Drawing Robot Kit

$45 for a TinyCNC drawing robot kit, shipped to your door in the U.S..  Send me an email and I’ll put together a kit just for you.

This robot kit isn’t for everyone.  I put together a list of questions I made up to help you decide.

What kind of robot kit?

This is a very tiny and minimalistic CNC and drawing robot.  Fully assembled, it’s smaller than a paperback novel.  The robot has a working area of about 3″ wide by 3″ deep and about 1/2″ tall.  It’s easy to build, but not a precision device.

Assembled Tiny 3-Axis CNC Drawing Robot

Assembled Tiny 3-Axis CNC Drawing Robot

What’s inside the robot kit?

Not very much!  There are really only 12 pieces in the box.  Each kit contains 3 micro servo motors, 8 plastic parts I specifically designed and 3D printed to fit these exact motors nicely, and one zip tie.  (If you’re incredulous about how 12 parts can make a working robot, I’ve included links to the assembly and operation guides below).  You can see exactly what’s inside a kit in the gallery below.

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What is not included?

Anything not listed, silly!  You’ll definitely need to bring your own bits of wire and a microcontroller to finish off the robot.  You’ll probably also need a computer and a USB cable to program your microcontroller.  A solderless breadboard would be very helpful.  If you don’t have the wire, microcontroller, or breadboard, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

What kind of tools are required?

None!  You can assemble the entire robot by hand.  However, if you use a small screwdriver to add the included screws, it will be less finicky.

What can the robot do?

This little robot is slightly more capable than a normal drawing robot.  Most drawing robots move in the X and Y axes, and then hold a writing implement in a raised or lowered position.  This small robot has a way to raise and lower a small lightweight toolhead incrementally, rather than only “up” or “down.”  You could make it paint, use a stylus, or draw with a pen.  I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone designs a way to add a little gripper to it too.

Why should I NOT get one?

They’re not for everyone – the robot has it’s limitations.  Since it is made of very lightweight parts, it can’t hold or manipulate things that are much heavier than itself.  While the robot can move the toolhead around a 3″ by 3″ area, the best drawings tend to be done in a 2″ by 2″ area.  The micro servo motors are fast, reliable, and inexpensive – but they lack the smooth movement and precision of much more expensive motors.  The plastic parts are made from 3D printed PLA, so they lack the polished smooth textures of a mass produced injection molded part.  Because the parts are 3D printed plastic, rather than polished precision metal rails; it will never be able to sign checks for you.  While I (and others!) have written software that will let the little robot draw, this isn’t a plug and play device. (I am specifically NOT selling it with wires and a microcontroller in order to discourage novices from buying one)

Below are a few pictures of what I’ve drawn with my robot.  (The R2D2 is probably the very best drawing I’ve done)

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Still, I REALLY want one!

You can make your own!  If you have access to a 3D printer, you can download the files and print one yourself!  Although I designed the plastic parts to fit the micro servos I have, they’re relatively common and you shouldn’t have too hard a time finding something that will work.  If you don’t have a 3D printer, perhaps you can find one at your local school, library, makerspace, or TechShop.

Maybe you could mill the parts with a CNC?

Can’t I just buy one?

Sure.  If you’re in the United States, I can sell you a kit for $45, shipped.  If you’re not in the U.S. I’d still be willing to sell you a kit, but I’d have to figure out the postage cost.

Email me and I’ll get you a kit!

Still, I don’t want to pay that much…

Good news!  I have a few sets of plastic parts from a slightly older version.  This old version requires a little more fudging to get it to work, but I drew all of the above pictures with that version.

If you want one of my two three remaining copies of this older version, including motors, zip tie, and foam rubber for making gaskets, email me and it’s yours for $35 shipped in the United States.

Okay, I got a kit, now what?  How do I make it do stuff?

You can use this guide to assemble the kit, this software guide, and these other Arduino sketches.  If you have any problems, please send me an email so I can help.

Wait! I have even more questions!

Sure thing – send me an email.  I love getting email!

I don’t have enough time to read all this – I must have one!

Great!  Send me an email!

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