xyzeeBot - Make: Community
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By Steve Craig

A scribble machine for kids using Arduino, DC Motors, Camera, Video Monitors, and ballpoint pens. A fun contraption to inspire kids to make and create artworks.

Type: Artistic, Education


State: CA
Country: United States
Affiliation: None


What inspired you or what is the idea that got you started?

This is one of many of my machines for kids. This is the second revision of the xyzeeBot. The original had strings, this has belts. I guess I wanted to make something like the classic Etch-A-Sketch and to see if I could fabricate something like it. I am always trying to improve my machines and this was a definite improvement over the last one. The last one was big and this is not only a better design, it has a smaller footprint and easier to transport to events. I like the idea of scribbling and the randomness. My machines do have a bit of chance and randomness to them.

What is your project about and how does it work?

It is a basic XY layout with two motors for each axis. The pen holder, which holds two ballpoint pens, also has a motor which rotates the pens, and can be turned on and off. It is kind of a controlled scribble. I designed this as I went and realized that you cannot really see what it's drawing, so this prompted me to add a camera and monitors to it to see what the pens were doing. This is driven by an Arduino Nano with bridge motor controllers. The joystick is from a salvaged wheelchair. The gears and parts are laser cut.

What did you learn by doing this project?

I am always learning new things by building machines. With this one I learned that there is always a solution if you stick to it. There is always some way to make it better.

What impact does your project have on others as well as yourself?

My whole goal is to build and create and inspire kids to do the same. I love building and making things and seeing kid's faces light up when I share with them. My machines now are mainly for play and inspiration, but I wish to expand with kits and classes for kids.


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