AxiDraw: Create High-Quality Art with This New

Make: friends Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories have continued their great history of bringing amazing drawing robots to Makers everywhere with the AxiDraw. The AxiDraw joins the EMSL line that includes the always popular Eggbot and WaterColorBot. The AxiDraw is a flat pen-based drawing machine, capable of creating intricate art and even calligraphy.

Axidraw is a “personal writing and drawing machine” created by Evil Mad Scientist.

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories have continued their great history of bringing amazing drawing robots to Makers everywhere with the AxiDraw. The AxiDraw joins the EMSL line that includes the always popular Eggbot and WaterColorBot. The AxiDraw is a flat pen-based drawing machine, capable of creating intricate art and even calligraphy.

The basic hardware will look familiar to 3D printing fans out there, with a small servo replacing the Z axis of this machine. Watching the product video, I was stunned by the quality of the drawing from the AxiDraw. This simple design looks like it could be a great starter platform for anyone interested in hacking with a drawing platform; add a cutting blade to make a desktop cutter or a laser diode to make a laser etcher, lots of possibilities.

The AxiDraw is an extremely versatile machine, designed to serve a wide variety of everyday and specialized drawing and writing needs. You can use it for almost any task that might normally be carried out with a handheld pen.

Like many of the other EMSL drawing machines, the AxiDraw utilizes a series of Inkscape extensions to control the machine. Inkscape is free and open source, and its python plugin system makes creating extensions for machines like this easy. I even wrote an Inkscape extension in 2011 when I built my own machine capable of drawing and 3D printing in cheese! This greatly ups the “hackability” of this platform, allowing tinkerers to push the platform to its limits or create programmatic works of art.

The AxiDraw has a working area of 300x218mm, more than enough to draw on a standard A4 or 8.5×11 inch piece of paper. At just under 4 pounds, the AxiDraw can be easily taken with you for art on the go!

What comes with the machine:

  • The AxiDraw drawing machine, fully assembled, tested, and ready to use.
  • Universal-input plug-in power supply
  • USB cable
  • Easel (Board and clips) for paper holding

Additional specifications:

Performance:

  • Usable pen travel (inches): 11.81 × 8.58 inches (Just over US letter size)
  • Usable pen travel (millimeters): 300 × 218 mm (Just over A4 size)
  • Vertical pen travel: 0.75 inch (19 mm)
  • Maximum XY travel speed, rapid: 11 inches (28 cm) per second.
  • Native XY resolution: 2032 steps per inch (80 steps per mm)
  • Reproducibility (XY): Typically better than 0.005 inches (0.1 mm) at low speeds.

Physical:

  • Major structural components are machined and/or folded aluminum.
  • Holds pens and other drawing instruments up to 5/8″ (16 mm) diameter.
  • Overall dimensions: Approximately 19.5 × 16 × 3.5 inches (49.5 × 40.5 × 9 cm).
  • Maximum height with cable guides: Approximately 8 inches (20 cm).
  • Footprint: Approximately 17 × 3.5 inches (43 x 9) cm.
  • Physical weight: 3.9 Lb (1.75 kg).
  • Shipping (Dimensional) weight: 11 Lb (5 kg).

Software:

  • Drive directly from within Inkscape, using the AxiDraw extension.
  • Alternative drive software: RoboPaint
  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • All software free to download and open source
  • Internet access is required to download software.

Programming interfaces:

  • Note: programming is not required to use the AxiDraw.
  • RESTful API available for full machine control, stand-alone or accessible by running RoboPaint in the background.
  • Simplified “GET-only” API available as well, for use in programming environments (such as Scratch, Snap) that permit only retrieval of URLs.
  • Direct EiBotBoard (EBB) command protocol available for use in any programming environment that supports communication with USB-based serial ports.
  • Code that generates SVG files can also be used to (indirectly) control the machine.

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