Introduction: Drawing Machine

About: Cheating death for a living, since the day I was born.

How I made my drawing machine, and in the process made artists obsolete. When I first moved into my new studio, I had no important projects looming, and wasn't yet comfortable in the space. I built this "Drawing Machine" so that I could be productive, but not really. I would set it up, turn it on and then read Sculpture Magazine for a while as the machine did its jiggly business. This project was built using junk found around the studio for a cost of $0.00. It utilizes an old power drill with an offset cam in the chuck for motion.

Step 1: The Machine

Essentially, it's a power drill with an offset cam in the chuck clamped to a box. The cams were made using a hole saw on 1/8 inch copper sheet, with a thick copper stem hard soldered off center. A good deal of flexibility is available in this detail, as a lot of cam configurations can be used. The pics make it pretty clear how the rest of the thing is made. It's not rocket science, it's art.

Step 2: The Stylus

I hot-glued a bunch of pencil leads onto various objects: a super ball, the guts of a baseball, a tennis ball, some rawhide, and to other pencil leads. This is one of the factors that will determine what the finished drawing will look like.

Step 3: The Fence

In order to keep the stylus on the paper, a fence must be built on the face of the machine, I simply used some scrap cardboard and duct tape. Modifying this step will also greatly affect the end result. The fence probably shouldn't be too much bigger than the size of the paper, but can allow or restrict the motion of the stylus however you see fit.

Step 4: The Drawings

Once you have everything in place, plug in your drawing machine and marvel at the wonder of the artistic process. The machine can be clamped down to a table, which will restrict the motion of the machine, or it can be let to run free around your shop. Make sure you have adequate extension cord allowance if you opt for the latter, and it's a good idea to check on the little bugger every so often. Mine tended to wedge itself quite firmly under tables if I wasn't careful.

The possibilities are endless. I've since modified this machine to accomodate 20 by 30 inch paper, and I've also made teeny tiny drawings. Some other ideas include using a sharp, steel stylus on copper plate with an acid resist applied. The marks made by the machine would then be etched in an acid bath. Monoprints anyone? Or the machine itself could be used AS the stylus to make super huge drawings.

Here are but a few of the drawings I made using this machine.

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