You'd have to get the arduino to respond to the same set of commands as the eibotboard (unless you change the drawing application too) which are documented here:

I'd also point out that a few people have built this using a belt drive for the pen, rather than the screw drive I used - it seems to work a LOT better.

moha1620037 months ago

this good idea Thank you for this effort

andrew.spencer.2 made it!1 year ago

I dusted mine off again and worked out a few kinks that had been troubling it last time. a bit of sugru made a great custom belt drive pulley for the stepper motor

pyrogeek1 year ago
That's awsome!
david xu1 year ago
Good Design !! If you need this kind of cutting plotter please contact me at
What a great instructable, it's just what I needed! A lot of rowing clubs will give out china mugs as trophies at regattas, so I copied your plotter to personalize them with a porcelain marker. Still in the testing stages so far, but changes to date are: changed the pen axis to be tiltable, since these mugs are slightly conical (an old printer carriage worked a treat for this); and I've glued a bolt to one of the fins on the mug mount to counterbalance the weight of the handle. So far, so good! Thanks heaps for doing all the legwork and writing such a nice 'ible!
mug plotter.JPG
As a solution for the controller you could use an arduino with adafruit motor shield. I am currently looking for a project where this has been done. It seems like a no brainer because the board drives two steppers and a servo. I was going to build zaggo's spherebot which uses pololu stepper drivers with an arduino. but I have an arduino clone and motor shield that cost me 20 bucks total so I would like to figure it out with this. There are many drawbots that use the motor shield so it shouldn't be to difficult to port
britantyo1 year ago
is there any stepper motor specs here???
teed (author)  britantyo1 year ago
There is - on the first page. It vaguely states "I went for Bipolar, 200 Steps/Rev, 28x32mm, 3.8V, 670mA because it was pretty much the first one I saw, but it's within the ballpark of what you need"

It occasionally drops a step on the mug rotation if you don't counterbalance the handle though, so definitely don't go any lower
finkaminka1 year ago
this is rad! i have a super favor to ask...will you make me a mug? will you do it in honor of bringing back the aquatic arts? that would be so rad! maybe we can trade for something - I'll make you something rad! i just know i can't built this right now - damn deadlines. YAH, "From Mug plotter with love." Thanks for considering teed.

P.S. If you really would make one...see me on fb: The Olivia Darlings cuz we clearly need a team mug. Especially one with a floating formation on it. A surprise for a surprise!
teed (author)  finkaminka1 year ago
The Olivia Darlings looks like a brilliant idea, so yes, I shall. But it might take me a little while to come up with something that will do your particular interpretation of the aquatic arts justice - maybe it'll be a nice surprise in a couple of weeks time!
finkaminka1 year ago
this is rad! i have a super favor to ask...will you make me a mug. will you do it in honor of bring back the aquatic arts. that would be rad - maybe we can trade for something. i just know i can't built this right now. you should charge a fee or do a trade. YAH, from Mug plotter with love.

If you really would make one...see me on fb: The Olivia Darlings. Cuz we clearly need a team mug from teed.
Graver2 years ago
Hi I would really like to build this cup marker but I can't get the dxf file to give me anything but numbers and letters doesn't seem to work in any draw program that I have. If I had a drawing of the pen holder would be nice. Think that the other parts can be worked out. A drawing of the other parts would be helpful. I have a laser cutter but it uses G-code. Very well done Instructable..
teed (author)  Graver2 years ago
I'm glad you like the idea. DXF is a fairly open standard for exchanging cad drawings - it was drawn using the free version of Siemens solidedge 2d, but you can also open it in other free programs like draftsight or inkscape. Our laser cutter can import dxf files. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a dxf to g-code converter out there somewhere.
Graver teed2 years ago
I have down loaded the solidedge 2d and It seem to be a very good program I may find many uses for it but not able open your DXF with it, just does not see it. Have you any suggestions how to move on? I have started making the Mug plotter having a problem with the pen holder design. I can send photos of my progress if you are interested.
teed (author)  Graver2 years ago
do you mean you just can't see the file in the open file dialogue? I'm using solidedge ST3 (which is a slightly older version) and it can open a DXF file like any other file. It does seem to get slightly confused with the scale though, so I had to select the manual zoom and zoom out a long way to display it normally.

If you don't get anywhere then PM me your email address and I'll send you the native file instead. I'd love to see some photos of your progress - I've mentally assembled a better pen holder that will let you swap out pens for multi-colour designs, but our laser cutter isn't working at the moment - maybe I can get you to try it out?
Graver teed2 years ago
Hi Teed,
Solideedge does not show your file in the open file dialogue. I do not know what PM means. I would like to send my e-mail address but not sure how. I would like to see what you have in mind for a pen holder. I can make just about anything. My laser is small only 7 X 11 inch work area. If it will fit in that area I can do it. I tried to send photos of what I have so far but I don't know where they went.
teed (author)  Graver2 years ago
PM is internet slang for private message - I've sent you one with my details. Click on the "you" button in the very top right hand corner of this page (you might need to scroll back to the top), then click on "inbox". I've not drafted anything for the revised pen holder yet but I'll try and knock something up and send it to you
Graver teed2 years ago
Hi Teed
I stoped looking for ways to open your dxf file and just built my own. I will be asking you how to make the software work but that is in the future. I have attached some photos of my attempt to make the Mug Marker. It is made of cardboard because I engineer by making parts I make a lot and cardboard is easy to work with and quick.
rgthane2 years ago
I would suggest chalk on a blackboard coffee mug it wouldn't be permanent, but could be interesting to change designs and colors leaving the fade design to fade under the new one.... Great build!
teed (author)  rgthane2 years ago
That's a great idea, except I've never heard of a blackboard coffee mug. Any idea where I could get one?
Ugifer teed2 years ago
Ebay is the source of all good things (well except for eibotboards - where did you get that?)
teed (author)  Ugifer2 years ago
Yeah, I always waste time looking at other sites and eventually think to try ebay. I got the eibotboard from SK Pang.
Ugifer Ugifer2 years ago
Great 'ible, BTW. If I had time I would love to make one.
Fingers crossed for that lottery win so I can retire!
can i use marker here
ggustavson2 years ago
Nicely done. Simple, fun, functional. I think I heard you talking about that coupler on the top motor being the source of wobble, which it appeared to be. Once that's replaced with something that fits better and isn't flinging long headed screws around I bet it runs smooth.

I was really entertained by this prodject. I'm love to see more video of it doing stuff. Have you found a way in software to do raster plots, or half toning?

I bet you could do color prints pretty easy with a manual pen swap.

teed (author)  ggustavson2 years ago
Thanks! Simple fun and functional was exactly what I was going for. The couplers were made from some 1/2" aluminium bar, and the lathe had a bit of a wobble when I made it so the holes are a little oversize. The setup on the lathe is a bit better now so I might have another go at it. Ideally you'd use a universal connector of some sort but that would add cost.

There are some instructions out there for doing rasters in inkscape, although I haven't tried them yet. Colour is probably the next step, but I think I need a simpler way of fixing the pen in that case.
Lakes572 years ago
Kickstarter! KIt of parts! Take my money already! :D

Well, ok, some nice laser cut ply and maybe some of that draft excluder tape stuff. :)

That board is quite expensive, so I would try to use an Arduino, Stepper driver.and some G-Code.

Oh, and a construction video please. :)
teed (author)  Lakes572 years ago
I'd love to turn it into a kit, but I think it needs a little work to make it a bit more stable and simple to build in that case. I'm sure you could use an arduino and build a stepper shield for it, but this way I could just use the existing software.

The board cost me £33 plus tax, and an Arduino from the same supplier would be £20 plus tax, so it's not a huge increase. I suppose the benefit of an Arduino is you usually already have a couple you can swap between projects.
mpc+2 years ago
You'll also be performed using the AVR controller?
You can do this work?
mpc+2 years ago
Very Very cool!
studleylee2 years ago
Very cool!
this is awesome!... do you have a video to show us?
teed (author)  aquilesvacabriones2 years ago
Thanks! Poor-quality video posted above.
apalacios22 years ago
What? No video of this wonderful device working? I like it a lot! But as the saying goes, Loves comes from Sight. Will you post a video of the Mug Plotter in action?
teed (author)  apalacios22 years ago
Okay, you convinced me. I've added a video in the introduction. Please ignore the background noise of the rest of Edinburgh Hacklab being rude about it.
wumeng2 years ago
This is awesome!!!
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