I’ve not done any drawing robots in a while and I got the bug again.

I drew Art-O-Matic up in Sketchup (and gear generator) then made the parts from hardboard using a CNC cutter. Added some bolts and presto! Instant art!

Of course I added a pair of stepper motors, controller and an Arduino. I’ve got 12V plugged right into the Arduino. Things get a little warm.

It’s really easy and fun to program, not to mention fun to watch.

David Warren made up a simulator so you can try different combinations of parameters! Art-O-Matic Simulator.

There’s a kid version here! Want something even simpler? Try squiggly-draw!

Art-O-Matic V1.1

This machine has a magnetic paper holder, pen clamp, pen lift and home switches. It’s easier to operate than the first machine I made below. There are a few more parts to be made for it (start-stop button and mount the wires and controller) .


Sketchup files: draw-o-matic016

Starter Arduino sketch: ArduinoThings

The starter sketch is for the Arduino is assuming the lady ada motor shield. And a power supply (you can’t run this from the Arduino with just USB to your computer. Steppers need too much current.

Art-O-Matic V1.0

Here’s the previous version of the machine.


optical sensor
accelStepper Documentation
accel stepper problems

to “Art-O-Matic

  • Love the Art-O-Matic robotic spiralgraphy I still have complete of these. I spoke with Paul Kourany in depth last night and more emails today to figure a way my son who’s 11 years old with special needs could learn how to build things with Arduino kit. Let me know of next workshop that I could bring him. thanks Vivian

    • Hi Vivian,

      Thanks for the note.

      If you want your 11 year old to learn to make things with Arduino, there are a few things you could try. Bringing him to communities where people use Arduino is probably a great start. We are doing regular meetups called “blink”. If you go to the “cool” link and pick “learn arduino”, on that page you can register him and yourself into one of the Blink sessions.

      At the blink sessions you can learn where to buy an arduino and related stuff and get it running on your laptop.

      To stay abreast of the Arduino Blink meetups and other stuff like that, you can keep an eye on the Arduino page here or subscribe to the newsletter. I will send a newsletter out when I add new sessions to the calendar (among other things).

      That’s probably your best starting point.

  • Great project!
    Did you cut the gears on your CNC or had them made? If so, where? Many thanks

    • All the wooden parts were cut on the CNC machine.

      • If you need any gears cut, send me an email and I’ll make you some up.

  • Hi… really like this project. Do you plan on publishing dimensional information for the various parts of the art-o-matic… gear diameters, arm lengths, etc. Thanks!

  • Hi Tom!

    Thanks for the note. Glad you like the project.

    I can give you the dimensions (or publish them). But have the fun is coming up with that stuff. 🙂

    Where do you live? I’m in Ottawa, Canada.

  • I made a very similar drawbot with Lego. Yours is a lot sturdier though.

  • I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now! I’m going to see if I can adapt it to the laser cutter for speed of production. I’ve got a CNC router but it’s as slow as molasses running uphill in January…

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Printing Sine Waves | Matthew Venn :

    […] CNC router but never quite known what. After the simple drawing robot (originally inspired by the Art-o-matic v1) I thought I’d get back to basics and build a harmonograph – a set of pendulums that add […]