My kids have a LOT of LEGO, passed down from their uncle and older brother, and collected over the years. Sometimes, it's important to encourage kids to get back into building LEGO using an interesting project.
The simple drawing machine is not a difficult model to build and doesn't require a huge amount of LEGO pieces. It does however require Technic LEGO pieces, including gears and a LEGO power functions motor. We had to innovate here and there as we didn't have all the parts.
My 8 year old and I mostly built the machine (me being the piece finder and him being the builder). Afterwards the machine was enjoyed by everyone, including friends visiting during the holidays.
The Original Drawing MachineHere's a video of JK Brickworks' original drawing machine.
Full building instructions, including a parts list can be found on JK Brickworks.
Our Version of the Drawing MachineWe experimented with a few different LEGO pieces to complete our machine, as we didn't have all the same LEGO pieces as used by JK Brickworks. The most important thing is to get the gears to move smoothly when you add the motor.
|Rectangle base piece instead of round base|
|Smaller piece to secure gear and allow free movement|
|Our experiment worked!|
It's best to use a pen that will easily write without a lot of pressure. We tried washable felt tip pens and a ball-point pen. The felt-tips did bleed a little onto the paper before we started drawing. The colours are great, and I quite like the thicker line created by the felt tips. You have to start the motor quickly, once you've placed a felt-tip pen to minimise bleeding.
By changing the position of the armature and the fixed anchor, you can create a variety of different patterns.
- Make sure the drawing platform is flat. We had to improvise a little with our platform using smaller flat LEGO pieces. This didn't seem to affect the drawing.
- Felt tip pens work really well, but try place the pen onto the paper just when you start the motor.
- Pre-cut lots of squares of paper and leave the kids to create their own designs. See our creations below.
More Ideas with LEGO Technic, Machines and Contraptions:
- LEGO Technic Kinetic Sculptures, Machines and Contraptions
- Project: LEGO Tapping Fingers
- Project: LEGO Kinetic Sculpture