Things to Try

Project Gallery




About PIE

As the drawing machine moves, it creates a record of its motion.

Cup Draw

Keith says, "I got this idea when Diane Willow described a little invention that balanced on three marker legs. I made a version using clothespins holding onto paint-soaked sponge feet. This drawing machine uses a cup, some markers, and a cricket to control the shimmy-shake movement."
stuff you need
  • LEGO RCX, or a Cricket
  • Motor, cable, and some LEGO parts (see below)
  • Light sensor or other sensor (optional)
  • Plastic cup, 9 or 16 oz.
  • Pens, pencils, and/or markers
  • Hot glue gun (with hot glue stick)
  • Drawing paper: Large sheets of paper will give your drawing machine more space.

Here's what you need for the cup part.

Here's what you need to add to the motor.

Run a bead of hot glue down the marker. (It's easier than trying to make a line on the cup)

It's okay to use hot glue on the markers, as the glue peels right off if you need to make adjustments.

Once you've lined up the maker press it into the cup and hold it steady till it cools.
Once you've glued all three, stand it up to make sure it's stable.
These are the pieces for the motor set-up.

Add the eccentric arm to the motor.

(It's called "eccentric" because the wheel is attached away from the center. This causes the motion to be irregular and the cup to hop around.)

Once you have the motor pieces put together, then you can balance it on the 'top' (the cup bottom) and stretch the rubber bands around it.
It looks like this once you've adjusted everything. Tap it and shake it a bit to see if it's balanced enough. If it's unstable, just pull it apart and try it again.

This machine uses an RCX brick, but you could also use a Cricket.

If you look closely you can see that the light sensor on the RCX has a reading of '94' which is a reading of the light that you are pointing the RCX at. Once it gets to a certain level, or threshold, my LogoBlocks program changes the direction of spin on the motor.

What else

See another example of a drawing machine:
the Compass Draw

Make spin art
Make a Cup Draw without using a cricket

Home | Things to Try | Project Gallery | Workshops | Events | Crickets | About PIE

Send suggestions to the PIE web team

Privacy Statement | Legal Notice