Introduction: Making a Drawing Machine From Record Players

This Instructable was made by Mr. Mortensen's 3rd grade class at River Rock Elementary in Lehi, Utah. This is our first time making an Instructable, so we hope you like it!


This isn't our idea, but it's our take on an idea we saw on a couple different web sites. If we knew the original creator we would credit them.

This spirograph drawing machine was fun to make!

Step 1: What You Will Need

2 record players
2 yard sticks
Hot glue gun
2 - 1inch square blocks
Pencils, pens, markers
A power drill
Various drill bits
Screw Drivers
1 1/4 inch screws
Hand saw
Small binder clip

Large pieces of paper (like poster size)

Step 2: Remove Record Player Lids

Depending on the record player, you may need to remove the lid or cover in order for this machine to work. The 2 players we had needed a few screws removed to take off the cover. Be sure to put the screws in a safe place so you can put the lid on if you ever need to.

Step 3: Wood Squares

If the wood you have isn't the right size, now is the time to cut it into 1" cubes. You will need 2 of them. The wood squares help you stay above the center rod on the record player and keep the machine from getting stuck.

Step 4: Drill Holes

Drill a hole that is slightly thinner than the 1 1/4" screws into both blocks of wood. Make sure that it goes all the way through.

Step 5: Hot Glue the Wood Squares

Now decide where you want to put the wood squares on the record player turn table. The closer you get to the center of the turn table, the smaller your drawing will be. We chose to put it on the edge of each wheel. Since we had poster board, we could do big drawings. Hot glue is the best option, because it pulls off easy so the record player can still be used for music.

Step 6: Drill Holes in the Yard Sticks

Drill a hole on one end of each yard stick that is slightly smaller than the head of your screws. This will keep the yard stick rotating nicely without falling off. Then drill a hole somewhere about half way down both yard sticks that is big enough for a pen.

Step 7: Cut Off Extra Length on Yard Stick

You can cut off the extra length of your yard sticks. They will only slow the machine down.

Step 8: Attach Ruler to Wood Block

Use your drill to put the screw through the hole on the end of the yard stick and into the pilot hole you drilled in the wood block. Don't go too tight, the yard stick needs to be able to rotate around the screw freely.

Step 9: Insert the Pen Into the Rulers

Align the holes you drilled half way down the yard sticks and push the pen through them. If it doesn't fit in, just grab the drill and make the hole a little bigger. Put the pen in and attach a binder clip from underneath to keep the yard sticks from sliding down the pen.

Step 10: Paper and Tape

Tape down your paper. You don't need to go crazy, just a couple pieces on the sides will do.

Step 11: Try It Out!

Give your drawing machine a go! After we tried ours, we learned that there was a little too much friction up on the wood block. So we add a metal washer between the block and the yard stick. We also put some chap stick on there to reduce friction.

Step 12: Experiment

Now that you have your machine running, try positioning your record players further apart, closer together, change the pivot points on the turn tables, etc. Have fun!

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