DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!

A few thoughts about operating a DrawBot, in semi-organized fashion:

  • Vertical Surface Drawing.  There is an interesting tension in the design of a vertical line-driven drawing robot.  As the drawing surface orientation approaches horizontal, the easier time the robot will have using a standard pen to draw, the more difficult it will be to control the drawing component via a line system, the  greater the weight that would be required,1 a greater weight puts a greater stress on the line and the motor and has some effect on the responsiveness of the drawing component, and the more the weights on the drawing component would be in contact with the drawing surface – possibly causing smudges.  The closer the surface is to vertical, the easier it will be to actually operate as a line-driven robot, the less weight required,2 but the more difficult it would be to have a pressure from the drawing component on the drawing surface.
  • Robot Portability.  Right now my robot is quite portable – and, of course, there are costs and benefits associated with this.  Right now I’m limited to the “size” of my robot at 2’x4′ since that’s the size of the piece of plywood I bought and on which the motors are mounted.  However, it is very easy to just move the robot by putting the plywood in a different location in the house.
  • Robot Location.  This is, in some senses, the flip side to robot portability.  I’d love to put the ‘bot up on the wall and draw something really really huge.  I don’t see that happening until I’m more comfortable running the robot, have found a better pen/paper combination, and – perhaps most importantly – figured out how to run the robot wirelessly or off an SD card.
  • Drawing To-Do’s:  Ideally, I’d like to put the robot to work drawing something on an epic scale.  A high resolution photograph of earth, moon, or pretty much anything from NASA.  Perhaps a map of middle earth, the 100 acre woods, or the Princess Bride story?  A photograph of the world at night, with highlights of the world’s electricity consumption.  Or, some of the INSANELY awesome super sweet posters from various XKCD comics.
Posts in the DrawBot Adventure Series
  1. Wanna make a DrawBot?
  2. DrawBot Resources and Links
  3. DrawBot, the Adventure Begins
  4. DrawBots for the slow learner
  5. DrawBot - Parts Ordered!!!
  6. DrawBot - The Breakdown
  7. DrawBot - Parts Shipped!!!
  8. DrawBot - What would you draw?
  9. DrawBot - The Plan!
  10. DrawBot - The Hacks
  11. DrawBot - Giant Unicorn?
  12. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  13. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part III
  14. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part I
  15. DrawBot – The Software, Part I (and an existential conversation)
  16. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  17. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part II
  18. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  19. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part IV
  20. DrawBot – Halp!!! No - seriously, a little help?
  21. DrawBot – The Face Palm
  22. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part V
  23. DrawBot – The Silver Lining of Failure
  24. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part VI
  25. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part V
  26. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VI
  27. DrawBot – Printed Parts
  28. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VII
  29. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  30. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VIII
  31. DrawBot – The Breakdown, Part II
  32. DrawBot – Printing!
  33. DrawBot – Printing, Part II
  34. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  35. DrawBot – Calibration
  36. DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!
  37. DrawBot – Drawing Success(ish)!!!
  38. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  39. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  40. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  41. Restarting a Stalled DrawBot Drawing
  42. TSP FTW!
  43. Speedier DrawBot Drawings
  44. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  45. Excellent DrawBot Slides
  46. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  47. DrawBot Practice Tip: A Watched Pot
  48. The biggest inkjet printer ever
  49. Why do DrawBots draw on walls?
  50. All New Polargraph on the way!!!
  51. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  52. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  53. The Eagle Has Landed
  54. Every Body Needs a Skull
  55. I think I know what I want to draw next...
  56. This project is not going to overengineer itself
  57. Overengineered Spools
  58. Overengineered Stepper Motor Mounts, Filament Guides
  59. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  60. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  61. DrawBot - A Tour!
  62. DrawBot - A Preview
  63. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  64. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  65. DrawBot - Printed Parts Tour
  66. Unidentified Foam Object
  67. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  68. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  69. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  70. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments
  71. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  72. Enough talk! Finally a pen holder!
  73. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem
  74. To Maker Faire!!!
  75. Skipping! How could I forget the skipping?!
  76. Drawing Robot Penmanship
  77. PlotterBot at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013!
  78. PlotterBot.com - a new site dedicated to drawing robots
  1. This my theory, anyhow.  My reasoning is that as the surface approaches horizontal, the more weight you’d need to pull at the drawing component because more of the force of the weight would be absorbed directly by the drawing surface itself – along with some friction as it passes over the surface as well. []
  2. See reasoning regarding weight above. []

7 Responses to “DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!”

  1. lanthan says:

    There might be other ways to increase the pen pressure against the paper while keeping the vertical orientation. I am thinking of a metallic board (or any surface coated with magnetic paint) and some magnets on the gondola…

  2. MakerBlock says:

    @Lanthan: I had considered such an apparatus – but a big problem would be the increased force required to move the pen.

  3. lanthan says:

    Yes, the motor shield gives barely enough power to drive higher loads, or a bigger machine with more belt tension. Knowing this beforehand (from some previous diy eggbot experience), I went straight with a couple of stepstick/pololu drivers and some small mods to the firmware. This has been working great.
    The quest is still on for “the ideal pen”

  4. Sandy Noble says:

    I think adding more weight / applying more force (bigger motor) will always give some rewards, because the weight of the gondola will increase while the size of the contact area of the pen tip will remain static

    The obvious solution that most people suggest is to run cords from the bottom corners of the machine too, to have four points of connection, and that way you can add pressure by increasing the tension of the cords, as Viktor does with great aplomb. But I’ve never been excited about that solution – seems a bit like cheating to me! And I suspect not nearly as simple as it sounds!

  5. lanthan says:

    The beauty and power of this device resides in its simplicity… yes, one could add cords/belts and pulleys and get it stabilized that way. On the other hand the more complexity increases, the more the balance might shift in favor of a conventional X-Y table…

  6. natko says:

    Have you considered a small giroscope on the gondola for stabilty, it could be as simple as a dc motor with whell which runs all the time.

    Just a thought.

  7. MakerBlock says:

    @natko: That’s an interesting idea! Overall, the gondola is actually pretty stable. I haven’t had any wobble issues. For the most part it goes where it needs to, it’s relatively precise. Adding and subtracting weight seems to make a difference. However, I suppose that if you need the weight anyhow, it might be interesting to try a gyroscope. Then again, do you think it would the gyroscope prevent it from being as responsive?