by emily_littlebits

Published on October 8, 2015

Create robotic artistic masterpieces! Try drawing a portrait, writing your name, or even making some expressive abstract paintings with this roaming artbot. The arm automatically swings side to side while you drive the Bot around with the Controller, creating a trail of color on whatever surface it touches.

This project is a REMIX of the BITBOT. You can start either build the Drawbot from scratch or if you already made the Bitbot, just make a few small adjustments to your circuit as seen below.

Duration: 60 minutes

How To Make It

STEP 1 : You’re going to build two circuits that communicate with each other wirelessly. First BUILD YOUR DRAWBOT CIRCUIT.

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Set the DC motors to VAR (variable) mode.
Set the servo to “swing” mode.

STEP 2 : ADD WHEELS TO THE DC MOTORS. Make sure to match the FLAT EDGE on the motor shaft with the flat edge of the hole in the wheel.

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*Note: you will want to turn off your circuit when you do this.

STEP 3 : Build the DRAWING ARM. Assemble the servo mount, hub, and arm using a Phillips-head screwdriver. The servo hub has two hole sizes, the arm will screw into the smaller holes.

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STEP 4 : PREPARE THE MOUNTING BOARD. Stick the ball caster to the bottom of the mounting board with Glue Dots.

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STEP 5 : Press the DRAWBOT CIRCUIT onto a mounting board. Stick the battery to the mounting board with Glue Dots.

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STEP 6 : NOW BUILD YOUR WIRELESS TRANSMITTER CIRCUIT. This will work as your remote controller, which will send its signal the DrawBot. Make sure to add the blue POWERSNAP to the middle bitSnap.

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Adding the powerSnap

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Final circuit should look like this

*The powerSnap will send power to the middle bitSnap on the Drawbot to activate the servo.

STEP 7 : PRESS THE WIRELESS TRANSMITTER CIRCUIT ONTO A MOUNTING BOARD. Make sure you flip the dimmer as shown in the image. This will make controlling your Bot much easier.

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Make sure you flip the dimmer 180° as shown in the image.

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Use Glue Dots to stick the battery to the board.

*Why flip the dimmer? 
- Because the DC motors are facing opposite directions, the slide dimmers also need to face opposite directions. 

STEP 8 : TEST YOUR CIRCUITS. On both circuits, turn power on. Make sure the wireless receiver is on the SAME CHANNEL (a,b,c,d, or e) as your transmitter. Now when you slide the dimmers, the wheels will spin and the servo should oscillate back and forth.

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*You can change the channel by pressing the little button on each of the boards. 

STEP 9 : MAKE ADJUSTMENTS. You may find that you need to change the angle of the mechanical arm so that it moves clearly without hitting the drawbot. To do so, pull the hub off the servo motor, reorient it, and press it back down.

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STEP 10 : Place a marker in one of the holes at the end of the servo arm. Place the bitBot on a large piece of paper, and wirelessly bring your artistic vision to life.

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*PRO TIP: The small hole fits a Bic-sized pen and the large hole fits a Sharpie-sized marker. You can use 2 rubber bands to hold the marker in place if it sits too loosely in the hole.

STEP 11 : CONTROLLING YOUR DRAWBOT: The middle position of the slide dimmers (~2.5V) will stop the wheels. Pushing both slide dimmers in the same direction will move it forwards and backwards. Take it for a spin!

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1. PERFORMANCE: Visualize a dance for your Bot. Take a video of you and your bot doing an interpretive dance! Makes sure you have an extra large piece of  paper.
2. ART EXHIBITION: Show us your collection of artworks made with the BitBot. Curate your collection, and check out other artworks made by your fellow community members.
3. THE NAME GAME: Make yourself, your friends, and family some robot generated name placards. It might take a few tries! See what others have managed to do.

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