Spin Art Machine




About: DIY FTW! I love 3D printing, arduino, and anything you can make yourself.

I recently found an old Knex pinball kit that didn't work anymore, so I took it apart, hoping I could find stuff for arduino. During the "dissection" :) I found most of the pieces used for this, a 4 digit 7 segment display, and a motor box that works the same way as any other knex motor. I connected the center piece of the board and connected it to a motor, as well as some pvc pipe and a battery box from a remote control. Have fun!

Step 1: What You Need...

1. Knex electronic arcade.........$20 to $40 on ebay
2. PVC Pipe...........three "3 sided parts" and about 24 in. 3/4 and {1 inch (optional)}
3. Soldering iron
4. Hot glue gun
5. Battery pack..................I used one from a remote control, which was disconnected
6. 2 wires, about 6 in.
7. Drill
8. Paper
9. Paint and brush
10. Tape

Step 2: Getting the Pieces

Open up the center peice (the one that rotates in the middle), there should be a motor with a rubber-like band connected to the center. Take out the motor (you don't need the plastic around it) and don't take off the rings. Now, unscrew the large middle piece and take it out. It should look something like the picture above. Hot glue the piece you unscrewed to the bottom, and then hot glue the motor to the whole.

Step 3: PVC

On one 2 in. piece of pvc, drill a whole as close to the center as possible, making sure you don't drill all the way through. Then connect the rest in the fashion in the picture. It should look like an H, however with a stick in the middle. At the top of the "stick" should be the drilled pvc.

Step 4: Connecting

Now......solder the wires to the motor, place the wires through the hole in the pvc, and hot glue the motor in it. Glue the battery pack to the pvc close to the motor, and solder the other ends of the wires to it. If you place the battery in the battery pack, the current should flow, and the "centerpiece" should spin.

Step 5: Art Time!

Now to paint! Cut a circle in the paper as big as the centerpiece, and tape it. Insert the battery, and make your masterpiece!

Step 6: Your Done!

Please rate and comment!



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    23 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Is there any way to make a splash guard for this?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You could make it VERY simple....just putting a cardboard box around it....otherwise you could glue something to the pvc under it, creating a barrier around the object spinning. But really...it depends on the paint you use...the thicker, the less it creates the "spin" effect. The thinner, the more it flies-but it creates more of the effect.


    6 years ago on Step 4

    As for spin painting, you could also use glitter glue for the painting material, as well as paint.

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I would find that easier, actually (so the paint doesn't fly off). Im not sure, however, if it would stick too much and it wouldn't have the "spin" effect.

    Old power supply, or connect the wires to the right voltages according to color. I just leave the whole hard drive intact, with a bigger circle glued to the platter.

    you're welcome. If you want, I think I can take a picture of everything. I can probably even figure out a wiring diagram for making one that just uses a wall wart. If I remember correctly, you have to hook up the entire hard drive to 5 and 12 volts. Not sure how you would use just a motor. I can't remember which colors are which voltages, but if you google it, you should be able to figure it out. If you just use an old computer power supply, that will work much better. you just have to hook up a switch to the power on pins on one of the connectors. If you wait, later this month I'll be making an instructable for a REALLY nice setup, that is fairly ceap. Wow that was a lot to type on a tiny 3DS keyboard. :)

    I actualy have a 1" round Circuit board from a 12vdc water pump that I made when working for Thermacore Inc. That we used on the Alienware liquid cooling system and with that board I can run a hard drive pump alone with out the rest of the hard drive. I asked because I was just windering if there was any other way that might be easier because you would have to buy a whole Liquid cooler on ebay to get the circuit board. I would like to see your Wireing diagram. Thanks.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Neat! My neighbor had a spin art machine when I was growing up. He made some really cool pictures with it. - His was in a tub.
    I've been thinking of building one for years. I've always thought that (if it would work) you could make some really cool "tie-dye" like clothing with it. This is why most of my ideas have always revolved around an old phonograph record player and a large circle cut from plywood.
    I've yet to try it, but your work has given me a push towards giving it a try.
    I have one suggestion for you: insert a rheostat between the motor and the battery box. This will give you speed control, and it's an easy job to wire one in.
    Since your using a low power application you could scavenge a potentiometer from an old radio (volume control) or get one from Radio Shack or eBay for a couple bucks (the larger the ohm value (or K) the more variance in speed) - With a potentiometer you can input the power to either the first or third terminal and use the middle or second terminal as the output.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    If I were you, I'd build the thing in a little basin, prevents the surroundings from being painted.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I agree. It also stops paint "flying" if you used a semi-drained battery


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I guess cannabilizing the Knex works fast and easy, but to spend $30? A 3vdc motor is $6 on ebay, a battery pack at radio shack and some plastic will do the same job. No?

    I love the PVC H frame for it.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I had just had this lying in the garage.....plus it wasn't working. So why not use the spare parts? I was just stating where I got it from and what else was in there. But thank you!