Building a Drawbot With LEGO





Introduction: Building a Drawbot With LEGO

This is a very simple drawbot I've built with our Lego Mindstorms set.

It's quick to build and program and once you've got it up and running you'll be printing one page after the other with it.

Step 1: Make a Detailed Construction Plan

Just kidding, this is my sketch I made at work.

Step 2: Building the Gears

At first I didn't build a gearbox. It worked, but the pen was flying over the page. I have the smallest gear directly on the motor and the largest connected to the small one. That makes it a lot slower and gives the pen time to leave a trail on the paper.

Step 3: The Pen Holder

As you can see it's just a rubber band holding the pen. Makes it easy to change the pens.

Step 4: Program It

I know the screenshot is a little blurry. But there is not a whole lot to do. Just let the two motors rotate.

Just make sure that both motors are NOT turning at the same speed. Otherwise they will draw a nice shape but will keep on repeating it over and over.

Step 5: Let It Draw

Place a sheet of paper under the pen, start the program and watch in awe. ;)

There are three things you can do to alter the shape of the drawings.

  1. Change the ROTATION SPEED in the program.
    Changing one of them will be enough
  2. Move the rotation-point at the motor (rotator).
  3. Move the rotation-Point on one of the axis

Step 6: More Videos

A general overview how the drawbot works and where and what to change to get different shapes

Maker Family Contest

Second Prize in the
Maker Family Contest



    • BBQ Showdown Challenge

      BBQ Showdown Challenge
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Backpack Challenge

      Backpack Challenge

    15 Discussions

    how do you build a drawbot with LEGO


    2 years ago

    How can I build one of these? Do I just look at the pictures? Is it possible for you to give me worded instructions with pictures? Thank you!

    1 reply

    Yes, it's a freestyle project. Will work even if you're off by a notch or two...

    Fantastic project! I was wondering: I noticed that your pen often got caught on the paper while drawing. If you were to make the pen holder at an angle, would it become more stable during the drawing process?

    2 replies

    Hi innovator007, thanks for your hint. I think it is the gears from lego that have a little leave and that makes it wobble. Building it stiffer probably resolves that. having it at an angle probably too, have to try it sometimes.

    Good point. I plan on making this sometime soon, so I'll try building it stiffer and holding the pen at an angle. I also plan on using a ballpoint pen for fun. Thanks!

    This is great, I wonder if it could be made to move for larger drawings?

    HEY, this instructable won the second prize in the makerfamily contest.
    Thank you all!!