Introduction: Large Scale Polargraph Drawing Machine W/ Retractable Pen Head

*The large scale installation of this machine was conceived and executed with Rui Periera

This is a design for the Polargraph ( open source drawing project. It features a retractable pen head and hardware to allow it to scale to 20+ feet wide.

Step 1: Window Mounted Implementation

The original implementation of our polargraph was on a clear glass wall. The two stepper motors are positioned using custom mounts, attached with suction cups. Counter weights take up the slack and keep the timing belts in position.

Step 2: Components

The second implementation of the drawing machine was mounted on a white wall and featured a retractable pen to allow text to be written.

The goal of this design was to create a gondola that could take the pen off of the drawing surface without moving the entire unit. What is lost from the classic Polargraph design are the pivoting arms that ensure that the pen is always at the center point of the two belts suspending the pendulum.

In my version, I laser cut out of plexiglass the round hubs of the gondola and the spacers between the hubs. In the files I include an Illustrator template with these pieces, as well as stl files if you prefer to print them Additionally I created plexi stepper motor mounts for the large motors needed to drive the larger scale machine, as well as counter weight brackets.

*BOM to be included soon

3d Printed and Laser-cut components:

Addtional hardware:


Step 3: Fabrication and Large Scale Installation

The printable parts and templates to laser cut the plexi body are featured here:

Project Files on Thingiverse

Step 4: Excecution