How it was Made: Mechanical Drawing Machine

Originally, I wanted to machine a complicated mechanical drawing machine that utilized a motor mechanism to rotate a plate and pen, but I decided to simplify this based on budget and choose an approach that focused more on the aesthetic of the machine than the drawings.

I’ve always liked steam punk/ braised copper tubes, so I used a rolling pipe cutter to cut a bunch of copper tubing to size and soldered these tubes together as seen below. This worked well to build a structure.

I needed a way to attach the pendulum mechanism to the rest of the structure. To do this, I needed a tough material that was strong enough to support the weight of the  metal pendulum as it swung, so I used steel cable and swaged loops within the structure.

I also used this technique to hold the paint vessel/ nozzle onto the structure. In this case I used a couple of cables to hold level (doesn’t look it in this photo because it is touching the ground). However, it does it’s job.

Mixing the paint was a surprisingly challenging part of the fabrication process. I used galvanized steel for the nozzle vessel, and drilled this with a 1/16″ drill bit (hard to do with my home drill, though it worked). I used a center punch to make sure the hole was in the right place. To test the device, I used water, which worked. I then bought latex  paint. Originally, the paint was too thick, so I watered it down, and then it was too thin (1st image below). I tried mixing a variety of thicknesses and ratios, and eventually got consistency that I liked (2nd image).

Moving forward, I’ll keep working on getting my ratios right, and might try another paint type to see if it works better. I think I’ll also tune the pendulum a little more to make some different shapes. Perhaps even welding longer pieces onto this to get a longer pendulum stroke. I plan to update here when I do so!

My presentation is below:

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