The best thing about being involved in a project like Polargraph, is that you meet like-minded people. Stuart Childs is one of these people, and a good guy to know. He is one of the guys behind FriiSpray (which is another art/tech crossover project), amongst other things. He has put together a very neat new drawbot kit called the DRBO. It comes complete with arduino uno and motorshield, motors and all the bits you need, and is made of fragrant lasercut mdf. I got a kit of the hardware bits off him to try out.
As you see, it is adorable when small, but the most best thing about it is that the top bit, the drawing surface bit is pretty sacrificial, if you unbolt it, then you’ve got a good little unit that contains the motors, bobbins and microcontroller, and all you need is a couple of nails banged into a wall to hook the threads over, and you’ve got a machine as big as you want. The threads can just run down to the DRBO on the floor. No messing about with long wires or some such.
Now, when I’ve tried such shenanigans in the past, it’s never been quite as straightforward as that, but in principle at least, this is very handy. There’s a very good case for keeping the motors close to the drivers, and it’s so much neater if nothing else.
The build is easy and it’s an example of good design for lasercutting. It’s all push-out and bolt-together, well-labelled, and there’s even a little circle of sandpaper stuck on to take off the burrs, and a couple of wrenches that have enough life in them to tighten up all the nuts and bolts that you might want more than finger-tight. That’s a really nice touch. My favourite bit is that there are counter-sunk bolts at certain points on the surface, and Stuart supplies these dinky little magnetic buttons to hold the paper on! Brilliant!
The box for the microcontroller is big enough to fit an arduino mega in it, for those who mate megas with adafruit shields.
I did take other pics, but none of them are quite as good as the ones on the DRBO site. It’s also dead cheap, considering this is basically a full arduino+stepper motors dev kit, PSU, microcontroller, motorshield, motors, servo, fitments, the lot.