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You can make a cup draw with or without a Cricket.

Cup Draw (Low Tech)

Diane once taught a class in which a young student came up with the idea of attaching pens and a motor to a cup. Diane liked how the pens work as "legs" for the machine, making a drawing that records how it moves.
stuff you need
  • Two AA batteries
  • Battery holder (e.g., Radio Shack #270-408)
  • 16 in. (45 cm) of solid (non-stranded) 22 gauge hook-up wire
  • (e.g., Radio Shack 22-gauge hook-up wire)
  • Small, 3-volt motor (e.g., Radio Shack #273-223)
  • Pushbutton switch (e.g., Radio Shack #275-646)
  • Plastic cup, 9 or 16. oz.
  • Counterweight: You can use a dime as a counterweight.
  • Pens, pencils, and/or markers
  • Drawing paper: Large sheets of paper will give your drawing machine more space.
  • Hot melt glue gun (with hot melt glue stick)
  • Electrical tape or heavy-duty masking tape
  • Wire cutter/stripper

Cut two long pieces of wire, about 8 inches (20 cm) each. Strip the plastic coating off the ends, exposing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of wire at each end.

Thread the end of one wire through the connection on the motor. Fold it back on itself, and tape with electrical tape. Then take the other piece of wire and attach it to the motor's other connection.

Connect one of these long wires to one of the wires coming from the battery holder. To connect the wires, hold and twist them together (see photo).
Connect the other long wire to one connection on the switch. Connect the loose wire on the battery pack to the other connector on the switch. Tape any exposed wire.
Put the batteries in the holder. Push on the switch: does your motor spin? If your motor doesn't spin, double-check the connections. Wiggle the wires and make sure everything is securely connected, then try it again. If it won't turn off, make sure none of the exposed wires are accidentally touching each other. Wrap tape around any exposed wires.

Now you can use the hot melt glue to attach the motor to the top of the plastic cup. Flip the cup upside down and fit the motor on the center of the base of the cup.

On some motors, the base of the motor sticks out slightly so you may have trouble gluing it directly to the cup. I used two LEGO bricks to raise the motor off the cup.

Your drawing machine may draw better if it is a little off balance. Hot-glue a dime to the tip of the motor's axle to act as a counterweight.
Attach 3 pens as legs around outside of the cup. You can use rubber bands or masking tape to attach them.

Put down enough sheets of paper to give your machine plenty of drawing room. Take the caps off the pens, turn on the drawing machine, hold the battery pack in your hand, and put the machine down on the paper to let it draw. (You can try to guide it using the battery pack like a leash.)

Try varying the types of pens. You can try having one of the three pens (one "leg") be much shorter than the others, making the whole machine lean.You may find that a less stable machine makes more interesting drawings.
What else
Make a Cup Draw using a Cricket.
Read about some other amazing painting machines.

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