This drawing machine creates incredible designs on paper!  We’ve all been having a blast watching it draw patterns.  The concept is similar to a Spirograph toy, but the way that it works is different.  The motorized arm draws the same shape over and over, while the paper rotates underneath.

Here’s a video of the machine in action:


You can change where the Technic liftarm bricks (the black bricks with the holes) attach to the machine in order to change the shape that the machine draws.

Here are some of our designs – isn’t this so cool?  Fascinating to watch it in action.  There’s also some neat math involved in this project.  I asked my son if he thought there was a relationship between the teeth on the gear and the design drawn.  The gear that rotates the plate has 27 teeth, and guess what – the design on paper has 27 points!

How to Build Your Own LEGO® Drawing Machine

The design for this machine is not our own – my son found it on YouTube from JK Brickworks and then headed over to his site for the instructions.  For instructions, click here: Drawing Machine on JK Brickworks.  We used the PDF version of the building instructions.  My 13 year old son had no trouble following the instructions!  We were so impressed with the video, and weren’t sure if he would really be able to get the machine to work.  Well, it worked great on the first try!  It’s an awesome design. Aidan made a few substitutions where we didn’t have the right bricks, and it turned out fine.  You’ll need all the correct gears, but for the frame you can fudge a little.

Tip – we used gel pens, and they worked well.  You’ll need a pen that writes easily.  Also, we found that construction paper worked a little better than white copy paper.  It seemed to provide just the right amount of friction for the pen.  You’ll probably need to experiment with the pens and paper you have.

Finding the Right Bricks

You’ll need the LEGO® Power Functions set (affiliate link) to build this project.  It comes with a motor, light, switch, and battery pack – and requires 6 AA batteries.  I highly recommend getting the power functions set!  We have used it for so many things, like our LEGO® Egg Decorating Machine.

If you need individual gears or other pieces, I recommend ordering from Brick Link (http://bricklink.com).  It’s similar to eBay, except that it’s all LEGO® bricks and sets.  Be aware that each seller charges for shipping individually, so you’ll want to find someone who has several things you need rather than ordering from a bunch of different sellers.

Have fun building!  If your kids like LEGO® machines, here are more to check out:

We are participating in LEGO® week this week (June 12 – 16) with other talented bloggers!  Come check out all the LEGO® week activities.

LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO® group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse this site.

4 Comments

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  1. Adam Hinkle Jun 12, 2017

    Seriously Cool!
    I may use this for some STEM lesson plans we are putting together.
    Super impressed. Thanks for sharing!
    Adam

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    1. Cathy Hobart Jun 16, 2017

      Holy cow!!!! Your projects are amazing! Thank you so much for sharing with everyone:)

      Reply
      1. Liz Jun 22, 2017

        Wow Wow Wow. This is amazing

        Reply
        1. Marie Jan 1, 2018

          Thanks for sharing and your time.

          The number of flower leaves is not based on the gear that rotates the plate. In my case it has 24 teeth and still 27 leaves. It is based on the ratios between the gears. We got nice 9 leaves flowers by replacing one pair 24 and 8 teeth gears with 16 and 16 teeth gears.

          Reply

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