Sourcing DrawBot Parts

This can be a surprisingly good place to shop for robot parts

This can be a surprisingly good place to shop for robot parts

I’ve previously discussed sourcing the main electronic components for a drawing robot.1 Since there’s more to a robot than just the electronics that make it work, I thought I would list my other resources in one place.

  • Electronics.  The electronics are the brain and heart of this project.  There’s really only two parts that could not be found or scavenged – these parts being the Arduino and the Adafruit Motor Shield.
  • Project Box. I’m using a long thin pine box left over after a huge catering party platter order. Frankly, you could mount the parts on nearly anything – a 2×4 or a nice custom box – it’s entirely up to you.  Heck, you could even screw these parts directly into a wall if you were feeling particularly adventurous.

  • Structural Parts.  Besides these main components, it’s really really useful to have a 3D printer to manufacture all the parts necessary to make it all work.  Motor mounts, spools, etc.  If you had a laser cutter or a ton of quick-set plastic, you could probably fabricate perfectly serviceable parts.  The parts I’ve designed are ideally suited for my own project, could be modified for your own project, or you could just design some parts from scratch.
  • Hardware.  There are also all the little bits of hardware to hold everything together.  I still have a ton of M3x16 bolts and M3 nuts left over from building a Cupcake CNC and Thing-O-Matic.  Besides these M3x16 bolts and M3 nuts, I did use two screwhead M3x16 bolts to hold the Polargraph case in place and eight M3x8 bolts to attach the two motors to the mounts.
    • McMaster has a truly amazing website.  Even if you want to build a drawing robot and have zero parts on hand, you could pick up all the hardware you need from them super-cheaply.  Update:  The only thing I don’t care for about their website is that they don’t have a way of getting an estimate on shipping.  Among McMaster’s virtues is their amazingly responsive customer support.  I just asked them for a shipping estimate on these parts and they got right back to me.  You could pick up a set of 100 nuts, 100 M3x16 bolts, and 100 M3x8 bolts for about $6.  This is an absolute bargain for way more nuts and bolts than you’ll ever need for this project.
    • Chances are if you really had to you could use whatever bits of hardware you can find lying around your place.  I’ve seen examples of similar drawing robots using zip ties to hold the motors in place.
  • Electronic Bits.  I still need to track down some rainbow colored ribbon cable and connectors.  While I do actually have all the pieces of scrap around my home to finish the robot right now, I don’t want to do this half-way.  I want to use a rainbow ribbon cable because (a) I need to extend the motor leads to reach the circuit board, (b) it would be very helpful to have each lead color coded separately, and (c) they’re really pretty.  As for the wire connectors, all the other parts to my setup are very modular and it would be very nice to have the electronic connections just as modular.  After searching around, I found that Sparkfun has all the little pieces I need to finish this project.

I recently had a very unsatisfactory experience trying to source some parts locally, so I”ll be placing an order for some ribbon cable and jumper wires from Sparkfun.

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 Hacks
  10. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  11. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  12. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part III
  13. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part I
  14. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  15. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part II
  16. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  17. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part IV
  18. DrawBot – Halp!!! No - seriously, a little help?
  19. DrawBot – The Face Palm
  20. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part V
  21. DrawBot – The Silver Lining of Failure
  22. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part V
  23. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VI
  24. DrawBot – Printed Parts
  25. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VII
  26. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  27. DrawBot – The Breakdown, Part II
  28. DrawBot – Printing!
  29. DrawBot – Printing, Part II
  30. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  31. DrawBot – Calibration
  32. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  33. DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!
  34. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  35. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  36. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  37. Restarting a Stalled DrawBot Drawing
  38. TSP FTW!
  39. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  40. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  41. DrawBot Practice Tip: A Watched Pot
  42. The biggest inkjet printer ever
  43. All New Polargraph on the way!!!
  44. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  45. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  46. The Eagle Has Landed
  47. Every Body Needs a Skull
  48. I think I know what I want to draw next...
  49. This project is not going to overengineer itself
  50. Overengineered Spools
  51. Overengineered Stepper Motor Mounts, Filament Guides
  52. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  53. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  54. DrawBot - A Tour!
  55. DrawBot - A Preview
  56. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  57. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  58. DrawBot - Printed Parts Tour
  59. Unidentified Foam Object
  60. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  61. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  62. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  63. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments
  64. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  65. Enough talk! Finally a pen holder!
  66. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem
  67. To Maker Faire!!!
  68. Drawing Robot Penmanship
  69. PlotterBot at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013!
  70. PlotterBot.com - a new site dedicated to drawing robots
  1. Photo courtesy of Jes []
  2. This is the type I have left over from building my MakerBots []

One Response to “Sourcing DrawBot Parts”

  1. […] a few more days yet before I can completely finish the drawing robot.  I still need to order some rainbow ribbon cable and connects, wire up the motors, and then actually draw something with the brand spanking new PolargraphSD […]

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