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Maker Dads Rock
My husband took a couple of weeks off this summer to spend some quality time with our 7 year old. Just before his vacation I brought home a book Maker Dad by the editor in chief of Make magazine Mark Frauenfelder. Our daughter is still a little young to do many of the projects described in this excellent book, but my husband was particularly fascinated by one project described there – screen printing. He has spent a lot of time during his vacation experimenting with different screen materials and techniques. I, on the other hand, was more interested in a much simpler project described in Maker Dad – a vibrating drawbot. My husband looked through instructions and informed me that it would be much simpler to make that drawbot with Lego. One weekend we both went to our Lego boxes, and he produced this simple Lego drawbot “from scratch” in under 10 minutes. After Smarty and her friends played with it for a few days, I disassembled it to show you how to make it too. The only “non-standard” parts in this Lego Drawbot are motor and gears. Ours are over 30 years old and come from a Lego set that my husband had a child. You might get the gears with Lego Crazy Action Contaptions Kit and get a separate medium size or stronger Lego motor separately. Of course, if you have a Lego Mindstorms set, then you should have everything needed to build this Lego Drawbot, but we don’t have Mindstorms… yet.
Lego Drawbot Tutorial1. Make drawing legs. We used pencils, because my husband wasn’t willing to sacrifice markers to vibrating forces, but you can try to do yours with markers. We discovered that we need strong rubber bands to keep pencils in place when our drawbot moved.
2. The foundation is pretty simple and uses standard Lego plates. The legs attach to this rectangular foundation – two on one side and another one in the middle of the opposite side to form a triangle.
3. The motor and gears are mounted on top of this foundation and bound at the sides to prevent motor from flying off…
4. Our motor didn’t have a speed control, so my husband used a series of gears to “downshift” it to a reasonable speed:
5. The vibration part comes from an unbalanced top. This is a simple plate with a few Lego pieces attached to it. We experimented with changing the number of pieces to see how it affects the way the robot moves.
We are done! Our Lego drawbot is ready to draw:
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