NEWS$show=/search/label/news

Here's where you'll find all the latest news about technology for children. We love to follow cool new inventions on Kickstarter and we hunt out all the latest announcements about tech toys and gadgets for the coming Christmas holidays. You'll also get our take on children's technology stories in the media.

REVIEWS$show=/search/label/review

Our kids technology product reviews are intended to help you work out whether a toy, gadget or kit is a good fit for your child or family. There's lots of cool stuff available, but is it the right choice for the child or teenager that you are buying for? We'll help you make the right choices and get the best value for money.

GIFT GUIDES$show=/search/label/gift%20guide

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

PROJECTS$show=/search/label/project

Get crafty with technology. Here we'll post all our ideas and projects using technology to get creative and making with kids. You'll find anything from making a lemon battery to a glow-in-the-dark Minecraft sword. Our projects are tried and tested on our own kids or at events we run, so we are sure you can have a go at home with your kids. Some of our projects use specific tech gadgets which we provide links for you to purchase.

STEM$show=/search/label/stem

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In recent years there is an increased focus in these areas of study. We like to include Art and Design too, so we often talk about STEAM (A stands for Art). At Tech Age Kids we believe Coding is a new literacy and children need to understand how technology works, practice making skills and grow in their curiosity to make a better future for us all.

CODING$show=/search/label/coding

Coding is increasingly being recognised as an important skill for children to learn. Some will learn to code at school or at a coding club, but it's brilliant if they get support at home too.

ELECTRONICS$show=/search/label/electronics

We think it's really important for kids to get hands-on with electronics and learn how to make circuits and write code to control hardware. Younger kids can start with conductive playdough. For kids who like to combine craft and tech, littleBits are fab. And we love SAM Labs wireless electronics components for making it easy for kids to make Internet of Things inventions. Lots of electronics kits for kids have support for the Arduino microprocessor environment. The DuinoKit Jr is one of our favourites. Arduino is a fab skill for older kids and teens to develop.

ROBOTICS$show=/search/label/robotics

We love robots at Tech Age Kids, especially programmable ones. We've got lots of them and write reviews and projects that use them. Our programmable robots for kids buying guide is a good place to start if you're not sure what's available. Roby the mBot Meccano robot dog is one of our popular projects and has been with us to lots of events. Our Ozobot LEGO trailer is fab for kids who love LEGO and robots.

MAKING AND CRAFT$show=/search/label/making

We're advocates of the creative use of technology, but this needs to be balanced with developing physical skills such as papercraft, woodwork, clay modelling, technical drawing and soldering. If children don't develop these skills as they grow up then physical making projects can become frustrating rather than fun. The Maker Community uses the term 'making' as a broad term to include all sorts of artisan skills or craft activities. Being able to make things can lead to life-long hobbies or even careers. It's a great feeling to be able to take a project from an idea in your head to a real object that does something. We're particularly interested to explore products that combine maker skills with tech skills such as electronics but others focus purely on the physical making skills that are still important to modern making.

Drawing Machine Made with LEGO Technic

We used some extra time in the school holidays to make a drawing machine, inspired by a video we saw on "The Kids Should See This" from JK Brickworks. Tracy and her kids, have made a Sisyphus kinetic sculpture earlier this year, also inspired by JK Brickwork.

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 Machine

Here'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 Machine

We 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.


Top Tips

  • 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:


Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Drawing Machine Made with LEGO Technic
Drawing Machine Made with LEGO Technic
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2016/11/drawing-machine-made-with-lego-technic.html
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