I first learned of polargraphing from either OllyR on Letsmakerobots.com or from seeing Sandy at the Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire in 2013. When I recently realised that I had the necessary parts (minus a few of the cheaper components) to follow in the footsteps of Sandy’s Polargraph.co.uk build I downloaded the files and 3d printed some sprockets (on MAKLab’s Ultimaker2) and laser cut motor mounts (my own design). Today I finished that all off by making a crude pen gondola (clear CD, cardboard tube and screws/nuts/washers).
The first print was of a vector produced by one of the MAKLab volunteers (I didn’t have anything prepared and was busy setting up the polargraph so it fell on the volunteers to produce a vector drawing).
Proven to be working the next logical step was to draw the MAKLab logo. In this picture you can see the two stepper motors mounted to the drawing board (acrylic mounts clamp to the board) and the Arduino and Motor Driver Shield are zip tied to the top. My laptop is on the right running the processing sketch, turning the vector drawings into gcode and sending them to the Arduino.
I downloaded SVG Spirograph (it was the first link for my google search) and promptly produced a spirograph (ideal for this setup since I don’t have a servo installed to lift the pen off the page). It was mesmerising to watch and drew some attention. I think it would be cool to add a “Spirograph of the Day” which automatically generates a new spirograph and draws them each day (same spirograph drawn all day whenever the paper is replaced and a button on a laptop pressed).
Time lapse of the plotter in action. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the finished spirograph.
EDIT: Added a servo to lift the pen off the page and got a photo including the finished spirograph from the previous Saturday.
Produced another Spirograph, This one looked better part-way through but looks messy now. Timelapse at the end of this post shows it turn from good to great to messy.
We wanted to try drawing a picture so I selected a photo from my flickr vectorised in Inkscape and loaded into the Polargraph software. The result was great.
Time lapse of this Saturdays drawings: