Sandy Noble’s Polargraph Drawing Machine

I was checking out some photos emerging from this weekend’s Interesting 2011 conference held in London (there was a world record attempt at ping pong ball mouse trap nuclear fission, among other things) when I stumbled onto a portrait of the group’s organizer Russel Davies being drawn with a very strange device. It turns out the robotic drawing machine was built by maker/designer/craftsman Sandy Noble and he calls it a Polargraph which is really nothing more than a pen attached to string that’s moved by two small motors. With an assist from good ‘ole gravity and some clever software the pen arcs back and forth, similar to a standard back-and-forth plotter printer, creating the beautifully textured drawings above.

Drawing machines are certainly nothing new, what with Harvey Moon’s Drawing Machine that successfully debuted on Kickstarter last year, and even Eske Rex’s enormous weight balanced spirograph drawing machine. However this variation on the design shows lots of exciting potential for such a primitive if somewhat quixotic method of drawing. You can learn more about the nitty gritty details of Noble’s printer here and see some more photos here.

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