Tuesday, August 12, 2014

For the young and old makers out there – I am sharing a tutorial on how to make an easy Lego Drawbot.

Lego Drawbot Tutorial

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Maker Dads Rock

Maker Dad
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 Tutorial

Lego Drawbot Step by Step 1. 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.Lego_Drawbot_DrawingLegs
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.
Lego-DrawBot-Foundation
3. The motor and gears are mounted on top of this foundation and bound at the sides to prevent motor from flying off…
Lego_DrawBot_MovingParts
4. Our motor didn’t have a speed control, so my husband used a series of gears to “downshift” it to a reasonable speed:
Lego-Drawbot-Gears
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.
Lego-Drawbot-UnbalancedTop We are done! Our Lego drawbot is ready to draw:
Lego-Drawbot-Finished

More Lego Ideas

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Follow Natalie's board Lego on Pinterest.

Your Turn

Have you built projects involving Lego motors before?

12 comments:

Dayna Abraham said...

THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!

min said...

We made a drawbot from one of the Maker's Faires several years ago. They used plastic parts and a small motor but I like your husband's version better. We are saving up for Lego Mindstorms. We will probably get it when K is done with her other toys and is willing to sell all. Kind of a trade-in.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I love this! I keep trying to convince Mike that we should get the LEGO Mindstorms set; so far no luck.

Ticia said...

Once upon a time I got some variation of Lego Mindstorms for Jeff, after hearing him rave about them forever. And he said, "That's cool. I'll save them for later." I think that later has come.

Hodge Podge said...

Totally love this - utter genius!
Thanks for sharing at #Pintorials

TheKimSix Fix said...

How fun! My kids would have a blast doing this!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

We made a quick plastic cup, draw-bot a few years back following instructions from the exploratorium website - lots of fun. I like your Lego version!

Amanda Boyarshinov said...

Now I want to make them, but don't have the supplies... will have to see what we can come up with!

Jennifer Dawn Oliver Shelton said...

What a fun idea!

Katie Pinch said...

This is such an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing at the #lovetolearnlinky party. I hope you stop by and link up again this Thursday.

Beth Gorden said...

This is SUCH a cool project!! I totally want to make one too!

Jared Griffin said...

Quite nice! It seems we're living in an interesting time where kids feel compelled to build both in the real world (with Legos) and in the virtual one (Minecraft). The two worlds seem to play off each other.